Sex date elim
We want people to come into our services and feel loved by God and by us and from that people read the Bible, and there are all sorts of life changes people might go through as a result of reading it." Though Delaney would prefer "not to reel off a list", as there are, he adds, still changes within himself that need to be made."I've always been good with words, I like writing and speaking and I think I'm good at it – it's one of the reasons why our church grows.That was the day when God decided who he would use for doing work in the world – anyone who was willing to do his work." That apparently applies to homosexuals, too, at least in the first instance."We have homosexual people who are fully part of Ivy and who come to the church – it's not for us to ask people's sexuality as a first-order issue...They run a kids' club and have an active youth team; they also work in prisons, schools, food banks and offer death counselling. According to church statistician, Peter Brierley: "The Black Majority Churches [BMC] explosion has been significant, especially in Greater London, where of the 700 new churches which began between 20, at least 400 were BMCs.The Redeemed Christian Church of God alone has started 296 new churches in the UK in the past five years, the largest number for any single denomination." A forecast of religious trends by Brierley in 2005 further predicted that the number of Pentecostal churches – which, Delaney says, "would probably, like me, identify with being Born Again" – would continue to soar, while all other churches – bar Orthodox church, which has also seen slight but steady growth in membership – would feel their numbers dwindle."I have..." For the first time in our conversation, there is a long pause.
As a result of a tireless campaign to enlist new members, fresh faces are piling in every week at Ivy – and this trend shows no signs of waning. It isn't that we're doing this to convert you, but it does raise questions in people's minds if we are the ones going and helping." Today, Delaney says, the congregation at Ivy Church includes ex-prostitutes, ex-drug addicts, ex-prisoners, not to mention nuclear scientists, authors and television producers.We have children and young people galore, the only problem we have is trying to fit everyone in!" It is all about spreading the word to the next generation, he says, and to this effect, Delaney has just produced a leaflet called 'OMG': "The old style would be to say 'OMG [a shortening of the expression 'Oh my God'] is blasphemy'; what I say to young people is take the word OMG, then ask yourself, 'If he was listening, what would you ask him? It's a different way of engaging people for the 21st century." As well as reaching far beyond its geographical confines with an international mission team, The Ivy Church broadcasts regular podcasts, blogs and even 'Ivy Player', where sermons can be watched online. The rise in evangelical super-churches with a predominantly black membership demonstrates the changing landscape of Christianity in Britain.But there is a danger of a subtle kind of pride that can creep in.I've always got to remember that if it wasn't for the change Jesus Christ brought in my life I would be a waster; somebody who spent too much money on drink and got in lot of trouble and didn't have a family around him any more; a person without self-control.In this context, the rise of the Born Agains in this largely white suburb on the north bank of the River Mersey is all the more striking.The trick to overcoming perceptions of Christianity as irrelevant to contemporary Britain, says Delaney, is to "build a church that people who don't go to church feel comfortable in: I dress normally and talk about spiritual issues in a way normal people get...There is a verse in the Bible that says 'apart from me you can do nothing'. "I still say it isn't a matter of this huge..." At this point, Delaney pauses to gather his thoughts."It's not that I always believe everything really strongly.Today, Delaney is "above all" a Follower of Jesus: a self-proclaimed man of the people who has successfully utilised his gruff voice and engaging, measured manner to grow Manchester's Ivy Church – a community of Born Again Christians now with more than 1,000 members meeting on a weekly basis – to more than four times its size since he joined as leader five years ago.So significant today is the congregation, that events are now held several times a week at venues across the city, including Cineworld, a warehouse and even a pub.