Progress of Hadleigh Baptist Church with the support of Home Mission
Upon being called by the Lord to Hadleigh Baptist Church seven years ago, which back then consisted of a membership of approx 25 and an average Sunday attendance of around 45, we applied for and were given, a Home Mission grant which was put towards my stipend.
Financially, the church was not in a position to pay the stipend without the support of Home Mission, but from the outset, both myself and the leadership set ourselves a 5-7 year target to build the church up to such a level that we would eventually be able to fully operate without a Home Mission grant.
In the years that followed we concentrated upon building relationships with the members of our local communities including our local primary school, and also with folk who have had past connections with Hadleigh Baptist Church and over time, the Lord began to draw people into the church – both Christian and non-Christian. The Christians who came to us, many of whom had young families, came for all kinds of reasons, and it wasn’t long before they began to use their gifts in the church. This resulted in the re-structuring of church activities, including House groups and Sunday school, new youth groups being formed along together with other groups that enabled folk from our local community to socialise with one another, including with Christians from the church.
Other activities were introduced that enabled us to continue building relationships with our local community eg summer and Christmas fayres, fellowship meals, and again this drew Christians and non-Christians into the church.
During the last seven years the church has grown numerically to the extent that our membership is now 65 and growing, with Sunday morning attendance, which includes children and young people, averaging 100. The increase in attendance has also meant an increase in giving with many tithing and giving sacrificially (increase in people gift aiding has also played a major part in the increase of income), and through the grace and love and providence of the Lord, 2013 saw us achieving our goal of not requiring Home Mission support thus enabling the money to be used elsewhere.
At the same time and given the current economic climate, the decision to come off Home Mission was also a big step of faith by the church, but we firmly believe that having come off Home Mission, the Lord will honour our decision. The support of Home Mission over the last six years has been invaluable to this fellowship as it enabled us to achieve much for the Lord, and on behalf of the leadership and the members and congregation of Hadleigh Baptist Church, I would like to say a huge thank you for the love and generosity shown to us.
The Revd Paul Stow – Minister Hadleigh Baptist Church
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