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Our journey with Today not Tomorrow 

Stuart Elmes shares how Kingswood Baptist Church, Basildon has been working through what it means to be intergenerational


Today Not TomorrowIt takes a long time to change a church culture and mindset but every long journey begins with a first step, and that is what we were doing when we launched Today not Tomorrow (Tnt) in April 2013. It was the first step in creating a church culture where everyone plays a part, from the youngest through to the oldest.

Reflecting back on the journey, nearly 12 months down the road, allows us a birds eye view to recognise certain characteristics about Tnt. The first things are what Tnt is not. It is not the latest fad which can simply be implemented and will result in revolutionary change in the shortest time scale possible. It is not a one size fits all resource and so will require some adapting to a churches particular context (1). It is not an easy resource because it requires change and a good measure of hard work (but then, nothing of any worth did ever come easy).

Having recognised those characteristics, it then begs the question: what was Tnt for us at Kingswood Baptist Church?

It was flexible. In the very early stages of our planning we adapted the resource to incorporate not just children but those who are older in our congregation. Thus the resource could have been referred to as Today not tomorrow or yesterday. We adapted all the materials in order to reflect this.

It was timely. As a church we had been looking at the vision God has given us for the church and the community. Tnt was an excellent follow-up which helped to ensure that as we continued to follow the Lord’s purpose for us in Basildon, it was together as a whole church.

It was thorough. Everyone in the church underwent the teaching and would have, at some point, been made aware of the journey we were on as a church. The resource was unpacked and explored in every context possible.

Stuart ElmsIt has captured the imagination of the congregation. There was, and still is, a great sense of unity regarding Tnt, a sense of everyone pulling in the same direction.

So what have been the first fruits of Tnt for us at KBC? This is something that is difficult to quantify. However I would say that invisible attitudes of, “adults here, old people there and young people there” have been eroded and people think it natural to learn and worship together (2).

Ministry Teams actively look for ways of engaging young and old to be involved. Young and old have been encouraged by the idea that they are a valuable part of the mission of the church and not just waiting to come of age or being past the sell by date.

Are we finished the ‘programme’? Not at all! Our Steering Team still continues to meeting and has finalised the charter which has been distributed to church members and is due to be worked through in small groups and Sunday Classes alike. It will then be adopted at a Church Meeting in June 2014 and stand as a regular reminder of who we are seeking to be as a church.
 

Stuart Elmes is a minister at Kingswood Baptist Church in Basildon

For more details about Today not Tomorrow, visit http://todaynottomorrow.org.uk/

1 We are an urban church with 160 members and a Sunday School work which reaches out to 50 – 70 children. We also have a wide variety of people from different social backgrounds, nationalities and denominations.

2 We have seen evidence of this during our All Age Worship Services and during a recent day of prayer which had a creative and interactive prayer time for all ages. 
Baptist Times, 20/03/2014
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