Open Mic

I like to boast.

I especially like to boast when a bunch of other people get credit (see the humility I displayed there?).

On Sunday night we rebooted the Chapels Open Mic Night. Previously I had run it and it sucked. The guys that played were awesome but I didn’t advertise, promote or even invite anyone. To be honest on top of two Sunday meetings (CCM:City & CCM:East) to set up and attend I just didn’t have the mental capacity to make another event happen on a Sunday. Consequently about 10 of us would go to Baa Bar and listen to polite Christians play Switchfoot covers. Yuck.

Thankfully for me J joined CCM. J is awesome. He took on the open mic. So he invited a bunch of his friends from his course and a bunch of musicians from other open mic nights in Manchester. 60 people showed up and 10 people played. I sat there and felt smug on J’s behalf. There was a great vibe and a whole bunch of people who have never been anywhere near a church.

We settled in, listened to some tunes and had a great time.


Why Numbers Suck

Counting attendance at meetings, visitors, regulars, and irregulars can become a stick to beat yourself with or a cause for celebrating your own brilliance. I swing happily between both extremes. Somewhere in the middle there is a happy medium where the numbers help you develop strategy, plan, dream and pray.

However, numbers don’t tell you the stories. They don’t explain why, by some freak occurrence, one week all your regulars will just stay at home and you are left with six people looking awkwardly at each other. Or why a month later the same thing happens but all your new people turn up in one go and there is suddenly 20 people praising God with everything they have.

Numbers don’t tell you about the night where we had two harden heroin addicts at one end of the room and a group of nice Christian kiddies at the other end.

Numbers don’t explain how adding two key people suddenly gives you access to 20 other people or how hosting a BBQ makes a dozen people for involved.

Numbers don’t explain how stupid you feel when you have spent 8 hours preparing a sermon for 10 people, or how thankful you feel when you decide to wing it (i.e. you run out of time to prep!) with 20 people and God moves.

Numbers don’t explain the feeling that you may be doing something completely irrelevant and worthless because nobody shows and those that do look bored. Or how four weeks later you finally allow yourself to think that you may be on to something.

Numbers don’t explain the feeling when people who met each other via CCM:City and The Chapel, become mates and start forming community.

Numbers suck, stories rule.


Culture = Community

I have always wanted to be part of a church that creates culture. I often hear people talking about how the church needs to influence culture, but the way to do this often appears to be a little unclear (at least it does to me).

I was chatting to a Chapel attendee the other week and she told me that she worked in Radio. She expressed frustration that the only way church told her to influence culture was by having Non-Christian friends at her work place. She wanted more than this and wanted to know how she could create and produce culture that would be influential. She got my brain whirring.

I want the church (not just the leaders but the whole community) to create and support culture. I want to see Christian artists, musicians, designers, and whoever creating work that is meant to be consumed by the world at large. I also want to see the church producing forums and settings where secular artists can be supported. I don’t want Christian culture I just want culture.

Our first baby step towards was is The Crypt

Why do we want to do this sort of thing? Because Community thrives on Culture and quality Culture creates Community. At least, I hope so!


Drummer = Missionary

Running The Chapel has thrown a number of very talented people in our direction. It seems that every week I get to meet someone who does or can do something very cool.

So today I hung out with a drummer. A very good drummer.

We spent a bunch of time talking about music as we both have similar taste. Anyways, he helped me clarify a little bit more what I want The Chapel to be about. I want Christian musicians to be in bands with Non-Christians, because they love music and because the love mission. The Chapel could help support them in what they do by organizing gigs, publicizing there work and hopefully putting them in front of people. Also, and most importantly,  we can support them. We can help them to live Godly lives whilst playing Punk, Death Metal, Jazz, Drum & Bass, R&B, Soul, Hip-Hop or (God forbid) Acid Jazz.

A Christian artist creating culture in a Non Christian scene could and should be very influential and incredibly missional.

So drummer dude, if you read this, go join/start that band. You will be a missionary.


Open Mic in Fallowfield

So after CCM:City on Sunday evenings we all wander down to Baa Bar in Fallowfield and hang out. We love Community, we love music and so hanging out whilst listening to music is a perfect scenario.

So this week we were entertained by a number of gifted singers and guitarists. Some played covers and some played there own songs. The atmosphere is very laid back, especially when you take into account that we buy 1 drink for any first time visitors at CCM:City.

Anyways, you think you can play? Can you sing at the same time as you play guitar? If so we are at Baa Bar every Sunday evening from 8pm. Come down.


The Chapel goes blog


The chapel blog? That’s right.

In short, we will write about Manchester in all its cultural majesty.