The following interview is kindly used with permission from our friends at Grace Baptist Mission. The interview was recorded for Across the Nations in 2010 and was later transcribed for the Herald magazine.
Across the Nations is an audio download produced by Grace Baptist Mission, exploring gospel work in different cultures around the world featuring a particular missionary or highlighting the needs of a particular country.
Jim Sayers (JS) interviews Barry King (BK), Grace Baptist Partnership
JS Barry, give us a thumbnail sketch of your roots.
BK I’m from Arkansas, the son of a Baptist pastor, educated in a Baptist university, got involved in church planting in my twenties and have been ever since. I’ve been in the U.K. for seven years, mostly as pastor at Wood Green in London.
JS You have recently set up the Grace Baptist Partnership. What are its aims?
BK GBP aims to help churches plant churches. It grew out of our church planting vision in Wood Green but is an opportunity for a broader sense of ownership, so Grace Baptists from different regions can come together to do some focused thinking and co-ordinated action to help churches plant churches.
JS Who are your trustees?
BK David Chapman from AGBC(SE) is chairman. We have David Piper from East Anglia, Geoff King from the North, Dennis Gamston from Trinity Gloucester and Grace Assembly, and a few other men we have approached and hope to announce soon.
JS How are we going to see GBP operating over the next couple of years?
BK As part and parcel of the ministry of local churches. There won’t be churches planted by the Partnership. The Partnership provides a mechanism for co-ordinated thinking and activity, so if a church is thinking of planting and needs some help assessing potential church planters, or would like a site survey in a particular area, we’ll help. We want to call people’s attention to church planting needs. Churches can also link up spiritually, financially, providing workers for a church plant in another part of the country through GBP. We view our role as complementary to that of GBM and the regional Associations and in no way competitive.
In 1689 we had about 300 Particular Baptist churches. A hundred years later we had less than 150. Then God did something and a hundred years later there were almost 1,500 Particular Baptist churches and we’re praying that the Lord would be pleased to do that again. The modern missionary movement sprung from these new churches.
JS Tell us what has happened in Uxbridge.
BK A small group of people meeting in a home were watching a service on the Internet, and the preacher mentioned a church planter (me!) in London. They found me and asked me to have a look around Southall and Uxbridge. They began meeting in a home in October last year and by the first of this year had to begin meeting in a rented hall. By July it might be two plants, in Uxbridge and Southall. A number of the men involved are part of our basic training for church planters course.
JS What are you doing in Angel Baptist in Islington?
BK That congregation declined over fifty years and they closed a few years ago. Wood Green was offered the opportunity to replant the work. We had a small group of people who were willing to go, so for the first year I preached each week at Angel and then at Wood Green as well. The Lord provided George Platt, a student at LTS with a burden to serve in London, and he’s involved in preaching and shepherding the congregation.
JS What kind of church is it gathering?
BK A real London mix of people. There is a core of eighteen to twenty people. It goes a bit slower starting with the building, you know and then trying to fill it with people. With a building you can feel a bit like David in Saul’s armour, a small group in a large place. Sometimes the secret to a big crowd is a small room!
JS Some would say, we don’t need to plant new churches, we need to strengthen the ones we’ve got. How do you respond?
BK I think it’s a biblical principle that everything that we do to give ourselves away, to invest time and resources in other places, seems to strengthen us rather than weaken us. So we’ve sent whole groups of people away, we have sent key leaders away, but what happens is it seems the more we focus our attention elsewhere, the more the Lord is pleased to bless the people at Wood Green for their faithfulness. It’s been real refreshing.
Since 2010 some details and circumstances may have changed. The longer audio interview is available at: http://www.gbm.org.uk/acrossthenations/