BBQ Ribs and Gospel Partnerships
A scheme to link FIEC churches with churches in Mississippi for mission is returning after the pandemic.
It’s been three years since I sat in a Mississippi eatery enjoying the most amazing BBQ food with some Deep South Baptist ministers. Whilst such fare might have a detrimental effect on my health if it featured more regularly in my diet, the fellowship I enjoyed was precious and good for the soul.
I have rarely spent time with such big hearted and generous men. And as we talked about the possibility of them connecting with church leaders in the UK, their enthusiasm only made the BBQ ribs seem even tastier!
In his unfathomable wisdom, our gracious God has allowed the pandemic to disrupt the rhythm of our lives. This has affected us in so many ways, and the ministry of Connect for Growth has been no exception.
Connect for Growth exists to bring FIEC churches in the UK and Mississippi Baptist Convention churches together with the aim of encouraging each other in the work of the Gospel. This scheme has run for several years (previously Churches in Partnership) and has been the means of blessing for so many, especially enabling under-resourced churches to run outreach events they would not otherwise have been able to.
So, it’s been a source of frustration to have made progress at connecting church leaders, and made plans to get pastors over from Mississippi, only to have those plans dashed by the restrictions we’ve all come to expect. Thank you for your patience if you’re one of those affected.
The good news is that we plan to arrange another visit by pastors from Mississippi this autumn, and we’re looking for church leaders who feel they could benefit from such a connection.
There are so many potential benefits to such a visit. I was talking to a church leader in Essex recently who pointed out a lady who’d started attending church following a visit from a team made several years ago. There is a church in Wales where a lady had come to faith following a similar visit. I was in contact recently with a church leader in Norfolk who is planning for a team to visit this summer to help them with a summer festival.
We were so blessed by the help and fellowship we enjoyed from a great contact with a church in Crystal Springs when I pastored a church in Suffolk. I still enjoy regular contact with Webb, the pastor of that church, who is also keen that these connections begin to grow again.
One of the highlights of my time as pastor at Mickfield was taking a team to Mississippi to share something of what it’s like to live in our post-Christian culture.
If this is something you would like to explore, please do get in touch by email and I shall endeavour to visit you or arrange a video call to explain things further.
Likewise, if you’re one who has been blessed by this ministry in the past and is considering reconnecting, or maybe the pastor at the church you originally connected with has moved on, please do get in touch.
We have so much to learn from each other across our two cultures as we look for engaging and inventive ways to share the good news of Jesus.
The fellowship enjoyed by so many over the years as churches have connected has been precious. We pray the Lord will prosper this ministry for his glory and the good of his people.