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Events for Baptist church growth 

A series of 24 hour 'Firestarter' events hosted by Baptist churches experiencing unusual growth have been organised – to see if this accelerated growth can become normal within our Baptist family.  


Called Firestarters, they are conversations involving nine of these fast growing Baptist churches. Each event will offer 24 hours to ‘learn, expect and act’, says Alex Harris, of the Beacon Church in Stafford. Two such are taking place this summer, with a further three in the autumn.
‘God is rapidly growing Baptist churches in the UK,’ Alex explains.
‘These are real Baptist churches made up of real people in very real and diverse situations -  and yet the growth in new followers of Jesus and baptisms is unusual. Some have doubled in size in 12 months. One has seen over 50 converts in less than 18 months, another a fivefold increase in five years, planting six new congregations to accommodate that. Another has seen God grow them from 70 to 400 in three years.  
‘These are real churches in our Baptist Together movement - few if any count as a 'large' church. This is not about resources or numbers. Though some have a staff team, most don't. Few are 'new' church plants but rather churches 50 or 80 years old. 
‘But God is reaching unexpected amounts of people through them. We want to see more. We think this accelerated growth could become normal.’
Firestarters are not conferences with a perceived expert keynoting, as useful as that is, he continues. Nor are they retreats with guided self-reflection, as vital as that is. 
They are conversations hosted by some of these churches experiencing this surprising growth. Two took place in 2017, which saw some ‘jaw-dropping outcomes from talking, praying and inspiring together’. 
‘We are hungry for more,’ continues Alex, ‘and hope you will come and be part of the journey.’
They would work excellently for:

  • Ministers coming along to be inspired, challenged and re-invigorated in what God might do with their leadership.
  • Staff and/or leadership teams, especially of lay people and volunteer leaders, to spend 24 hours together with the expectation of fresh energy and renewed vigour.
  • To bring emerging leaders to for an early experience of churches that are growing fast.

There are only five in 2018 and numbers are limited. £25 per person is all meals, materials and resources [overnight accommodation not included] and conferences start at 1030 day 1 and end 1600 day 2. 

Two have already taken place. These are the events that are still to happen. 

  • September 19-20 in Stafford
  • October 2-3 in Shinfield, Reading
  • October 22-23 in Sheffield

Here's some of the feedback about these unique conversations, kept to just 25 people, and led by the leaders of rapidly growing Baptist churches.

"Too often you leave 'conferences' inspired but without any actions to take. Firestarter was a rare and wonderful combination of both - inspiring, but also so practical. We left with clear next steps on our journey with God and journey to growth."
"Changing things is hard in church. It as so good to have actual experienced, real ministers from small baptist churches talking about how they've done that, and how God has blessed it. It's not easy, but these two days have actually given me clear next steps."
"As an experienced minister myself, it was an amazing privilege. Leaders of growing churches giving a small group of us such quality input in prayer and wisdom and experience. The format makes it unique and incredibly helpful as we seek God to grow our church and his kingdom."
"I was impressed with how many others, like me, gave up two days of annual leave. And it really was worth it. I have such a clearer idea of what God wants us to be about."

For more information, or to sign you or your team up, email Kate at kate@thebeaconchurch.com



Church profiles:
Some of the Baptist churches experiencing unusual growth which are involved in the Firestarter events


Limbrick WoodLimbrick Wood Baptist Church, Coventry – Darren Bovis-Coulter

LWBC was established on the Tile Hill over 60 years ago – like many churches it has seen incredible growth with lives transformed, to times of a faithful remnant still fervently seeking God’s plan and purposes.
Over the last two-to-three years we been blessed with significant growth, with many coming to faith and others hearing the call to serve God within their local community. The membership has grown nearly four-fold, our worship gatherings has grown well over 10 fold, and with community engagement projects this is more like a 20 fold increase… and we genuinely feel God hasn’t really started yet!


LondonderryLondonderry Baptist Church, Oldbury, West Midlands – Aaron Jarvis

A church on fire for Jesus! Many testimonies of transformed lives and many more to come. The Gospel is central to all we do.
69 responses to the saving grace of Jesus in 79 weeks speaks better than any words I have. We love Jesus with all our hearts!! We were once lost but now we’re found.

BlabyBlaby Baptist Church, Leicestershire – Pauline Blaby

Our desire is to be a welcoming church serving the community with the love of Jesus and it has been through this that we have seen people come to know the love and saving grace of Jesus.

Everything we do is underpinned with prayer and as we have sort to keep to God’s vision here the church has grown into a vibrant community focused on Him


BeaconThe Beacon, Stafford – Alex Harris

Beacon Church, 70 years old this year, has seen a fivefold increase in attendance in five years, and is now nine congregations across four buildings.   
God has granted us a tremendous sense of momentum and an exciting suspicion that we have only just begun and so we ‘strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in us’ (Colossians 1:29) and trust him for the rest. Beacon Church is pursuing a vision of growing small - no congregation more than 100 people before it multiplies itself through birthing another.
Relationally intimate, specific in mission, with high accountability to the Bible, together we are pursuing Jesus hard. We do not want to be left wandering what God might have done if only we had...


The WellThe Well, Sheffield – Nick and Marjorie Allan

The Well Sheffield was planted by a small team of friends in summer 2015 on a busy highstreet in the heart of Sheffield’s leisure, university, business and residential areas. Focused on creating a culture balancing attractional premises/Sundays with empowering everyone to model the life of Jesus in words, works and supernatural wonders. 
It’s been a fast-paced season of forming a charity, purchasing their premises for £800k, a growing staff and volunteer team and a congregation which after opening grew from 70 to around 400, including many young adults.


Baptist Times, 26/04/2018
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