Home Mission pics

Home Mission pics

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Stockwood in Fair Trade Bunting Record Attempt!

 I thought you might like to see  some pictures of what Stockwood Free Church (Baptist) did for Fair Trade fortnight this year.

Fairtrade’s theme this year was ‘show your label’ with a focus on cotton.  Our Adventurers had a lot of fun learning about Fairtrade by decorating cotton triangles and putting them together as bunting to hang in the church.

The children also decorated a banner with the words from Proverbs 22: 22, “Do not exploit the poor”.   Last Sunday morning, the children taught the church about the importance of Fairtrade cotton and how even a small thing such as buying Fairtrade tea instead of our usual brand can make a big difference to people in places such as West Africa and India.

The bunting the children decorated is to be sent to FairTrade.  Stockwood Free Church’s cotton bunting will be sewn together with others church’s and organisations cotton bunting in an attempt to break the world record for the longest continuous piece of bunting.  

Christine Crabbe

Rock UK

Matt Jones is a member at Tonbridge Baptist Church in Kent, and he has written to us about his new mission enterprise, Explore Adventure. You might like to include this in your church newsletter or bulletin:

Explore Adventure is a  programme of exciting UK and Worldwide outdoor adventures providing outreach opportunities to help you and your non-Christian friends and families discover more. More about the world we live in, more about what we can achieve and more about why we are here:

“I found a new boldness to witness about my faith, sharing with my friends about the beauty of creation, leading to some incredibly real conversations about Jesus. The impact was amazing and I know the Lord is now working deeply in my friends heart”.

If you would like to outreach to your friends and family in this exciting and effective way then why not join us on our trip to Snowdon, North Wales on the 17th April 2011. Please look at www.rockuk.org call 0844 8000 222 or email trailblazers@rockuk.org

Friday, 11 March 2011

WEBA 3 in 1 Events

This year's first WEBA 3 in 1 Event takes place at Counterslip Baptist Church in Bristol on Sunday 20th March. There are four 3 in 1 Events this year, and they're simpler, no AGM or seminars, just a chance to worship and share stories together and hear from Nigel Coles on our focus for the next two years, Encouraging Missionary Disciples.

The WEBA staff team met on Wednesday to see which church stories we might want to highlight at each event. I think we all went away uplifted because we could think of so many good news stories - but there will be others we don't know about. If you've got an interesting answer to any of these questions, we'd love to hear from you:
  • How are you seeing people coming to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • How are you integrating these new Christians into the life of your church?
  • How are you discipling people in your church?
Please don't think that your story isn't big or impressive enough, often the little stories that encourage others the most. Please get in touch with the WEBA office (0117 965 8828 or office@webassoc.org.uk) and we'll put you in touch with the Regional Ministers.

For more information about the 3 in 1 Events, please go to news and events on our website.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Paulton: the full story

 I've had reports back that people found the story about Paulton Baptist Church in WEBA News encouraging, so here's the article in full. You can download a pdf copy of WEBA news at www.webassoc.org.uk on the resources page.

Barrie and Sue Clarke moved to Paulton in Somerset in order to be near their daughter and her family. Their granddaughter’s headmistress happened to hear that Barrie was actually a retired Baptist Minister. She was secretary at the local church, and they were interested in calling a Minister part time. Barrie, who pastored his first church 50 years ago at the time of the Billy Graham rallies, took on the challenge.
Paulton Baptist Church was like many others in our region; the congregation was elderly, and while there were one or two new faces over the next five years, funerals were a more common feature. The church shrank from around 35 attending week by week to just 20. Now at the other side of 80, Barrie began to wonder whether it was time to stop.
 “It was a hard grind,” he says. “The hard grind isn’t doing things, it’s in your mind. When things are going well, you feel better”
Eventually, something began to change.
“After 5 years, a couple came in, and then the next week another couple came in. They didn’t stay, but then another couple came in who did, and it gradually grew from there.” Some children appeared – their parents knew the church from the days when they had attended the youth club. One or two people just walked in off the street, and it gradually grew from there. Now the Sunday congregation numbers between 45 and 60 people.
“ It’s easier to grow when you’ve got a cross section of the population” says Barrie. “If you see there’s a range of people, you’re more likely to stay.”
So what does he think made the difference?
First of all, he says, “wherever the church meets there’s always been prayer.”
Has prayer led to new ideas? “It’s not an idea, it’s being totally welcoming” he replies, and in addition “we tell everybody everything” – which means that no-one, new or established, feels left out of anything that is going on. 
 The church has also put a huge amount of effort into refurbishing the building. They were fortunate in having access to funds the church had invested some time ago, but the folk at Paulton were also willing to get their hands dirty. They stripped the place bare, removing tired Victoriana, and one deacon worked from 6 in the morning until 9 at night decorating until the job was done. Church members bought one new chair each, and the building was also fitted with a new kitchen, curtains, and carpets were re-fitted.
“We’ve got a 5 year plan which started last year” says Barrie, “and we’ve done 4 years already.”
Paulton’s plans encompass much more than the building. A couple in the next village are planning to use their house for an Alpha course; another young couple are considering starting a young people’s Bible class; a headteacher wants to begin a toddler group when she retires, and there are other plans for outreach and home visits. Messy Church is one initiative which has already begun. Barrie explains  that ‘messy’ doesn’t refer to the glue and paint involved, but to being ‘messy round the edges’.
“When I was young you were either a member or not, the parameters were there. The idea of messy church is that there’s all sorts of people coming in.”
It’s clear that the church’s willingness to embrace change has made transformation possible. After all, when the minister is over 80, the congregation can hardly use their own ages as an excuse for resisting it. What would Barrie say to other churches who find themselves  where Paulton was five years ago, with a diminishing elderly congregation who are feeling the strain? He admits it’s a difficult question.
“Keep asking God” he says. “Keep asking God what you ought to be doing.” 

Home Mission Giving News

By now your church should have received a certificate to say thank you for giving to Home Mission during 2010. Please make sure it's on display somewhere! As we've now said many times, giving during 2010 was fantastic and we are extremely grateful for the faithfulness of our churches in difficult times.

Figures for giving in February 2011 have now been published. The good news is, we're still the highest giving association, with gifts for the month totalling £16,010. This is, however, short of the average of £20,000 per month we need in order to provide the support we have planned for. It's extremely helpful for us if churches give regularly by standing order throughout the year so that we can plan realistically - perhaps this is something your church could consider.