“We need a new face for church – different entry points. The services that churches run, such as youth work; playgroups; counselling and hospitality, are what people are looking for, and these increasingly need to be the way that people find church. We need to be planting facilities that build community and contribute to healthy societies, which also function as faith communities.”
This statement is part of a new Baptist Union (BUV) missional initiative called “Innovate.” Innovate is being launched at this October’s BUV Gathering and boldly states “To reach people we have never reached before…we need to do things we have never done before”.
As someone who came into the church as a 19yo, I can tell you I would never have been reached by church in a more traditional form. It was through Christians in rock bands visiting the pubs I frequented that I first met Christians. And these Christians believed that we needed to do church differently to reach a different demographic and culture. While traditional forms of church are well-suited and appreciated by people who have grown up in them, they are often irrelevant and pointless for those searching spiritually. This is hard for churches; on the one hand we need to nurture, support and provide teaching and fellowship for our members. On the other hand, we can’t do this at the expense of mission: we are a sent people, not a staying people. And to this end the BUV Innovate document goes on to say:
“We are learning that churches need new faces to connect with people. We need to be planting Jesus-centred communities that are shaped around cafes, community hubs, childcare centres, and other ventures that build immediate connection, social capital and relationships.”
It is these statements from our BUV that encourage me regarding our decision as a church to enter into a journey of identifying our mission focus and including in this the developing of a masterplan for our properties.
In 1995, former Senior Pastor Ruth Sampson wrote a summary of KBC entitled “Our Founding Dream”. Here are a few points on who we are as a church historically:
Risk-taking: Founders were pioneers of Kew, unafraid to take risks in church life too.
Flexibility: Programs and property were a means to an end, not ends in themselves.
Evangelical fervour: Concern the gospel be proclaimed, and new churches planted.
Some other points were: Responsiveness to local values and needs; A global vision for mission; Generous giving; Commitment to the young; and Inclusiveness.
Let us keep the dream alive, Kew Baptist. God is with us. Always.