A friend of mine, Sandra Kimber, shared her passion with me, and i’m sharing it with you.
“Some 40 years ago God called me to serve in Nigeria. I did not see it as my ‘becoming a missionary’ at that point but simply changing the sphere of my service. However, it did mean sacrifice – leaving family and friends, my home, the culture and language that I knew – but it was a rich time of growth for me, as well as service. The following thoughts are written from that perspective of mission.
In the UK there are a large number of small churches – small because they need to be, small because they are not moving or small because someone hasn’t heard the call to ‘come over and help us’. It may be easier or more comfortable to be in a larger church but is it where God wants them to be? Do they know that where they are at present is where GOD wants them? Has He called them to stay where they are? It is my belief that some churches are struggling because the call has not gone out.
This is not a call for an occasional preacher but a call to go – not to Africa – but just down the road where ‘the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few’! This is a call for a few to leave the comfort of their familiar surroundings and church friends, to go and put their all into a smaller mission. It may be for a set period – a year or two – or permanently.
At Hampton Wick Baptist Church, we have the following situations which we cannot take any further till more hands are available …
Children / Youth
Our Toddler Group is bursting at the seams but we are only able to do it on one day. Even that is a struggle. We have developed good relationships with many of the Mums etc and would like to take it further – by providing an extra day with specific Christian input ie story time would be Bible stories, the craft would be based around that story and singing would be Christian songs. We would also like to introduce MessyChurch, or something similar, in order to bridge the enormous gap between Toddler Group and Church.
However, if more children came to church we would be in trouble because we struggle at present to provide a proper children’s programme on a Sunday morning. We have to have all age groups in together because of staffing which is not helpful to those now beginning to reach senior school age.
We have a wonderful group of 6 children (aged 8-10) plus one 6 year old and a baby. Most of the older group are Christians, who need a youth group in order to maintain their interest and help them to grow as future leaders of the church. One of these who is extremely keen has recently stopped coming because football takes place on a Sunday morning and that is the one thing he is good at. He needs a midweek group.
In the last 9 months we have had 3 baptisms and we have another one pending for Easter Sunday with two candidates. Baptism is only the beginning and each of these needs nurturing. Two of them are trained in dance and are seeking to get into the dance world. Most rehearsals happen on a Sunday morning and we only have a morning service. We would love to provide an evening of worship, prayer and teaching but we don’t have the resources to do it. If not a Sunday evening, then even a house group, but that is not possible either because of lack of such leadership.
We also have one who has just become a Christian, not yet baptised, who needs discipleship. At present all discipleship falls to the Minister. Those who may have the ability (with help) to do it are stretched and cannot take on any more without detriment to family.
Our worship is restricted because we have no musicians. At present we use canned music which limits us in what we have available. Also machines have a tendency to go wrong at the wrong time which really doesn’t aid worship!
A door is opening to do the ‘Open Book’ in a local school and even though it is being done in conjunction with other churches in the area, it will stretch our already stretched resources.
We already have a working relationship with Richmond Housing Partnership to run activities for children and young people on the local estates during the school holidays. This has been done on a couple of occasions last year and is planned for the coming Easter and Summer. Again this falls to already stretched personnel.
Our work amongst the elderly, ‘Good Companions’ needs to step up a gear. We have been going once a month for nearly 14 years and reach around 35-40 each month. Some with church affiliation (but not necessarily Christian), a few Christians and the majority with no church link. A group called ‘Faith Rediscovered’ has been run on 3 occasions over that period but needs further development. It would be good to be able to extend the activities during the week. We also know that the area of Hampton Wick has a large elderly population and we need to make the work more widely known in order to reach out to our community.
The harvest is plentiful but will anyone hear the call and –
‘Come over and help us!’
Sandra Kimber April 2014
We all need to think ‘Kingdom’ more and be prepared to be missionaries to wherever God calls us. Please comment on this and share your experiences.