Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Friday, 28 January 2011

Growth at Paulton

Yesterday I had the privilege of chatting to Barrie and Sue Clarke about Paulton Baptist Church in Somerset. We're going to feature the church in the Spring WEBA News, our paper newsletter that will go out to your church secretary at the end of February. Barrie won't mind me telling you that he is 84 years old and first became a church minister in 1958 when Billy Graham was playing his part in church growth. He's now been part-time pastor of Paulton for nine very busy and fruitful years, and I marvelled at his energy. Barrie, however,  believes that what's happening has more impact on your energy than your age:
"After four or five years, the church was getting smaller," he said. "You begin to feel, 'shall I stop now?' It was a hard grind. The hard grind isn't doing things, it's in your mind. When things are going well, you feel better."
If your church secretary isn't too zealous a recycler, you can find out what's going so well at the end of February, when the newsletter comes out.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Hillfields Park

Richard Rycroft of Hillfields Park Baptist Church in Bristol posted a 'wanted' notice on the WECYCLE page of the WEBA website - for a minibus. I asked him to tell me more - and got this story in return!

Hillfields Park Baptist Football Club was entered into the Bristol Churches league four seasons ago, by two members of Hillfields Park Baptist (Richard Rycroft and Joe Allen). Although our heart was for it to be a ministry before football, as with a lot of things we started off with what we had, which was a team of footballers made up mainly of our friends who lived outside of Hillfields.

On the pitch Hillfields had a good two first years finishing 4th in the first season in Division 2, 3rd in the second season as well as winning the shield trophy final. Although there was on the pitch success, off of the pitch we were struggling to work with the lads in a spiritual way, failing to get them to attend anything to do with the church and its programmes. Near the start of our 3rd season we lost a lot of our friends and it looked like we would struggle to get a team to play.

However at the next training session 3 weeks before the season was going to start, we saw over half a dozen young lads turn up from the local area, completely out of nothing, only our God can create something from nothing. It really was a miracle and the ministry of having young local lads that we wanted the team to be from the beginning started to become true.

In the summer preceding our third season a young lad called James became a Christian and ready for the start of the season he was made our team captain, James went on to be our top scorer as we were promoted to the top division and he also scored the winner as we retained the shield for a second year running. In the summer preceding this our 4th season James took a friend called Ash with Rich and Joe to Soul Survivor in Shepton Mallet, there Ash became a Christian and is a regular part of the team.

Since Soul Survivor, Richard who works Voluntary in the church was offered part time funding to run the football team and follow up programmes, these programmes include a social café called Xtra-time on a Friday night and a Bible Study group called Highlights, held every Wednesday. At Highlights we are now seeing 4 or 5 of the football team (not Christian) coming to the bible study and participating fully, we have really seen a breakthrough spiritually but we are expectant of seeing and doing more.

We currently have over 20 young lads on the books and at every Thursday training session we have over 18 lads participating every week; it is because of this that we are going to enter a second team into the league next season. But with this will come problems, the two biggest problems will be funding and transport, it cost almost £900 every year to run a football team, we charge the players to play and we also get some support from our church, however a lot of the players are students or out of work so we sometimes struggle. Our biggest problem next year is that Richard will be running the second team as the only available driver so we are in desperate need of a mini bus to be able to drive these players to games. Richard is Midas trained but we do not have the funding to get a mini bus.

God is really using our football team to build a ministry and introduce young men to Jesus. If we cannot enter a second team next season we will loose about a dozen young men from the ministry as we will not be able to involve them on Saturdays. We are very excited about the times ahead but really need as much support both in prayer and financially to make it happen.

If you have any ideas for getting hold of a minibus, or better still, if you know of one that might be available, please contact Richard Rycroft at info@hillfieldsparkcentre.co.uk

Friday, 14 January 2011

Home Mission Giving: Gordon puts up the flagpole

Regional Minister Gordon Hindmarch is very excited about our final total for giving to Home Mission in 2010. I can't resist copying his email to the office here:

Even without the one-off of £10,000 from Emmanuel Trowbridge WEBA churches would have achieved the Association's highest ever total at £258,738 (now confirmed by BUGB), which is £19950 (8.3%) more than the 2009 total figure.
This means December's giving was just over £31,000, which was our highest monthly figure in 2010..
Also our 2010 HM Giving/member was £37.85 (£32.47 in 2009) which makes us the highest givers among the 13 Associations in BUGB.
If we were feeling a bit triumphalistic, it might be worth investing in a flagpole for The Old Forge so we can hoist the Premiership Flag, which was previously held by the South West Baptist Association.

Take care
Thank you again, WEBA churches. We can't get over your generous giving and hope we will be able to let you know more about what your money is doing in this region over the next year. A certificate thanking your church for its gifts will be on its way to your church secretary in February - make sure it goes up on the wall!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

UFO’s Circle Tuffley in Gloucester!*

At least that may have been first impressions of neighbours, pub customers and careful car travellers as they slipped and slid their way through the snow and freezing cold weather. Three separate processions of carol singers, storytellers and seven foot high nativity characters journeyed through the streets of Tuffley & Podsmead in Gloucester, singing carols and telling the Christmas gospel story as part of Grange Baptist Church  ‘journey to Christmas’ celebrations.
Neighbouring residents, schools, parents and toddlers as well as local groups such as the ‘Brownies’ and ‘Guides’ were invited to participate and despite snow and extremely cold temperatures the turnout was very encouraging.

The Wise men found a warm outreach opportunity in the local pub to sing ‘away in a manger’ for all the customers. Encouragingly the same number who went into the pub actually came out again and continued on their journey.
The three processions finally met at Grange Baptist church and a seven foot high nativity tableau was set up. This was followed by a celebration party of hot chilli jacket potatoes, hot dogs, toffee apples, mulled wine and of course mince pies.  

‘We set up this huge nativity right on the front of Grange Road to show both our neighbours and everyone who walks and drives past, we want to get out from behind our walls and into the community in creative and fun ways’ said Minister Rev, Tony Minter. ‘It was a great evening and everyone is now thinking how can we build on this and do something even bigger and better for Easter’?

*Unidentified Festive Objects - thanks for the headline, GBC!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A big free gift 4 U

Thanks to Andrew Stammers , who has sent us this account of Christmas at Radstock Baptist Church in Somerset:

Our theme this Christmas in our outreach events was "A big free gift 4U".

We started by giving away free hot chocolate and mince pies at the turning on of the Christmas lights in the town. Each cup had a Christmas message printed on it. A great opportunity to meet the community and share the joy of Christ's birth.

At our Nativity service a giant Christmas pudding was made the traditional way with 13 separate ingredients (most of the ingredients landed up on the floor!)  which traditional represented Christ and the 12 disciples. No silver six pence was added as the gift of Christ at Christmas is not hidden. Everybody took home a Christmas pudding as a gift and the children had a bag of chocolate coins. Hopefully this will help them remember the meaning of Christmas although when asked why we have Christmas puddings at Christmas one young lad very confidently and seriously said "because that was what Jesus ate at the last Supper"!

On Christmas day Father Christmas appeared from within a giant 10 foot present (to the shock of the congregation!) with presents to named individuals plus, puzzling to him, a small baby (doll!) with a gift tag "4U". We discovered that it was for everybody - even those who had not behaved well, which Father Christmas found hard to accept.


Radstock Baptist Church

Friday, 7 January 2011

Alisdair introduces Good News People

The first Good News People gathering will take place at the Thornbury Golf Centre, Bristol Road, Thornbury, Bristol,BS35 3XL, on Thursday 3 February. Carl Beech will help us engage with the challenging topic, ‘Winning Men’.
Please see the WEBA website for more details.