Baptist Union of Great Britain - February 14, 2019
Read this encouraging news from the Baptist Union of Great Britain.
Firestarters is a community of churches, led by the leaders of some of the fastest growing Baptists Together churches, who are eager to grow and learn together with a commitment to seeing people saved by Jesus. They want to see '100 Baptists Together churches see twice the number of baptisms in the 12 months following as the five years previously'. 'Growing churches, helping grow churches' is its strapline.
The heart of this is has been a series of 24-hour Firestarter conversations to share stories and lessons learnt, and encourage churches to be courageous in mission. Eight were held last year. (Reflection on a Firestarter event - July 2018)
A further eight Firestarter conversations have now been scheduled for 2019, beginning with London (7-8 March).
Each Firestarter conversation is hosted by a Baptist church experiencing unusual growth. It is held over two days with opportunities to hear the stories of growing churches and attend interactive seminars on factors influencing church growth. Those attending will also have opportunities to reflect and discuss their own church and its future growth.
Numbers are always kept low to ensure lots of interaction and support from other delegates and those leading the conversation. There are also 2019 events in Coventry, Bristol, Stafford, Gerrards Cross, Reading and Sheffield.
Feedback from last year’s events have included:
“A remarkable two days that changed how I understood church life, leadership and mission.”
“Five months after attending a Firestarter conversation I am delighted to write that we have now seen 17 baptisms - having had only three in the last three years! And we trace God’s work here directly to the lessons and encouragement of Firestarters, which was simply the most helpful event I have ever attended.”
“I want to personally thank the team for how you welcomed, embraced and got to know us as a team and church. We are already signed up for next year having seen the benefits of the learning and discussions we had.”
“Simply the best church thing I have attended in all my years of ministry. First class because it was so real.”
“It was a unique privilege to be in such a small group with amazing openness and time given by leaders of growing churches... But also remarkably helpful because it was not generic or coming from some big-wig expert, but focussed on us and our situation and context.”
Six churches lead this movement - Nathan & Sally-Ann Hunt (Shinfield Baptist Church), Darren Bovis-Coulter (Limbrick Wood Baptist Church), Alex Harris (The Beacon Church, Stafford), Nick and Marjorie Allan (The Well, Sheffield), Pauline Wills (Blaby Baptist Church, Leicestershire), and Aaron Jarvis (Londonderry Baptist Church). A Baptists Together mission grant was awarded in early 2018 to support the movement.
Alex, whose church is hosting a Firestarter conversation 1-2 October, said, ‘Last year Firestarters engaged a remarkable 127 churches; providing specific coaching and follow up to 74 of those 127 churches; and specific, bespoke leadership training events for seven of them.
‘We know seven churches who have now experienced twice the number of baptisms since attending a Firestarter than in the last five years, and a further 16 twice the number than in the last three years, plus two new congregations launched by different churches.
‘Subjectively our average participant assessment is 9.4 out of 10 with comments like ‘best thing I have been part of in 20 years of ministry’.
‘We are excited to see how Firestarters, strategically launched through the initial grant from Baptists Together, might grow in its kingdom impact across our family.’
For more information, visit: https://firestartersuk.com/events/
This story first appeard on the website of The Baptist Times and is used with permission. Photo by Connor Jalbert on Unsplash.