- WHAT'S ON
It began in 2010 with a group of representatives of the FIEC, Newfrontiers, BCM and the Anglican Church – sitting down together and considering some of the needs and opportunities facing us in this city.
It focuses the mind to realise that within 10 miles of each of our church buildings are the best part of 1 million people who don’t know Jesus and to know that, largely speaking, we’re not reaching those people. They’re never going to walk through the door on a Sunday morning unless we do something different.
We very much agreed that if something didn’t change, there’d be whole segments of the population we’d never reach and that bothered us!
We also acknowledged that the need in Birmingham wasn’t going to be met by local churches, networks, denominations and organisations working independently. Whilst some genuinely good work could be done through our own churches we recognised that our scope is always going to be limited.
Church history teaches that independence is a real killer of momentum and that it’s when we collaborate and work together that we get movement.
In a city all the strengths and resources in each church could be kept them to ourselves but what we’re finding is it’s a very positive experience to share them with one another. Whilst we don’t pretend to endorse every detail of each other’s theology and ecclesiology we can agree on a strategy if not all the tactics!
Now, it’s taken time and there’s still so much more that we’re looking to do but since we went public with our vision to see 20 churches planted in Birmingham by 2020 – we’ve partnered with 5 new church plants, 2 new church sites, and 1 replant.
Just to stress, we’re working together to plant churches – but not necessarily planting churches together. We recognise that we all come with our own different flavours and trying to blend them all together in one church plant may end up slightly complicated but right now we are drawing on our collective gifts and experience to actively recruit, train, mentor and resource church planters together.
We’re also looking to work to renew and revive struggling churches and we’re beginning to think a little more strategically about how to reach new people groups in the city – whether that’s through social action projects or working into ethnically diverse areas.
Just to add, we don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that simply by planting a whole bunch of new churches, we’ll change the city. We need churches that impact society, not just rearrange Christians!
Now (four years in), we’re still going because we genuinely believe that we’re better able to meet the challenges of our city through creative collaboration than on our own. If you like, we see a whole lot of potential to accomplish more together than we could apart. We certainly don’t want to give the impression that we’ve got all the answers but, alongside others, we’re determined to play our part!