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Small Church Connexion

Small Church Connexion

The Small Church Connexion was established as an initiative of the LBA in 2003 for mutual help and support between small churches.

News

Please Click Here Autumn 2016 News Letter.

 

2017

Small Church Connexion will be offering more encouragement days from January to July 2017. 7 churches invited us to their church in 2016.

Book now with Hilary Taylor on 01784 558414 or hilary.taylor@tiscali.co.uk.

Our next event will be a Retreat on Saturday 18th March. More details to follow in the new year.

 

BUGB SMALL CHURCHES NEWS

HEBA – Small church day held in June, about 60 people attended. It was held in a small rural church. Topics covered included worship, mission, identity in the community, safeguarding, & pensions. They discussed the future, promoting partnerships between large and small churches, making Home Mission relational and another small church day in Feb 2017.

EMBA – 2 small church conferences in 2015. This year Steve Price is leading training courses across EMBA for all churches covering worship, preaching & change. 8th October is the Association day for all churches about mission, encouraging people in mutual circumstances.

CBA – the team ran a second small church day this year with 37 people attending on worship, preaching & leadership, with a good Q&A session. The church at Corby has closed and there are several churches on the edge of viability. Encouraging HM video about the church in Bletchley, with good changes taking place. A small church newsletter is sent out every 3 months.

YBA – held a small church conference with people attending. They discussed ideas for growth and shared the good things and the tough things about being small. The churches said they needed help with safeguarding, money and possible partnering. They have booked the next conference already. The YBA are also holding a worship workshop for any church to attend.

SWBA – held a day conference last October with 14 churches represented. Great feedback from the day saying it was encouraging and challenging. Several churches have seen growth following the day. They have a small churches facebook page which is open to any small church in BUGB. The next day conference is booked for this October.

SEBA – held 2 small church day conferences earlier this year. There are 53 small churches out of a total of 150 in SEBA. Each small church was contacted by phone and invited personally to the conferences and 30 attended over the 2 days. There is a really effective network system in SEBA which works well, connecting local churches of all sizes together.

SCBA – Keith is doing research into surburban small churches in mission. Small churches can be inspirational and ambitious in their mission. No SCBA small church day conferences held yet.

NBA – a small Association of many small churches. They run 2 assemblies a year and evenings 3 times a year led by the Regional Team on a theme requested by the churches such as mission innovations, visionary leadership, how to be a healthy church. NBA has recently set up a prayer initiative and an intentional pilgrimage to each church. There is now a weekly prayer diary.

EBA – the Regional Team visit each church 3 times each year, for services or church meeting, not just when there is a problem. Partnership and sharing resources is encouraged between large and small churches. Looking into small church day conferences.

WEBA – run a 2 year learning community available to every church. This runs 3 times a year for leadership teams. They run a Home Mission community day once a year where all churches receiving Home Mission money send their leadership teams. Where churches are struggling, a steering group helps them by running the church for a period and exploring questions such as closure, amalgamation or resurrection. Alisdair gave an example where a steering group had encouraged a church to have a café church once a month and an MiT was sent in. The congregation met in sheltered housing on Sundays and the café church ran in the church building. The group consisted of a Regional Minister, the church treasurer, a lay preacher, 2 others and the MiT. The situation is to be reviewed in 5 years when the group disbands and the church continues having been revitalised.

NWBA – The majority of churches in NWBA are small. Many of the small churches are growing and some of the large churches are shrinking. The Association run ministry and leadership training for the 73 full time and 56 part time ministers. Where there is lay leadership, there is an issue of succession. Early retired ministers have been invited to work in some of the churches. A group organising café church take it to many locations to build relationships and inspire the small churches. 120 young people recently attended a NWBA run youth weekend. Great for a carful of young people and their leaders from smaller churches to attend a big event.

LBA – The Small Church Connexion usually run 2 events for small churches each year in central London, but in 2016 decided to hold ‘encouragement days’ instead. The flyers were sent to all 112 small churches offering 2 of the SCC team to hold an encouragement day for just their church, on a day of their choice on their premises. This has been well received and we have held 7 so far. We have networked personally with more people this way. We are also holding a celebration in the autumn but holding this on a Monday instead of the usual Saturday due to dwindling numbers. We will continue to offer the encouragement days in 2017. The newsletter goes out 4 times a year and the database is used widely across the LBA.

toolbox

A Toolbox for Small Churches

The Small Church Connexion helped to develop “A Toolbox for Small Churches” which is a spiritual and practical guide to life in small churches and includes 26 stories of how it works in reality from churches across the UK. It was written by Hilary Taylor (LBA Small Church Enabler) and published in 2007. Copies can be obtained from Hilary Taylor. See also her Small Churches Blog – smallchurches.wordpress.com

Mission

The Mission Statement of the Small Church Connexion is: “to connect small churches to fulfil their mission” through: Encouraging, Networking, Training, Resourcing, Challenging.

Definitions

The Small Church Connexion has defined a small church as one having 40 or less people attending the main worship service. The Small Church Connexion works across London in all Districts of the London Baptist Association, and has the full support of the LBA Directors, Regional Ministers, and District Ministers.

Aims and Objectives

The short term aims and objectives of the Small Church Connexion are to:

  • Have a representative from each District on the SCC Team;
  • Make presentations to churches at District level;
  • Hold regular events for the small churches;
  • Run a database for all LBA churches to provide preachers, worship leaders, musicians and help for treasurers;
  • Keep in touch with all small churches with our newsletter;
  • Promote the Mission@Home project

The long term aims and objectives of the Small Church Connexion are to:

  • Ensure small churches are valued;
  • Ensure small churches are resourced well to fulfil their mission;
  • Encourage small churches to contribute as a vital part of their District of Baptist churches;
  • Encourage small churches to make an impact on their local community;
  • Encourage the twinning of large and small churches for mutual appreciation and spiritual and practical resourcing.

Events

Events organised by the Small Church Connexion are included in the LBA Diary and advertised in the LBA news.

Who are the Small Church Connexion Team?

  • Hilary Taylor – LBA Small Church Enabler
  • Paul Collett in the South Eastern District
  • Sandra Kimber in the Thames Valley District
  • Daniel Otieno-Ndale in the Western District
  • John Grant in the Northern District
  • Matt Squire in the Northern District
  • Elaine Leck in the East Surrey District
  • Valerie Winchester – newsletter editor – in the South East Thames District

What we have done so far….

  • Formed a central SCC team of small church pastors and workers to plan and pray;
  • Decided our Aims and Objectives;
  • Received full support from Directors, Regional and District Ministers;
  • Held a successful Resources Exhibition in May 2004;
  • Encouraged networking between those from small churches who attended;
  • Produced a Resources Directory;
  • Keeping the small churches informed with mailings;
  • Touring the Districts to meet people where they are;
  • Introduced the LBA Directory and a database manager
  • Held a Resources Exhibition with seminars and prayer in 2005;
  • Held Resources Exhibition and a series of District Training Days 2007;
  • Hilary Taylor published her book “Toolbox for Small Churches” 2007;
  • A series of Practical Workshops during 2008;
  • A series of Encouragement Days during 2009;
  • Spring and autumn celebrations 2010 / 2011;
  • Led a Baptist Assembly day conference in 2012;
  • Held our first small church retreat in 2013;
  • 2014 Encouraged BUGB small church leaders to run small church conferences

Mission@home

When asked, small churches don’t usually ask for money, but people. Small Church, I have found, is the best training ground for serving God and each other in many ways. Although people are willing, they often lack the skills or knowledge. Training would be helpful but a day’s course won’t help much.

What is the best way to learn? Someone doing the job alongside you for a period of time.

Mission@home is the scheme that Small Church Connexion are running, releasing kingdom gifts across London, with mission in mind. Small churches are always looking for ways to grow – they have to be mission minded.

Many people have energy, experience and time when they retire and want to do something for God. There are some good examples of this working already such as two retired lay people each giving their churches 5 years to come to a place to receive a full time minister. Hopefully, people of all ages will rise to the challenge and use their skills to make a difference.

Think of it as mission@home. Many people would love to go on overseas mission but can’t afford it or have visa or health issues. There are plenty of opportunities in London – the city where the world comes to us! From inner city to leafy suburbs. This is mission, to offer skills and experience to another church, to teach others so they can continue when the time is up.

That’s part of the attraction – there is an agreed time limit – 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Each volunteer will have a different skill set and experience and so will be placed where they fit best.

I asked small churches at our latest event what areas of church life could use a volunteer for a period of time and they said:

  • Assisting various projects in our church
  • To help us run a youth discipleship Freedom in Christ course
  • Help with children
  • Spiritual father for young men
  • Worship – evangelism – ministry to men
  • Youth Activities

We have been approached so far to provide someone who can:

  • Help the new secretary and treasurer to build basic infrastructure
  • Provide 3 months leading of the church so minister can go on sabbatical

Small church people can work and be on mission too – this is not just a large church helps small church project. People from small churches are LBA directors, District Ministers, lay preachers, part of Small Church Connexion to name but a few. In Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were part of the leadership and were sent out to do mission. Our first volunteer is an elder in a large church. Anyone can join the scheme.

For more information, please contact (Hilary Taylor)

LBA Database

This is a list of available men and women who are preachers, worship leaders, musicians and those who have skills as treasurers, and who have risen to the challenge of serving other churches across the LBA. This service is organised for the LBA by the Small Church Connexion.

Every LBA church can benefit from this service as well as sign people up to serve.

The LBA Database Manager is Neil Tresise – call Neil to book someone or to volunteer.

Contact

To get in touch with the Small Church Connexion, please contact (Hilary Taylor). Hilary is the LBA Small Church Enabler. See also her Small Churches Blog.

Hilary Taylor (LBA Small Church Enabler)

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