From Revitalisation to Planting
Beginning to see gospel fruit from its three years of revitalisation, Calvary Baptist Church in Spalding is now looking to plant in a neighbouring town. Rachel Dalby asked the leaders if they were jumping the gun.
“That’s a fair question!” said Kevin Cowdrey, who became the church’s pastor in 2016. “But we feel a strong sense of God calling us to plant, and we must respond.”
Kevin and Associate Pastor Joshua Booth have begun in-depth research into the how, when and where they could plant into Boston – about 15 miles away from their church.
Joshua said: “We’re seeing tremendous fruit from our church’s labours in Spalding. Our Easter holiday Bible club attracted around 40 children – some of them transported from Boston by one of our church families.
“As a church, we’ve been thinking and praying for a while about how we can share this sort of good stuff with people in Boston who can’t travel to us. We feel that establishing an evangelical church there is the answer.”
Kevin and Joshua had seen that Boston was included in FIEC’s set of Go Into prayer cards, published a few years ago to highlight 50 locations considered to be in greatest need of new gospel churches.
Kevin said: “We’d both been using the cards in our respective churches at around the time Joshua and I got to know each other.
“We talked about the need to plant in Boston, and soon afterwards Joshua’s role as pastor at Congleton Baptist Church in Cheshire came to an end. We just knew that God was telling us to work together to reach Boston!”
Joshua, from Missouri, USA, first arrived in the UK in 2007, keen to assist with church planting. Prior to attending Bible college in the mid-2000s, he had been on a path to become a solicitor but changed course after hearing God’s call into ministry.
He said: “I undertook mission trips to Panama and Mexico, which changed my outlook and led to me wanting to work longer-term as an overseas missionary. The UK felt like the right place, so I worked with Congleton until the members decided to close the church.
“After our work there ended, my wife, Melissa, and I accepted an invitation to join Kevin and his team in Lincolnshire.
“With support from our sending church – Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Kansas City – and several individual donors, we moved to a house between Spalding and Boston. God seems to be giving us ‘green lights’ all the way!”
Having already done some preliminary research, and gaining advice from FIEC’s directors, Kevin and Joshua are now spending the summer learning more about Boston’s demographics.
“It’s important that we do our homework,” said Kevin. “Although the bottom line is that we must plant where God wants his church.”
It is hoped that several existing Calvary Baptist Church members living in Boston will form an advance party, likely to take the form of a Bible study group beginning next year. As momentum builds, a venue for regular public meetings will be sought.
In the meantime, Kevin, supported by his wife, Clare, and Joshua and Melissa will keep a close eye on continuing to build-up their healthy ‘mother’ church in Spalding.
Using their Easter holiday Bible club as a springboard, the church launched Operation Love Thy Neighbour. This campaign is aimed at encouraging all Calvary churchgoers to get to know, and pray for, people in their neighbourhoods and workplaces. The church is also busy building links with four local schools.
“It’s vital that we maintain a growing church in Spalding, and reach out – person by person – to our neighbours,” said Kevin.
He added: “This is about building-up God’s church, so we’d greatly appreciate the prayer support of the FIEC network as we move towards this planting phase of our work.”