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Baptist church growth in Lyons

“Seeing this church come alive, seeing people participate, seeing people come to Christ and the church develop in gradual steps has been very encouraging”

BMS World Mission pastors and church planters John and Sue Wilson became part of the Lyons Baptist Church family 15 years ago. It was a very different place then. The congregation was small and older, they could all fit on one bench and there was nothing for the young people. Now, they are beyond capacity, with numbers of 260 to 280, gathering between their two services, in a building that seats 188.

Churches don’t just grow overnight. It takes years of prayer, hard work and dedication to create a ministry that both draws people in and keeps them. “People come to church for all sorts of reasons,” says John, “but they stay when there are meaningful relationships.”

So how did the leadership of Lyons Baptist Church manage to fill their church to bursting?

By creating a space where people of all faith backgrounds and none can feel welcome and genuinely treasured, and making sure there are ministries there for all in attendance.

When the Wilsons joined the church there was no youth work. Thanks to Sue’s heart for teenage ministry, they created programmes for the young people, which had the domino effect of strengthening all of the youth ministries and attracting families.

They encouraged campus ministries to use their building, attracting the students who attended. They created small groups to foster and build strong relationships and safe spaces where attendees can discuss their faith. “I think people have felt that there’s a strength and welcome here and that this is a church that feels good to belong to,” says John. 

“The Church in France is growing in a way that it wasn’t ten years ago,” he says. “And it’s very exciting.”

Although the congregation is diverse, with international and French students and families coming and going, John says it is very much a French church. He and Sue have watched it grow and mature into the family it is now, a place they love being a part of. “Seeing this church come alive, seeing people participate, seeing people come to Christ and the church develop in gradual steps has been very encouraging,” says John.

Please keep John and Sue Wilson in your prayers as they continue working with the church and helping it to grow. Pray for health, strength and knowledge for the leadership as things move forward. Pray that they are able to find a new building that suits the congregation’s needs and that they continue to build the meaningful relationships that have already drawn so many closer to Christ.

This article first appeared on the website of BMS World Mission and is used with permission  



BMS World Mission, 01/07/2015
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