What we know today as Home Mission, began in 1912 as The (Baptist) Sustentation Fund. This was established to help supplement the stipends of poor ministers and to pay for ten general superintendents. Over the years this fund has changed in name and in some respects in its sense of purpose, and today quite deliberately focuses on helping existing and emerging churches to engage in the mission of God (for the most part, within their own communities).
Our Home Mission grants awarded today are mostly divided into two groups. Firstly, as Mission through Ministry Grants to existing churches such as City Road Baptist Church, Bristol and Chew Magna Baptist Church. Such grants are awarded to help churches to engage in the mission of God in their local community – helping them to show and share God’s grace in words and actions. Secondly, Special Ministry Grants are awarded today to help in developing new and emerging expressions of church. Sometimes these grants are awarded to help plant new expressions of church in areas of new housing development – such as East Wichel, Wichelstowe in Swindon, and Locking Parklands, Weston-super-mare.
Living as we do today in an ever-changing multi-faceted context, we are confronted with working out how to use the legacy of the past, in order to face the challenges of the present and the future. An example of this is the way that Knowle West Baptist Church, Bristol has been re-imagined as The Cairn, a new form of Baptist Christians showing and sharing God’s grace as they work alongside neighbours in their local community. Your generosity enables The Cairn to receive a Special Ministry Grant, so they can share in God’s mission among the people of Knowle West.
Today we aim to use Home Mission funds to help local Christians and churches to respond to opportunities to engage in the mission of God in their own community. Encouraged through your generous giving, men, women and young people are showing and sharing the good news of Jesus. They are seeking to live out and demonstrate his values and character. Thank you again for your support. Encouraged by your prayers and your financial giving, Baptist Christians in the West of England continue to serve God in his mission to the world, as they respond to the commands of Jesus – to come and follow him… AND …to go and make disciples.