How we are encouraging Church Planting

Regular visitors to this site will know that Bearwood Chapel[1] has a desire to see lots of new churches planted across Sandwell, The Black Country and West Birmingham.I thought you might like a quick update on what we are doing to encourage church planting. Hopefully as well, this will encourage you to pray for us and think about how you could partner and support with us.

First of all, we’ve worked on the basis that we can start doing something within our own building. We have a small Chapel building and shop front ideally placed off of Bearwood Road, one of the main shopping centres for our communities.  We realised back in 2012 that we could make greater use of this building and that geography isn’t the only barrier to gathering a church (time and language are also factors). So, we’ve planted new congregations that remain part of Bearwood Chapel but meet at different times on a Sunday and a Saturday evening congregation for Spanish speakers.

Secondly, we’ve started to build partnerships. This includes working with Raglan Road Christian Church in order to support Nueva Vida, our Spanish speaking congregation. We are also linked to 2020 Birmingham, a movement seeking to see at least 20 new churches in the Birmingham area by 2020. Recently, we’ve started hosting an urban Midlands planting hub run by the Church Planting Initiative.

Thirdly, we are beginning to work in two specific areas in order to build up relationships and make Gospel contacts. First of all, we would like to see a Gospel presence on the Bristnall Estate, a council estate[2] that borders Bearwood.   We have a few people from the church living either on or around the Estate and so we are building up connections through: neighbourliness, door to door work and offering 1-1 and small group versions of The First Look Course. We have just taken delivery of 400 special DVDS evangelistic featuring Rico Tice and we’re planning to give these out free to local homes in the run up to Easter next year.  The other area we are building up links is in Smethwick. Our focus here is on people who speak English as a second language and so we are offering ESOL classes at one of our local parks.

Fourthly, we want to see people trained and supported to be pioneer church planters. We’re looking for people who might start churches from scratch.  Watch out over the next few weeks for details of a new partnership to enable locally based training for urban planting.

If you would like to find out more about urban church planting in the West Midlands, please have a look at our PlantBC page. We’d also love to hear from you if you are interested in partnering with us -especially if you are thinking about church planting yourself.

[1] is the online teaching and training hub for Bearwood Chapel, a local church based in Smethwick in the West Midlands, UK

[2] A Council Estate in England is an area of social housing.  Originally, these homes were built and rented out by local government. In the 1980s, the Government enabled tenants to buy their homes and so a significant number of homes are now owner occupied but a majority of homes are still rented usually from Housing Associations that act on behalf of the Local Authority.