Exploring planting: through new home groups (from seed).
This is a new initiative, following on from a couple of years of thinking and praying about how we could plant as a church. We are beginning a new home group in Cleator Moor with the express aim of being evangelistic in the area. As an intentionally-missional home group, the members will pray for the area, aim to do life there and connect with others to share the gospel.
There are many different models for planting. In areas that have a Christian presence, with Christians commuting to larger churches, it is more straight forward to take a core team to a new venue in that area and expand the work (although it is still very challenging). Gardeners will be familiar with the idea that you can plant saplings, and in some cases transplant more mature trees, but you also can take a step back and grow from seed.
In hard-to-reach communities, with little Christian presence, significant deprivation and social distance from the sending church, we believe that we need to grow from seed.
We have a couple, Joe and Chelsea Pearson, who have moved to be nearer Cleator Moor with an aim of serving the area. Joe has trained with Si as an Apprentice and Si is working with him on this venture, having spoken together for several years on the idea. We believe that God has created the circumstances and given him gifts to prayerfully lead this work. Joe is recruiting members for this home group, the requirement being that they live in Cleator Moor, could go to live there, or live in one of the surrounding villages such as Moor Row or Frizington. All of them will continue for the time being to attend Sunday meetings at St John’s. If God blesses the work numerically with new growth by conversion, we will explore whether this can become a new church in its own right, possibly functioning within the Mission Community. Please pray for Joe and Chelsea, as well as for this venture. We are utterly powerless to do these things in our own strength and only God can bless this work.
How we reach out
The centre manager and befrienders are believers who want to help and share their faith. Client events create the opportunity both to share the gospel and to encourage one-to-one conversation.
Currently the Essentials course; a four week course based around the themes of reveal, reject, rescue, relationship and response. These are gospel themes. Space is also given to any ‘big questions’ participants bring with them.
Evangelism of our networks
Each of us is to be speaking the gospel and giving a reason for our hope. Most of the testimonies given in the past few years, detail individuals in church reaching friends in their various networks and doing personal evangelism. So from 2019, we want to have more emphasis on people not programs, to reach out. In other words, less new events and more going to our contacts by each one of us.
Explorers and Pathfinders
The groups have grown in number since 2013. They are attended by a significant number who do not attend on Sunday. We aim for clear gospel explanation.
We hosted two missions in 2018. For an evaluation of how these went, see the Bishop of Durham’s video in the blog archive of our website for 2018.
Our aim in 2019 is to take a mission team somewhere, rather than receive one. This is likely to involve the Mission Community.
The Walker family serving in Argentina are among our mission partners
Supporting the work of others in their global gospel ministries, both prayerfully and financially.
The Church of England name for baptisms, weddings and funerals. Since 2013, one of the Ministers has met at least twice (and often more) with each family that wants a child baptised, usually to read through Mark’s gospel. We aim to prepare them so they understand the basic gospel message. We see weddings and funerals, also, as gospel opportunities with families.
In 2018 we have begun work in Jericho school, alongside the work that has happened for many years in Hensingham Primary. We have opportunities every month to lead assemblies and they feel fruitful. Fergus is a governor at Mayfield School, and several of our congregation are governors in various schools.
Easter Football School/ Holiday Clubs for children. Running each year since 2014 and presenting a tremendous opportunity. A Christmas Extravaganza has happened three years in a row, where we have tried to bring an emphasis on building relationships and a gospel message. These are highly dependent on the skills/gifts within the congregation at the time.
In 2015 and 2016 we ran Seasons of Invitation using the scheme developed by Michael Harvey. These aim to build momentum from September to December with the events in the church calendar such as Harvest, Remembrance and Advent. We may return to this, depending on having the right person to co-ordinate this.
We see these as primarily aiming to feed believers, but we recognise also that we have many people joining us who are not believers each Sunday. We seek to make sure they hear the gospel. Each Sunday, approximately 180 adults attend services, and 30-40 under 16s.
Reaching parents and carers through provision of a quality group, friendship, evangelism, children’s talks, singing and prayer.
‘2 for 2022’