Friday, 23 July 2010
"We're a small church but we realise we've got to think big and expect big!" said Andrew Stammers, Minister in Training at Radstock Baptist Church in Somerset. In the run up to the World Cup the church went all out to let the community know that they were showing matches on their big screen. They had 1,000 flyers professionally designed and printed; they festooned the church with flags and inflatable footballs, and also got attention from the local newspaper.
"You've got to think like companies think" says Andrew, " find ways of attracting attention - I don't see anything wrong with that. The press are interested in why a church would show football in its main sanctuary - we've got to take advantage of that. The amount of people who say, yes, you're the church who showed football. It's been a big profile builder, if nothing else."
The matches themselves presented lots of opportunities for bonding, as older church members debated team formation with teenagers. The popularity of the matches tailed off after the England team came home, but the challenge, says Andrew, is to build on the community links they have begun to build.
The church have secured a Home Mission 'Mission through Project' grant to build a new kitchen.
"Our mission strategy is pretty much orientated around food" says Andrew. They already run 'jam' sessions for local musicians on Tuesdays evenings and on Sunday mornings, when a full fry up is included, and there are plans to use the 'Table Talk' resource as a way to invite people in for good food and discussion. (www.table-talk.org)
Andrew Stammers' energy is infectious when it comes to mission. "Give it a go!" he urges. "What's the worst that can happen? Tens of thousands of people don't know Christ, that's what."