The Church in Burton

A vision for the transformation of Burton and the surrounding area.

Those Key Leaders who were drawn together to lead the towns’ millennium events have evolved through prayer and relationship into a core team of leaders which is the primary driving force behind the prayer gathering and strategic planning for the town.
Churches represented are the Catholic Church, various Anglican Churches, Baptist Church, Elim Pentecostal, Community Church, Riverside Church, Youth For Christ, YMCA and the Christian International Family Church.

As the Key Leaders have met together and prayed regularly, one particular passage of scripture has been very important and that is the imagery in Ezekiel 47, that of the river flowing from the throne of God and getting deeper as it goes out further from the temple. The Key Leaders feel that this indicates a need for us all to be very sensitive to people in the varying depths of the river and not behave as if everyone is at the same stage – this would affect our approach to joint activities and relationships. In particular, the Key Leaders feel God has spoken to them concerning the water that comes up to our ankles, reminding us that Jesus is still washing peoples’ feet.In the story in John 13, when Jesus came to Peter, Peter wanted to be washed all over but Jesus made it clear that when we have been thoroughly cleansed through the cross, we still pick up grime and get bruised and bashed in daily life and need our feet washed.Jesus is still coming to us today and is washing our feet. So one of the reasons for calling the Leaders of the town together is that the Leaders might simply pray for each other and support and minister to each other. It is recognised that leadership is often a lonely place which is often in a ‘no win’ situation – if things are going really well it is because God did it and if things are going badly it is because we did it!

In 2002 Ed Silvoso conducted a city transformation conference in Burton, which launched the next stage of seeking the transformation for our town. We are praying for the transformation of Burton and the surrounding area. We acknowledge that it is impossible for one church, no matter how large it grows, to actually see this area transformed. In fact, theologically, we would go further and say we are agreed that the only biblical basis for a city being transformed by the power of God is through the ‘one church’ in that city, this being the best interpretation of scripture as written by Paul or Peter to the churches that they were involved with.

We believe we can have more of real unity than experienced to date. This is our commitment, that there is power in our unity together that is not expressed in our individuality. We are not gathering to try to sort out peoples’ doctrine or to debate styles of worship or styles of prayer – we want to give everyone freedom to worship as they see fit and to pray as they see fit. What we are committed to though is the power of unity that will transform this town, which has to begin with a degree of trust, friendship and relationship, so one key element is for leaders to meet regularly two or three times a month for prayer, fellowship and strategic planning. We believe it is important that we spend time talking to each other, eating together and getting to know each other, so that the levels at which we can pray for one another will increase as our trust and friendship develops.
So, one major part of the meeting will be given over to prayer that is focussed on the transformation of our town.

One major part of the meeting will be given over to prayer that is focussed on the transformation of our town. We believe that it is possible under God for Burton to have the lowest divorce rate in the UK, to have the safest streets, pubs and clubs for our young people to be in, that we can see the education system so blessed and so filled with Christians and biblical principles that the schools’ and pupils’ results will be the best in the country, that we could see significant men and women in the council, in the education system, in our police force and other services, and in the business world, that we could see justice and righteousness and compassion operating right across the town. Our goal is not simply “Lord fill our churches with people”, though that will be a by-product of what God does, it is “transform this town from top to bottom and at every level”. That is our goal and that is what we want to pray for.

At the end of the day, we are all excited at the prospects and potential ahead of us whilst wanting to honour and acknowledge all the men and women who have prayed for this day and been part of the history of the unity in Burton. Our ancient past and our recent history has produced some Christians who have all played a significant part in getting us to this point, without these we would not be here now. Church Leaders have come and gone, lay people too, but many have contributed to our journey. We are reaping the fruit of their hard work, prayers and tears. To each of them we are grateful.