A new year generally brings with it a series of initiatives to declare anew the Christian faith.
Whether it's the UK launch of the
latest evangelistic craze or a bright and shiny course that will solve
everything and answer all your questions, there is a yearning to see the
church advance and not retreat.
But small is beautiful according to Waleswide, a church planting and
networking organisation based in Wales. Instead of promoting an
ambitious national strategy, it is planning a series of conferences with
a simple message: do something different and fill your local gaps.
In many ways it's the same ethos that motivates food bank to ask
shoppers to donate extra goods to them as they shop for their families.
Waleswide is simply asking churches to start or support a new missional
venture in their communities whilst continuing with existing outreach.
The organisation is hosting three conferences in north, south and
mid-Wales during February. The purpose of the conference is to
encourage, inspire and motivate delegates to become part of 'a new
mission to Wales'.
Every church will be encouraged to do something outside their patch,
so that gaps can be filled and differences made. The possibilities are
endless: planting a church, establishing a missional community,
supporting an existing new project, or doing Messy Church on a nearby
Two of the conferences will be held during the working week, one on 6
February in North Wales at Kinmel Bay Church, and in south Wales on 11
February in Brackla Tabernacle, Bridgend.
However for the first time since starting these conferences, there
will also be a gathering in mid -Wales at Newtown Evangelical Church.
This will take place between the other two on Saturday 8 February and is
aimed at leaders who are unable to meet during the week due to other
It is particularly hoped that this extra date will appeal to people
who are interested in church plants and fresh expressions of mission.
Each event runs from runs from 10am to 4pm.
The message may be simple but the vision is expansive. The organisers
say they are seeking to engage churches all over Wales and challenge
them to reprioritise Wales as a mission field. To keep content
practical, the events will include suggestions for planting,
strengthening and growing churches.
Chairman of Waleswide, David Ollerton said: "If every gospel-minded
church in Wales decided to reach out in some way to an adjacent area,
near or far, we could really begin to see a difference.
"It may be a house group or a gospel community beyond our present
sphere; giving support or people to a plant or re-plant, a messy church
group, or indeed anything that is realistic. So that we all play an
active part in a new mission.
"Everyone is welcome to attend. We
specially hope that church leaders, those stepping into leadership and
those considering a call to pioneer in Wales will come."
The keynote address will be given by the Reverend Chris Green, Vice
Principal of Oak Hill Theological College, lecturer on church planting,
and author of the Message of the Church in 'The Bible Speaks Today'
There will also be a range of workshops and seminars lead by
practitioners from across Wales.
Subjects will include:
Planting a church from another church – Gareth Lloyd
Restarting an existing work – Gary Stirling
Starting from a gospel community – Steve Dyer
Pre-planting steps (Messy Church) – Bill Chapman
The options in Welsh – Rhun Murphy/Hywel Edwards/David Ollerton and James Sercombe.
For people who are committed to the health of churches in Wales this
may well prove to be the most important missional gathering of the year.