Have you ever felt like a square peg in a round hole when attending a church service?

Ignite Elim Church’s Moorland congregation is affectionately known as the original Chav Church, although if you’re keen on history you might find that the concept is not a new one. Throughout church history there has been an ebb and flow of breakthrough moments, known among the international church as revivals.

In 2010 Darren Edwards, our founder and current church leader in Lincoln, began studying at Regents Theological College with a desire to see churches established on housing estates in the UK. Darren’s aim was to bring a relevant breakthrough church to people that wouldn’t normally attend services for several different reasons. For some people church is too far away. Others feel isolated from church culture because they come from a different class or people group to the majority of church goers. Still others have just never encountered God in a real way before.

Coming from a housing estate and wanting to reach people like himself, Darren learnt about mission and history finding that there had previously been breakthrough moments on estates like his in the UK. Through the work of great men of God, like Evan Roberts, Smith Wigglesworth and George Jeffreys, our whole nation had seen a breakthrough moment. In fact, our denomination (Elim) and others had been birthed on the back of this breakthrough.

Wanting to emulate what had been done in the past, Darren began to pioneer Ignite Elim Church, also known as Chav Church by people all over the UK.

The word ‘chav’ when used to describe church in this way represents our desire to reach people that feel alienated from church because of the difference in culture. The word actually means ‘working class’ by definition, and well known political writer, Owen Jones, says that even people with money and aspirations can be called ‘chav’ if they have friends who are working class, or come from a working class school or area.

With that in mind, to fully understand who Chav Church might be aimed at you might list some job titles: builders, carpenters, farmers, admin staff, mechanics, cleaners and care workers. Not that we wouldn’t welcome bankers and politicians too, although they may feel like a mechanic in a traditional church.

In the time that Ignite Church has been in Lincoln we have seen many people come to faith. In fact, we stopped counting at one hundred decisions to follow Jesus, and started looking at those that are growing in the depth of their faith. We believe that we are to go on being saved, and that salvation isn’t a one time emotional decision.

Today we are one church with many expressions. With the same desire to reach the unreached, and see a new breakthrough moment in our city and nation, you may find us meeting in the local coffee shop, pub or community centre with an organic feel and Holy Spirit atmosphere.

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