In January 2018 a few of us from church were having a meeting with the Headteacher of our local church school. We were talking about the monthly service, in the Parish centre, which the school attends, when someone had an idea:
“What about doing something in the school?”
The head said, “Yes”.
We said, “Great”.
And so, we started.
We decided to invite all the school families to a monthly Sunday afternoon gathering from February up to July, just to see if we could meet people and make some friends who might want to join in.
We started with a deliberately small team (4 of us from church) and the name –‘FillUp@4’, relating to ‘full of fun, full of food, being faith-full, and the time we meet. We hoped that people would feel welcome, valued and eventually choose a better name themselves. So far, the name has stuck!
Our get-togethers follow a ‘messy church’ style. We have craft and experiments, games, songs, video, a Bible story and talk, prayer response, more games and then tea together. We send invitations out in book bags and on social media and hand out reminders at the school gates.
We have adapted along the way.
We changed from a Bible talk to group Bible Challenges where families open envelopes to complete the challenges together. That has been such a blessing; to see families exploring and responding to the Bible together. We are developing our prayer responses and offering a Prayer Box and personal prayer with people.
Having met with Dan a few times over summer, we applied for Joshua Centre support and relished the practical advice he was able to give us.
Life at FillUp is not always smooth: Sundays are busy, numbers fluctuate and two of our initial team have moved away. However, with Joshua Centre funding, we are thinking about employing one of our new friends to help lead it.
We have moved to meeting twice a month and are considering how we move forward missionally with this community. This might mean another monthly get-together to engage in some social action for the local area. In time we hope to meet for Bible study as well.
God has been with us faithfully, in it all.
He has been generous in His provision, and gone ahead of us throughout. We are trusting Him to continue to guide us forwards and to provide us with whatever we need, for whatever the future holds for this Congregation.
By Beth Anderson