As part of the Kairos Connexion network, we have missional communities spread across the UK. Every month, we aim to share a story from one of our network churches.
It’s wonderful to hear what is going on around the country!
This month’s story comes from Blacon near Chester. They have two missional communities and a thriving kids club being run by the team there.
They recently multiplied Blacon central into two missional communities. Here is a quick update from one of their leaders, Ed Green.
‘Here in Blacon, we have two thriving missional communities.
In the original ‘Blacon Central’ missional community, we are currently reshaping what we are doing specifically focussed around the children and families who attend Shout Kids Club. The children are mostly from the school where our own children attend.
Shout kids club, is run by one of the core team. She runs a team in partnership with another church and it’s going really well! It has grown to over 30 children and right now we feel that we wanted to connect more with the families. Some of them we already know well and have good connections through school.
With this in mind, we recently invited families to come to our house for lunch and to hear from their kids about what they have been learning about Jesus, it was a bit of a squeeze – but we had a great time!
We then invited them to join us every month for lunch and to know more about Jesus – wonderful.
The second Missional community is called ‘Open House’ and has a group of families meeting regularly and focusing their energy towards the school where their children attend at the top end of their estate. Life is busy, and we have seen the need to incorporate missional living with our everyday lives involving our children and their school communities.
We feel that we are on the brink of something very exciting in Blacon, we have seen people come to faith, be baptised and continue to grow as followers of Jesus.
We are hoping and praying that this will grow and we will see more and more people choose to follow Jesus and as a result have many more missional communities develop – watch this space!
Pray with us that we can continue to see where God is leading us, and seek his wisdom as we expand.
“If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure of a big surprise”… particularly if you happen to be venturing out on a Sunday afternoon into the woodlands between Bidborough and Southborough!
One church which is part of our Kent Hub has shaping their missional community by starting a Forest Church!
Clare Masters shares her story, here.
In November 2018 we began a new monthly “Forest Church” service on Sunday afternoons, alternating between the two churches in our parish, St Lawrence’s Bidborough and St Peter’s Southborough. The significant difference to our regular services is that most of Forest Church happens outdoors!
We begin in church with a short time of praise and worship, lasting about 15 minutes, and then everyone tumbles outside into the fresh air for adventures in God’s wonderful world.
Forest Church is open to all ages, but seeks to give a special welcome to families, as we know that Sunday morning diaries are often problematic, especially for those with children involved in sports. (My own three children are grown up now, but Sunday morning football matches have been a complication for us for many years.)
But 2018 saw a steady stream of families bringing their children for baptism, which led to many conversations about the difficulties of getting to church regularly on Sunday mornings. And as we prayed for these families taking first steps along the journey of faith, the idea of Forest Church began to grow.
Rural ministry may bring challenges, but there are also special advantages. We may not have spectacular premises, but our premises are set in spectacular surroundings, a real gift from God!
Around 40 – 50 people have been coming each month. The “service” component of our Forest Church is intentionally very simple, but we include a worship song (often sung unaccompanied), some confessional liturgy, Bible reading, short talk with lots of “audience participation” and interactive prayers. Although it’s only brief, it’s a significant opportunity to tell the good story of God’s love to a new cohort of families. And then we head outside for fun and fellowship.
We’ve done different activities each month, with a mix of action and creative options to suit various ages and energies. November involved a fire bowl set up in the churchyard, cooking breadsticks and marshmallows on whittled sticks, making a giant hedgehog collage on the ground from twigs and different leaves, and finishing with sparklers and prayers in a big circle.
In December (early Advent) we focused on Joseph the Carpenter and the surprises that unfolded for him. We went on a woodland walk imagining the journey to Bethlehem, stopping en route to create mud portraits of Mary and Joseph on tree trunks, played “hunt the donkey”, and also enjoyed a cake break in the woods and a mad game of passing a rugby ball round a circle of leaping children. In January, being Epiphany season, we thought about the wise men bringing treasures, and Jesus being the best treasure; and the activities included a challenging team treasure hunt (with chocolate prizes) and making winter bouquets from twigs and berries, to give to someone you treasure.
What has been particularly wonderful has been the help we have received from some of the families who have come along. Two of the families have enthusiastically taken on organising the crafts and refreshments. Forest Church has also strengthened links with three of our local farming families (who we already knew through our toddler group and the primary school), and they have invited Forest Church to celebrate on their farms!
In May we went to Four Winds Farm, a local sheep farm (Theme – the Lost Sheep!); in October we held our Harvest celebrations at Juddwood Farm; and we’ve been invited back to Four Winds for our nativity service this December.
God is very good.
If you have a story to share of what missional living, and church life looks for you, do send it through to us to email@example.com .
One of our Missional Communities is full of families who love to hang out, feast together and encourage each other in their parenting.
We are a real mix of people and ages and we love being an extended family to each other. Recently, in a number of discussions the area of helping raise children who understand the importance of ‘looking after God’s world’ and being a bright positive light for Jesus in our neighbourhoods was raised.
The children in the group seem to grasp this instinctively whilst us adults seem to always find the challenges in this. So we decided to get out and do something really practical- litter picking the neighbourhood around our church building.
We have been litter picking a couple of times now and we have had some really interesting moments. Firstly it has been brilliant for us as a community to be out together serving in such a practical way.
We have had some giggles and the kids have loved dressing up in the high viz like Bob the Builder!
Secondly we have had some great conversations with our local council and they have given us all the equipment we need to litter pick in exchange for a few social media posts. These relationships have already been significant and we sense some ‘places or people of peace here’. Thirdly we have had some brilliant conversations with those in the neighbourhood. It is a mixed community around us in terms of age and ethnicity.
It is an area which really needs to know the light only God can bring. Rich and Paul (two of the group) have especially had some significant conversations with some of the neighbourhood around why would a family group like us litter pick this community.
“The amazement and welcome we receive from those we meet whilst out and about is certainly sowing seeds of hope and God’s love. “
Finally though it has impact our wider church community. Over this summer we have been sharing in a video teaching programme called ‘It’s a wonderful world’ which has got us all engaging with practical ways we can ’tread lightly’ on the world God has given us.
Together as a whole church we are considering how we can steward the world God has given us well and in doing so be a light to others in our communities.
The area of plastic pollution and zero waste challenges are hot topics at the moment and the church have a significant voice in this area. We are having brilliant and easy discussions with people of peace around this and our prayer is that these will turn into positive views of God’s family growing.
Do you have a story to share of life as part of a missional community? Do let us know!
We peered down into the house of Simon Peter from above, the exact same view that the 4 men with the paralytic would have had as they dug through the layers of mud and straw rolled and baked to provide a waterproof coving for the large, wealthy, beach-front property owned by Peters family, in order to get their friend to Jesus.
It made me wonder how far I’d go to bring my friends to Jesus.
Damaging property, risking anger and rejection, creating mayhem… not sure I’d go that far. Or walking down under the burning sun into Wadi Kelt, opposite the Jordan valley, where Jesus almost certainly had his encounter with the devil for 40 days after his baptism in the river.
In this most inhospitable of places we meet a local shepherd bringing his flock up the path. On seeing us the sheep freeze, not sure whether we are safe to pass. With one small nod and sound from the shepherd they scuttle past, secure that they know the sound of the shepherd’s voice.
I couldn’t help but think of Jesus words, ‘my sheep hear my voice and they follow me’. Do I know his voice as well as those sheep do their shepherd?
So many kairos moments from Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, to the Jordan, to Nazareth and Capernaeum, and back to Jerusalem for Jesus final days.
With Bob’s rabbi-like exposition of the scriptures under any nearby olive tree, we saw with fresh eyes the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus the man,
Jesus the prophet,
Jesus the miracle-worker,
Jesus the teacher,
Jesus the Messiah.
We met with God powerfully in the upper room, where the Holy Spirit was poured out. Not the same building but exactly the same location. And then to discover that it was probably the home of John Marks family, the place the soldiers would first have come looking for Jesus before his arrest, the same place that Peter returns to when he was later released from prison.
It was a wealthy home and almost certainly the location of the last supper, and Jesus’ oikos / base when in Jerusalem.
So many stunning connections between the biblical narrative, cultural and historic insights, and archaeological evidence made the pilgrimage truly remarkable. We talk a lot about the ways of Jesus, and this trip brought them incredibly alive.
I can’t recommend highly enough the experience of going with Bob Rognilien (author of Empowering Missional Disciples, and A Jesus Shaped Life) on ‘The Footsteps of Jesus experience’. It seemed like a lot of money before we went. When my wife Jenny and I returned we said ‘that was incredible value’.
14 days of intense experience and insight to the life of Jesus. It was the trip of a lifetime for anyone who wants to know and love Jesus more completely. Check out future trips, availability and costs here .
At times, it’s easy to get so caught up in running, administering and leading a church, we can miss the chance to see the fruit of what is happening around us.
From Cambridge to Newcastle, Coventry to Edinburgh there are people on the ground, spreading the love of Jesus in their missional communities.
We know that it’s not about numbers, data, or results.
It’s about people.
People are messy, hard to predict and don’t fit into our neatly packaged ‘church’.
It’s as we see our missional communities grow, and people sharing the love of Jesus in every single area of their lives, that we see lasting growth which matures and develops. Growth which isn’t just a ‘flash in the pan’
Where people build authentic community, people will be added to God’s kingdom.
We loved this story from a group in Cambridge, building church, slowly but surely over an apple press!
One of our missional communities hosted an annual event in the car park of my home, which was apple pressing. There are apple presses available to community groups in Cambridge, and because the city is full of apple trees it’s a great opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours and invite them to do apple pressing!
People are invited to bring apples and empty drinks containers and join in a fun production line, Children get involved by climbing apple trees in the back of my garden to pick the fruit, as well as helping with all the pressing aspects.
Adults get into conversations as they chop apples side by side, and people in the missional community bring cake for a 4pm tea break. This has gone on at the front of my house for 3 years.
Most recently, however, the missional community decided they’d like to host the event in their neighbourhood to better connect with people in their own locality. This was great, and I still got involved. In fact, one of the families who’d helped pick apples the previous year and who don’t regularly go to church not only came again, but helped me connect with others in my neighbourhood.
Whether it be over an apple press or a football game, taking part in activities neighbours already love to do, is a great way to make new connections and build relationships with those you may otherwise never speak to.
Church based events are brilliant, but often it’s when we, the church, move out of our four walls and simply join in with what’s already going on do we see the most fruit.
As I’ve been working with churches around the UK over the last 4 years, I’ve noticed that many leaders and churches are grappling with busyness, struggling budgets, multiple programmes, and high demand projects, but don’t feel they are being particularly effective in seeing lost people come to faith or in raising healthy and motivated disciples and leaders in the life of the church.
The idea of growing communities of believers where discipleship is the air they breathe, mission the thing that gets them out of bed in the morning, and community the place where they find their most important extended family relationships – is a mere dream. The thought that these groups could also be the most fertile place for growing leaders for the future is a distant hope!
Kairos Connexion supports leaders and equips churches to be effective in mission, discipleship, community and growing leaders. Our strapline is ‘raising missionary disciples’. Over the years we have developed numerous principles and practices that have blessed hundreds and hundreds of leaders across the UK. We are now offering this same training through a ‘whole church, easy access, quick win, low cost’ approach.
Join us for a taster days in either Cambridge or Liverpool to start this journey.