The resource Story
The story starts in 2002 with a cluster of Baptist churches in North Bristol. We realised that of the seven churches, two were in long term decline and that one of these, Lawrence Weston Baptist Church would soon face closure.
It took two years of talking and praying before much progress was made – we started to learn that good listening and patience in this initial phase of partnership development was essential for all involved.
We began to discover that fundamental change was needed. We needed a fresh and creative understanding of what mission shaped urban churches might look like. We also needed some adventurous new ways of preparing people for ministry and mission in our cities. The challenge lay as much with the larger churches who had to re-think what it meant to be a wealthy Christian community only 5 minutes drive from serious urban poverty.
The obvious urban need led to two key steps: one was to start a conversation with Bristol Baptist College about how we might develop training for urban mission; the other was to set up a small organisation which would raise a banner in Bristol calling people to participate in what we saw as an adventurous initiative in kingdom shaped mission.
This mission had three main components:
- building the capacity of urban churches in Bristol to carry out creative ministry in their own communities
- giving opportunities for ministry experience and training in diverse inner-city areas and large urban estates
- promoting strategic partnerships between churches which are resource poor and resource rich