NETWORK NEWS

Bishopbriggs Community Church Seeks Full-Time Leader

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Bishopbriggs Community Church
We are looking to recruit a new full-time leader to succeed Grant Campbell, who is moving on to City Mission Glasgow, with our thanks and best wishes. 

We are an open, informal, forward-looking independent charismatic church located in Bishopbriggs on the north side of Glasgow. 

We were formed in 1979 with the aim of worshipping God, following Jesus and depending on the power of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of our lives.  Our desire to be a community of praise and family life continues to burn brightly; our times together in weekly small groups or on Sunday mornings are open, full of life and informal, with excellent and bible-based teaching, and we seek to be welcoming and encouraging to all. 

Our heart desire is to love God and to love others, to go deeper with God and to make a difference to others' lives. We see mission as something we each do every day, and we encourage our members to be active in peace, social justice and environmental issues. 

We seek to serve the local community and our activities cater for all ages, from pre-5s through children and young people to adults. 

The church is led by a team of Elders, a Wider Leadership Team, and our small group leaders are very important in providing pastoral care. We encourage church members to play a full part in our activities.  We are grateful to have enthusiastic and talented leaders in many areas, including worship and children's work.  We believe that the church provides an exciting and challenging atmosphere which encourages people to think for themselves, to learn and grow as disciples of Jesus, to develop their gifts, both spiritual and practical, and to fulfill God's call on their lives. 

We are looking for a full-time leader who is called to help us on our journey as we grow and develop as individuals and as a group of people, to go deeper with God and to make a difference in others' lives. 

For more information about us, including downloads of recent Sunday morning talks, please visit the church website at www.bishopbriggscommunitychurch.org.uk 

Please send a letter of application and full CV to Bishopbriggs Community Church, 21 Park Avenue, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow G64 2SN or email

BATHGATE BAPTIST CHURCH

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James Palmer returned in summer 2011 to work with the church as his placement while doing the "Invest" course in church planting.
 A Baptist church had been planted in Bathgate in the 1950's but spluttered to a halt in the 90's and was finally dissolved in 1996.  The building was demolished as unfit for use, but money from the sale of the site was used by the Baptist Union to finance a new initiative supporting Colin Baker in a new outreach into the town, concentrating on community and young people, and using help from young men in the neighbouring Baptist churches in Livingston.  After three years funding was exhausted, and the decision taken not to invest further money in the work, Colin being withdrawn and eventually finding a pastorate down south.  However a small group of predominantly young people continued to meet on a Sunday evening as the "Bathgate Baptist Fellowship", who also continued an extensive youth work in the town, particularly aiming at the "Goth" sub-culture, and also at other marginalised youth.  This was led by Andy Livingston, Stephen Waddle and James Palmer, with support from Ross Morgan, then the Youth leader in the local CoS.

At the beginning of 2007 Harry Sprange was invited to speak on a Sunday night -- probably because it was the Sunday before Andy's wedding, so no-one in the fellowship had any time to prepare anything!  But at the end of that evening he was asked if he would be prepared to come in and give advice, and help this embryonic fellowship develop from being a "youth-church" into a"youth-friendly" proper church.  Initially he offered six months of coming over one Sunday night a month, and attended an occasional leader's meeting.  As the relationship grew he became "interim moderator" then Interim Pastor, then, when the church formally constituted itself in January 2010, the "proper" but part-time pastor.

In the meantime, one of the early members, James Palmer, who had been recognised as having some gifting in preaching and evangelism had been sent down to Ichthus in London for training on their RadNet programme. He returned in summer 2011 to work with the church as his placement while doing the "Invest" course in church planting.

This church is unusual in only meeting on Sunday evenings.   We therefore see ourselves as one of the few churches who are prepared to cater for those who have to work during the day on a Sunday.  The old "Raven" [Goth] youth club closed with the demolition of the old community centre in the summer, and a new more open youth work has just begun aimed at a young generation in the New Centre, while a "Christianity Explored" course was put on in an attempt to keep in touch with some of the older club members and helpers.

James and Harry have both been accepted into the Chaplaincy team at the local Academy, with opportunities not just to visit the school and advise on occasional Assemblies, but also to participate in a Chaplains' Drop-in on a Monday lunchtime where they can be accessible to both staff and pupils.  A prayer point would be that with the retirement of the Head-teacher at Christmas, these opportunities would continue to develop.

We have also learnt that good relations with other churches in the town are essential in any small community.  The other churches have been incredibly generous to us, not just in the URC allowing us to meet in their hall on a Sunday evening (and at other times if available), but in their attitude - at a local minister's fellowship a few years ago the question was raised as to the need of youth work in the town, and the decision taken to encourage the Baptists to continue with it, rather than for them to go into competition.  It has even been said "I'd rather our young people went to the Baptist church than be totally lost to any church" which is an incredibly generous attitude.

This is an awesome church to be part of, with a strong sense of community, partly fostered by regularly sharing Sunday tea together, and with an official membership of only 16 (and only three of those over the age of 30) last term we were running two "Christianity Explored" courses at the same time, and in early summer had totally organised a wedding, from providing bride and costumes, through to organist, piper, transport, and entire catering for reception!  However we do suffer from two areas of shortages.  The first is musicians who can help us develop our own style of worship, that fits both us and our "charismatic Anabaptist" theology, and the second is for families to give us a wider base and for people both called and gifted to work with younger children.  This would also mean changing location.  Without that we cannot develop into a broader based church. If any readers are aware of Christians who have moved into the West Lothian area we would be delighted to make contact and follow them up.

For further details about us and our activities, please go to www.bathgatebaptist.com    

Harry Sprange
Bathgate Baptist Church  

GATEWAY COMMUNITY CHURCH

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Gateway Community Church have moved out of our building back in to the community to meet in their space rather than expect the community to come to ours.  Last spring I felt the Lord encourage us to get deeper in our already fruitful involvement with the community and step our incarnational mission up a notch by deliberately choosing to meet in “their” space.

One of the real encouragements in this has been the local self confessed atheist left wing council community worker. Several months ago she invited us to use the local school campus by commenting; “You know I’m not religious but you guys know what community is and what community church looks like, I don’t want to lose you from this area”.  Later when we were talking to the local head teacher about using the campus, she butted in on our explanation, and this left wing atheist lady, argued convincingly for us explaining to the head  teacher why she needed a church in her school!  

Chic Lidstone
Gateway Community Church, Perth

http://gatewayperth.co.uk/  

ROCK COMMUNITY CHURCH

The Art of the Sermon

One of the challenges for churches is to effectively equip their congregations for the tasks in hand.  If we really believe in full body ministry, how do we provide our bodies with opportunities to develop gifts that they have?  At the Rock, we’re currently in the process of developing a stronger vision of where we are going and who we are called to be.

Undoubtedly our future will include the need for a range of people who can both live out the gospel but also talk of the gospel.  The need to have people who are equipped to talk effectively about the good news of Jesus is vital to the furthering of His kingdom.  I’d like to make it clear I’m not just talking about your standard church service sermon here.  We’re looking further afield to people who can speak at small groups, outreach events, etc.  We’re looking at people who can think through ideas and make them accessible for others.

With all this in mind, we recently offered a course, The Art of the Sermon, to those at the Rock.  The course consisted of 5 evenings over the space of a couple of months.  The sessions were built loosely around the metaphor of Frankenstein’s Monster (from the first book of Shelley chapter 2 verses 3-17.)  We discussed the idea of creating something, like Dr Frankenstein, that had life to it.  We looked at a few different elements connected to this metaphor including techniques for dissecting a Bible passage, finding the heart of your message, build a skeleton, fleshing out the skeleton and breathing life into it.  (or alternatively if you want to be boring, ways to analyse a text, tools for structuring sermons and the use of language and voice in delivering a sermon.)

Unsure as to how many would turn up we were pleasantly surprised as to how many turned up for the first session (11 with another two saying they would be there in week 2.)  The numbers dropped off a tiny bit but a core group of 8 stuck through the process.  We were also pleasantly surprised with the range of ages present.  There was probably about 25 years between the youngest and oldest there.

The course finished with the course participants each delivering a 5 minute sermon to those involved with teaching at the Rock.  I think the teachers were simply blown away by the quality that the participants had produced over the previous 5 weeks. 

We are now in the process of working out how we provide opportunities for these participants to grow and exercise the things they have learned.

Oli Higham
Rock Community Church, Dumbarton
www.rockcommunitychurch.org.uk
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