Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day seventeen of our 29 Days of Prayer and Giving for Grace Baptist Partnership. Each day we will focus our attention on a particular church planting, church replanting or church revitalisation project in which we have an interest. We trust you will remember these situations in prayer and that you will take advantage of the opportunity to support the spread of the gospel by means of a donation to Grace Baptist Partnership this month. It will also help us if you will share these requests with your friends by forwarding these emails to them.
17 February 2016
In an age when many churches have turned inward and have little real concern for their own town or village much less for neighbouring towns and villages, Halling Baptist Church is slightly unusual. At an age when many men are either hanging on to tradition or hanging up their boots from Christian service altogether, Mick West and Nev Long are a delightful exception. The continued presence of a Baptist witness in Halling is in large measure due to their grit and determination. However, they don’t live in Halling. They both live in Snodland.
Snodland is a small town of around 12,000 people between Rochester and Maidstone on the River Medway. The Baptist church here closed years ago. The building was demolished in 1982. A guide to the area says the Baptists in the town now worship at Halling. So that’s that. Not so fast.
On one of my first visits to Halling, Mic and Nev said they wanted to show me something. They drove me to Snodland. I remember it well. They took me to Holborough where more than 1,000 new houses were under construction. They took me to see the old United Reformed church building which was no longer in use and was being sold for redevelopment. They even took me to another nearby village – Ryarsh! – where there was a struggling Baptist cause. I remember thinking I wish every pastor in England had two deacons like these.
I told the brothers I believed there was an obvious gospel opportunity in Snodland. I reckoned there was scope for work in Ryarsh as well. But if these opportunities were ever to be embraced (at least by them) the work at Halling would need to be built up first. They – and others – have put their hand to the plough and their knees to the floor toward that end ever since. And the Lord (see earlier article) has been pleased to bless their efforts in a quite significant way.
The need, though, in Snodland remains. In fact, the need is even greater than it was just those few years ago. So every Friday morning Kevin Felix Hollington and a few helpers go to the Snodland Market to evangelise. What’s the aim? Is it simply to meet villagers from Halling who frequent the market in hopes of bringing them to Christ and the church? Sure, that’s part of it. But, also, there is a desire to look for an opening to plant a new church in Snodland.
Are they just wasting their time? You tell me. Sometime ago Kevin met a lady in the market that he described as anti-God. Over time, though, he was able to build a rapport with her. She even began asking him to pray for her son. When her son died recently she asked Kevin to take the funeral service. So next week he will stand before the family and friends of a man he never met in person to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and offer the sure and certain hope of salvation to all who believe. Who knows what good will come from this?
Would you join me in thanking God for faithful men like Mick and Nev? Would you join me in praising the Lord for zealous ministers like Kevin? Would you pray for this lady whose son has died? Would you pray that his funeral might result in the salvation of many? Would you pray that a new church would be planted in Snodland in due time? Desire to help? Let us know.
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership