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Mission Possible

Before Mission Possible

We were challenged a few years ago to review our Church's Mission:

  • What could we do better?
  • What new initiatives would enable us to spread the good news of Jesus in our community?

Our Church Strategy Team looked at four strengths of our church:

  • The variety in our forms of worship
  • Involvement in community life
  • Our work with young people – mostly not on a Sunday!
  • The emphasis placed on drama – from pantomimes to drama in worship

How can we capitalise on these?

Messy Church is one new initiative to come out of the initial process and, whilst attendance varies, between 10 and 30 additional children and parents are actively engaging with the Gospel every month as a result.

After much thought and prayer, we believe that now is the time to focus on developing a new form of Mission amongst our young people.

  • Who might lead it?
  • What might it look like?

We would also love to see more use of drama in worship and to put on other forms of drama - using all age groups.

  • Could drama be the hook to help us talk about faith matters together?
  • We struggle to run fellowship groups at Oakworth - could this be an answer?
  • Who might help us with this?

There are issues with our building that also need addressing and we would like to deal with these at the same time as we respond to the challenges identified above to help us make the most of the opportunities created.

So, how are we moving forward?

Initial plans were drawn up for a scheme to extend the building, to address all the identified needs. A feasibility study was undertaken which confirmed it was physically possible but the plans proved to be too ambitious and did not gain sufficient support.

The Strategy Team went back to the drawing board and, after extensive discussions with Church Council, local community groups and representatives from the Methodist Circuit and District, put together a two-part package to address our Mission needs, bring practical benefits to the Church and enable us to meet our legal and community obligations.

The process seemed like “Mission Impossible” at times but this fresh approach to the challenge has received enthusiastic unanimous support from church and community alike and we are now moving forward with an exciting new project entitled: Mission Possible.

The package

The Mission Possible package proposed:

  1. Employ a part time Youth & Community worker with drama skills
    • To capitalise on Mission opportunities in existing and new groups of young people
    • To encourage the use of drama in worship and as a tool for Mission
    • This will be a Circuit appointment with 10 hours per week at Oakworth and other churches utilising hours to make it a full time post.
  2. Embark on a scaled-down version of the previous building plans
    • To make the church more visible and welcoming and reduce our carbon footprint
    • To improve the building layout and storage with everything under one roof
    • To meet Ofsted requirements for Playgroup and legal Health & Safety obligations

The last few months

The Circuit Meeting also responded enthusiastically and unanimously to the proposals. They agreed the Youth & Community worker should be a Circuit resource on the Circuit payroll and that a Circuit grant of £30,000 would be made towards the building project.

Jo Dolman was appointed Circuit Youth, Children & Family Worker in September 2016 and is now working on various new projects across the Airedale Circuit.  Check out the latest Newsletter or posters at church to see what she is doing at the moment.

The District Property Panel have agreed to approve a £9,600 District Property Grant once we have received 80% of our fundraising target.

Local Authority Planning Approval and Building Control approval have been received.

The project went out to tender in September 2016 but the tenders came back much higher than anticipated.  A long and complex value-engineering exercise followed, to reduce the cost of the project to a more acceptable level without compromising what we set out to achieve.  This was finally completed in June 2017 when a new budget was set at £425,000.  

Meanwhile, a 48 page business plan has been completed and work has started on the large grant applications.  We are now eligible for a Connexional (National) Methodist Church Property Grant and we have been invited to apply for up to £140,000.  An application has been submitted but we won't know the outcome until December.  Large grant applications are also in the process of being made to the Arts Council and the Garfield Weston Foundation, with responses due at the end of the year.   

The project continues to receive enthusiastic support from church and community alike ... and local fundraising continues - see the Mission Possible Appeal page above for details.  Thank you for your support!