Mission weekend in the Northern Baptist Association
An extended weekend of faith sharing is taking place in the Northern Baptist Association. The Northern Light Mission runs from Thursday to Sunday (19 – 22 September) and sees churches taking part in a variety of activities to share their faith and present the gospel
Around a third of the Association’s churches have committed to organising events both in and out of their churches, while many more are holding the weekend and its activities in prayer. Several have partnered ecumenically, are receiving mission teams from Baptists around the world. The Association has links with Baptists in Texas and Lithuania, and both places are sending people to participate in the weekend. Phil Jump, Regional Minister Team Leader of the North Western Baptist Association, is also bringing a small team to take part in the events.
The idea came after Regional Minister Paul Revill was invited to be part of a mission team in the Anglican diocese. He wondered if something similar could be done in a Baptist context.
‘We chose a long weekend and have encouraged the churches to focus on evangelism. We wanted to encourage churches to get out. Each church has its own approach to mission, and we tried to impress that this was a not a substitute to what they do, but an add-on – do something extra on what you are doing. And churches have been willing to try things they wouldn’t normally.'
He added, ‘I feel that evangelism has been neglected. There has been a big pendulum swing over the last 20 or so years, when we did a lot of evangelism, but little social action, to a place now where we’re very good at social action but evangelism has been neglected.
‘So we wanted to encourage churches to share their faith, and develop partnerships with other parts of the Baptist family.’
The brochure outlining the weekend stated:
'Jesus commanded his followers to make disciples....He calls us to the privilege of sharing in his life-transforming work in the world… There are people in our neighbourhoods who are seeking him. We hope and expect that ‘Northern Light’ will give all our churches an opportunity to experience God working through the whole congregation to see more of the coming of his Kingdom.’
Stocksfield Baptist Church in the Tyne Valley is one of the participating churches. It is working in partnership with other local churches of different denominations to run a weekend of evangelistic events which will have an all-age focus.
There will be a reunion event for the parents and children who attended the Children’s Holiday Club in July, an evening of music and story telling at one of the local working men’s clubs, a ‘bake off event at the Anglican Church and opportunities for the visiting mission team to engage with local schools.
Paul said the churches which are receiving teams are doing the most. Stockton Baptist Church is receiving the nine Lithuanians. Fun days have been organised, as well as a number of activities that take the church out of their building.
‘For many of our churches either the timing of the weekend is not ideal, or it doesn’t quite fit with other mission or ministry activities; or circumstances mean that they cannot easily host a mission team,’ Paul continued.
‘But there has been a lot of prayer support, and the churches that are getting involved have really thrown themselves into this.
‘We hope and pray for a good weekend – good conversations, and people meeting Jesus. I hope some churches will see people come to faith.’