A Mission Shaped Ministry Course will be starting in the Black Country later this year. Here, the Revd Tom Fish writes about his experience and explains what it's all about:

"Mission Shaped Ministry is for people who want to be involved in reaching the 95% of people in our nation who today don’t go to church. It’s about starting and sustaining “fresh expressions” of church – groups that let people discover the good news of Jesus where they are, rather than hoping that they’re going to come in to us.

"You will hear stories of churches in pubs and housing estates, schools and parks. You’ll hear about new churches and revived churches, in old buildings and new buildings. You’ll discover (if you didn’t know already) that you don’t need to be ordained, or able to preach, or sing, or play an instrument, or go to the other side of the world. You’ll get to find out what works, and what doesn’t.

"And as well as the stories, you’ll have opportunities to think about what you can do, where you are. If you come as a group from a church or local area, we’ll help you go on the journey together. If you come on your own, we’ll offer mentoring to help you develop your thinking and plans. One of the things people value most about MSM is simply spending time with others who share their vision.

"But be warned. You’ll also start to see church through new eyes. And if you really catch the vision, it could change much more than that.

"I first did MSM with Gloucester Diocese 3 years ago. I signed up thinking I already knew most of it – after all I’d been hands-on planting a new church for the previous 3 years. But every session enlarged my vision. Sometimes I’d come home wanting to stop everything we’d been doing and start again! Other times there was just one thing that I knew we need to change. The same thing happened when we ran MSM here 2 years ago, so I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do as we run it again starting this autumn.

"MSM is Biblically-grounded, and culturally aware. It has already helped many thousands of people to reconnect with God's heart for the nation. Don’t miss it!"

Tom Fish

Tom and Helen Fish started Brickworks, a church plant between Lye and Stourbridge, in 2014. Tom will be co-leading MSM with Alicia Baker, vicar of Dudley Wood and Cradley Heath, who has previously led MSM in South Wales and recently established the Community Link on Cradley Heath High Street, and Glenn Reading, vicar of Astwood Bank, who did the Black Country MSM course in 2017 and launched a fresh expression in his parish last year.

Find out more about the Mission Shaped Ministry Course starting in September.