OUR STORY

Europe is not a continent of equals. There are the nations that have and those that don’t. The 22 post-communist nations within Europe are all – without exception – below EU average, economic standards. In fact 13 of these nations would sit well within an African economic context. The LHC recognises that sending pioneering leaders into these nations is more challenging than sending them into other parts of Europe and as a result, we currently see far less gospel mission initiative into these nations. The LHC exists to establish equity on this point. If we are to see Gospel Mission succeed in all the nations of Europe, we must respond with the courage to invest most heavily into the nations that are least able. Simply, we are to remember the poor. Because the nations we work into are poor when compared with the rest of Europe, migration is a significant issue for us. We are sending pioneering people into nations where indigenous people are seeking to leave. Why stay when health care, education and quality of life can be as much as 20 times lower than the European average? Populations are decreasing, skilled workers are leaving and the post-communist nations of Europe are being reduced. The economic conditions of these nations present pioneering leaders with a range of challenges, not faced by those who are called to minister into the nations of Western Europe or Scandinavia. The Lighthouse Community is a collaboration of individuals, businesses and churches who recognise this lack of equity within Europe and who have responded with a commitment to pray, give, send and serve gospel mission into the Post Communist nations of Europe.
As a community, our vision is to release Gospel mission into the 22 post communist nations of Europe in 15 years. We train, equip, support and send pioneering leaders, in order to see gospel mission produce 22 Indigenous, reproducing church communities. To this end, we have developed the Catch 22 Strategy.

EQUALITY

EQUITY

The Catch 22 Strategy - Equity not Equality

The Catch 22 Strategy embraces the economic disparity of European nations and responds with equity. We believe that Gospel mission should always be served apostolically but gospel mission into impoverished nations should also be accompanied with ongoing, economic and pastoral support as well. Those we send we serve and support.

Box 1 - Together

Those we send are drawn into a two year programme of fellowship, pastoral care and support. Pioneering leaders are able to access this programme either:

  • from within their country of ministry, having already relocated;
  • or from within their sending nation, up to six months prior to relocation into their host nation;

The Two Year Together programme:

Fellowship – building and facilitating friendship among all who stand together within the LHC;

Foundations – sharing principals, experience, teaching and ministry that enables pioneering leaders and couples to go and to stand fruitfully within their host nation;

Family – growing healthy marriages and raising Jesus-loving children within an isolated and economically challenging context;

Fathering – building lasting and meaningful relationships between newer pioneering leaders and those who are more experienced in cross cultural mission;

Finances – the LHC 40% funding of an in-country budget is in place from point of entry, releasing two days per week for pioneering leaders; other financial topics include: personal long term financial planning, investing for the future, the cost of children’s in-country-education, establishing the principle of giving into the vision of the LHC;

Faithfulness – standing, prevailing and persevering in the long-term call of God;

The Together Programme is delivered over two years with each component accessed during a residential weekend. It is fully funded by the LHC and pioneering leaders attend as singles, couples or as families, the intention being to not only impart and share teaching, but to build relationally as well.

This is a rolling programme that is intended to continually draw in new leaders who consider themselves part of the LHC / RM family and who are planting into one of the 22 post communist nations. Indigenous leaders – those who are identified with leadership gifting and are being discipled within host nations – will be drawn into the programme at points that make sense for them to do so.

Box 2 - To gather

The LHC draws pioneering leaders together in order to gather. We are served by the apostolic leadership team of Relational Mission, led by Mike Betts.

Maurice Nightingale – one of the LHC Directors – provides us with apostolic leadership and together we serve the RM mandate to plant churches into all the nations of Europe.

The LHC is positioned at the very heart of the RM family and we are served by a host of opportunities to be equipped pastorally, evangelistically, prophetically and apostolically.

This support is available to all RM churches and church plants.

Our Team

Lighthouse Community Directors

Kevin Reilly

Hi I’m married to Emma and we have 5 children. Together we have been serving God for more than ten years in Gdańsk, Poland…sharing Jesus and partnering with him to see lives changed and a Church built here. I currently serve as Vice Director at the British International School of Gdańsk (BISG) and I lead our church community here in Gdańsk too – Kościół Grono. I wrote the Lighthouse Community project back in 2017 because I was desperate to see isolated, pioneering leaders like myself, drawn into a pioneering family. I wanted to see God create a community of pioneers, who together would be able to gather to a common vision for post communist nations. We’re seeing that now.

Hi, I’m married to Kevin and love being a mum to our beautiful children. Since moving from London to Gdańsk, I have homeschooled our girls, run a language school business, renovated our home and set up a holiday rentals business.

I love sharing Jesus with people, and seeing lives transformed by the freedom He brings.

Emma Reilly

Maurice Nightingale

Hi I’m Maurice. My wife Rachel and I have 4 children and have lived in Ipswich since 2012. I’ve spent time in the military and have completed a master’s degree studying philosophies of church movement succession after being drawn to explore simple New Testament patterned local church and church leadership principles and practices.

I work part time for Hope Church Ipswich and part time for Relational Mission.

Hi, I am married to Diana and we have 3 children and 1 grandson. We live in a little town called Reeuwijk in the Netherlands and I am part of the eldership team of Christengemeente Elim. I work as business development manager for Turbocam International operating in the area of components for Turbomachinery. I started a manufacturing facility in Romania in 2008 and I’m passionate about business as mission and developing Kingdom businesses.

Onno Weststrate

James Taylor

I am married to Penny with 3 teenage sons and live in Norfolk in the UK.

I am the head of operations at Relational Mission, a growing family of some 70 churches and young church plants mostly in the UK and Mainland Europe. I have worked in this role for the last 7 years having previously run my own consultancy business, helping charities in their organisational development.

I have a background in business, strategy and funding and have developed and delivered many European Union funded regeneration projects bringing change and prosperity to areas of deprivation in the UK. I am  passionate about discipleship, wanting to stand alongside, encourage and help others to fulfill what God is calling them do whether in the church, workplace or local community.

Lighthouse Church Plants

Kevin and Emma Reilly
Kościół Grono - Gdańsk, Poland

In 2008, Emma and I moved with our four daughters, Chloe, Izzi, Phoebe and Lula to Gdańsk, Poland. God had clearly called us and so we moved on the strength of a thirteen year old prophetic word to Poland. We arrived in country not knowing anyone, with no language, no experience of cross-cultural mission and no clue as to how to do life in this place.

But we knew that Jesus had called us to live his love and to share his truth in Poland, among Polish people. It’s been an adventure, for sure, filled with some highs, plenty of lows and shed-loads of self-discovery.

Now, nearly eleven years on, we’re still here – but we are now a community, where we were once just a single family. Kościół Grono (Circle of Friends) is a small, growing church family. Just as in our own family journey, our growth as a church community has not been straightforward and it certainly hasn’t been quick. We are a mix of singles and families – mostly Polish – and we’ve had the joy of seeing lives changed among us, hearts opened and restored by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We gather together as a church in Gdańsk – a mix of believers as well as those who belong to the church family, but have yet to come to full faith in Jesus.

Eleven years ago, we arrived with no clue as to what would lay ahead but this side of it, we have discovered that Jesus is both faithful and sufficient. Challenges remain, but Jesus is building his church here in the Tri-CIty of Poland and it is a privilege for us to be a part of this story.

David and Ilze Jones
The Father’s House - Smiltene, Latvia

In the late 90s we heard a clear call to move to Smiltene (Latvia). Working this through over time with our local church leadership and other older, wiser people we moved from the UK in 2001. Even though in reality Ilze was returning to the town were she’d lived previously, there was quite a ‘buffeting’ for us over the first year.

In time we settled in, and started meeting with three ‘seniors’ on a Sunday in our flat, sharing our lives and sharing Jesus.

Over time as this community grew, we left our flat for Sunday meetings to move into a small rented hall, years later moving on to rent a larger hall in a local hotel as we outgrew the previous space. Along the way we adopted a church based youth group which also grew and thrived and over several years we have been able to send some of those young people to events in the UK like ‘New Day’.

The path has not always been easy, and the road rarely straight and, at times the ‘potholes’ of life have seemed bigger and more commonplace than the actual ones in the local streets. But, in truth an easy journey has never been promised to us. In addition, living in a very small town where everyone knows everything about everyone else comes with its own challenges.

However, from the start, we have experienced “the good hand of the Lord upon us”, both as a church, and as a couple. We have seen people come into a living relationship with Jesus, and seen many (relatively speaking) healed both physically as well as emotionally. Probably one of our biggest ongoing challenges here in a post-Soviet setting is ‘The Battlefield for the Mind’, helping people to understand their identity.

Pete and Michelle Foster
The Oaks - Pardubice, Czech Republic

Hi, we’re Pete & Michelle and we have two kids, Ema and Jan. We moved to Pardubice, Czech Republic in 2014. Michelle is Czech and we always knew that one day we would live in the Czech Republic but we never knew where, when or what we’d do.

It took a Relational Mission prayer day, a prophetic word about “a city called Pardubice” and dreams with Ema riding a horse before we knew ‘where’ and that we would move to the Czech city of horses. The ‘when and what’ came two weeks later with a dream about three baskets of wood which was quickly followed by two job offers. We started our new jobs as English teachers in Pardubice, three months later.

Michelle always had a heart, even prophetic words, about returning home with revival and we knew that this would involve the need to plant churches but Pete was reluctant for us to start a church and either wanted confirmation from God or for God to send someone else.

On arrival we met other couples with similar callings and we initiated a meeting and started a small community group which we quickly called ‘Oaks’ after the Czech word ‘dub’ (oak) being central in the name Pardubice and the reference to Isaiah 61:3. With the help of Relational Mission, losing and finding Pete’s wedding ring and two other prophetic words, Pete’s reluctance lifted (enough) and in 2018 we started intentionally meeting weekly as a church plant.

At the moment we are just a small bunch of people, mainly expats and some Czechs but it is interesting that together we hail from five different continents. We firmly believe that the harvest is plentiful in our small little city and that God has called people from distant lands to help with this.

Vlada and Sonja
Niš, Southern Serbia

Vlada and I (Sonja) live in Niš in Southern Serbia. It’s a city of almost 300,000 people, with only about 100 or so born again believers, so it’s a huge mission field. I moved to Serbia in 1996 with no plan B after knowing God’s call to the former Yugoslavia. Vlada and I soon met, and he was true confirmation I was in the right place; by 1998 we were married. It was a bit of a roller coaster as Vlada had to do his national service in the army for a year just a few months after getting married. Our daughter was born during the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999, while Vlada was still in the army, so when the news reached him from England, Iva got a Kalashnikov salute off the side of a mountain! We also have a son, Miloš, who came along on Iva’s third birthday.

In our journey of life in an ex-communist country, we’ve known God’s leading, provision, comfort and strength and much more, and had lots of fun along the way. He has proved His faithfulness over and again. It’s a privilege to be in Serbia and see how a handful of people have now become a church with a voice in the community. We’re looking to plant a church in a
nearby town, and our ministries are growing, so we are always facing the challenge of finding mission-minded people who will respond to the challenge and join us.

We love being part of Lighthouse Community as it’s made up of like-minded people in similar situations. We can share our joy and pain with people who understand. It’s also great to be able to see what God is doing in other nations and in a small way be a part of that.