Our First Director for Smaller Churches
Small churches can shine as bright stars in their communities. Find out how we are planning to support them in their mission.
There are more than 630 churches affiliated to FIEC. But did you know that almost half of them have a membership of 35 or fewer?
Weekly attendance is likely to be much higher when children and non-members are taken into account, but it shows a clear need to offer focused support to smaller churches across the Fellowship.
Over the years, FIEC has invested significantly in church revitalisation but now we want to go much further. That’s why from Easter 2021 we will be employing Jonathan Bond as our first Director for Smaller Churches.
Healthy and vibrant smaller churches
Jonathan has more than 17 years of experience as pastor of Jennyfield Evangelical – a smaller FIEC church in Harrogate. He is passionate about helping smaller churches to think through their vision and mission. But, more than that, he is convinced that a small church doesn’t mean an unhealthy church.
By bringing Jonathan into our ministry team, we want to invest in our smaller churches and help them to thrive.
Commenting on his new role, Jonathan said:
“Growing up, I went to a small chapel in Derbyshire. This certainly kindled a love in me for smaller churches – especially in rural areas as I visited other fellowships. After attending a larger church in Leeds for a number of years I knew the Lord’s call to serve as pastor of a smaller church in Harrogate.
“My personal passion for smaller churches stems from knowing in my heart that I was serving the Lord in the place He wanted me to be at that time in my ministry – I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else until the Lord Himself called me elsewhere. From Easter, I am to have the privilege of seeking to encourage and support the many smaller churches that are such a precious part of FIEC.
“It’s my desire to see all our smaller churches spiritually healthy and vibrant, striving to shine as bright stars for the gospel in their local communities. I want to see our smaller churches with a glow in their hearts as they model the heart and passion of Christ for the gospel, to ensure our local communities see both their need for Christ, but also the attractiveness of Christ in His character and all His beauty.
“One thing I've learned is measuring our ministries by earthly measures of success can be so dangerous - using God's priorities for both ourselves and our local churches is infinitely wiser.”
Initially, Jonathan will work part-time for FIEC and part-time for Fellowship Property Trust (a separate charity that holds buildings in trust for churches), before moving full-time into his FIEC role in 2022.
A commitment to supporting smaller churches
National Director John Stevens is delighted to see Jonathan join the team. He said:
“We have always had a commitment to supporting smaller churches, and not just by assuming that they ought to be larger.
“In many contexts in the UK today, faithful gospel churches reaching their local community will inevitably be smaller in size. This is essential to their mission and not a sign they are deficient in any way.
“I am delighted that Jonathan will be joining the FIEC Ministry Team to help us serve and support these churches. Jonathan has immense experience of smaller church life, both as a pastor and as a member of the FIEC Trust Board and Director of Fellowship Property Trust. I pray that his new ministry will help and encourage all of our churches, no matter their size, to be thriving and effective outposts of the coming kingdom of God that are ‘working together to reach Britain for Christ.’”
Please pray for Jonathan as he prepares to begin this new role. Pray too for Jennyfield Evangelical Church as they prepare for an interregnum when Jonathan steps down at Easter.