“It’s encouraging to hear that God is doing new things”
Interview with evangelist Kwame Adzam, who has responsibility for church planting at Trinity Baptist Church in south London, about his experiences planting a new Baptist church in Slough
Trinity Baptist Church, numerically the largest church in our Baptist Union, has planted new congregations in the UK, Europe and Ghana in recent years. Evangelist Kwame Adzam has been at the heart of a number of these plants. One of the first was in Slough. A couple of Christians had seen Trinity’s online broadcasts and wondered if something similar could be birthed in their Berkshire town. “They had Baptist inclinations, liked the spirit of it, and wanted to be part of the Baptist church,” Kwame explains.
He carried out some feasibility studies, met the inquirers, talked with others at Trinity, and committed the process to prayer. “We just sensed it was the right thing to do, initiated by God for his glory.” Trinity pledged resources, and Kwame, who had just finished his training at Spurgeon’s College, moved to Slough.
The newly formed group began by prayer walking: often in new areas there are dark spiritual forces that need to be broken down, Kwame explains. They also set up a Bible study, which began by looking at Acts “to help give a perspective of what church is about.”
They prayed for three things: to open the hearts of the people there to God; that the new teams’ eyes would be open to the local needs; and to be “humble instruments”.
Gradually things began to happen. These were chance conversations with people new to the area and looking for a new expression of church; others looking for a Bible study of depth. Numbers began to grow. In the space of three months the group had grown from five to 15.
In an audit of the town they discovered that Slough residents enjoyed live music. As a consequence they organised a live, open air gospel show with musicians from Trinity. The team walked around the crowd, asking God to show them people who wanted to engage. They duly had several conversations and found people interested in being part of the nascent church. By four months numbers had grown to 30. It was now too big as a home group, and premises were sought.
The group also began to see answers to prayer in the form of healings. “We would go out and ask God to show us people who needed physical healing,” explains Kwame.
“One person approached us with a limp. We said: “We believe in a God of healing - is it ok to pray for you?” He looked sceptical but said yes. We asked his permission to place hands on him, and pray a short prayer. We asked him what he was feeling. The pain was going and he could now bend his knee.
“We continued to pray – and then all the pain was totally gone! That Sunday he and his family came to our church.”
There were other healings, which helped to build the faith of those healed, as well as those witnessing. Musical evangelism continued to be used, and the church continued to grow.
Kwame stayed in Slough for around nine months, helping the church to call its first pastor, and it continues to meet as Trinity Baptist Church Slough. He returned to Trinity to strengthen the evangelistic team and seek to develop new church planting opportunities. Since then there have been plants in New Addington, Canterbury and several in Europe.
He reflects that a number of factors have been consistent. One is a people being “right in the Word”. Those early, in-depth studies of Acts were crucial. “For every church plant to take off, you need a committed core of believers. We then give them a vision for the lost. This combination is very helpful, and helps the church grow. “It enables the church plant to be a wonderful experience!”
Secondly, praying together. “When you gather people who have a passion for God and pray together, it’s just amazing; amazing things happen.”
And thirdly, being dependent on the Spirit. “When we had the home group in Slough one evening, someone had a vision about an Asian woman crying out for her daughter. We said, if this is from you God, please show us. Later that week the person who had the vision saw the Asian woman in the street. It turned out she had a daughter who was ill. There was a sense of being led by the Holy Spirit. She became the first Asian member of the church.”
None of this means that church planting and its success is a given. Kwame stresses that “church planting is hard at times. You get lots of people saying no.” But in each of the plants with which he has been involved, there has been a sense of working with God, of God being on the move.
Kwame adds: “I’m passionate about the gospel, and helping people see the amazing transforming love of God. My passion when I plant a church is to reach out to those who are non-churched.
“God is still in the business of winning people. It’s encouraging to hear that God is doing new things, that new people are coming to faith. The kingdom is expanding in ways we do not know!”
Photo| Trinity Baptist Church, Kwame Adzam
This article appeared in the Summer 2019 edition of Baptists Together magazine