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The return of Firestarters in 2022 

The grassroots friendship of growing Baptist churches helping other churches through honest, open conversations with church leadership teams has a series of new dates this year, writes Alex Harris

Firestarters1In 2017 six fast growing Baptist churches met to encourage each other. That sparked a desire to tell the stories of how God was at work in ordinary Baptist churches across the UK. But to tell those stories in the context of open, honest, and real conversations.

Firestarters was born.

Growing churches helping other churches to grow in our Baptist Family. Small conversations over 36 hours thinking about lessons learnt but avoiding the tendency to give set answers. This was storytelling about how Jesus was building his church.

We began to pray that 100 Baptist churches might see twice as many baptisms in the year following one of these conversations as they had in the five years previous.

Firestarters2By the end of 2019, 73 churches had become part of that story of how God was growing his church. 

Those original churches had committed three years of time to share their stories. That would have been to the end of 2020 but the Covid restrictions from March 2020 meant the last conversation was February of that year. 

However, by the middle of 2021 Baptist churches were reaching out to the Firestarter friendship of growing churches, asking for the conversations to re-emerge; asking for similar conversational spaces to hear the story of God and talk openly and honestly about what it means to see Jesus grow his church post-pandemic.

For 2022 there are five conversations scheduled across the country. At each at least two fast growing churches will share their stories of the last year.

Intentionally the focus will be post-Covid and not stories of pre-2020. This is a new season of new opportunities and new challenges.

Each conversation will be capped at 25 people to keep interaction high and welcome vulnerability. Individuals or leadership teams are welcome.

With the last remaining finances from Baptists Together’s original grant, and all our contributors willing to cover their own costs, they are offered at only £25 per person for two days, including lunch on both days. 

For more information or to book your place please contact Alex Harris at alex.harris@yba.org.uk

Date and venues for 2022 are:

  • May 5-6, in partnership with Northern Baptist Association. Venue to be confirmed but probably Newcastle. 
  • June 13-14 at Blaby Baptist Church near Leicester.
  • June 29-30 on the edge of Reading, in friendship with Southern Counties Baptist Association.
  • July 12-13 at Heathervale Baptist Church, Greater London.
  • July 20-21 at The Well in Sheffield, in friendship with Yorkshire Baptist Association


Firestarters is a grassroots friendship of growing Baptist churches helping other churches to grow through honest, open conversations with church leaders and teams. We love Jesus, love his church and believe Jesus was telling the truth when he said, ‘I will build my church’.

Firestarters is grateful for support from Baptist Together and the friendship of our Baptist Associations.

Firestarters has no official staff or paid team. Our website (still to be updated with 2022 dates & venues) is firestartersuk.com  

Alex Harris was minister of the Beacon Church in Stafford prior to joining the Yorkshire Baptist Association as a regional minister in 2021, where he has specific responsibilities for pioneering ministry and church planting. 

He was one of the team to launch Firestarters, and led a session with colleagues at the 2019 Baptist Assembly.


Images | Firestarter conversations in London in 2019


Baptist Times, 07/03/2022
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