Chew Magna Baptist Church
Chew Magna is one of four small Baptist Churches that historically had little relationship with each other
In the last two years the other three were left without pastors, John brought the leadership teams together. Over the past two years he has been helping them see a way forward. It’s not about the past and they must think differently – ‘what will church in the valley look like?
John Miles moved to Chew three years ago and was their first paid full-time minister. It was a small chapel that had grown in recent years with new families. Whilst they had a small membership, there was a wider core group who were very active. They had saved enough to support three years of ministry with support from a Baptist Home mission grant. Those three years are now up and the money hasn’t run out.
John called them to develop their work in the community. The last three years have been about growing relationships, particularly with the local schools. Village life is focused around them.
Chew Magna is one of four small Baptist Churches that historically had little relationship with each other. In the last two years the other three were left without pastors, John brought the leadership teams together.
Over the past two years he has been helping them see a way forward. It’s not about the past and they must think differently – ‘what will church in the valley look like?’. John has witnessed surprising eagerness to change and old barriers have gone. It’s as these communities begin to discover what their mission is, they have realised they can’t do it on their own. People have seen they can do so much more together.
In addition to the new groups and relationships that are growing there is a new wider vision. They now see themselves as four congregations (not churches) that will plant missional communities into the other local villages. It is aiming at becoming a network church with missional communities and forming a new CIO this coming year.
Helen Banks a Deacon who has been part of this journey shared how her recent Forge Training has transformed her approach and thinking. Her revelation was discovering ‘Missio Dei’, the mission of God. He asks us to follow him where he’s already at work.
Forge focuses on how to train yourself into a missional mind-set. A very important question was presented to Helen– If we were not in the community, would the community mourn our passing? That has helped Helen’s understanding that we’re in community for a reason – and has asked the question ‘what can I do?’. She has been Inspired to make a difference and one outworking of that is running ‘Open the Book’ in the local school.
The rest of the church have understood her epiphany and along with her are being transformed in faith and confidence.
Photos: John Miles. Top: John, Sarah and Anthony Miles outside Chew Magna Chapel
Middle: "Open the Book" team in Chew Magna Primary school.
Bottom: One of our popular ‘cooking with toddler’ sessions held at Chew Magna Baptist
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