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The unorthodox church that’s breaking ground with Saturday night services

Engineer turned pastor Peter Jones is celebrating after launching a unique Elim church in Wales

When Peter and Adele Jones bought a soft play centre seven years ago, they had no idea it would one day be the home of the newly-formed Elevate Church in Abertillery, South Wales.

“We are so excited about this journey,” says Peter, 39. “It totally feels like everything is falling into place. God has been preparing us for this and has surrounded us with some incredible people that support us so much as we all embark on this church planting journey together. We are very grateful for the Elim REACH team that has supported us too.

“Now we are able to build on our community links and the relationships that we have established to introduce our community to Jesus through Elevate Church.”

Peter and Adele have three children – Luke, 16, Joshua, 13, and Lucy, 11. The family moved from Caerphilly Elim where Peter was an assistant pastor for five years before he became ordained as a fully accredited minister this year.

“I was working night shifts as a maintenance engineer and at the same time, I was a youth pastor. I was working three shifts a week… sometimes coming straight off a night shift, grabbing some breakfast and going to church. I did this for four years and I came to a place where I’d had enough,” Peter recalls.

“Myself and Adele called on God for him to open doors for us. I was ready to lay everything down but with a mortgage and three kids it had to be clear and I had to know that God was in the detail.

“Over the following months, I pondered what I thought God was saying about opening a play centre. This led us as a family to looking at new businesses and purchasing old ones, but at every step, the door was closed.

“One Saturday morning, on my way home from a night shift, I felt God clearly tell me to phone someone whom we had previously looked at purchasing a play centre from. So I waited until nine a.m. and made the call.

“From that moment God did the impossible; the play centre had gone to a liquidation company. I managed to make a deal and a week later we had the keys. Within three months I was granted voluntary redundancy from work.

“It was an absolute move of God… the play centre should have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds but it was more or less gifted to us.

“From that moment God crafted the Eden Centre… step by step it has built into a much-loved local business. From that, we established the Eden Education Centre, which is where the church services are located. God has been so faithful. Over the years we have achieved awards such as the Best Play Centre in Wales, runner-up for Best Tourist Attraction in Wales, and more recently achieving Best Innovation and Technology Centre.”

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In June, about 200 people attended the first of many Saturday evening services at Elevate Church. Peter says, “We were totally blown away by the awesomeness of God. Despite all our preparations, nothing could have prepared us for what God was going to do.

“On the opening night, standing on that platform, at that moment saying ‘Welcome to Elevate Church’ was a realisation that this had actually happened… it was a celebration!

“There was genuine excitement and expectation that this is something different from what we have seen before. Then preaching the opening message about ‘Breaking Ground’ and seeing hands shoot up as people responded. God had clearly moved in hearts and lives… it was totally humbling.”

Explaining the decision to run services on Saturday evenings, Peter says, “I’ve never been one for doing the normal thing. We have noticed that Sundays are becoming days that are absolutely packed for families, from sporting activities to dance and gymnastics. Sunday church just gets squeezed out, so for me, I felt that I had to do church differently and remove the barrier that had been created and move the church to a Saturday night.

“It means that we can open up after the play centre closes on a Saturday evening… children can continue playing while grown-ups are chatting over coffee, then we move into the Education Centre for our service. Having church on a Saturday night has been great fun, our Sundays are nowadays that we spend with the family, totally chilled.”

As a mother of three children, a businesswoman, and a pastor’s wife, Adele adds, “We are still learning to balance life between ministry, family and leading a business. There are times when the balance tips in the wrong direction, but we make sure to correct it the other way and spend time together as soon as we can.

“We are blessed because we work together and the kids are really patient and appreciate what we do is quite unorthodox.

“But we have lots of good times together also… we just try to foster an attitude of gratitude in everything and make amazing memories together.”

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