When People Leaving Is Good

I love growth. I’m excited and encouraged when new people join our church. I am even more excited when they stay. I find it hard to say goodbye or to let go. When you have a small congregation (and the structure of what we have done in Bearwood means that we have a cluster of small congregations) it is painful and maybe discouraging when people leave. It can even be frightening. We don’t have a guaranteed steady pipeline of new people coming to fill the gaps.

Yet, there are sometimes good reasons why people leave. I’ve hinted and mentioned these in previous posts. Recently, I did some analysis about why/how people come and join us but I also included some analysis on why people leave.

Here are three good reasons for people to leave: Continue reading

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#ActBC Trainee opportunities

We have opportunities for people to train with us in urban mission and church planting.  We are looking for individuals and couples who believe that they have a calling to share the good news about Jesus in our urban communities with a particular focus on estate and inner city ministry. Continue reading

When Church growth is bad

In Acts 20, Paul meets with the elders of the Ephesian church. He says these words to them:

28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood[h]—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders.[i] 29 I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock. 30 Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following. 31 Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.”[1] Continue reading

Growth, fruitfulness and pruning

You hear some talks about church leadership and you get the impression that church life is meant to be about continuous exponential growth.

You read some church websites and you get the impression that if your website doesn’t begin with “We are a lively, growing church” then there’s something wrong with you.

We’ve experienced times when our local church has been growing, those times have been encouraging but it’s not always like that. I’ve seen/heard people describing Bearwood Chapel as a growing church and thought “I wish that was the case” because at that point, we’ve actually been plateauing or even losing people. We also are aware that there’ve been periods when a lot of new people have turned up but we’ve not seen conversions.

This week, we had a leaders afternoon/evening facilitated by James Hyde from The Church Planting Initiative and he said some very helpful things about this. Continue reading

Wanted: Urban Pioneer Church Planters

Sandwell and the Black Country need church planters. We need people to move into estates and into communities where there is no meaningful Gospel witness and to share their faith.

Just to be clear, we are not looking for pastors to come and look after new, ready made churches with 30 – 50 members. We are not even looking for team leaders to take charge of a core group ready to start the plant. Continue reading

Everyday People

Among the conversations about mission and particularly urban mission I’ve picked up on a tendency to polarise mission fields.  We seem to talk in terms of two mission fields

1.       Prosperous/well to do contexts where people are aiming to evangelise the elite as some kind of strategy in the hope that they will be reaching current and future leaders/ opinion shapers through camps, CUs etc

Continue reading

Urban Ministry – Where to train

If you are serious about urban gospel ministry, then the best place to get trained for this is in the field, in an urban ministry context by urban ministry practitioners. There are currently three places in England where you can engage in this type of training whilst also working towards a Theological qualification with Union School of Theology Continue reading