One of the most exciting development at Springfield is the developing of what we call River Ministries. These are ministries that we start in the community for the community. We already have a number of these ministries operating in the Church such as our Youth ministry, The MiX and our Cafe Connect, Footsteps and Tiptoes.
We are finding that God is opening up ministries and opportunities to us more and more. We see that this is an opportunity to serve and care for our community and to reach out with the love of Jesus to those around us.
There were a number of things that we needed to bear in mind when looking at these opportunities:
- Would the ministry overlap with existing areas in anyway? Overlap is good because it enables us to care for people more and enable them to get to know us better. We’ve found that “isolated” ministries have a tendency to be more fragile
- Would it use the strengths that God has given us as a church?
- How can we support through Cell groups? In some of these cases it may well be good to have Cell groups as Missional Community Groups that are focussed on the ministry
- How we would ensure a sufficient quality whilst remembering that the key thing was the relationships that we built?
We had two meetings on Monday with those who were interested in exploring the opportunities that we saw that God might be calling us to. It was so encouraging to see so many people coming and sharing their ideas. The key to all of this is that it is the God-given ideas of people in the church and NOT staff that drives this. The staff team is here to support and encourage and to walk with people as they develop ideas and help make them a reality; to make sure that people don’t feel that they are carrying the idea all by themselves.
There were some really great ideas that came out of it all and that will need development over time. When we looked at them we saw that we could see seven overarching areas that are worth looking at to see what we should do. These areas have overlaps between them as well as overlapping with some of our current ministry.
The seven areas (with a brief description) that people identified were:
There was a recognition that there are many lonely people. People who are elderly, bereaved, divorced or single for example. Cafe connect obviously can help form part of this and the Ashby Grange cell and ministries. Other ideas included residential visiting, courses for bereaved people or going through separation.
This was the idea of taking our faith onto the streets in a variety of different ways. Ideas mentioned included Street Pastors, working with the youth on the streets of Roundshaw and Street Healing (praying for people on the streets).
Lots of ideas here from having Chatterbox on Roundshaw, debt counselling, homelessness, tacking exclusion, prison ministry/ young offenders etc
Based around a social activity. Again lots of ideas around sports (dads/ children football, tennis etc), curry church (meeting in a curry house), book clubs, joining existing social groups as a small group etc
Again overlaps with other areas but some distinctives here. These would be about helping people with things such as relationships – parenting courses (including for parents with teenagers), healthy eating, homework clubs etc
Lots of overlaps here with some of the above (e.g. in Learning and Social Ministries) – but ways to equip and encourage young families. For some this might include more inter-generational things or a toddler group on Roundshaw
Again lots of overlap – detached youth work in Roundshaw, another MiX, parenting for parents etc
This is a broad brush outline (though please feel free to add to the list in the comments below or if you were at one of the meetings and I missed something then let me know!). The meeting was really about getting some ideas out for us to identify and then look at more closely. It may well be that you don’t see an idea that you are passionate about – don’t worry! There is lots of time to explore different opportunities.
The next step is that we will arrange some meetings in the New Year to look more closely at some of these areas and to see what we believe that God is calling us to and what we could do. Do pray and do talk and think about these areas and what we might do.