Our Mission and Vision
Lyonsdown is a people saved and gathered by God through Jesus. We’re an evangelical Church of England church. Our mission is the self-perpetuating mission given to the church until the end of time by the risen Lord Jesus Christ: to make disciple-makers - that is to say, to make followers of Jesus who will make followers of Jesus. To that end we’re committed to sharing and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ through the prayerful preaching and teaching of the Bible. Our conviction is that that when God’s Word is faithfully and prayerfully explained, it means that God has gone before and prepared the way for his voice to be heard and his supreme power to be unleashed within our world.
As a church we work together to reach every section of our community with the Gospel. We believe that all church members should be makers of disciple-makers and we are thus committed to the biblical concept of every-member ministry (Ephesians 4:12). That means we favour vine-growing (the individual making of disciple-makers) to trellis-building (centrally-organized framework events). We therefore emphasize the individual training and equipping of our members for the task they have of making disciple-makers in all the places in which God has providentially situated them.
Our love for God and our Gospel-love for those around us is shown in our love for each other - and a warm and welcoming attitude towards guests and visitors. Our congregation includes all age groups and reflects a wide range of ethnic and social backgrounds, typical of the North London cosmopolitan community in which we live.
We seek to strengthen our links with other like-minded evangelicals. Our guest speakers at houseparties or missions have included Dick Lucas, David Jackman, William Taylor, Phillip Jensen and Alistair Begg.
Lyonsdown is located within an attractive area of North London, close to Oak Hill theological college, 20 minutes from the City, 30 minutes from Cornhill, 10 minutes from the M25 and 5 minutes from the open Hertfordshire countryside. Oak Hill students and their families sometimes choose us as their local church.
Our permanent staff team of Pastor-Teacher, Youth Worker, Women’s Worker, Children’s Worker and Administrator are presently supported by four Associates.
At Christmas, students are placed with us from Oxbridge and Durham Universities. Longer term placement students are sometimes allocated from Oak Hill. In the past we have also taken placement students from the Oak Hill’s Youth and Children’s Ministry course and from the Cornhill training course.
Training for ministry is our top priority in order to equip every member of our church to be active and effective makers of disciple-makers. This priority has had a multiplying effect on our outreach, as well as representing a powerful stimulant to the spiritual development of our own church members. Our priority commitment to training is shown in our ministry training groups at which men and women from our congregation are taught and equipped to conduct active practical ministry. This training finds expression in Vineyard, a weekly mid-week outreach ministry that includes a centrally-served meal, small group Bible studies, a central talk and discussions or an open question time. Over 100 of our church family attend this event each week. The detailed outworking of Vineyard is conducted through individual Vineyard table outreach events, prayer triplets and one-to-one ministry. Church missions are conducted through our Vineyard tables.
Our ministry also sponsors a broad range of activities that seek to reach into every area of our community and wider afield. Our regular, weekly ministry also includes preaching and teaching at nursing homes and a well-attended women’s book group. Many individual outreach events take place, sponsored by our many different ministry groups as well as by individual Vineyard tables. Much of our ministry is to children and young families. Our commitment to families and children is reflected in our crèche facilities, children’s slots within our meetings, a well-developed and thriving Sunday School, two children’s mid-week clubs, youth and children's tables at our weekly Vineyard meeting, large parent and toddler groups, an annual children’s holiday club and other individual adult and children's events at different times of year. Every event we sponsor has a carefully-prepared and boldly-presented Gospel message at its centre. We also actively support summer camps for children.
But the greatest emphasis of our daily ministry is on sustained one-to-one work, something in which we seek to get everyone involved and in which every age-range and category of person is covered.
Lyonsdown also leads and co-ordinates the North London Partnership, a regional sub-grouping of evangelical churches belonging to the South East Gospel Partnership. In 2010 the North London Partnership sponsored the A Passion For Life mission with Phillip Jensen. In 2013 we sponsored a mission with Alistair Begg.
Our policy is to invest in people. Our Associates are deliberately exposed to a wide and varied range of ministry experience. We seek Associates for 2017/18 of either gender with servant hearts, good characters and a willingness and ability to work within a team. Employment length would be one year with a possibility of extension to two.
What We Offer
We offer participation in the ongoing ministry of a Gospel-committed, flexible and growing church in a pleasant and convenient location. Ministry opportunities abound.
Our Associate Ministry Training Course (now in its thirteenth year) is well established and supplemented by the widest variety of ministry experience and service opportunities. It consists of:
- A training half-day run each week by our pastor-teacher in conjunction with Jonathan Prime (the minister of Enfield Evangelical Free Church). Apprentices from Enfield Evangelical Free Church (and sometimes other churches) join this training morning. This training is set within a pastoral context but founded upon the necessity of an ongoing close personal walk with Jesus. The morning sessions include preaching from set ‘gobbets’ (passages of Scripture). Specialists in other ministry areas such as youth work and overseas mission, are also sometimes invited as guest speakers and presenters.
- A weekly staff and Associates morning meeting (followed by lunch together) also provides a forum for further training and discussion of ministry issues.
- Periods are set aside each week to provide opportunities for Staff and Associate training in Old Testament Hebrew and New Testament Greek. We place a high priority on technical training of this kind and the creating of time and opportunities for the careful reading of high quality theological literature.
- Staff and Associates join the congregational ministry training groups we run for church members.
- Staff and Associates also receive the weekly Vineyard training package which has to be prepared for delivery at the Vineyard small-group Bible studies at which each of them will either lead or assist.
- All staff and Associates are required to undertake the M’Cheyne daily Bible-reading course that will take the reader through the entire Bible in a year and the New Testament and Psalms twice. Impromptu devotions are normally required from those readings each time we meet. The readings also form the basis of ministry discussions throughout the year.
- All staff and Associates are also encouraged to set aside a fixed daily period for serious reading of classic Christian books.
- Associates are cared for in regular individual sessions where a variety of pastoral and other issues can be discussed. A high priority is placed on individual personal godliness and growth. Female Associates (under the care of our Women’s Worker) also have an opportunity to raise and discuss any issues or concerns they may have with a mature Christian woman who works in the parish. There is also a separate College of Mentors within the church for the care and encouragement of Associates.
- Professional training days (organized by the Proclamation Trust, the Good Book Company, All Souls Langham Place, TnT Ministries and the South East Gospel Partnership) are attended at St Helen’s, Oak Hill and wider afield. The London Conventions for Men and Women are also normally supported. Lyonsdown also sponsors its own separate Men’s and Women’s Conventions.
- Two weeks are set aside each year during which the permanent staff team and Associates retreat together to a country location for reading. Discussions on these occasions stimulate the exploration of further perspectives of Gospel ministry - especially within the modern cosmopolitan urban context.
- Our ministry training is supplemented by a numerous and wide variety of preaching opportunities and real ministry assignments for which feedback is given.
- Associates are strongly encouraged to join the Oak Hill Library (subsidized by us to half-price for first year Associates and free for second-year Associates and staff members). The Oak Hill Library has proved a hugely valuable educational resource for us all.
First-year Associates may be invited to continue for a second year in our rolling two-year programme. Our present full-time salaried staff members are former Associates.
Comfortable accommodation is provided for Associates free of charge. Living expenses in excess of £5,000 are paid over the period of Association in three advance termly payments. Associates are not asked to contribute to this or raise any kind of funding themselves. All business expenses are met, including travel, telephone and internet access. Vacation entitlement over the year (excluding August which is free) is five weeks and six Sundays. Associates are required to take one and a half days off every week. Our next intake of Associates will start work on Thursday 31 August 2017 and finish after duties on Wednesday 18 July 2018.
We believe that our Associate training offers a unique service and development opportunity grounded within a live and classic parish ministry context. And we believe that the experience will serve our Associates to the end of their lives.
Sponsorship for Ordination Into the Church of England
We have also successfully sponsored staff members and Associates for ordination into the Church of England.
How Does an Associateship at Lyonsdown Differ From Training Offered by a Centralized (ie. Non-Church-Based) Preaching Course or Ministry Training Scheme?
People sometimes think that a centralized (ie non-church-based) preaching course or ministry training scheme offers more than a church-based Associateship. But this is misleading. Actually the reverse is the case. What makes an Associateship here distinctive from such centralized courses is:
An Associate will be immersed in real, active, ongoing pastoral ministry for five or five and a half days a week. The training includes optional teaching of New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew. Unlike centralized non-church-based courses, every single part of the training received is directly connected to the pressing realities of authentic Gospel ministry. We strongly believe that academic reading and rigour must be accompanied by training that turns out seasoned practical operators, not merely people who are theologically-educated.
Our Associate training focuses on pastoral ministry (ie Bible teaching and preaching) within the immediate and ongoing context of a church’s actual life. A big emphasis is placed on expository Bible preaching and teaching. But systematic theology and practical topics will also be covered - all from the point of view of active ministry within a typical parish, applied into the lives of real men, women and children - and taught by people who are themselves doing that on a daily basis.
Whilst a centralized preaching or ministry training scheme might offer 20 opportunities to preach (mainly within an academic classroom context to fellow students), an Associate here is likely to have 50 opportunities or more - and nearly all of them in ‘live’ environments where the experience will be real. Associates will receive constructive criticism and feedback from those who are themselves experienced and actively involved in those actual ministry situations. And if they choose to join our corps of open-air preachers (such a commitment is entirely voluntary) or street evangelists, Associates will experience the sheer joy of taking the Gospel to the market-place - not merely practising such a thing within a seminar.
Preaching Taught By Preachers
Those who teach Associates to preach and teach are not peripatetic speakers without pastoral responsibility but experienced pastor-teachers with ongoing responsibilities of preaching at least twice a week to their own congregations - people for whom they carry the daily duty of spiritual care. Our commitment is to have Associates taught the ministry of the Word by active and practising pastors.
Dedicated Teaching Staff
Because our staff members are actively committed in real-world day-to-day pastoral ministry, the teaching Associates receive will be imbued with an urgent and highly practical concern to teach preaching and teaching that touches and changes lives within an authentic church-life context. This sharpens the edge of all the instruction Associates receive. Theory will be applied to practice. Instruction will continually relate to ongoing, up-to-the-minute, real-life situations.
High Quality Speakers
Because we are situated in North London, we have immediate and convenient access to many central events with speakers of international standing. It is our policy for our staff and Associates to attend all events of this kind that will expose us to top-quality expository and ministry skills from around the world.
A Rich and Varied Peer Group
Within the congregational ministry training schemes and the congregation itself, Associates will be working with and ministering to the very widest range of nationality, ethnicity, age, background and pastoral need. This will widen the perspectives and boundaries of Associates - and challenge them with the huge range of communication and application required of faithful Gospel ministry. Associates will see that there is something very healthy, wholesome and practical in training that remains within the context of a real church with genuine needs.
Mark Birri, our Youth Worker and a former Associate, is willing to give a private independent assessment of the Lyonsdown Associate scheme to anyone interested. His contact details are: email@example.com
Other independent assessments are also available from the following (they have been asked to tell enquirers exactly what they think!):
- Charlotte Cornes (our Women’s Worker and former Associate): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Mei Shan Dibble (our Children’s Worker and former Associate): email@example.com
Visits to Lyonsdown are welcomed at any time.
Taking It Further?
We are always over-subscribed with Associate applications and we generally work on a first-come, first-served basis. If you think you might be interested, we recommend enquiring as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Contact Charles Dobbie: 020 8216 3786 or firstname.lastname@example.org