I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago over the telephone by Fresh Expressions about what we get up to at Springfield. They have now published the interview on their website.
It is a bit of a departure for us having interviews about us as we have tended to want to focus on relationship building rather than building the advertising of Springfield. The interview came out of the coming to Springfield of the Archbishop of Canterbury next year.
There were a couple of key messages that I wanted to get across that I think might help others. The first was to do with building relationships and having ministries that re-enforce one another
The common problem for many churches is that they have some great ministries but they are stand-alone and don’t benefit from the relational overlap. So, for example, children come to Xplore on Mondays after school with their families invited to our monthly Messy Church. Those in Year Six are given invitations to our youth outreach The Mix, again every month, at a local community centre. The larger-scale events we put on are never officially advertised; we prefer to use word of mouth and ask people and families if they’d like to come along. Feast in the Field attracts about 600 people as a community event with laser quest, assault courses, Scalextric and face painting among other things. We also take up to 600 people to the cinema at Christmas. If we advertised I am sure that we could get larger crowds in but we would lose out on relationship building. We find that the more that we overlap and inter-connect what we do, the more that people are interested and able to take the next step in their faith journey.
The second was a reminder that it is easy to forget that a Fresh Expression can “grow up” and stop being a Fresh Expression and that we always need to re-assess what we do.
Springfield has always been a different sort of church. We were a fresh expression before the term was invented! The thing with many fresh expressions is that as their communities mature then it’s all too easy for them to revert to ‘normal’ church mode.
Have a read and let me know what you think. You might even disagree with something in it!
I’ve got one more blog post to do for them in a couple of weeks time. My last blog post for them is here.