How the REM forum helped me with my changing church
Dave Boulton started repurposing Life Community Church in Leamington Spa in 2012. Then, the congregation reflected the demographic of the area: white and older. Since then there has been a lot of immigration to the area, largely from India as two large firms have opened, and the church and community demographic is rapidly changing. Dave had to work out what to do.
Dave said: “God was doing something; something was happening, but we were just thinking, where do we go with this? God was laying on our hearts the need to reach out to these people in our community.
“We found that until we really got to know people that you understand them. As we got to know some Indian couples who had moved over we realised that they, and especially the woman who was at home with a child, felt very isolated. The other couple were trying to get their children to join them and had been without them for a year and a half. There are always these things going on behind the scenes that you never know unless you really engage with people.”
After a meeting with Tony Uddin who runs the Reaching Ethinic Minorities forums, Dave was convinced to come along.
“I had thought that I didn’t have time to go, but when I made the time I found it so valuable. I wanted to get some ideas, to learn from people who were further along the road from us. I knew it wouldn’t be exact answers but a hotbed of ideas.
“And it was very useful. I guess the biggest thing for me was Tony Uddin’s session about being a smaller church, doing fantastic practical ideas. Listening to that gave me inspiration that we can do something, that it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or time.
“Their church has sent some people to India so that they have something in common with people in the community. They do simple garden clear ups, or have an international day with curry and different foods and invite people along. It was all ways to reach out using what you have in your hand.”
“I’m definitely going out on an Indian missions trip next October with Empart, then going to look at this next year putting on a family day with an international feel, building a bridge and relationships with the community. We’ll have food and a carnival atmosphere.
“Getting more people together and breaking it down, and doing it all through relationship was so useful. I’d love more of a round table discussion with other leaders, very practical, talking to people one to one, broken down. This is happening to every church really.”
You can get details for the next Reaching Ethnic Minorities Forum and all other missions forums here.