Mission Wales is an Evangelical Movement of Wales (EMW) ministry that provides tailored support for churches to reach their communities. It has helped around fifty churches with local evangelistic missions and distributed around 100,000 evangelistic newspapers. Here are three churches which have benefited from Mission Wales support.
Newspaper evangelism at Bethel Baptist, Tredegar
If I had my way, I’d have every gospel church in Wales use this form of newspaper evangelism for at least three years. I’m enthusiastic because of the encouragement we received here at Bethel Baptist, Tredegar doing just that over the past six years. As an ex-printer, I was amazed at the facilities available at the EMW. They facilitated the pre-press artwork, the design and the printing. In taking advantage of their support, we were able to punch above our weight by aiming to deliver an evangelistic newspaper into every home of our estimated 16,000 local population.
Each edition consisted of five or six personal testimonies from people in our church. This stirred many of the congregation to move out of their comfort zone and ‘go public’ with their testimony of God’s grace in Jesus Christ. As a church, we can say we are ‘free from the blood of all men’ as we winsomely and attractively delivered the gospel message to all in our locality.
Furthermore, the financial cost was extremely competitive. In 2015 we produced a 7,000, 12-page newspaper at the cost of 5.8p per item. For the first two years, a trust fund via the EMW halved the cost after which we took on the whole.
What about distribution? We were comfortably able to shift half the amount and then took up the offer of help from Christians further afield (the Heath, Cardiff and Ebenezer, Swansea) to complete the visitation on one day.
Finally what of the results? First, by his grace, we have been faithful and contemporary in sharing the gospel. Secondly, the distribution always climaxed with a mini mission which gave a focus to our regular evangelism. Some outsiders did attend, backsliders were restored, and others on the fringes of the fellowship began the ‘Christianity Explored’ course. The church membership now stands at seventy plus in contrast to fifty when we began. This is not solely from the newspaper, but it’s played its part in the goodness of God on the regular evangelistic ministry.
Steve Carter, Retired Pastor, Bethel Baptist Tredegar.
Reaching out to families at Penuel Baptist Chapel, Roch
With the support of Mission Wales, Penuel Baptist Chapel, Roch, has held two Family Fun events within the last six months. Our first Mission weekend was held in October 2017. It was the first time we had reached out into our community in a big way, with one of the greatest blessings being a huge turn-out at our community Saturday Family Fun afternoon.
At our initial planning meeting several months earlier, holding a Family Fun event seemed overwhelming to many. Our little chapel on the edge of a village was unknown to many of the community. After a little persuasion and much prayer, we agreed to step out in faith and try to reach the ‘missing generation’ of young people who are often absent from congregations, including ours.
The Mission Wales team helped us to brainstorm ideas, organised a BBQ, and arranged for Scripture Union Cymru to join us. The evangelistic newspaper they helped us produce advertised our first Family Fun afternoon in the local village hall. We planned exciting activities for families, including a bouncy castle and face-painting, as well as arranging simple crafts and having a stall of free books and tracts for all ages and a play area for toddlers. The evening before, our Children’s Club was busy making cupcakes ready for children to decorate with icing and sprinkles at the event.
Despite Hurricane Brian battering the country, the blustery winds didn’t stop 100 people in the community turning out to our event, listening to Andy Christofides giving a great talk which engaged everyone. What a blessing! Because of the weather, Scripture Union weren’t able to bring the outdoor football cage but the children engaged with Bible stories using the Guardians of Ancora app on tablets SU provided. Such was their enthusiasm, we started a Saturday morning Guardians of Ancora club, and also gained three new children at our Friday afternoon club before increasing our numbers steadily over the next weeks.
Given this positive impact, we were soon planning the second Mission, which was held this Easter. This time there was great excitement and expectation. Mission Wales and Scripture Union Cymru supported us again, and we were able to be outside with a BBQ and the football cage. We used the Bible Society’s Easter Trail, ‘The Super Cool Story of Jesus’ (a free download from their website) which took families around all of the activities, learning about the Easter story. Over seventy children completed the trail and received an egg; others chose to receive a Bible booklet of the Easter story. We added a ‘Welcome Desk’, which was the start and finish point for the Easter Trail, as well as a place to ask questions about Penuel and what goes on here. Around 200 people came along to join us.
What started as a daunting task has become a natural way for us as a chapel to reconnect with our community. It has been a blessing and encouragement for us all. We are so grateful to Mission Wales for their continued support and encouragement to keep engaging with our village and the surrounding area.
Megan Stone, Penuel Baptist Chapel, Roch
Joint Mission at Mount Elim Evangelical Church, Pontardawe
A few weeks after accepting the call from Mount Elim Evangelical Church, Pontardawe to be their pastor I received a phone call from Dave Norbury from the (EMW). He was heading up a joint church mission in the Llanelli and Swansea area and wanted to know if Mount Elim would like to be involved. So even before starting my ministry, I went to a meeting of church leaders with my fellow elder, David Sercombe. The mission was eventually held in October 2013 with eleven churches taking part. With hindsight, it is clear how beneficial it was to have this mission at the beginning of my ministry. It set the tone. It reminded me, as a new pastor, of the need to do the ‘work of an evangelist’ and helped focus the church on the imperative of making Christ known. It was a rare blessing to meet with church leaders over a period of 18 months and to pray with other churches for God’s blessing on the area.
For a small church, the benefits of a joint mission are manifold. We had thirteen members at the time but with the help of the EMW office and other churches we were able to produce and deliver 3,000 newspapers. By working together with other churches, we were also able to invite evangelists and speakers from farther afield. An evening at Mount Elim with Robin Oake was a particular highlight, as was a meeting with John Blanchard in a packed Pontardawe Arts Centre. This too would have been beyond our capabilities as a small church. Two women came for the first time that evening. They were struck by the welcome and the message, and returned to church the next Sunday. Wonderfully, Denise and Glynis both came to faith a few months later and were baptised in September 2014.
Steffan Jones, Mount Elim Evangelical Church, Pontardawe.
If you would like Mission Wales to help you reach your local community get in touch with us via the Evangelical Movement of Wales. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01656 655886.