On the past two Monday evenings (+ one more to come) around twenty Christians from eight different churches in the Stroud area met to reflect upon the content and challenges in the book, The Tangible Kingdom – creating incarnational community by Hugh Halter & Matt Smay (Publisher: Jossey-Bass). This book explores and asks ‘what is an appropriate posture’ for Christians seeking to incarnate the gospel message of Jesus? It asks searching questions, such as, ‘If you could no longer use words to communicate the gospel, what would you do?’ And BIG questions like, ‘What are the personal tensions you are processing as the church is transitioning from the centre of culture to its margins?' These evenings organised by the ‘Fresh Expressions Team’ at Minchinhampton Baptist Church have been challenging and thought-provoking. I wonder, what are the issues you currently are reflecting upon – and who might you partner with as you do so?
Friday, 24 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
As Autumn approaches, Nailsea Baptist Church is gearing up for their second season of film club. The church responded to a community need and this time last year launched a film club aimed primarily at families. The club runs on the last Saturday of each month at 5 pm and one of the latest films to be released on DVD is shown. As people arrive, a powerpoint presention is being shown on the big screen and people generally grab themselves a drink or visit the 'tuck shop.' Word quickly spread about the film club and over 100 people, mainly unchurched came along on each evening. Once the film is over, hot dogs are served and this gives the opportunity to have conversations and to build relationships with people. There is no charge for the evening, although people are encouraged to make a donation to help suppor the film club.
As people are leaving, another group of people begin to assemble as a different film is shown on the same evening at 7.30 pm. There has been a wide range of films shown ranging from 'amazing grace' to singalong with 'mammia mia.' For this season of films, we are targetting different groups for the second showing. We're hoping a good number of men will invite others along to watch 'Invictus' and a James Bond evening is being planned.
From the film club we are hoping that people will find themselves coming into other areas of church life. Possibly 'time out at 10', a group for parents and toddlers or to Messy church, a new venture for us at Nailsea Baptist which starts in November.
Has anyone else tried using film to start a conversation with their community? Please comment below - you'll need a google account or similar but this can be set up in seconds.
Posted by Ruth Whiter at 03:18
Monday, 13 September 2010
Speaking as a member of Totterdown Baptist Church in Bristol, I think that if we'd thrown a community street party ten years ago, it wouldn't have looked or felt anything like this. There's been a long, painstaking, detailed process of building bridges and developing relationships, with the organisations within and around the church, and with local people. The walls are nowhere near as thick as they used to be.
Thursday, 2 September 2010
We think that WEBA churches gave more to Home Mission up to the end of July 2010 than during the same period in any other year.
The year-to-date figure of £141,704 did include an unusual one-off gift, but even without that we would have topped our previous record of £131,336 at the end of July 2008.
What's really exciting isn't breaking records (or being, as we are at the moment, the second highest giving Association in the Baptist Union) It's not even about surviving the recession without losing what we have - the exciting thing is that our churches are taking mission seriously, supporting those churches who need a little extra help to follow their dream of connecting with their communities and being Christ among their neighbours.
Please pray for everyone who will have responsibility for using this money wisely, when there are still so many more dreams than grants available.
And if you're involved with budgeting for your church this year, please take the time to ask these questions:
- Is your church giving at least 5% of its income to Home Mission?
- Is your church giving regularly to help us with our planning?
- If you're in Pastoral Vacancy, could your church consider giving a month's stipend to Home Mission?