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Top tips on working together

How can we work better together? Michael Shaw highlights five top tips for smaller churches, and five top tips for larger churches

In my previous article I talked about how small churches and big churches have to learn to relate to one another if we are to be truly Baptist Together. So what could this look like? What can small churches offer bigger churches and vice versa? I have come up with some ideas:

Five things a larger church could do

Working together
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1. In many churches today church members do not give via the offering plate (or basket); most do that via standing order. Why not add an optional tick box  where people can request that a percentage of their donation goes to help a smaller local church - outside of normal Home Mission giving?

2. Most church car parks are full, but what if one Sunday you closed them? Or at least suggested that the members who could walked to their nearest church (could be Baptist) and went there. The following Sunday could be used to pray into what people experienced.

3. Sometimes smaller churches know what needs to happen in their area, other times they don’t. Don’t just assume the latter. The first step is always conversation, but after that you could help them with some form of mission audit which results in a mission plan for the area.

4. Why not release one of your youth workers one day a week to help in a smaller church, or a member of your preaching team or worship team one Sunday a month to help at a smaller church. Often these smaller churches have issues with pulpit supply or worship leaders: be generous with your human resources.

5. Commit to weekly prayer for small churches nearby, at church prayer meetings and in intercessions. But don’t just be vague: get one of the leaders to come along one Sunday and speak about the issues they face.

Five things a smaller church could do

1. Smaller churches are places where young worship leaders, preachers etc can gain some experience, why not offer a Sunday to a bigger local church for them to send their students or young adults to get experience?

2. Many larger churches may have people but they often have a lot of people who do not do much (I saw a recent estimate of 95 per cent). Smaller churches often do not have that problem. Smaller churches can teach larger churches about how best to get more people involved.

3. Why send people halfway across the world to engage in cross cultural mission, when there are unique and different cultures on our doorstep? Small churches can offer opportunities in mission for people. They could be a good internship before someone is sent abroad. You never know: they may not want to go. Small churches could offer internship years for anyone wanting to engage in cross-cultural mission.

4. What happens in the small church will happen in the larger churches. Small churches that have had to deal with mosques being built next door; declining or ageing demographics are at the fore front what may happen to all churches one-day. Where they thrive they can teach the larger churches what to do.

5. Commit to weekly prayer for larger churches in the area, at church prayer meetings and in intercessions. But don’t just be vague: get one of the leaders to come along one Sunday and speak about the issues they face.

The Revd Michael Shaw is minister of Devonport Community Baptist Church, Plymouth

Money - and how we use it. Why do we allow some of our least resourced churches to struggle in some of the most deprived areas?

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