Myriad: Awakening Gifts and Callings

An interview with Revd Canon John McGinley, Leicester, England 

This June Revd Canon John McGinley introduced “Myriad” at the MultiplyX 2021 church planting conference, hosted by the Gregory Centre in England.  Myriad is a growing movement of people with a vision to see a multiplication of new forms of church across England and beyond. The Gregory Centre’s aim is to support the planting of 10,000 new, predominantly lay-led, Church of England churches in the next ten years resulting in perhaps up to 1 million new disciples of Jesus Christ. And through partnership with other church networks, they hope to inspire a similar movement across other denominations too.

While Myriad Myriadhas just been launched, it’s not actually a new initiative. Rather, part of its inspiration comes from years of partnership with East Africa, and an acknowledgement that God is already using lay people in planting churches. 

Before joining the Gregory Centre as the Executive Director of Myriad, John was the vicar of HolyTrinity Church Leicester. Since 2005, he has made regular trips to Tanzania to partner with the Diocese of Kilimanjaro. The African members of Holy Trinity Leicester contributed to the creation of discipleship training materials called ‘Rooted in Jesus’ to be shared in Tanzania and beyond. Over the course of many visits, John’s team witnessed an explosion of growth in the Anglican Church in that part of Africa. The English team’s church planting models were challenged as they observed how African Anglicans were consistently using lay people to reach new areas of the country that hadn’t been evangelised yet. 

One of the places John visited was Mozambique during its recovery from a tragic civil war. The bullet holes could still be seen in the sides of the buildings, yet even more striking was the rapidly expanding diocese. In 5 years the number of churches had doubled to 500 and the number of priests doubled to 45. This rapid growth came from a partnership in which priests oversaw lay people as they planted churches. 

‘Whenever I came back from Africa, I would say to the church, ‘What you don’t realise is: with the knowledge of the gospel that Jesus has made himself known to you and with the presence of the Holy Spirit, you have everything necessary to reach other people and to see the church break into new communities and new people’s lives.’  The problem was that members of my church in England had never, ever been taught that, they had never seen themselves like that, they had never considered that that might be possible.’ 

And so HolyTrinity Leicester went on a journey, forming 30 missional communities led by lay people all over Leicester, with the permission and commissioning of the Bishop.  

Through this John realised that God has given him, as a leader, the capacity to raise others up. He said, ‘For me personally, this is what I long to do through Myriad: to empower and equip people to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to do.’  

John continued, ‘There are many people who don’t yet know what God had in mind when He made them and when He brought them to know Him.  The gifts He put in them by the Holy Spirit and the understanding of how He’s wired them means that He knows that they could do so much more for Him.  Just as it says in Ephesians 3:20, they can see much more fruit in His kingdom and His church than they can ever ask or imagine.  And so we’re hoping that in Myriad people might just say, ‘What if I could do that?’

Seeing lay people discover who they are and the gifts God has given them has been one of the most incredible and gratifying parts of the journey thus far.  Hear from John himself in the video below a few of the stories of Martin, Anna and Sarah that have made an impression upon him. 

If you would like to learn more about Myriad, click here:

Article by Kerry Loughran

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