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A friend, who is a church-planter, said some time ago that there was not much point planting a new church in a town of less than 5000 people.  The reason being, that there would not be enough people in the new church to pay the leader’s salary.  If that be true, and that is the model, then there is not much hope for much of rural Wales with its small towns and many villages.  Not much hope for anything smaller than Tenby (pop.4934), not to mention 116 other small towns bigger than Bow Street, or the villages.  Surely we have to think about training people who ‘tent-make’ in order to plant (that’s not an original idea!).  We need to pray for and train hundreds of people who would be willing to get a job in a town or in a group of villages (Bow Street, St Clears or Aberporth would have their perks!) in order to live evangelistically and talk the gospel and gather a church.  No pension, easy ride, or promotion necessarily, but the rewards would be out of this world.  Maybe we all, especially leaders of networks, should begin to cast a vision for it, encourage young and retiring couples to consider it, and start by training those willing to do it.  If you speak Welsh then all the better, come on DAWN training and get some mates to come with you!  The early Methodists did it, planting a group in every village, with local and area leaders to support.  What is certain is that without a willingness to move out of our large towns and cities for the gospel’s sake, not the pension, my church planter friend will be proved right.

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I agree, bi-vocational ministry is a valid way forward for church leadership in 21st century Wales.


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