‘Beginning Unlimited’ by Liz Grier

Liz Grier: Beginning Unlimited: Diary of a Church Plant; Instant Apostle Watford, £8.99.   

 Moving from Harborne in Birmingham to Rural Devon feels like a culture shock and moving from a thousand-member charismatic Anglican church (St John’s Harborne) to 5 rural parishes and a remit to begin a youth church appears daunting, if not impossible.  But that is the starting point for Liz Grier and her husband James and her two boys.  Liz Grier: Beginning Unlimited: Diary of a Church Plant; Instant Apostle Watford, £8.99.  shares what has become a ten-year adventure up to the present time.

 This is a very honest account and initially charts the difficulties of settling into the new situationThey are a fish out of water – the only folk in their age group at church, and Liz is treated as “the vicar’s wife”, this is something she is not used toBut believing God is in this appointment, they persevereThis is a book drawn from diary and journal entries about the daily ups and downs of their situationThis is not a book centred on leading a church plant or on strategy or theology of church plants, more the author’s personal experiencesLiz is not the leader but her husband James and the team that gradually is builtLiz struggles to exercise a supportive role while also juggling the life that the children have as well as her own.   Liz is honest about the misgivings as they crop up and how they are dealt withWhile James has a gift to initiate many things and is quite comfortable about going up to talking to complete strangers, Liz like most of us is troubled by it and must find her own way. After some years juggling the twin demands of rural churches and a youth church in Exeter they are finally free to develop solely the Youth ChurchThe Church Plant is named “Unlimited”.  Its motto is for Young People to encounter God they have never met and living the differenceIt is Unlimited by church, culture and tradition, unlimited in our openness to and love for people and unlimited in our faith and expectation of GodI was pleased that significant aspects of their lives are not omitted, the effect all this has on the children, the way that Liz’s gift of music develops and teaching opportunities.  I sense though that Liz has very much acted as a satellite around her husband’s ministry and her own ministry has been to some extent secondary.  She certainly has done her share of chair stacking, cooking and bakingSo, if you were to ask how it all works then it would be along these linesGod will build his church, he will bring in the stones that are to make up the church, we are to polish these stones.   This is done through engagement going out to folk, perhaps on the Cathedral Green and offering love, hospitality, and lots of cakeThis shows people they are loved and valued by GodIt is also having the courage to changeThe Night Café had so many young people pouring out of nightclubs and in drunken and vulnerable states but with the closure of one nightclub nearby it was necessary to do things differently and not say we have always done it this way!  So, a helpful account and of relevance to our efforts to engage with those currently outside the church.     

Reviewed by Revd Maurice Stafford, Volunteer Librarian, UTU    

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