Pioneering stores in the north
I returned home challenged by the question: was God was calling me to pioneer in West Craven? By Julie Bryan
The Bible is full of stories where God acts to turn a challenging situation into an opportunity to further his kingdom and I believe our fellowship is at such a point in time. The West Craven Baptist Fellowship is a group of three small churches on a journey to become one but with declining numbers and an ageing congregation we are challenged as we consider our future.
I was raised in one of these churches on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border and after moving away to university, I returned to the area with a husband and family. Over the last few years I’ve felt called to church leadership, but not the traditional role of minister. Taking part in the Arthur Rank Germinate Leadership course developed my leadership skills.
In 2018 I was invited to attend a gathering of Northern Pioneers at Scargill House led by Roy Searle, Simon Hall and Simon Goddard. Spending time with established and emerging pioneers was hugely encouraging; hearing stories of God at work in many different expressions of church gave me hope for our community.
I returned home challenged by the question: was God was calling me to pioneer in West Craven? After much prayer and conversation with leaders in the fellowship and pioneers in the newly formed YBA Learning Community, I decided to test the call by applying for ministerial recognition and seeking training as a pioneer minister.
As I look to the future, I am hopeful and excited to see what God will do as we reach out to those outside the walls of our churches. I wonder what we’ll learn as obstacles are encountered and I pray that God will give us courage to task risks as we step out of our comfort zone and discover different ways of being church.
Photo| Julie Bryan
This article appeared in the Summer 2019 edition of Baptists Together magazine