In 2010, a group of church leaders committed together to try and encourage the planting or revitalisation of 20 churches over the next 10 years. As a result of this, 2020 Birmingham was launched. In 2018, they are well on their way to their target.
2020 Birmingham encouraged us to think seriously about our wider responsibilities to see the Gospel go out in Bearwood and Beyond, to Smethwick, Sandwell and into West Birmingham in one direction and the Black Country in the other.
We have started to take steps towards this by adding new congregations and supporting the development of a multi-ethnic, Spanish speaking church-plant.
2020 Birmingham have renewed their vision for the next decade, to see another 30 churches planted by 2030. The maths is that 20 plus 30 = 50 and if each of those churches plant another church in our life time then 50* 2 equals 100 church plants. Now, that type of Gospel multiplication means that we are going to have to get serious. It means that we would hope to see churches planted in areas of the West Midlands conurbation where not only are there no meaningful Gospel witnesses but into communities where there are few or no believers at all currently.
Add into the mix the challenge put so ably by Stephen Kneale here. We don’t just want church plants that move believers around and that increases the challenge. Church planting in itself is not the ultimate goal. We must be in the business of making, growing and multiplying disciples.
That’s the context of this request/invitation.
We want to see new churches started reaching people who would not otherwise have heard the Gospel. We want to see people from communities untouched by Christianity to put their faith in Jesus. That’s why under the ActBC banner we are particularly encouraging people who are called to be “pioneer planters” to come and help us. Pioneer planters are those who are willing to get stuck into evangelism in a community where there isn’t a gospel witness. They come without a core team, without a ready-made congregation and start from scratch.
So, the first request is that if you are considering this as a possible calling, or if you know someone that is, please get in touch with us. We would love to hear from you, meet you and maybe begin a conversation with you about where the need is.
The second request is that if you are an existing church leader that you take time to discern and recognise the calling of potential pioneer planters to the Midlands. Send them to us with your prayer support. Consider whether you can support them financially through your missions budget. Continue to partner with us and them to encourage them as they start what will be a challenging long-haul labour of love.
Now the invitation bit. If you are considering coming here, we want to help you too. Here’s what we can offer.
1. Training. We want pioneer planters to be fully equipped for the mission. In partnership with Union School of Theology we offer a 2 year programme that will begin to equip you for the long-haul ahead. See out TrainBC page for details.
2. Mentoring. We will be there to encourage and challenge you. We will provide a sounding board for your ideas. We will come and help you.
3. Fellowship. Pioneer planting is a lonely business. You will have the fellowship of another local church and its members praying with you, spending time with you. You will be linked up with other church planters for mutual encouragement through our CPI urban planters hub.
We would love to hear from you, even if you are only at the early stages of thinking this through. Get in touch through our contact form or give Dave a call on 07791 622122.