'...good news for the poor...'
A Baptist church in the heart of Cambridge with a huge building but only a tiny congregation started a new journey when joined by six people who came with a vision for reaching out into the local community. There had been discussion about closing the building but this was soon to prove an asset rather than a problem.
The six who came encouraged the small congregation to invite people into the church for a free community lunch. No-one arrived and on the second day, only one person. The third day more came and then many... An important step had been taken. Gradually the congregation began to understand their call to pray and live 'your kingdom come' rather than 'may our church grow'. Other projects have followed - a quiet room for students and staff of a nearby college, a night shelter, a Dial a Ride scheme run by volunteers for the less mobile. The projects are in response to expressed needs of the local community.
Now Zion Baptist Church draws people from the UK and overseas who come to see and to reflect theologically. Actual church membership remains small and this too is experienced as a gain. The small congregation is 'the heart' and Sundays a day 'to remember the miracles, hear the testimonies and to offer support and prayer for the projects'. But there are also others - some 250+ volunteers - who consider this 'their church' even if they are not there on Sunday. Which prompted one observer to write:
'Why don't these 250 'church members' worship with the church on Sundays? Perhaps worship is something which can be more inherently practical and carried out while driving a bus, or at Jimmys while washing feet instead?'
|© New Way of Being Church 2007|