In 2012, we started The 930 Service at Bearwood Chapel. We did this because we wanted to give space for more people to come and hear the Gospel. At the time, we said that this wasn’t about a necessary one off split with a service repeated. Rather this was about multiplying Gospel centred gatherings. This meant that we were willing to repeat this again by adding other congregations at the Chapel. In effect we were saying that we were willing to meet people and gather for prayer, Bible teaching and worship where and when they were able to.
Over the past couple of years we’ve been able to start a cafe style Sunday evening congregation with its own identity. Last year we introduced a 5pm meeting based on the same principles but with more provision for families with small children.
The other development which came as a surprise was the growth of a Spanish speaking congregation meeting on Saturday evenings. We had prayed for opportunities to reach different ethnic groups but we’re thinking in terms of Easter Europeans, Middle Eastern people etc. We were surprised and excited to discover a Spanish speaking community hungry to hear the Gospel. By the way, Nueva Vida provides for Spanish speakers but it is not designed or intended to be mono-ethnic or ethno-centric. Like all the other gatherings it aims to bring people together from different backgrounds. It simply does this using Spanish as the primary language.
We have been encouraged by all this but there is a growing awareness of an even greater need and a desire to see Gospel witness in our area grow. We are at the gateway to The Black Country, a large, diverse urban area the size of a major city and we see huge need for for the Gospel. That’s why I keep talking about the need to plant churches beyond Bearwood Chapel a well as see existing churches revitalised.
This is a vision beyond the resources of one local church. Jon Bell and Neil Powell who set up 2020 Birmingham as a catalyst for church planting often comment that it’s when we see the need that we are pushed to work with others because more can be done together than alone.
So over the last year we’ve started to do 3 things.
1. To find potential partners to work with us. One important partner is Union School of Theology. Their Learning Community hosted at Bearwood Chapel will help us train Gospel workers who are able to plant new churches or go in to help existing churches see revitalisation.
2. We have begun investigating the possibility of a new charity to help us source resources and funding for Gospel work in the Black Country.
3. Mainly through this site and twitter,we’ve put out a call for help. We are actively looking for people willing to come and get stuck into urban mission and church planting in Sandwell, The Black Country and West Birmingham.
Can I ask you to do two things.
1. Keep praying for this
2. If any of the above has caught your intention and you would like to know a little more or get involved in some way to help us take this forward, please get in touch. Simply drop Dave a line via the contact form on this site,