SEBALiving on the knife-edge

Farnborough Baptist Church is located in the primarily residential North Camp area of Farnborough, near the army town of Aldershot.  The church building is on the main road at the centre of this area and our building is well-used by a wide range of community groups and individuals.  They include an after-school club with which we have very good relationships and with whom we can share the Christian message, and a Zimbabwean church congregation which uses the church building on Sunday afternoons.  We are numerically quite small but we are very active for our size as we seek to bring a Christian presence to this community.  We have activities for young, old and all those in between, and believe the Lord is at work among us.
We praise God for -
  • answering prayer.  In the past year in particular, we do feel the Lord has answered our prayers.  We prayed for 2 or 3 families to join the church: a few months later we realised they had done!  We prayed for people to come to faith through the ministry of the church: they have done.  We prayed for more men: just recently we realised how many we now have contact with.  All of these answers to prayer, as well as more personal ones, give us confidence that the Lord is going to continue to do good things with us.
  • ALF, our fortnightly junior-age children’s club.  This is just one example of God answering prayer.  ALF has run for some six years now, with the faithful support of a team from Frimley Baptist Church.  As some of the Frimley folk had to step aside and the numbers of children declined to a low ebb, we prayed for God to show us whether he wanted us to continue this venture, and in recent months numbers of children have dramatically increased and they come very regularly.
  • Footprints youth club.  We started this 18 months ago as a step of faith, initially thinking of children who were by then too old for ALF, our fortnightly junior-age children’s club.  While hardly any of those children came, lots of others did!  We now regularly have around 15 young people - almost all totally unchurched - and some of them are asking serious questions about faith. 
However there is still much to pray about, such as -
  • Leadership.  The church now only has three deacons (the secretary, the treasurer and one other) to aid our minister John.  They do a great job and we can survive quite well like this for the moment, but we are praying for others to come alongside in leadership.  There is one person now who we would like to take a more prominent role and a couple of others who may be ready to do so in the future: please pray that the Lord will lead them to this in his time.
  • Finances.  We have received a Home Mission grant for years and this is now coming to an end.  The Lord has provided so far though there have been times when things have not been at all comfortable.  We believe he will do so for the future too, but would value your prayers - particularly in view of….
  • The church building.  We have a steel structure inside the building which was originally constructed to make the walls and roof secure but which was also constructed to be able to take a first floor level.  We believe we should put that first floor in.  This is a huge undertaking for a church of our size but we believe the Lord is in it.  We have had architects’ plans drawn up for this work to be done in two phases and are raising money and seeking grants with a view to doing the work either this summer or next. 
We make contact with a wide cross-section of the local community each week with our regular activities - others so far not mentioned include two successful Parents & Toddlers sessions and the popular Outlook lunch for elderly folk - but other one-off events planned for the year to come include:
17 May - Walk Through the Bible seminar
14 June - FBC stall at the North Camp Fair
21 June - Family BBQ
19 July - BBQ for ALF children & families
20 July - Summer picnic (during the Farnborough Air Show!)
3 August - Summer picnic
26-29 - August Children’s Holiday Club
21 Sept - Harvest / Big Welcome / Harvest lunch
29 Sept-15 Dec - Alpha Course
17-18 October - Church weekend
31 October -Light Party
1 November - Memorial service 

As a church it often feels as if we live on a knife-edge of faith but that is no bad thing: God doesn’t call us to be comfortable! A number of people within the church fellowship face major issues and we are aware of the destabilising effect which such personal crises can have on a church like ours where everyone knows everyone else.  But on the other hand, when God blesses one person, everyone else gets to rejoice with them as well.  We thank the Lord for good relationships of love and trust within the church and pray for the Lord to continue to work as we are seeing him doing at the moment.
And we thank you for your support through Home Mission.  Because of it, the Lord is using this church to shine his light into many corners in this part of Farnborough.
The Revd John Layzell, Minister

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