Well today is Pentecost. The day that the Church celebrates its founding. The day that Acts 2 records the Spirit moving among the disciples after the momentous events of Easter and bringing to birth the Church.
We too are seeing the Spirit move amongst us as a church. It isn’t always easy to see or hear what He is up to I must admit! But there appear to be some outlines that are coming into focus. At the staff away days last November we saw that God was calling us to the next steps that we are being led to as a church. These included our young adults in the Emerge ministry, our cell groups, growing our leaders and our River ministries.
We did discuss one other.
This was to resource and help other churches but there was a feeling that we were stretched too thinly already.
So we dropped the fifth one.
But it seems God has other ideas.
We have just heard that we have been awarded some significant monies to do some growth research in deprived areas. The Church of England has started a research project to find out how the church can grow in deprived areas. We were one of about 30 bids that they accepted around the country. Our bid was a combined bid with St Paul’s, Brixton and was fronted by the Diocese of Southwark.
This comes out of our planting our new congregation about 18 months ago in Roundshaw. There were several key elements that we put forward that we would like to test more in Roundshaw and elsewhere. These included Missional Community Groups (aka Cell Groups), overlapping ministries (i.e. that ministries are more effective if we have multiple ministries that overlap rather than scattered across a wide variety of areas), using a church’s strengths in a deprived community (in our case working with families) etc.
The money will be used to develop more over-lapping ministries in Roundshaw around our strengths working with families (and especially families with children), in training, in helping and assisting other churches to develop using the model that we are working with to see if it is applicable in different contexts.
In addition we have also been approached by another organisation to see if we could host and support their mission focussed training in the area. This is another exciting opportunity that could well link into the monies being given to us by the Church of England and hopefully will be supported by the Diocese as well! But this early days yet and may come to nothing but it is a striking sign of God’s seeming call on us as a church.
Then we link in the loss of the Church Centre and the move into more public spaces then we are starting to see the outline of a move started 20 years ago by the original planting of Springfield. We felt very much called to plant our new congregation at St Paul’s, Roundshaw and were indeed asked by the incumbent there to do so. God appears to be calling us to the next step of widening His mission amongst us. It is striking and exciting.
So, what is next?
Well, we have various meetings with the diocese and St Paul’s Brixton to look more at what winning the bid will mean and what part we need to play. Then at the beginning of July we have three days away as a staff team to look at and plan what changes we need to make that come out of the focal points of our current call and see how we can do all that God is calling us to. Then there is a period of consultation and discussion with the PCC to look at and agree a plan of what we believe God is calling us to do.
This is an exciting period in the life of Springfield and God seems to be really opening lots of doors for His work amongst us!