Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Back to Church Sunday at Chadwell Heath

We had about 40 returnees at Saint Chad's, Chadwell Heath on B2CS which also included, like you, some folk who've never been before! Our evangelism team were 'out and about' on the High Road on the previous two Saturday's giving out invitations and the congregation joined in by inviting folk, personally, and by making B2CS the focus of our prayers at our Tuesday evenings prayer for revival meetings. Interestingly, some folk came Sunday 23rd, but not on the 30th (that would bump our numbers up by another ten!).

We didn't have any difficulties putting together a welcome team - we've put a lot of effort into this in recent years and had already implemented many of the B2CS suggestions. Special events such as this are always good in bringing folk together with an outward focus rather than an internal perspective. Most people commented how much they enjoyed, and were touched by, the service (I had, unusually, no negative feedback - though they may yet come!) even though we had a technological breakdown when the PowerPoint projector 'blew' just as the service started. Fortunately, I'd already printed off some special service sheets and had enough to go round. However, it meant my talk was without the 'gimmick' (or visual aid) of PP which left me feeling a little 'bare.' However, I think folk just listened a bit more attentively - certainly no complaints that the sermon was boring (as if). I spoke on 'What kind of God are you looking for' based on Psalm 145 and Luke 4:18-19. Yes, I know the suggestion was to preach on a parable or similar, however, my points were: the God of the Past, the God of the Present and the God of the Future - it seemed to connect with folk.

We gave everyone a 'goodie bag' as they left church which included fair trade chocolate, a church welcome pack, a free book (John Piper's 'the Passion of the Christ') a church newsletter and a copy of the diocesan 'The Month' newspaper (someone may like to know what is going on in the Diocese) amongst other things. We usually serve coffee after the service, anyway. However, the MU provided some cakes and most 'returnees' stayed at the end to chat. Our service finished at 12.00 but I didn't 'lock up' until 1.20pm, so people weren't in a rush to go.

Of course, we'll wait to see just how many folk will continue to join with us in the coming weeks, however, if evangelism is all about sowing seeds then we believe many were sowed yesterday. But whatever happens, I'd say B2CS was a really positive experience for us.

Revd Paul Carr
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