Andy shares the story of how Wheatley Park Baptist Church found a creative way to engage with their community to make Jesus known.
Wheatley Park Baptist Church’s story was produced by the
Evangelical Alliance with the support of
We've got a whole group of people in our community, where there's no community building, there's no church, how do you take the gospel of Jesus Christ to that group of people
My name's Andy and this is the story of Wheatley Park Baptist Church
The community that we live in
is a very long community and the five church buildings are only in half of that community
And very few people worshipping in those church buildings from the other half of the community"
So I was sat in my office with our parish nurse, saying what can we do"
There's no community buildings in there that we could set up anything in, and what she said is: "we need a mobile church"
And the same week a couple of my neighbours, who run their own business, said: "you don't know anybody that wants a mobile office do you
And I said: "hang on a minute, I may do
It's a box on wheels that's branded up as Church on Wheels
And really that is a focus for attracting people
What we've done most often is something called party on the green
And we literally give flyers out to the 100 or so houses round the green where we're going to be and we pitch up, we set up Church on Wheels, we put a gazebo outside, we serve food and play games"
But immediately you pitch up on a green patch in a community, people start looking
And the great thing is then you can wonder over to them and say: "would you like to come and have a cuppa tea, would you like some cake, would you like a sandwich
And you're engaging with people immediately, that would never, ever come through a door of a church
The first time we pitched up, we pulled onto this green and we had delivered leaflets to houses round the green
And we obviously hadn't delivered to this house because this chap came out going: "what do you think your doing"
Have you got permission to do this
I don't want you Christians shouting and bawling about your faith in front of me
And I said: "well we have got permission from the council, but we're not doing that
What we want to do is something for the community, we want it to be a place where people come up and have food, talk to their neighbours, the kids can come and play games
we will be organising games for them
And he calmed right down, he just changed completely
We always make sure that we we pray before we go out and ultimately you're asking to connect with the people where God's already working
That's one thing again, a different mindset I think sometimes as churches we need to get into we think we've got to go out and pull people to Jesus
Where actually when you go out, you actually find God's already moving His Spirit is already speaking to people
If there's other churches out there wondering what they should do if, kind of, they're wondering about how can we reach our community
I'd really just say to them be imaginative, be creative, don't be trapped by what you've always done or what you think is church
We need to take radical, alternative, visionary steps