The challenges of ministry are complex. Responding to them requires vision and resources that many small churches believe are well beyond their abilities.
Through Mission Accelerators, small churches can access new resources and find fresh ways to reach out and link with others in church planting, re-planting or the re-vitalization of their congregations. To equip churches for meaningful ministry, Accelerators also hosts small church Vision Accelerators—learning opportunities like our Small Church Envisioning Days that will encourage people with ideas, stories, resources and opportunities to network with other churches and leaders.
Mission Accelerators are missional opportunities that provide a platform for small churches to find fresh ways to reach out and link with others in church planting, re-planting or the re-vitalization of their congregations. (See below for stories!)
Small church envisioning days are opportunities designed to encourage you with missional ideas, stories and resources plus give you opportunities to network with other small churches and leaders.
By joining a regional Accelerator, your church can be part of a missional activity that you might not have the resources to replicate on your own. Accelerators may also serve as a way of inspiring your own pioneering or entrepreneurial activities!
Upcoming Small Church Envisioning Days
October 20, 2018
Highland Baptist Church, Kitchener
November 17, 2018
Immanuel Baptist Church, Toronto
Mission Accelerators you can join now
Flow Ministries, Toronto
Espressions Café and Currents
God gave us a vision to reach young people through a café ministry by partnering with cafés and bringing in art, music, and literature as attractions. As we were still praying for a location and partner, God, through a brother we just met, led us to meet with the owner of Paintlounge. At the time, she only owned one very small store in Markham—not quite the downtown Toronto location we had envisioned. But I discovered two exciting things! She’s a sister in Christ and she had a vision to open locations downtown.
We planned the first Espressions at that very first meeting, to be held a month later, and once a quarter for the year after. Now we hold 3 Espressions a month at Paintlounge locations around GTA (one in a much bigger store than original in Markham, and 2 downtown), meeting close to 1,000 young people each year and having meaningful conversations with them.
Bethany Baptist Church, Toronto
Many youth and parents thanked us for the one-week day camp we ran each summer, but consistently said things like, “Could you continue this all summer?” We would laugh and say it was hard enough to do one week! But one day, our city councillor called us up with news of some potential funding for a kids’ program in the summer. “If you had the money, would you be interested in a full summer camp? There is a real need in our community,” she explained. We started to dream about what it might look like and how we could sustain such a program if we got it going. Six years later, we are so glad we decided to take up the challenge!
This year at Camp YOLO, we had about 70 kids each day and we did it with only one older adult supervisor. We were able to employ university-aged youth as well as high school youth (14 in total), with the help of Canada Summer Jobs. When the staff work together with varying levels of responsibility, the camp can run smoothly. If given the chance and the mentoring, older youth can do a great job—and they in turn provide great mentors for the younger youth.
Ambassador Baptist Church, Windsor
It all started with community dinners at Easter and Christmas serving over 200 people. It grew into something more when a neighbour challenged us with the idea to host weekly meals. God brought together one person’s vision with our heart to reach our community. Three years later, we are serving a weekly meal to 30-60 people. We share a short devotional and testimony each week and encourage our people to sit with our guests, building relationships and weaving Jesus into the conversation. Other churches and organizations in the neighbourhood have provided volunteers, including the local school and hospital. The weekly dinners have become “church” for many who might not come to a Sunday service. The sense of welcome, safety and acceptance are a welcome respite.
Cumberland Beach Baptist Church
At one of our church leadership meetings, we brainstormed ways to invite our neighborhood as a whole to our property to introduce them to Jesus and the things we do as a church. We quickly decided to put on an outdoor event including an evangelistic church service along with a carnival with free food. We felt an outdoor event would lower any barriers for people to come. The whole church got really excited about the idea and the leaders of the different ministries started making plans within the area of their expertise. One couple took on the main organisation of the event and made sure that everything came together. The worship team put together the service and started practicing coffeehouse type live music. The kids department came up with over 15 different games. The people in charge of the church graphics set up booths displaying all of the churches programs and ministries, along with little information/invitation cards for people to take home. Another team took care of the food while others cleaned up the property in advance and helped with the set up and tear down.
Fall Fest has become a regular, annual event at our church that we all look forward to as one of the year’s highlights. We strive for excellence in what we do in order serve the people in our community. It is exciting to see that guests feel so welcome and comfortable on our property and are touched by the Spirit of God that they start coming to our church services or other programs we offer.
As an added bonus, we as a church family grow closer together by working alongside each other and serving our community.
Eastview Baptist Church, Ottawa
Soccer is a common interest for both Eastview Baptist Church, Ottawa, and its community. Since 1991, our church had been bilingual, English and Portuguese. Brazilians are coming to our city and since soccer is the number one sport in Brazil, it’s a perfect way to reach out to both Brazilians and others in our community.
In 2014 we saw an opportunity to become actively involved in the community when I discovered that the Community Center was organizing a soccer event for the community. We offered to help with the event – and they took us up on our offer! In 2015, when we learned that Athletes in Action were encouraging churches to use the Women’s World Cup as a way to reach the community, we expanded our soccer event from a one day tournament to a week of a soccer camp, including a mini soccer tournament.
The initiative continues to grow! Soccer camp members from families associated with church who had not yet made a commitment to Christ did so, resulting in 10 people choosing to be baptized in October 2016. The October baptisms developed an interest in others and five months later we baptized six youth and received five new members by transfer.
Each church must find at least one way to reach out beyond themselves to help their community. Church programs can’t simply be for the already-convinced, the already-in-the-pew – but also designed for the community as a whole. God bless you as you seek to spill out into the community with the love of Jesus!
—Jim Parker, Bethany Baptist