Walking the road together: how Stewardship and Acts 29 GB are working together to plant healthy churches
“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.” Colossians 3:15-16
Acts 29 GB are a charity with a focus on church planting. We caught up with their co-ordinator Ally Collins, to find out more about what they do and how Stewardship is working with them.
“The work we do in Acts 29 GB is all for the purpose of making Jesus known,” says Ally, “From supporting new planters, to training, coaching, holding conferences, developing partnerships with churches planting in many different communities.”
Acts 29 GB works with around forty churches, and a pipeline of new church planters. “As churches and those looking to plant connect with us, we come alongside them and walk with them as they prepare to plant, helping to equip, train and support them along the way. Whilst we want to see more and more churches planted, we also want to make sure they’re healthy and fruitful both as they get off the ground and in the longer term.”
So where does Stewardship come in? “Stewardship and Acts 29 GB have a shared desire to see healthy churches being planted. And there’s a lot to navigate when starting a church. For a new planter, setting up a charity, putting good governance structures in place, sorting out policies, training and financial management can be quite daunting! The expertise and experience offered by Stewardship can be a huge benefit to new churches. We’re so excited to connect them relationally with Stewardship’s church planting team who can help churches build healthy foundations from the outset.”
With the new partnership, church planters connected with Acts 29 GB will be able to draw on the advice and support of Stewardship. There will be regular, bespoke check-ins in which Stewardship will walk the planters through the process of getting started in the areas of governance and good financial management. There may be questions about charity formation, funding or employment, all of which Stewardship can help answer. The partnership means that, as new church planters are well-resourced and supported in these areas, they gain confidence in forming the right foundations, which frees them to focus on the reason why they’re planting – to make Jesus known.
Acts 29 GB is making him known all over the country. Ally’s church in Manchester planted a new congregation in Chorlton two years ago. “The church occupies a central position and brings a Christian presence to the community. They’re currently running Alpha, supporting a homeless shelter and connect with the community through all sorts of different events and groups. It’s such a joy to see Gospel fruit appearing in this way.”
Peak Trinity Church is one of Acts 29 GB’s partners planting in a rural area. They serve Bakewell and the surrounding villages, hamlets and farms that make up the Peak District National Park. Below the beautiful veneer, this is a context where the rapidly declining rural chapels and churches look increasingly like boats stranded by a retreating tide. The church says, “The harvest is plentiful and the movement of the Gospel to spiritually deprived rural areas like the Peak District will not happen by accident.”
Another Acts 29 GB church planter in Scotland says “We’ve begun a monthly cohort for planters and their families across the North of Scotland. The fruit of this cohort has been friendship and relational support for families as well as joint services and the sharing of ideas, finances, venues, gifts and people between our churches. Our times together have become a monthly highlight and a huge support to our ministries.”
In both urban and rural settings, the partnership between Acts 29 GB and Stewardship is helping Jesus to be known all over the country.