Life in the South West
Using Home Mission resources to respond to a sense of calling
It’s that time of year again! The Home Mission grant application forms have been sent out and we are waiting to see what the level of take-up is. Here in the South West Baptist Association (SWBA) we are working in partnership with three other Associations (Southern Counties, South Wales and the West of England) in trying to ensure that we use our allocation of grant resources to best effect. This means that we have agreed not to make payments to ‘prop up’ churches that have lost their way. Neither will we use funds to support a church that already has significant resources ‘squirrelled away’ in their bank accounts!
We are looking for missional passion… for a love of the lost… for a sense of calling and a desire to respond to that call. Put simply, we are looking for evidence that the Holy Spirit has planted a vision into the heart of his people and that they are determined and focussed enough to see that vision through. We want to see the Kingdom of God more rooted and more firmly established here. We want to see his Church making a difference in local communities and in the lives of individuals and families. Am I being too idealistic and theatrical? Well, maybe… but there again, I am taking my lead from Jesus himself - the master story-teller who spread the Gospel by telling good stories, and by being the good story.
I love the way in which, as stories are shared of what God is doing in one part of our patch, so it seems to spark off a fresh consideration of possibilities somewhere else. From Watchet to Devonport, from Yeovil to Yeoford, from Wincanton to The Lizard Peninsular… they all have their stories to tell - and so the baton of faith is passed on. Incidentally, we are delighted that in June we will be celebrating as the Lizard Church is formally constituted and joins the Association!
Regional Minister, Team Leader
Some years ago now I travelled out to the Isles of Scilly to meet some Christians on St Mary’s who were wondering if the time was right to begin meeting as a Baptist church (the last Baptist Church closed on Bryer in the 1960’s). We are still watching and waiting – looking for the wind of the Spirit to blow through those islands. Is it now Lord? Please pray and let me know what the Lord says to you.
We also have a husband and wife team - both Baptist ministers - moving to Penzance later this year from the Midlands with their young family, with a real sense that the Lord is calling them to plant a church there from scratch! This couple come with a warm commendation from our friends in the EMBA. When I met with them last year they didn’t lead off with questions about financial support and housing. They simply told me that they were being called and wanted ‘to belong’ and to ‘be accountable’. I can work with people like this! Please pray.
Click here for a printable Fact File about Life in the South West to share with your church.
Click here to read more stories about how the money you give to Home Mission is being used to bring the love of God to communities around the country.