In 2021 Baptist Minister Richard and his wife Nikki, embarked on a whole new adventure in South Bristol to help those who don’t yet know Jesus to encounter him through a new expression of church there. In this article, Nikki tells us a little more about it, including ways in which we can pray for them at this time:
Some years ago, East Street Baptist Church in Bedminster sold their buildings and appointed a missional steering group to explore their future. Wonderfully, following a partnership between Webnet and Woodlands Church in Bristol over a year ago, we are able to say all these years later that there is now a new church plant in the south of the city, in Bedminster again, to be precise!
Richard and I moved to Bedminster in July 2021 with the brief of setting up a Webnet/Woodlands church plant somewhere in the south of the city. It’s called Woodlands Southside, and has ended up being in Bedminster (even though we weren’t sure from the beginning of exactly where this new church plant would be). But this is where it is, and it certainly, for now anyway, feels like this is the right place for it. It could be that in the future we move to another premises or another part of south Bristol (or that other new faith expressions pop up in different areas of south Bristol from Southside, who knows!)…
We currently meet in Bedminster Methodist Church which has its own faithful congregation who meet there on a Sunday morning, and we use their building for our Sunday gatherings at 3pm. We started just meeting monthly in the Autumn, but by mid-January we felt it was the right time to meet weekly. Many of the people who come along are from Woodlands Church but live in the south of the city and have wanted an expression of church in this area for a long while. Others who come are local people, including a few of our neighbours, and one person who literally walked in one Sunday having never been to church before, but he was drawn by the sound of the worship music.
So maybe starting a new venture like a church plant when the pandemic was far from over with all the complications that entails and continued complexities it brings, moving house at the same time, and leaving a church (Fishponds Baptist) where we thoroughly enjoyed leading the Foodbank, supported housing project and actual church, might have sounded a bit crazy to some, and to us! But we feel it was a step God was calling us to, and that we needed to trust His wisdom for, and in fact trust Him with all of it, and we now continue to do so. It has been an interesting journey so far and we are trusting God step by step as He leads us in this.
There have been challenges, but any new church or congregation or new ANYTHING is surely going to have challenges through which we learn new things about God, other people or ourselves. But it is also a joy to see God at work in small but significant ways, especially the sense that God is at work and is always doing a new thing. There are some good churches in the south of the city, and actually we are one church, aren’t we?! But there is always room for new expressions of church for people who don’t know Jesus yet. But if nothing else, please be encouraged that God is still at work, patiently and passionately, and He graciously uses all of us to reach the world around us that doesn’t know Him yet.
Thank you so much for your prayers. Please keep praying for us as we seek to make a difference in this part of the city, and to see God’s kingdom come in this place. You’re welcome to pop in and visit any time. We meet every Sunday at Bedminster Methodist, British Rd, BS3 3BW at 3pm.