Our Story

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How it all started...

The Churchcentral story started in 1996 when Jonathan and Helen Bell moved to Birmingham with a desire to begin a church and see what God might do through them. With big promises from God, a small team began to gather in their living room. A first Alpha course was run and then the first people became Christians through the church.

The journey was off and running...

A new way to reach the city

Over the years that followed, the church officially launched as West Birmingham Family Church, before in 2006 we changed our name to Churchcentral. It had been a decade of growth, but not wanting to settle for where we were, we then sensed God calling us to a new way of reaching the city. Rather than trying to draw the whole city to us, the leaders began to consider the move of multiplying into different locations across the city, taking Churchcentral nearer to the communities of Birmingham.

Following God's voice

A key value for us has always been to follow what God has been saying to us and so what happened next was exciting.

The very same week that the leaders had decided to take the step to multiply into different areas across the city, a woman in the church came forward with a piece of paper (pictured) with an image she had felt God give to her. "I don't know exactly what it means", she said, "but God is saying we are to be four, but one."

God takes us west, and north, and east..

So, in 2010, we followed God on a 'multi-site' adventure by launching Churchcentral West just outside Bearwood. As the sites began to grow, we launched our arts collective Sputnik and our Christians Against Poverty Debt Centre, to help us be for the good of our city. Then the multi-site journey took another turn when, in 2013, God called us to plant Churchcentral North. Churchcentral was now one church, meeting in three locations. But you might ask "what about the fourth sphere?!" from the drawing. Well, in 2020, even as the pandemic hit, a group began to gather in the east of the city, dreaming of what God might open up in that area...

From sites to churches

God continued to bless us and add many to our sites while also opening up unique opportunities in each location. As we saw this blessing, God began to give us a heart to "move towards maturity" and see our sites grow up to become autonomous churches in their own right, still connected, still working together, but each given the real freedom to be 'Churchcentral' in whatever way would reach that part of the city best.

So, as Covid arrived on the scene in 2020 - 24 years after the Bells first landed in Birmingham - Churchcentral became a family of three churches - with a fourth site very much on the way too - working together to reach this amazing city.

The closure of Churchcentral West

The twin realities of praise and pain are part of the story of any Christian and any church. That's certainly true in the Churchcentral family of churches.

In 2022, as we emerged from the pandemic and after a deeply painful set of circumstances, Churchcentral West stopped meeting. As we reflect on this part of our story, we give thanks that God did wonderful things in and through this church family, and there is much fruit that remains. At the same time, we'll be honest, this one hurts. This certainly wasn't part of the plan, for sure.

To see more of what God did through Churchcentral West, open our Churchcentral Together magazine , where some beautiful snapshots of God's grace are captured.

Serving the east of the city...

As lockdowns eased, Churchcentral East began actively meeting on Sundays in our building 'Central House'. God is growing a strong and diverse congregation drawn from many nations. This community is committed to being church in a way that really serves the people in the east of our city.

As things grow,  God led the team at East to a new name to better reflect the area they are reaching. So, in 2023, Churchcentral East became Hope Community Church Birmingham, still very much a part of the Churchcentral family, but also stepping forward in their own unique calling.

What might God do in the next chapter?

As we look to the future, we still believe God has many people for us in this city. We're looking to not simply 'add' more and more people, but as we look to 2030, we want to instead have a 'multiplication mindset'.

Who knows exactly what that will look like, but we're believing God for more churches, more leaders, more people sent to the nations, more impact as we serve our communities, and more people coming to know and love Jesus.