What Shall We Do With Our Church? – The IBEX Training Day on 17 October 2015
What Shall We Do With Our Church? Such a question will mean different things to different people, but this isn’t about “Fresh Expressions” – or at least not in terms of a fairly popular but limited view of that expression. And it is not about “Evangelism”, or at least not in terms of a concerted drive to put “Bums on Seats”.
It can be, though, about breathing life in to a moribund institution. This was exactly what David Masters, the minister of the Central Baptist Church in Southampton, was showing when about 25 people met in his Church for a day to consider the question.
It was not about sitting around waiting for the people to come, and then wondering why they don’t, it was about making the building something useful to the community, about earning the money to keep the expensive fabric together, about being a friend to your neighbours, about actually going out and talking to people and seeking partnerships. It was about Gracious Hospitality.
It was about thinking about doing something different. Not everybody is perhaps lucky enough to have the largest provincial theatre south of Birmingham just down the road which needs space for rehearsals, or a University close by that can use your space constructively, but alongside the people who can pay are the groups who need a space, who are doing something vital, but who can’t afford to pay at all, or maybe not the full going rate. They are welcomed too – and graciously.
The day was to a great extent about keeping things going, but it was also about much, much more – it was about being a vibrant and welcoming contributor to the community in which it sits, about making a difference, about helping people to see the Church as a good and worthwhile thing that they should have time for – and maybe that IS Evangelism.
- We really appreciated David Masters’ approach to getting to know his community by walking around and talking to folk on the way and his gift of hospitality – something we can work on in our village. David also mentioned to us that he prayer walks. We strongly believe in the importance of prayer before undertaking a new project etc.
- Just to say thank you for a very good day
- Refreshments, and especially lunch, were much appreciated.
- Thanks to all.
- Thank you for the day which was very useful and gave us a lot of food for thought.
- A really useful event – please keep up the good work!
- The small group sessions got down to some real helpful advice
- Thank you to all involved for putting together a very useful day.
- Very much appreciated discussion in the groups but the whole day was very informative.
Contact David Wrighton, Team Leader, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org