information for transformational people

Andy and Nigel 246Leading a church to minister with people experiencing poverty

From a series of blogs by Nigel Ring

Nigel Ring recently published a series of video interviews with Andy Cottingham, who is one of the leaders of Bridge Church Bristol. He has been in church leadership both in the UK and South Africa for many years. Churches in which he has been based have always had significant ministries to reach out to those who are poor or in need. 

In the interviews, Andy shares wisdom from his experience which may help other church leaders, though his responses will be of interest to anyone involved in ministering with the poor since they address underlying values.

There are four interviews:

1. Changes in practice for gospel impact

Some changes may be necessary to help make the practices of the church more accessible to 'outsiders'. If we believe that the gospel is for all people we must recognise the importance of making our church services and practice accessible to all, not just those who are on the 'inside' who know the culture and jargon. What does this imply?

Change may be needed if we are to welcome those who are unchurched, particularly those who are poor and may have little education. Worship needs explanation. Preaching needs to use terminology that is meaningful for the hearers. Perhaps the sermon needs to be shorter or broken into shorter units - sitting listening to someone speak for 45 minutes may be totally foreign to today's culture of 'instant'.

Find the interview here.
2. Identifying and supporting a ministry

How does a church decides what ministry to carry out to help those who are poor or in need? How should it be identified? 

Andy gives some guidance on how to define a ministry, how to base the leadership of that ministry on the passion of individuals and how to mobilise church members to serve. He also talks about what the 'good news' is for an individual who faces great deprivation or need, before speaking about how the elders might bring oversight to such ministries, stressing the importance of close contact between the eldership team and the activists.

Find the interview here.

3. The structure of a ministry

Andy considers some matters related to running the ministry and its governance.

If or when you might form a charity? Partnership with other agencies. Could it be a sustainable social enterprise? Involving entrepreneurs.

Find the interview here.

4. Money

The last interview looks at money.

What are the possible sources of funds including the pros and cons of gift days in the church and charitable grants?
How to make a ministry sustainable.
What about overseas giving? What are the pitfalls and the damage that can be done by unwise giving?
What is success?

Find the interview here.

Why not get your church leadership team to watch these interviews together and apply them to your own situation. Andy raises many questions that you may not have thought of. They should stimulate good discussion and help you as you work with people experiencing poverty in your community.   

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From a series of blogs by Nigel Ring, 06/02/2017

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