90 second interviews
Simon Dean – Lincolnshire
“Churches can agree on the need to share the good news and meet needs in the community. Unity challenges the impression that the Church doesn’t get on and is a powerful statement to those looking in from the outside.”
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a communicator – communicating vision, passing on stories, pushing information to networks. In my work as facilitator of Churches Together across Lincolnshire (CTAL), I encourage and equip people to be involved in mission by pointing them to resources, ideas and support.
What about local mission delights you?
Hearing little stories where action has an impact on individuals. A group of Christians were doing a local litter pick and they found a stolen bag that had been dumped. It was discovered that it belonged to the next door neighbour of an organiser. When they dropped it round to the owner it opened up friendship and conversations.
What is going on in Lincolnshire at the moment?
Wow, so much. Street Pastors in Lincoln have opened many doors to engage and now we are asked by police and council to comment on new initiatives. There are community festivals and litter picks. New Life church is using sport and engaging with young people on housing estates. Amigos are a group looking out for the homeless. There is also work with migrants, a counselling service and more.
Any advice for inspired activists?
Find your local Churches Together group and suggest your ideas at a meeting. Have a conversation with your own leader and see what the feeling is among the churches. If you have specific needs for a project (e.g. a youth worker), speak to churches and other groups (e.g. YMCA) to see what doors for partnership open up.
What do you see as the benefits of working together?
There is a larger pool of resources, people power and skill sets. Any burdens can be shared and we can achieve more. Churches can agree on the need to share the good news and meet needs in the community. Unity challenges the impression that the Church doesn’t get on and is a powerful statement to those looking in from the outside.
What is the key to local mission success?
It needs both lay people to take it forward and the leaders to give backing and permission. Sometimes people need the leader to set up initial contact but it’s a two way thing. It is the grassroots that are fruitful. You can’t force people to do anything./ You have to win them over with beneficial partnerships and enthusiasm.