Southampton Christian Network UPDATE – May 2022

If you would like to sign up for the Learning Community, starting September 2022, please let us know by filling in the details here.

Southampton Christian Network [SCN] has been functioning in one form or another for over 30 years. The most recent incarnation was formed when a group called Joshua Prayer merged with the Southampton Evangelical Alliance in 2007 to form Southampton Christian Network. Graham Archer, vicar at Highfield Church was the first chair of this newly formed group.
SCN has been a vehicle for church unity and community engagement through its regular leaders’ meetings, annual retreats and citywide prayer gatherings. We have supported the Families for Forty initiative [now Homes for Good], the bids for the Oasis Academies in 2008, the formation of Love Southampton in 2014 and the development of the Southampton House of Prayer. In fact, the work of SCN has been held up as an example of church unity and missional collaboration for other cities across the UK.
As a Steering Team, we have felt for a while that this current season for SCN is coming to an end and another season is beginning. In the past decade the landscape of the church in the city has changed dramatically with the establishing of many churches from a wide variety and cultural and ethnic backgrounds, a new generation of leaders being called to the city and the departure of a number of seasoned church leaders from their roles in the city.
So, we celebrate all that God has done through SCN but we feel that now is the time to lay it down in order to allow the Holy Spirit to shape something new.
Future Vision
We believe that the Holy Spirit is inviting us to journey together to deepen our relationships that will cross cultural, ethnic and denominational divides.
There are some things that we know with certainty:
We all want to see the Gospel of Jesus impact lives and whole communities. Being and making disciples of Jesus is our number one priority.
We need to pray. The church is a movement of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who moves out in fulfilment of the great commission, even to the ends of the earth.
Our unity is the sign that we are Jesus’ disciples. The church is the family of God in all its diversity. No single church or organisation has everything needed to fulfil the great commission. We are joined together by the Holy Spirit. The quality of the relationships between church leaders is crucial for the outworking of our united mission. 
All of us (especially leaders!) need the support and care of our brother and sisters.
Initially, we had framed something around the different ways that we have been connecting:

  • Mission
  • Prayer
  • Leader’s support
  • Serving the city  

We began to have some conversation about how these four spheres interact and invited Billy Kennedy to take a role in facilitating these conversations.
At the end of 2021, Billy was invited to visit South Florida to observe how churches in that area were working together. Billy was deeply impacted by the depth and quality of relationship that existed between the church leaders, the clarity and intentionality of their shared mission and how they had successfully engaged people working in various spheres - business, education, healthcare, etc. - who also felt part of the mission!
We invited Alan Platt, leader of the City Changers movement, who is described as the ‘architect’ of this unity movement, to meet with a few of us and share his insights and the journey of the church movement in South Florida. He described some keys that have been helpful in the journey. These included:

  • The importance of building the relational bridges first.
  • As part of that understanding the need for the ‘soul care’ of leaders - honesty and mutual support in our own vulnerabilities/depletion.
  • Because of the diversity of church expressions, they had to be outcome focused, not activity focused. Agreement was reached on collective goals with each church developing their own ways to achieve those goals.
  • Recognising the distinctions around our mission - spiritual lostness - evangelism & church planting, social pain - serving those is need, systemic brokenness - addressing the causes of pain. 

The invitation
We would like to invite all church leaders in the city on a journey of learning - not a new organisation or structure – by participating in a monthly ‘learning community’ here in Southampton using the framework put together by the organisation that Alan leads, City Changers. The plan will be to meet monthly from September 2022 to June 2023, to eat together, pray together and share our learning together around the input that will be accessible via video.
We would particularly welcome you to join us on this journey whether or not you were previously involved with SCN. We want to be part of a new cultural diversity that better represents the breadth of churches in the city.
In addition to the monthly Learning Community we would also encourage:

  • Connection through the monthly City Prayer meetings held on the first Sunday of each month. 
  • The development of informal leaders’ prayer meetings, a number of which are already functioning. 
  • Continued engagement with Love Southampton that will continue to function as the vehicle for city engagement and supporting the church’s caring initiatives and projects. 

We are excited by this next phase of our journey together as churches in the city.
Can you imagine the pleasure of God over a city where the leaders and churches seek him together, deeply loving and serving one another and the mission of God with laughter, deep relationships, and a shared passion for the gospel?
If you would like to sign up for the Learning Community, starting September 2022, please let us know by filling in the details here or email James at and we will confirm dates and times. 

17/05/22, 17/05/2022