Joining a church plant

Two and a half years ago several people moved from various parts of the country to join Good News. In this latest blog we catch up with Rachel and Jacob Dilley who moved from Canterbury, as they tell us what life is like when you join a church plant!

How did you know God was calling you to Wimborne?
It started when we were looking to buy a house in Canterbury, Kent; we had a deposit and were ready to move but we couldn’t find what we were looking for. We loved where we were living; we had great friends, church and jobs but despite all this, we started to feel a little unsettled so started praying for God's intervention. Soon after, we felt strongly that God was looking to move us out of Canterbury to be a part of something new elsewhere. So we knew we needed to move, knew we didn't really want to, and had no idea where we would be moving to. This was all happening in 2014. Rachel is originally from Winchester and at the end of 2014 we had an opportunity to visit our two friends in Poole who had just had a baby. During our visit, we were chatting through our situation and they immediately leapt at the chance to try and convince us to join them down in Dorset with the potential to join a new church plant happening just up the road in Wimborne (now known as Good News Church). We originally laughed at the idea, thought it was a lovely thought but it wasn’t really what we’d had in mind. However, God had other plans... God had just that in mind. On our way back to Winchester, we felt God stir up excitement and  desire to be a part of a church plant. We found ourselves chatting about the opportunity to move to Dorset, how lovely it was, how good it would be for Jacob's career and things started to snowball. As soon as we got back, we were online scoping out the Wimborne area and how it could work if we were to move there.

Suddenly, we found ourselves with a potential location to hang our hats. After hearing about the new Wimborne church plant, our first point of call was to understand more about God’s move for us. We arranged a meeting with Sam Priest to chat and hear about how things were progressing and what his vision was for starting the church. It was clear after this, we complemented the church's plans - God’s plan!

Our decision was made. In the spring of 2015, the announcement was made that we would be leaving Canterbury and moving to Wimborne in the summer. With this, jobs were let go and our rented property was informed. 

Quickly, everything became very real and we were totally reliant on God's grace and provision. At that point we had no jobs, no home to move to and not really many people that we knew. Rachel was first to dive into the job hunting pool and was snapped up by her first interviewer (door no.1 opened). Jacob spent a little longer hunting for a job, when he came across a role at a design studio in Boscombe. It was an ideal position for him and the culture was certainly attractive. Low and behold door no.2 swung open and he too was snapped up by the studio. A perfect scenario orchestrated by a loving Father. With the market moving so quickly in Dorset, it was a more challenging journey to find a property. We would book viewings in the week and try and visit them on a weekend, but by the time Friday arrived the properties had been taken. Near the end of July with the first viewing we managed to get, we found ourselves in a lovely little house and with the deadline on our Canterbury property looming, we immediately took it and had a place to live.

At each step of this journey we have felt God's hand moving and preparing us to reach Wimborne. Even today with so many unknowns in our future, we can look back at this experience and rest in the knowledge that God is in control and we have no reason to fear as we can rely on Him entirely.

What has it been like being part of a church plant?
Being part of a church plant doesn’t come without it’s challenges; but to have peace and rest in God has been very comforting. The blessings God has brought us on our journey to Wimborne helped us have a stronger reliance in Him when times were a bit tougher; however, the majority of the time, being a part of Good News Church is amazing. Church gatherings, not just on a Sunday but mid weeks or at Westpoint (a Christian event), have been brilliant. Our family is growing and getting to know more and more people in the church makes these meetings even more exciting. Not only do we get to see our ever growing list of friends most weeks, but we also get to share our lives and experience God with them every step of the way. Support, reactiveness and faith help to drive a church plant; the members of Good News Church have this in bags and it is a pleasure seeing people grow in their connection to God.

What challenges have you come across with moving to a new area and a new church?
There are always butterflies moving to a new area, especially when leaving a place and people you have such love for. A big challenge for us is finding time in our week to actually explore the area itself. We have found our favourite spots, but to step out of those and into new areas of Wimborne or Dorset has been difficult. We’d love to explore more as we’re both quite outdoorsy people, but this will just come with time among the ebbs and flows of busy life. There were challenges on a social side too, as well as being the outdoorsy kind, we are both very sociable people. Back in Canterbury, we left some of our best friends and were always meeting up with friends for meals, outings and games; this was quite a contrast to when we first moved to Wimborne where we knew a limited number of people and we really struggled with this. Thankfully, we met some wonderfully lovely people through the church who supported us, helped us settle in and have become some of our good friends. God gives us blessings. 
As we had come from a large multi-site church where there was always something going on, it was a strange feeling to be a part of a small church. It wasn’t as loud, there weren’t as many people to say hello to and we were able to get to know everyone a lot quicker. The church still has such a brilliant sense of community and we love it! Other than that, we can’t really say that there have been many challenges with moving to a new church to be honest; church planting is hard work and takes a lot of time and energy but God has been so generous and faithful every step of the way so we don’t really have any complaints.

What has been the most exciting thing about moving to a new area and a new church?
There is so much to say here! We love Wimborne; the town itself, the surrounding countryside, the shops, the people, the restaurants, everything is exactly to our taste; just another example of God’s blessing upon our move down here. 
I suppose the most exciting thing about moving to Wimborne for us was finally finding the house we were looking for and becoming homeowners. This was a big deal for us and we love the area too; driving home from work or outings, we find ourselves smiling as we drive through paddocks to reach our house. The country life we have always wanted.
One of the most exciting things about moving to a new church has been getting to know and involved with a new community. We loved seeing God’s hand upon our previous community and it’s exciting to see how God will use Good News Church to impact the community of Wimborne.

How are you finding living in Wimborne now?
We’re in love with Wimborne and thrilled to be a part of Good News Church and the plans God has for us moving forward. I think that says it all really.