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Paul Bradbury

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

In the beginning...

by handrew last modified 11 Jan, 2017 09:53 AM

Paul Bradbury's first blog

I arrived in Poole in 2008 with a remit to create something that would engage with people who don’t want to engage with traditional forms of church. Poole was changing as new developments began to spring up on old industrial sites around the center of town. Eight years later and Poole is still changing, with many more new houses planned for the next 10 years. The city is always evolving.

And the ministry that has developed in the past eight years is also always evolving. A year after I arrived we formed a small missional community, with nine adults involved. That small group committed themselves to loving this community, listening to those who lived in it and lending their gifts and talents to build community and relationships with unchurched people. What has grown out of that is a “community of communities”. At its heart is Reconnect, a fresh expression of church of about 40 – 50 adults and children, which meets in homes mid-week and on Sundays to eat together, pray, serve our community and grow in faith together.  Around that core community various evolving communities orbit – a daytime creative drop-in for women, a community dinner for those more marginalised in our town, a film club in a local library. We are a modest core of worshipping Christians surrounded by a huge fringe of people with whom we are deepening relationships and, in many cases, exploring discipleship.                   

 I think of one lady who we first met when she was struggling with mental health issues and was off work. Her occupational therapist had heard of us and referred her to one of the mid-week creative drop-in which meets in a central Poole cafe. Gradually, week by week this lady deepened relationships in this group and met a number of Christians who were part of it. The space for quiet Biblical reflection at the heart of this group brought her to renew a faith that she had left behind at childhood. She is now back at work and a regular member of one of our mid-week discipleship groups.

But like the city around us we continue to evolve and change. One size does not fit all anymore. And a static form of church does not fit either. Our communities are changing and evolving fast and we must learn to evolve with them. So we continue to love, listen and lend our gifts in service to our community and allow Christ to build his church among us.


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