One of the great events each year is our Feast in the Field that we normally hold at the end of Flaming June. Well this year we timed it with the Big Jubilee Lunch. Unfortunately, the weather was less than good on that Jubilee weekend Sunday! But the great thing was that we still had a great turnout – and the majority were not people who regularly attend Springfield. That and the ability to move the day inside out of the wind and rain was a great saving. But more important than all was the opportunity to gather with friends and neighbours and family for a great time together.
But it also got me thinking some more about one of the key aspects of outreach at Springfield which is that we want to allow people to meet with us and these events and cell socials are great ways to allow people to see what Springfield is about and what is important to us. We have also noticed that the more overlap between different ministries that we have that the more people come to join us. I suppose that we shouldn’t be surprised by that as we have noticed in the past that people who are joining Springfield are those that come to a series of different activities or ministries and at their own pace decide to join the church. This was one of the key insights of our recent bid for mission money from the Church of England.
That principle of overlapping ministries/events was also in evidence in an article from Anglican Church Planting Initiatives which described a church where one person created a number of overlapping ministries allowing people multiple opportunities to relate to the church.
So far at Springfield we have a number of “groups” of overlapping ministries. One that is probably reasonably obvious is that of young families where we have a number of overlapping ministries and events – e.g. Tiptoes, Footsteps, The MiX, Roadrunners, Sparklers, Feast in the Field, Holiday Club etc. But we also have one that is also developing around our elderly with our Ashby Grange cell group, Caring Cupcakes and a scrabble club etc.
I hope and expect that others may well develop in the future around social issues or our young adults or some other area. These allow us to have in-depth offerings in these areas. So, instead of covering a lot of ground in a shallow way we try and develop expertise and depth in different areas (I think that we can all agree that our children’s work and youth work is some of the best around). This is also where River ministries come in – the idea of members of Springfield taking the initiative to use and develop their gifts in areas and start ministries in the community for the sake of the community. This is an area that we would love to see developed more and more.
Some of our events can straddle different areas – for example our Big Jubilee Lunch showed the river pageant and had cream teas that seemed to appeal to other people than just our young families (indeed I saw no children watching the pageant!) – but the principle appears to be an important one for growing the church.
Pictures below from our recent Big Jubilee Lunch (usual tip: click on a picture to see it full size and can then click forward and back through the pictures)