From WEBA news, Autumn 2011:
Encouraging Missionary Disciples is WEBA’s two year theme. We’d like to be able to encourage everyone who is part of our network of churches to feel they too are ‘sent out’ as part of Jesus’ Great Commission in Matthew 28:19.
In the case of Sue and Ed Humphreys from 3C Community Church in Gloucestershire, this means texting around to see who’s interested, loading a trailer with their own canoes and kayaks and heading down to the river.
Together with two other church members, they run KC3C – a canoe club which is part of the Christian canoeing Association, Mainstream. 3C Community Church supports the club – and in fact purchased the all important trailer – but nearly all the canoeists who have been members have come from outside the church. There have been nearly a hundred of them over the last three years, with ages ranging from six to sixty.
“There’s no secret that it’s a Christian club when they join” says Sue, “but you can’t browbeat people, you can’t bang them over the head with a Bible. We want to give people lots of fun and hopefully chat to them about Christ. We just befriend them.”
There’s even some reluctance about too many people from the church getting involved. When someone suggested that church members could come down and bring refreshments, it was decided that this wasn’t a good idea, as the canoeists might feel they were being ‘pounced on’.
This is a gentle, long term approach, and Sue says that the most encouraging results have been people getting over the fear of going upside down, and one youngster overcoming some behavioural problems. “Hopefully in many years’ time, when we’re long gone, some of these people will be running it and have become Christians.”