• Six guests and no theories!

    By Andy O'Connell

    The old quip goes: “Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children. Now I have six children – and no theories.” The point being made is that every child is an individual. A good parent listens, and then considers the right response to that child and their questions. There is no one system or approach.

  • New life in the Garden Town

    By Andy O'Connell

    There's a church just north of Oxford that we're family with! Although its exciting, being actively part of a wider family of churches may be a new idea for some of you, so we want to tell the story of how we got there, and how relationships are sustained today.

    Chapter 1: Oxfordshire

    In the 1970s, UK churches were impacted by a new movement that came to be called both the ‘charismatic renewal’ and the ‘house church movement’. It placed emphasis on authentic community, participation in worship, spiritual gifts, and meaningful discipleship. 

  • God's Heart: Speaking confidently

    By Sanjay Mahtani

    Over the past few months, in response to prophetic words throughout 2020, we've been drawing near to God.

    We've done this through our series on Identity and by exploring God's Heart - his heart for people, justice, mercy, family, and for all of us to play our part.

  • Church: for the world, not (just) our parish

    By Andy O'Connell

    A quick read of the New Testament shows us a picture of a mobile and dynamic church. A church committed to each other, but also to making an impact in their towns and cities, and to the task of reaching the world with the good news of Jesus Christ. 

  • Church: a Spirit-filled community, not (just) organised

    By Andy O'Connell

    When I started full-time employment in Oxfordshire Community Churches in 1995, I was taken on as effectively an Operations Director (although we didn't use that term then). We talked instead about the gift of 'steersman' or 'pilot' - a word with nautical roots that appears in 1 Co 12.28 and is variously translated leadership, administration, guidance and governing.

  • Church: a place to belong, not (just) attend

    By Andy O'Connell

    The idea of belonging to a church - or any other organisation for that matter - is increasingly alien in the world today. Tim Keller tweets: "Everyone says they want community and friendship. But mention accountability or commitment to people, and they run the other way." Krish Kandiah discerns a movement "towards a more eclectic individualistic spirituality.”

    Why then does OCC hold to a habit of 'formal church membership'?

  • Church: a family, not (just) an event

    By Andy O'Connell

    Recently I came across this tweet, which could sum up pretty much all that needs saying on this topic: "Church is a Spirit-filled family, not a weekly experience."

    Assistant Pastor Sanjay Mahtani often puts it this way: "OCC: Community is our middle name!" And I can sometimes be heard to complain, "We don't go to church, we are the church!"

  • Church: a community for others, not (just) for me

    By Andy O'Connell

    A couple of weeks ago I was talking to one of the leaders in our sister church Lifehouse (Bicester and Banbury) about the opportunities presented in Bicester as the town undergoes planned growth from 30,000 to 80,000 people, with 18,500 new jobs, by 2031.

    We were talking about the sort of church we needed to be to respond to what God was doing in the town. In our conversation one phrase stood out starkly: "A church for those not yet there." 

  • Church: a place of growth, not (just) a place of worship

    By Andy O'Connell

    A few years back I was talking to a friend about a particular city in the UK. We both knew undergraduate students in this city, and we were lamenting the lack of churches who were willing to nurture, train and disciple students. While churches in the city were happy for students to serve on rotas, there was a 'glass ceiling' in terms of their development as disciples and as leader.