On Sunday (May 8th) we had our Welcome Church Vision Evening looking at ‘Where we’ve been, where are now and, most importantly, where we’re heading in the future‘. This week I’ll be blogging about some of the key items we covered. This is part 1 of 5.
The pandemic created some big challenges for us all, both personally and as a church, yet we’ve known God’s blessing all the way through; He has done great things for us!
In the run up to the pandemic a lot had changed for us as a church in a short space of time, including a new name and logo, a new website, a new vision and mission statement, a new culture being outworked, a new approach to outreach, a new approach to belonging AND the launch of our brand new purpose built building in the heart of Woking. In some ways the pandemic could not have come at a worse time for us with Lockdown closing our building just a few weeks after it opened!
Despite this God has blessed our church beyond all expectation
We’re now back meeting together in person across two meetings each Sunday morning with kids work and youth work, and we’re seeing new people come and join us regularly. To encourage you, here are some Welcome Church statistics from the last couple of years:
- 4 people have joined our staff team: Christopher Hawes (Preaching and Discipleship), Uti Anyaegbunam (Ops. Manager), Hannah Oliver (Ops. Assistant) and Juliet Bauermeister (Comms. Manager)
- 147 have attended an Alpha Course
- 123 have attended our new Learn Groups (Bible Course, Prayer Course, etc)
- 457 signed up to attend Life Groups in the January refresh (plus there are a whole load more who we know attend but didn’t actually sign up … so cheeky!!!)
- 104 have attended our various CAP courses (Fresh Start, Job Club, Life Skills, Money Course)
- 79 people have been baptised
- 46 children attended the Welcome Kids Weekend Away
- 192 people attended our last 2 Newcomers Lunches (both since Lockdown ended)
- 96 people have attended our ‘Belong, Believe, Become’ course in 2022 alone
Additionally your generous giving as a church has beaten all expectations throughout the pandemic. We beat our budget in both 2020/21 and 2021/22, so on behalf of the Eldership Team and the Trustees let me say a huge THANK YOU!
We’ve also given lots away to some key causes over the last two years:
- £19,000 was given in 2020 to help feed people in need through our Commission churches in India
- £36,000 was raised in 2020 to support Your Sanctuary
- £33,000 was given just recently to help our churches in Ukraine serve their communities during the ongoing conflict there
- £19,000 was given to provide buildings for some of our Commission churches in Bangladesh and to support some of our other works in that part of the world too
In fact, as well as financing what we do as a church, we gave away over £158,000 last year alone, including to support both the work of our Commission church family and some other excellent local causes including Woking Food Bank and Woking Street Angels.
These are all good signs that God is at work in and through our church. We have a lot to be thankful for, so let’s be on the front foot to give God the glory for all he’s doing, even as we face some sadnesses, some sicknesses and some losses amongst our church family too.
“The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy” Psalm 126v3
Where do we go from here?
Looking back at God’s past faithfulness brings great encouragement, faith and hope for the future. Tomorrow I’m going to blog about our brand new vision statement as a church which will now begin to shape where we go in the future.