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When church and community meet

By Wendy & Timothy Weusten

Seeing a community flourish is wonderful. Seeing it come together after earthquakes is heart-warming. But seeing it transformed is exciting. Although we arenít at the transforming stage yet, opportunities have arisen and seeds have certainly been planted.

Avonhead Baptist Church, based in the west of Christchurch, is very much in exciting times. We have some fantastic opportunities in front of us to help transform our community. We have intentionally been building into our local school, working with them, asking their needs and aiming to be a resource for them. This has included rubbish collecting, the church blessing the school staff with morning tea, helping with camps, counselling, and lunchtime activities.

This has been a deliberate process of working in our community and helping the school to flourish. We have built such a strong rapport and trust that the school has asked for Bible in Schools to be run once a week by the church.  They have asked for help in a sporting environment and the school has praised church young people coming in and building relationships in lunchtimes for those who need extra attention. The school sees this work as a vital contribution to the well-being of their pupils. 

Almost every day the church has people down at the school helping, building relationships and working on transforming the community. The Assistant Principal has even come to church to state how valuable the churchís work is. 

We are fortunate enough to have a school just down the road,where God is opening doors and allowing us to build relationships.

These relationships didnít develop overnight. It has taken a long time to get where we are now, but it started with a few people knowing the importance of community. These people saw the needs and thought: ìHow can the church help?î Rather than going to the community and telling them what they wanted to do they went instead with open hearts and minds and asked: ìHow can we work together?î

This has been the year when things have really blossomed. We have a sports specialist in the school, two youth workers and a Bible in Schools team. It has been exciting to see this grow so quickly. Now that we have a presence in the school we are eager to see how God is going to transform the church and the community together.

• Wendy & Timothy are with Avonhead Baptist Church


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