The History of Homerton Baptist Church

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1986 - Current

Steven Richards

There are no records for the church from 1983 until 1986. It was in March 1986 that the church, having been without a minister for 18 months, considered inviting Mr Steven Richards to be Pastor. Mr Richards had previously been a minister in Farnham, Surrey and Caerwent, Gwent.

The welcome service was held on October 11th 1986. Mr Peter Golding spoke on Joshua 1 v9. Mr Maurice Wade of the Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East) chaired the meeting. Mr Jack Parkins, deacon of the church, explained the decision to call Mr Richards. The meeting was well attended with a relay in the hall, as the church was so full.

Over this time the church has seen blessings with the increase in numbers at both the morning and evening services.

Over the years the Sunday School has had opportunity to perform plays portraying the travels of the Pilgrim Fathers on The Mayflower and the journey of Christian in Pilgrim's Progress.

For several years a youth group was held for children around the church. This was a success but had to close due to the lack of personnel. Following this there were various groups held for the youth of the church. The young people that have grown up through these groups have all been baptised and have become members. They are now running a group for 8-14 year olds.

Pastor Steven Richards

Pastor Steven Richards

In more recent years we have held the Homerton School of Theology. The first school examined the doctrine of scripture. In this we looked at the inspiration of God, the canon of scripture and how the Bible came to us in the form we have it today. The Second course took place during the evangelism outreach week held this year. In the year 2000 we looked at the 'Doctrine of God' and this year we will be looking at the 'Doctrine of the Person of Christ'.

We have had evangelistic teams seeking to reach out to the immense population around. One was held in 1987 when a Grace Baptist Mission team, led by Geoff Gobbett worked with the church for a week. Another such outreach project was held in May of this year. The week went well and we were able to deliver about four thousand leaflets showing the relevance of the Bible and looking towards the Millennium. One leaflet was written by one of our young people, Gbemi, who spoke about the church and welcomed people to join with us. Some of us were also able to take part in door to door work and found people to be receptive and willing to talk. The door to door work also gave opportunity to learn more about other people's beliefs.

During the evenings of the week we were given a series of talks regarding the issue of effective evangelism. We examined the principles of evangelism and looked to Jesus' example as he shared the gospel with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman. In looking at more public declarations of the gospel we turned to Acts and the sermons of Paul and Peter. In these meetings it was continually brought home the importance of evangelism. When God commands us to repent and be baptised we take the command seriously, and in our walk with Christ we try to lead faithful and upright lives but how seriously do we take God's command to evangelise? Before ascending to be with his father Jesus speaks directly to his people and commands us to share the gospel with everyone:

Matthew Ch 28 v 18
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.

The week highlighted the fact that God has given us the chance to share the greatest news within all history and although it was good to have a special week to spend time in evangelism it should never become an occasional event it must be a continual effort. God has placed us in our particular situations he's placed us in certain schools, certain universities and certain places of work with the one purpose that we may make others aware of Christ and of their need of Christ.

The meetings made us aware of our purpose here on earth. God has saved those who know him and that is the greatest thing ever and we must worship him whilst here on Earth but we also must remember that we have the whole of eternity to worship God and without sin that worship will be far more effective than our worship now. The question was asked as to why then does God not take us straight to be with him when he saves us? It was suggested that we are needed to be here so God can use us that more may be added to his number. There is no chance for evangelism once we are in Heaven. Ezekiel makes this clear. The Lord describes us as being watchmen. If the watchmen didn't warn the town of an incoming invasion then the blame for the deaths of the people within the city is on him. If the watchman warned the city but they failed to listen then the blame was on the individual. The message is made so clear to us in Ezekiel chapter 33 if we do not warn our friends and our neighbours that they must turn to God then we are accountable for that person's blood:

Ezekiel Ch 33 v 8-9
When I say "O wicked man, I will surely die," and you do not speak out to dissuade him from his ways, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man to turn from his ways and he does not do so, he will die for his sin, but you will be saved yourself.

We continue to endeavour to share the Gospel with those around and we have been encouraged in recent weeks to see a real growth within the church.  We trust that the Lord will continue to bless us.

The church appointed Pastor Stephen Challen to work alongside Pastor Richards as an Assistant Pastor in January 2014.

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