As you may already know, Oldham Bethel Church is currently looking for an apprentice to join us for September 2017. You can find details of the role on the FIEC jobs board or the North West Partnership ministry opportunities page. We are also making appeals through our social media platforms and to churches with whom we are affiliated. The question is, what sort of a people does Oldham Bethel Church need?
We could talk about our small membership and how it would be useful to have a few more leaders and teachers. But we have at least two other men who can preach apart from me. We could talk about the fact we only have two elders (of which I am one) and how we want to increase the number on the leadership team. But we are already looking to bring somebody else onto the eldership and wouldn’t appoint anybody new to a leadership position quickly. We could talk about the evangelistic opportunities in the church and how we are engaging Muslims locally as well as seeking to reach others locally. But those works are already happening and there are several people in the church able to run them. Leading in any of these areas might be really nice, but what do we need as a church?
Principally, we need people who love the Lord, love his people and love the lost. We want people who will serve because they love Christ and express that service towards others. We need people who will open up their homes to others. We need people who will organise a social or a game night. We need people who will use their car to pick up those who have been scattered across the borough. We need people who are willing to take people to and from asylum hearings. We need people who will ring up church members and see if they want to hang out, or go for a bite to eat, and get to know one another better. We need people who have their eyes open and are willing to pitch in and do whatever needs doing.
If you’re a great preacher (or, like me, just a passable one), there might well be opportunities for you to exercise that gift. If you have led Bible Studies, there may well be a chance to serve this way. But, in truth, we need people who are willing to serve our community, love its people and share their lives. We need people who are hardy enough to sometimes fight against a culture in which these things don’t come naturally.
We long for people within the congregation to raise up to eldership. We long for every member of the congregation to handle the Word correctly for themselves. We want every member to learn to read the Bible properly and even grow up to be able to teach others. But we can teach those things. What we can’t teach is that gospel-centred, servant-hearted desire to build others up, to serve and to generally get stuck in. We want people whose hearts are geared towards Christ, his people and his gospel. We can train you to teach, but we can’t change your heart. It’s those people with the right heart attitude to the gospel that we so desperately want to attract.
We’re not after great preachers and Bible study leaders – though no doubt we will use those skills if you have them. What we’re after is people who want to build community and are willing to share their lives with others. We want people who want to talk about Jesus and who speak of him in their homes, cars and community. Before we let people lead Bible studies we want to see them speak of Jesus personally to others. Before we give anyone an opportunity in the pulpit, we want to see them show a desire to speak of Jesus outside of the church building (whether in the Open Air or just out and about locally). We want those servant-hearted people who will speak of Jesus both within and without the gospel community before we want preachers and Bible study leaders (cf. Luke 16:10).
If you are a gospel-centred, servant-hearted person who simply wants to serve God’s people and to build them up in a place where you will be used and valued, then we might well be the place for you.
For more information on the work at Oldham Bethel Church, or to register your interest in working with us in September, please get in touch and check out the information on the FIEC job board or North West Partnership ministry opportunities page.