Jesus modelled Christian mission into the world for us, by going out and walking among the people. When Jesus did that, incredible things happened for God’s kingdom. Read here how one church community is following in his footsteps by embracing chaplaincy; going where Jesus sends them and in partnership with the Holy Spirit, being available for whatever happens:
The term ‘Chaplaincy” might lack the perceived magnetism needed for engaging in dynamic mission in this day and age, but Clevedon Baptist Church’s Senior Minister Antony Wareham contends that both the term and the function are still valuable and credible among those who are not part of a church family.
Through experiences in the forces, hospitals and prisons (to name a few) people have a fair idea of what chaplaincy is and that it can bring something positive, especially in times of need. This is an opportunity for mission in action.
Building on previous experience as a football chaplain, police chaplain and further study into the ministry of chaplaincy during his 2017 sabbatical, Antony has brought together a chaplaincy team from across four churches in Clevedon.
A period of prayer and training, as well as a comprehensive recruitment and commissioning process, prepared the team to step out with confidence in November, to bring chaplaincy mission into Clevedon’s two main retail areas, as well as one of the industrial estates in the town. On their first visits they took with them ‘Real Advent Calendars’ to give as timely gifts for the season that followed.
But it’s not just about chocolate and Christmas! The team will make regular weekly visits throughout the year, bringing God’s hope into the community.
The missional purposes of Clevedon Chaplaincy’s joint endeavour are:
- Being present, available and open to opportunities
- Participating in town centre life and God’s mission
- Offering pastoral care into the workplace
- To be prophets, bringing God’s voice into the community
- Praying for and with people and their businesses
It’s also an opportunity to see the church using their gifts on the other side of the church threshold, to grow in courage there and let the church be visible in the places where people spend their working days.
Should every church have a chaplaincy team? This is Antony’s response: ‘All churches should have a look at their location and context to see how and where they might get caught up in God’s mission. And keep in mind that any ministry that emerges can be better sustained by sharing it with others’.
This article first featured in WEBA news in Autumn 2018