Colin Veysey leads King’s Church, Prestwood and also graced the Sputnikzone at the festival with his band 'The Wick Trimmers’. Jonny, from Sputnik caught up with him to find out about how the church is reaching out into their local community through many creative ways.
I live in Prestwood and planted a church there 20 years ago after a fascinating three years at London Bible College. I form part of a six piece folk band which originated from the Lighthouse Christian Children’s holiday club in 1988 and we continued playing as a Barn Dance band after for many years. When King’s Church Prestwood was planted, the majority of the band were part of the plant and were the basis for the worship team for the church. That was 1996, and my ministry in worship, song-writing and role in outreach led to the band growing in the local area and developing a good reputation for dances and entertainment.
How are you serving the community and changing the culture around you?
After a while we realised that whilst we were helping build community and church in other places – we were not finding it easy to make relationships and start conversations within the community where God had placed us. So, we set up a monthly folk club in our own village in 2011, with The Wick Trimmers as the resident band. We have a faithful following of around 80-100, meeting either in the local pub, or the local micro-brewery, and we encourage other local musicians to come and play. One great thing is that around 10-15 of my neighbours come along regularly!
We also formed a village choir, who play regularly at residential and elderly homes, and in local churches. This choir is made up of people from over 5 of the local churches, as well as many who just simply live in the village, singing hymns and songs which storytell God’s word.
God also spoke to us about other ways of serving our community, and so we got involved in the setting up of a social enterprise newspaper, The Source. We only print good news (gospel!) about people, art, education, clubs, charities, etc. Printing 5 editions a year, that’s 6000 copies free to every home – and we set the values, do the editing, get local people to write, proof read, photograph and celebrate the good stuff that’s around. We have a team of around 100 from across the village, and the people of the area love the paper and read it cover to cover.
It's great to hear how you guys are placing yourself right at the heart of Prestwood. What advice would you give other churches seeking to serve their communities in villages, towns or cities?
I loved how Alan Scott said it during his talk at the festival. Value people for who they are, both in church and out. Celebrate the goodness of God, praise him and pray! Look for the needs of your community and how to bless the people around you. When you perceive an opportunity to serve in a way that shows love and grace, go for it sacrificially. And, work alongside other churches where possible.
Personally, I feel that often we have unintentionally made the ‘church service’ the measure of our success, the means of defining our worth. I love worship and I’m looking forward to an eternity of it – but here and now, trust is built too through valuing our role as mediators in the workplace, as role models and mentors for young people, as people with a handle on good relationships and as those prepared to ask good questions. When people trust us, they are on a journey to trusting the one who saves, heals and delivers!