Small Churches Thinking Mission
Examples of how small churches are re-thinking and engaging in mission
1. God sent a family into a housing estate to just listen and be amongst the community eg working at the toddler group, on the parish council, cricket committee, village hall committee and volunteering to run the social club bar for football matches. Now planning food and chat for those who want to go deeper in their conversations https://germinate.net/resources/cw78-missional-listening/
2. Help out at the local school with listening to the children reading, run a craft club and design and run a prayer space. https://www.prayerspacesinschools.com/
3. Small chapel with a hall – legacy paid for the hall to be refurbished and is now a thriving coffee shop.
4. Many churches have opened coffee shops – Soul Cafe´ in Hampshire has a minister who is an artist and runs painting and drawing courses. Big screen in the cafe´ was useful for the World Cup etc. Great coffee and cake! Church in the back hall on Sundays.
5. WELLBEING CAFE´ – www.renewwellbeing.org.uk
6. Offer breakfast on a Sunday at the church for anyone and everyone, followed by an informal cafe´ style service, advertised on social media.
7. Church in Suffolk offered their conservatory space to the Post Office when it closed in the village. They hold a cafe´ for a free cuppa, biscuit and chat when the PO is open.
8. One small church set up an outreach gym run by a church member Alan Mortlock, a boxing promoter and trainer, who is also a born again evangelist. They run a minibus to all surrounding villages and pick up lads. Some have come to faith through this. The gym works closely with Gangs Unite who work to see young people escape from violent gang culture.
9. In Lincolnshire, one church has run a coffee shop for 2 years then started a community meal once a month called CommuniTea to which they invite friends and the coffee shop patrons. Next thing is an Alpha course – there is a journey of faith happening!
10. Some churches in rural situations have a progressive nativity where many people dress up and travel through the village (with a donkey) telling the story and ending in a barn with a new baby.
11. New CofE schools RE syllabus – schools now welcoming ‘Walk through the Bible’ with local Christians – training available. In Essex, 85 schools signed up for this – after a vicar chatted to 2 more diocese, 100 more schools signed up!!
12. Story of Growth – Blaby Baptist Church, Leicester. https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/528301/The_Blaby_story.aspx
13. Christians Against Poverty / Foodbank with church members around to chat and serve coffee.
14 Prayer walk the area – pray for strongholds to be broken down – Listen
15 Witnesham BC in Suffolk – Wednesday 3 C’s cafe´ – coffee, conversation and cake. Also a monthly craft group. Joint events with local churches such as messy church, light party and men’s breakfast.
16. Reconfigure church buildings to suit new purpose – eg. Mount Zion LEP
http://www.mountzion.co.uk/index.php/en/ Invite the builders and decorators to the opening service!
17. Age UK Digital Inclusion programme – official sessions now run as a weekly self help class ‘techie Tuesdays’
18. Review energy and time spent on internal church stuff against energy and time spent on external stuff. Where does your church focus its energy?
19. Serve coffee in the church, not the hall – easier for people to stay
20. 20’s and 30’s groups – include food!
21. Parenting classes / Play n chat.
22. Host a community choir and ask them to sing at festival times.
23. Invite schools to the church for a carol service.
24. Make prayer a regular thing at coffee mornings.
25. Talking Jesus course – www.talkingjesus.org for Sundays or homegroups
26. We are Easter people – death and resurrection. Yet we don’t want to let go of things in order for new life to spring up! We need to hold things lightly and listen to God’s direction. What will the church look like in the emerging generation?
27. The Chapel in Wales – a group of Christians who meet in 4 locations every month.
They drive through villages and wrestle with God in prayer and He opens doors for them. People who are bored standing still are joining the team. Wrestle with God in your area. www.chapel.wales in the Conwy Valley.
28. Be nimble (be like a gazelle not a giant tortoise!), intentional in service, collaborative in mission, adventurous in spirit (just read Acts!), obedient to God’s nudges and caring in attitude and action.
29. Engageworship.org suggestion – ‘x plus why’ good formula for regeneration in worship. ‘X’ is what we currently default to each week and ‘why’ is an inquisitive, creative and missional questioning of how we might grow. Why sing? Col 3v16. Why monologue? 1 Cor 14 v26 engage, interaction. Why history? Be flexible – don’t throw history out or stick to it tightly. Death but resurrection, internal transformation, external re-creation.
30. Sutton St James BC, Lincolnshire were down to 3 old ladies a year ago. They called a minister and her husband to the church and now they have 8 families with 17 children!
31. Illustration of regeneration – Dr Who!
32. One church held services at 4pm followed by tea, but numbers have plateaued. They have now added a 9am service with bacon sandwiches to attract different people (same worship, same message).
33. The congregation had dropped to just four. There were limited funds to repair the building, but the foursome decided to do what they could to renovate the worship space themselves. When they left the doors open to let the dust out, passers-by dropped in to ask what was happening. They didn’t attend the church, but they considered it to be their church. They were afraid it was going to close so they offered to help with the repairs. As a result, 35 volunteers from the local community got involved in the renovations, including one ex-prisoner who introduced himself with the words: ‘You won’t want me!’ Now many have remained part of the church. What began as a last-ditch effort to preserve a building has become the starting point for a new lease of life for a small church at the heart of its community.