Dear Partner in the Gospel
Today is day 22 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.
Wigan, Greater Manchester
Matthew Gray, Pastor
I’ve always had a lot of time for Matthew Gray. When I first met him he was a deacon at Grace Baptist Church in Southport. He then signed up for our training group at Radcliffe Road Baptist Church in Bury, Greater Manchester. Though Bury is not just around the corner from Southport, he faithfully attended the sessions month by month. In time he would take up the pastorate of Jireh Baptist Church in Wigan. He continued – despite the demands of a new pastorate – to meet with us in Bury. In fact, when we finished the two-year training cycle it was at Matthew’s request that we continued with additional studies for well over a year more.
So when I received a message from Matthew about a desire to employ a trainee evangelist/youth worker for the church in Wigan, I was keen to hear what he had to say. He told me about a recently married couple in his church who were eager to serve the Lord. He expressed his conviction that the man’s training and work should be under the oversight of the local church. He said that he would hope in time the man might hold office in the church. “Why do we have to let our young, talented people go elsewhere to serve if they are gifted? Why can’t we use them in our own churches?” His questions resonated with deeply held convictions in my own heart.
But there was a problem. Jireh Baptist Church is not a large church and their funding was limited. It was a blessing that they were able to pay their pastor a stipend. Funding a second worker – even if he was a trainee serving on a part-time basis – was going to be a real stretch. They could have just said we can’t afford it. That’s that. They, however, chose a different tack.
They sought prayer support and financial assistance from likeminded churches in the region. They also applied to Grace Baptist Partnership for a grant. We have a church planter assistance grant scheme that provides monthly assistance to 12 church planters (10 from the general budget and 2 from earmarked funds) but their request didn’t fit the guidelines for that particular scheme. Our trustees – gospel-hearted men that they are – didn’t want to say no to this pastor and his small church that had shown such faith.
They approved an exceptional evangelism grant for one year to help move the project forward. They also said that we would encourage others to support the project either directly or via Grace Baptist Partnership. Joe Kirby has now been employed. His training and service has begun earlier this year. Praise the Lord.
Would you pray for Jireh Baptist Church as they oversee Joe’s training and service? Would you pray for Joe’s efforts to evangelise the lost in Wigan and for his work with young people? Would you pray that Grace Baptist Partnership would continue to be able to help churches in the work of evangelism and church planting? Would you consider whether or not it would be right for you to make a donation to this good work?
Warm regards in Christ
Grace Baptist Partnership