Serving Our Gospel Vision
FIEC is now a family of almost 600 churches across Great Britain. But as the Fellowship continues to grow, how can our Ministry Team support churches even more effectively? John Stevens outlines plans for the coming months.
This article first appeared in our Autumn 2018 Together magazine. Subscribe to Together for free at fiec.org.uk/together
It is more than eight years since I started work for FIEC in what was then a new role of National Director.
It has been thrilling to see how the Fellowship has grown. Since 2010, more than 130 churches have chosen to be part of our vision to be ‘Independent churches working together to reach Britain for Christ’ meaning we now have almost 600 affiliated churches.
Over these years I have been blessed to work with a wonderfully gifted team of Directors and office staff, who have vastly improved the ways that FIEC has been able to support and serve its churches, especially in the areas of Training, Mission and Pastoral Care. For example, over £1m has been raised and distributed by our Training Fund, and FIEC churches are planting at least one new church a month.
The past year has seen very considerable change as all the Directors who joined me eight years ago have either retired or changed their roles. Johnny Prime and Adrian Reynolds have taken on the work of Richard Underwood and Trevor Archer respectively, whilst Trevor has moved to become our first London Director. Andy Paterson will be moving from his full-time role as Mission Director to a half-time role when he joins the staff of Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh in September.
Serving the missional objective
All these changes have led us to carefully review the way that we work together as a team, and to take account of the lessons we have learned over the past eight years. We want to ensure that we serve the missional objective of FIEC as effectively as possible.
We have, for example, realised that everything we do has to be focused on our gospel vision, so that responsibility for ‘mission’ lies not with a single Director, but is the underlying objective of all the Directors. Given that only 3% of the British population are born-again believers in the Lord Jesus we want to embed a mission emphasis in all our work and activities.
Another significant change is that our Directors with a national ministry are now all based in Market Harborough, so we are able to work much more closely together.
Working as a team
All these changes have led us to review our roles and responsibilities.
We are not planning to change what we do as a team to serve the FIEC family. We will continue to support and develop Training, Evangelism, Church Planting, Women’s Ministry, Church Revitalisation and Pastoral Care for our churches and pastors. However, we will work to do this holistically as a team.
All the Directors have found that individual churches do not approach them separately for help in different areas, but they speak to a single Director about, for example, training leaders for the local church and for advice on church planting. All our Directors are generalists rather than specialists, with experience of all aspects of church leadership.
As a next step towards implementing this change, our Market Harborough based Directors with national responsibilities (Johnny Prime, Adrian Reynolds and Andrew Nicholson) will become Associate National Directors, leading ministry teams of FIEC staff to deliver our gospel work across the country. This won’t change what we do, but it will ensure that we are able to do it even more effectively.
Less well-served areas
Just one example of how we plan to do this is that we are developing a new strategy to help understand, support and encourage gospel ministry in the less well-served communities in our country, including urban deprived places, rural areas and ethnically diverse communities. We will be gathering pastors and leaders from FIEC churches in these contexts to listen and learn about how we can do more to support them and their vital gospel work.
I hope that you will be excited by the development within FIEC and we are thankful for all your support, prayer and generous giving that has made this possible. Please do pray for us as we seek to serve you and advance the gospel in our needy nation.
We will be setting out our plans in detail at the FIEC Leaders’ Conference (12-14 November 2018) in Torquay, where there will also be opportunities to pray corporately for FIEC and our nation. We very much hope that your church will be represented at this important event.