Get to know Oldham Bethel Church (video)

The FIEC have been producing a series of short videos introducing people to a wide variety of churches within the fellowship. Oldham Bethel Church is featured alongside Christ Church Liverpool in the 7th Get to Know film. You can view the video below.

We are seeing real fruit in our mission, particularly amongst Muslim-background Iranian asylum seekers. We have around 15 baptisms – predominantly of Persian people – over the last three years. Whilst the Lord is continuing to bless and add people from Iran to his kingdom, the reality of the work is that many such people are transient and cannot remain in the church long-term. Nonetheless, we give thanks to God that he is pleased to use us in the work of seeing souls saved, who grow under our ministry and who go and bless other local churches with the training they have received.

Given the deprivation in the town, and the type of people we are reaching, there are few people able to give substantially to the work of the church. The church is currently functioning on a c.£1500 per month deficit and is not self-sustaining. Both asylum seekers and those on local estates understandably struggle to offer meaningful financial support to the work of the gospel. Further, such people inevitably come with deep physical and emotional needs. This has the unfortunate effect of making churches like ours with the fewest financial resources, due to poorer members drawn from the most deprived backgrounds, those that typically have to meet the biggest welfare needs within our congregations, exacerbating and perpetuating our financial instability. We are, therefore, reliant upon the long-term financial help of outside supporters to sustain the work of the gospel and meet the deep needs amongst our members.

Moreover, though we see much fruit for the kingdom, many are simply unable to stay with us long-term and our membership has a high turnover. This makes it difficult to sustain evangelistic works. Despite this, we run several effective evangelistic ministries including regular Open Air evangelism, Muslim-Christian dialogues and English Classes among other things. We have regular contact with local Pakistani and Bangladeshi Muslim people and are, by God’s grace, seeing real inroads into the local community.

However, we are crying out for more workers. Our evangelistic output punches well above the weight of a church our size. Nonetheless, we are conscious that there are plethora of opportunities we would love to seize but cannot due to our limited financial capacity and paucity of available members to serve. We are, therefore, keen to encourage others to come and join us in the work. There is no shortage of opportunity. Furthermore, as we are seeking to partner with Union School of Theology, we will soon be able to accept students onto a GDip course in one of their learning communities and offer alongside it a contextualised training programme in urban mission. This will allow us to welcome workers for 2-years and either send them back to their home churches fully trained and equipped for ministry, retain them in the work in Oldham or, working in conjunction with their sending church, commission them to plant into other unchurched areas of Oldham [1].

Further, although presently only a future plan for which we are praying long-term, we have identified four areas near to Glodwick that currently have no church on their estate. We would love to see leaders raised up and planting into these unchurched, deprived communities.

If you would like to help support the work of Oldham Bethel Church, please visit the giving page on the church website. Alternatively, use the contact form to get in touch and receive details for how you can give directly.

If you are interested in training with us, joining the work at Oldham Bethel Church or have a desire to plant into deprived, unchurched areas of the UK, please fill in the contact form at the top of this site to discuss options for training and ministry with us. We are hoping to receive apprentices in September 2018 and can also consider positions for those interested in church planting. We would also be especially pleased to speak with you if you would consider relocating to Oldham and becoming an engaged church member alongside your secular employment.

[1] The borough of Oldham has 230,000 people and only 1 FIEC church (Oldham Bethel Church), 2 gospel partnership (of which, Oldham Bethel Church is one). Large swathes of the town have no credible gospel witness in their midst.