I thought God's call was ‘wide’ of the mark!

I thought God's call was ‘wide’ of the mark!

At Banbury Community Church, Simon Lawton (pictured above, inset, with his wife Julia) and the leadership team are focused on community outreach, raising leaders and equipping members to share their faith. But all this came after life threw Simon a big curveball.

As an Elim pastor through and through, Simon Lawton never expected God to call him to an independent church. Yet he has spent the past two years helping rebuild Banbury Community Church after Covid.

The move to Banbury came after a testing 14-month wilderness season, Simon explains.

Having pastored churches in Crewe, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and the West Midlands, he and his wife Julia were looking for new roles.

“I’d stepped down from my last church between lockdowns and thought another job would come quickly, then everything shut down.

“I had opportunities in other Elim churches but nothing felt right, then I felt God tell me to ‘go wider’.

“I didn’t want to! Elim is my tribe and I wanted to stay there, but I looked around and was attracted by Banbury Community Church. After several months of me resisting, it became clear God wanted us to come here.”

Having joined BCC in September 2021, Simon set out to rebuild, re-equip and re-empower the church while addressing some structural issues.

“One focus has been getting more people into life groups and training people up,” he says.

“We did the Wellbeing Course last January and Gavin Calver’s Unleashed course in the autumn.

“We’ve also been encouraging people to share their lives and faith outside church so we did LICC’s Fruitfulness on the Frontline course and got involved with the Isaiah 61 ministry.”


Read the whole article in context in the January 2024 issue of Direction Magazine.

Direction Magazine

Direction is the official monthly publication of the Elim Pentecostal Churches in the UK, and is packed with all Elim's latest news, inspiration, vision and teaching. Find the latest edition and many back issues of Direction here.

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