Getting to know the West Midlands

So, you are thinking about pastoral ministry in an urban area, maybe as a trainee, pastor, church planter or part of a revitalisation team. Where do you start? One thing I would encourage you to do is spend some time getting to know the area, getting a feel for the communities and cultures.  There’s a good role model for this. Paul spent time walking around Athens, observing.

So, if someone came to train or work with us, part of their induction would include being sent out to explore the West Midlands conurbation. Here’s some things I’d encourage you to do to get to know the area.

1.      Take a ride on the No 11 bus. This bus route follows the outer circle around Birmingham meeting you get to travel through some of the different communities, you’ll see wealthy and poor areas, industry and shops -best of all it stops off in Bearwood. Buy a day saver and take time to hop on and off at different stops for a walk around.

2.      Visit the Black Country Living Museum which brings together transport, shops, industry, schooling and church life from the Black Country’s past. Be sure to try the fish and chips cooked in lard.

3.      Another museum is the Birmingham museum and art galleries which you can find in the city centre.

4.      From Gas Basin in the city centre you can buy tickets for a canal boat trip. Birmingham has more canals than Venice. The difference is that some of these trips will take you out through the industrial waste lands of Birmingham and Sandwell. Enjoy sights of derelict factories and  graffiti art.

5.      Another way to see the area by public transport is to get on a tram from Birmingham New Street station and stay on all the way through to Wolverhampton.

6.      Take a walk down the Soho Road and step into a world of different cultures. Why not get dinner at one of the Kurdish restaurants.

The stepping in part of mission means that we fully immerse ourself in what is happening where we are moving to. We want to learn to know and love the people we will be ministering to. Take time to get to know their history and culture, see what makes them tick, what do they enjoy, what do they fear? Where are their idols.