Becontree Church started gathering in 2014 as part of the Antioch Plan - a Co-Mission initiative to seek to plant more churches for Christ. Here, Rob Newham (soon to be Senior Pastor when Mike Reith retires in early 2020) describes some of the fruit of their patient and humble door-knocking activities that they have engaged in since launching... rather than expect people to come to church services, they visit a street every week, to get to know our community.
“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12)
The bread and butter of life at Becontree Church is first contact evangelism, through relational doorstep conversations. It is this ‘every-member evangelism’ that we see as the body ministry Paul describes.
It’s slow progress … 40 homes a week on a patch close to 6,000 homes. But the Lord has sustained a small team over many years, and this Easter we will celebrate “round-one” complete, six years after we launched - praise God!
A card drop helps us reconnect with the whole estate twice a year, at Christmas & Easter time. This December, we saw ‘every-member evangelism’ in full swing in the following ways:
- A busy body - from our youngest stamping and packing envelopes, to our eldest member delivering her ‘fair share’ of 1000 cards!
- A gift from a supporter church, which financed the printing of 5,500 cards.
- Favour with Royal Mail, who issued a free licence to use their stamp design as the main image on the front of the card (see below)
We often ask, “How many people came to church directly from a card?” The answer, so far, is just one - a single parent, who’d moved here three weeks ago with their baby, and seems to be looking for a local church. Every other guest at our carol events came through a personal invite.
But, a few weeks ago, after some cards had been posted, we met an older lady, weighed down by guilt from many years ago. The card had reminded her of a visit from people from the church who had assured her that she could chat to us.
One of our women was able to sit and listen to her, and sensed that she might see confession as “getting it out of her system”, and we’d never see her again. Despite this, she was able to use that opportunity to tell her plainly that she will only know true peace if she comes to Jesus.
Following up with her we identified the previous conversation that she’d remembered with someone from Becontree. It took place 2½ years ago! It turned out her connection went back even further - to meeting Mike & Debbie through Dagenham Parish Church.
As seemingly the only person in the church who hadn’t met her, I was then able to follow up with her this week, which she really appreciated. Please pray she will see God’s patience and kindness in sending those who’ve pointed her to Jesus, as certainty about the future.
Use this example as an opportunity to thank God:
- For his patience for us to pursue those who don’t yet know him.
- For the freedom and opportunities we still have to go to people where they live, and speak about Christ.
- For ‘every member’ of his body involved in reaching the lost.