Small Church Connexion: autumn event 2019
Forty-six people from 18 small churches across the capital gathered for an inspiring day conference last Saturday (26 October), reports Hilary Taylor
The worship team from Westbury Avenue Baptist Church led us in song before our speaker, Baptist Union President Ken Benjamin, shared thoughts on his theme Where do we grow from here?
This is a question that all small churches are asking. Ken suggested that we should be praying this question. The Great Commission in Matthew 28 commands us to go and make disciples ie growing the kingdom. We explored the question further:
Where do we grow from here?
Where do WE grow from here? ‘WE’ means our church, our town, our city, Baptist Union, UK
Where do we grow from HERE? ‘HERE’ is the current state of play in church & society. We have unique opportunities and challenges. If we are to give directions to people, we need to know where here is!
Where do we GROW from here? ‘GROW’ – how? In numbers and spiritually. God does the growing, not us! He calls us to be good gardeners, agronomists (expert in good soil condition) and pomologists (experts in cultivating fruit). Healthy things grow.
WHERE do we grow from here? We will never get anywhere until we equip our people for their everywhere. We are whole life disciples so ‘WHERE’ is everywhere!
He challenged us to try bold experiments to fulfil our commission in Matthew 28 v16-20
Check out Ken’s website www.wheredowegrowfromhere.org. Also www.baptist.org.uk/wdwgfh has video studies for small groups with notes to download.
There were opportunities for discussion, networking and questions during the session.
After lunch, we heard stories from small churches:
Cricklewood Baptist Church are working in partnership with other local churches of all denominations and YWAM to reach out into the community
South London Tabernacle minister Paul Collett outlined the challenges in his church with people suffering from a range of illnesses, those having two or three jobs, mental health issues etc. They are seeking God and are seeing Him answer prayers in amazing ways.
Barnes Baptist Church were down to six people four years ago then the vestry roof collapsed. They had no money but God provided it! The minister then felt he should paint the sanctuary and they felt God was ‘dressing the church’ in anticipation for…? Then four Filipino ladies walked through the door. They returned with friends (19 all together!), 10 of which have become members so far and one has married the minister! The message was: keep praying and seeking God for His guidance.
Crayford Baptist Church have just celebrated their 209th anniversary! In 2014 the heating system packed up and to get a new one installed, the pews had to be removed among other alterations. They bought chairs instead making the sanctuary into a flexible area. They started a toddlers group which now has 50 children attending! Change can be a blessing!
Harlington Baptist Church have 25 members at the moment but are growing. The secretary shared with us her goal of 100 members at the church. There are many children and young people but not many older, mature people to help and guide them. They need mature Christians to join up!
The day concluded with the worship team leading us in praise and we prayed for each other.
The Small Church Connexion holds two central events a year. In 2020, there will be leadership training roadshows around the districts, highlighting the duties of deacons (charity trustees) and governance issues.