A Home Mission 'good news story' from CBA:
St Andrew's Baptist Church, Bletchley
Central Baptist Association church which was in decline in 2008 has followed God's vision for their future and seen transformation
Home Mission funding enabled St Andrew's Baptist Church to have a full time minister in 2011, but the church no longer needs this help
The church is grateful that Home Mission has helped to make all this possible
Click here to download the St Andrew's video and some discussion questions to share with your small groups arising from the video
When Brian Stocker went to St Andrew's Baptist Church in Bletchley in 2008 it was as their fourth Student Minister. He found a wonderful congregation of 25 people who were committed and loyal to the church, but had been through a long journey of decline over a 20 year period. They were contemplating their future, and looking to God for direction.
Brian met with the church to consider what they were looking for during his three years as their Student Minister. Their response was that they wanted to see more children and young families joinging them. Brian offered the church three options:
to stay as they were, and expect people to join them (which seemed unlikely)
to let the church 'die gracefully'
to step out and reach out to their community
The church agreed to try to reach out to their community, recognising that this would be costly as they would need to change their approach to doing and being church.
Brian developed a three year strategy, which included:
Embracing the vision to become a 'prodigal friendly' church, reaching those who used to come to church. Having offered some outreach services, different people started coming. Now the church demographic has changed with more people of every age group
Starting a winter night shelter - taking in 15 guests every Monday evening, providing dinner, overnight accommodation and breakfast for 15 weeks during the winter months
Starting a weekly Messy Church - an outreach for young children to have fun and explore what God does for them
Working with Caton House - a local care home - and visiting residents to sit, talk and bring worship
Whilst adapting to a different and more informal style of worship has been difficult for some church members, they have all been committed to make it happen. Everyone is welcomed, and the congregation is much more diverse in terms of age, nationality and social background. The church now offers two services providing two styles of worship to accommodate the breadth of preferred worship style.
A key aim of the Central Baptist Association is to be 'walking together in ministry and mission' and that is what St Andrew's is learning to do. They are encouraged by the developments they've been part of as they become a united people for the glory of God.
Click here to read more stories about how the money you give to Home Mission is being used to bring the love of God to communities around the country.