Life is full of challenges… how do we respond when we are ready to give up?
What can happen when we take a risk?
The ten-year highs and lows of a family risking all to plant a church
A frank and gripping journal about faith, doubt, courage and weakness
‘Raw, honest, moving and hopeful.’
Archie and Sam Coates, Senior Leaders, St Peter’s, Brighton
What causes disappointment in the Christian life? Could it be unmet expectations? Having stepped out, we often anticipate excitement at every turn and immediate results – if instead we are confronted with much that is ordinary, even mundane, we can feel let down. Where might the incentive to keep pressing on come from?
Introducing: Liz, a young mum, one vicar husband and two small boys and a call – maybe! – to pioneer a diverse church called Unlimited in Devon to reach young people who don’t do church.
Liz says, ‘When we set out to pioneer a church I expected us to constantly have moments like the disciples who, after struggling in the wind all night, “immediately” found that the wind died down when Jesus entered the boat. I thought everything would be “now” and “immediately”, that we would quickly have a wealth of exciting stories to share and encourage others with. What I discovered, slowly and painfully, was that for days and months at a time it could feel like we had made absolutely no progress. Outwardly it appeared nothing was happening.’
During a period when Liz was tired and feeling fairly disheartened with her family’s call to begin Unlimited, she had a lightbulb moment. Comparing her Christian experience to surfing, she wrote, ‘The waiting and waiting, the passage of hours and minutes and seconds, were all so that you can capture that rare and wonderful moment when gloriously you catch the wave. That one wave, when you have caught it, is worth all the waiting, and so it was in the planting of Unlimited; there were exciting, undeniable times when we knew God was with us.’
Based on her journal entries, this is the story of Liz’s struggles with faith, friendships, motherhood and work-life balance, all the while embarking on the formidable challenge of pioneering a fresh expression of church.
This book is for anyone who is trying to live out God’s calling for their lives, who doesn’t want to play it safe and wants to risk following God wherever that may lead. It is an honest reflection on how that feels. The good stuff and the bad. ‘I want the book to encourage people to keep going wherever they are,’ says Liz, ‘to be honest with God about how they are feeling, and to know His strength enabling them to keep on going.’
This ten-year story of planting Unlimited Church is vulnerable, frank and wry, rejoicing and weeping over the highs and lows of following God’s call. Join Liz in discovering that with God there are no limits!
What reviewers say:
‘I couldn’t put it down. Her story deserves to touch many lives because it is so real, so unvarnished, so absolutely how life really is, especially for Christian leaders.
‘This is a story of faithfulness in the good days and the tough days. This book should be read by those in leadership, those who aspire to leadership and any who seek to serve Jesus with all their hearts and the whole of their lives.’
Mike Pilavachi, Soul Survivor, Watford
‘This book is about courage – and risk – and challenge – and family – and joys – and struggles – and success – and failure – and vulnerability – and brokenness – and encouragement – and disappointment – and most of all, it’s about holding on to God whatever life throws your way. If you’ve decided to not play life safe, if you’ve decided to get out of the boat and risk water walking, if you’ve decided to pioneer with friends and family, this book is for you. Read it… slowly… and let its reality and honesty inspire you in leadership, in life and in faith.’
Matt Summerfield, Senior Pastor of Zeo Church and former President of Urban Saints
‘Liz demonstrates that Christian ministry is not about one person but many, and that if the work and those involved are not rooted in Christ the workers will become weary and lose heart and the work will fail. I commend the book to you.’
The Right Reverend Dame Sarah Mullally, Bishop of London
‘It’s a beautifully written book, full of honesty in the struggles, integrity in the resolutions and sheer grit to follow God’s call! It encourages you not to be afraid of big vision and inspires you to go for it and see it through!’
Louie Thorpe, in ministry (including church planting) for thirty-two years alongside husband Bishop Ric Thorpe
‘This diary is generous and truthful, a compelling account of the small and large truths of trying to live in obedience to God’s call.’
Jane Williams, Assistant Dean, St Mellitus College
‘This ten-year memoir held my attention so much so that I read it in one sitting. Liz takes us on an adventure through life and time with insight, frankness and clarity. Her voice is refreshingly honest as she brings to life daily experiences, both ordinary and extraordinary.
‘Liz expresses so clearly the journey of seeking God’s voice and responding to the challenges we face. I will be giving this book to many people as it has been a long time since I was so enthralled by a memoir and unexpectedly surprised at how much it gave me to reflect on.’
Minu Chowdhury-Westlake, crisis management consultant and former church planter
Beginning Unlimited (ISBN: 9781909728929) by Liz Grier is published by Instant Apostle and is available on 21st September 2018 from Christian bookshops, bookstores and online retailers. Non-fiction, paperback, 272pp, £8.99.