This year the president of the Baptist Union has a theme ‘Where do we grow from here?‘. For us as a church this is an excellent question as we pray into the possibility of pioneering out, with thoughts towards the new housing areas of Ely North very much in mind.
Traditionally the church has been understood by its building centrally located near the centre of Ely. In many ways that forms the ‘here‘ in the question ‘Where do we grow from here?’. But we know it is not about buildings! The church is about about people, and people discovering and entering the Kingdom of God. (In any case, though our premises in the centre of Ely afford us a great central location, they are limited in size and ability to re-configure).
So for pioneering we are deliberately looking out beyond our traditional location. Since the city itself is growing with significant additions of new housing, the ‘where‘ may well out in the new (or newly refurbished) housing areas. These include the other side of Cam Drive (‘The Orchards’), Kings Meadow (off the end of Kings Road), and a re-vitalised estate around the Prince of Wales hospital (former forces housing).
As we pray, we pray with open minds and hearts – so currently we are not limiting ourselves to just these areas. God might direct us to a different ‘where‘!
We are also not limiting ourselves to classic models of church. It is about the ‘grow‘ in Kingdom terms, rather than ‘copy & paste’ or ‘rinse & repeat’ of existing church activity. We are therefore looking for God to lead us out, directing step by step in the direction, way and resulting models that He would have us grow into. For us as we pray into pioneering, therefore, that excellent question ‘Where do we grow from here?’ starts by being wide open.