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Jesus-shaped people - a Good News story from Baildon

Baildon Methodist Church is often seen as a successful church with few needs. That is not how it has seemed for us at closer quarters!  We are conscious that unless we renew our congregation, our building may well become a carpet warehouse in about five years.  So, in January, following six months’ preparation, we started a 15-week programme of study called “Jesus-shaped People”, an Anglican programme designed for estate parishes by Rev Canon Gordon Dey.  The strap line is “Everything you need to be a Christian and nothing you don’t”.  The texts are all from earliest and most authentic accounts of the life of Jesus, largely Mark’s Gospel.

The programme is divided into five aspects of Jesus’ ministry:
  • Jesus was most concerned about people on the edge of society: children, women, foreigners, sick people.
  • Jesus taught in the common language and used illustrations from everyday life.
  • Jesus recognised people’s strengths and used them to develop a team to take his work on.
  • Jesus frequently retired into prayer and reflection to check he was on the right track.
  • Jesus spoke truth to power. He was not afraid to criticise the scriptures or the religious establishment.
We organised fifteen services and chose preachers with the help of the Circuit, and we ran a training course for all group leaders and preachers.  We prepared a booklet with a double page for each week and everyone attending a service, cell group, prayer group, or youth group during the week receives a sticker with the reading and challenge for the week, to put into the booklet.

The whole church is now buzzing with conversation about the life and characteristics of Jesus. Discussion groups after service aim to identify changes that we need to make - unlearning some traditional teachings or changing our ways to become more Jesus-shaped. We aim to follow up with “Affirmation Classes” to prepare for church membership. Attendance is increasing. We no longer concentrate on income and fundraising. Our challenge is to become more Jesus-shaped in all we do, as individuals and as a church.  We commend this programme to others.

Dr Mervyn Flecknoe  Lay Pastor for Baildon Methodist Church<

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