MEMBERSHIP. The membership roll currently stands at 130. Approximate pattern of attendance:

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2 LOCATION Didcot is the largest town in South Oxfordshire, close to the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border, at the foot of the Berkshire Downs and close to the Vale of the White Horse with a growing population of about 25,000. The town is relatively modern in origin and, until the coming of Brunel and the Great Western Railway in the 1840 s, it was a small village. The town is a major railway junction on the Paddington to Bristol and South Wales line and the main line to Oxford and the Midlands. This, combined with easy access to the M4, M40, M25 and other A road networks, has made Didcot attractive as a commuting town producing many housing developments in the last twenty years. There is a planned population growth to an eventual 36,000. Didcot has a new and expanding town centre with its own cinema and Arts centre. The population changes quite rapidly with few people having lived here for long periods. 2

3 PREMISES The church centre, originally built in 1938, has been added to over the years and now provides an integrated suite of buildings consisting of worship area seating 200, halls and meeting rooms. There is a car park and bungalow manse (currently rented out) adjoining. The church will be prepared to discuss methods of providing housing with a future minister. The church centre is used by a variety of organisations from the community. 3

4 The membership roll currently stands at 130. Approximate pattern of attendance: MEMBERSHIP Regular (at least one service each Sunday) 77 Frequent (approximately two services a month) 18 Infrequent (because of illness, age, living away) 20 Infrequent (able but not choosing to attend) 15 Church Members and Regular Attenders The total number of adults and children who might attend on Sundays is approximately 180 made up of: Age Range Male Female The average percentage distribution by age, compared with our community, is: Age Range South Oxfordshire Church Under and over 7 18 Average age The economic percentage by activity is: South Oxfordshire Church Employed Unemployed 2 - Students 2 3 Retired Looking after home/family 6 3 Economically inactive etc 7 8 The percentage by status is: South Oxfordshire Church Single Married Widowed

5 The percentage by employment category is: South Oxfordshire Church Education 3 16 Financial 3 6 Health 9 24 Industry Administration Other 31 5 THEOLOGICAL STANCE We have a strong evangelical commitment and seek to be open to Holy Spirit renewal in worship and service. Worship services vary in structure and levels of formality and informality. We encourage participation, are open to biblical exercise of spiritual gifts and seek to give recognition to the many and varied components and styles of worship found helpful by the church family, whilst seeking to remain relevant and comprehensible to the community in which we are placed. LEADERSHIP TEAM As a church we are committed to team leadership, the team presently comprises of one Minister in Training (previously our Family and Children s Specialist who was appointed in April 2005 and who commenced ministerial training in September 2009). We have an eldership of four which includes the Minister in Training. We have a diaconate of seven who are appointed according to gifting and function with each deacon being encouraged to form their own team. Elders meet fortnightly and elders and deacons bi-monthly, deacons being encouraged to meet with their teams at least every intervening month, diaconate teams include community and social action; world mission; premises; pastoral care; small groups; together with an administrator and a treasurer supported by a finance team that runs the Gift Aid scheme. Other part time paid staff are caretaker, centre manager, secretarial assistant, toddler leader and preschool staff. WORSHIP The worship style is generally a mix of traditional and contemporary worship. Musical accompaniment is provided by a group of instrumentalists and PowerPoint is used for hymns/songs, readings and sermon outlines. 5

6 The following are regular events, have their own co-ordinators and take place at the Church Centre unless otherwise stated. Sunday Services of worship are held at am (average attendance 110) and 6.30 pm (average attendance 25). Usually communion is held on the first Sunday evening and the third Sunday morning each month. Junior Church meets at the same time as the morning service. The children and young people are present for the first part of the service before leaving for their classes. A crèche is provided and coffee follows the morning service. A monthly afternoon Teddy Bears service is held for younger children and their parents. A bi-monthly Songs of Praise service is conducted at one of the care homes in the town. Monday Our pre-school meets at a local Primary School each weekday morning and three afternoons. We have approximately 50 children on our books. One Step Coffee Stop (average attendance 45). Tuesday Pre-school. Our toddlers group meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (average attendance 10 children with parents). Foodbank - the church runs a foodbank open 11.00am to 1.00pm Tuesdays and Fridays, at a town centre location.. Wednesday Pre-school. Toddlers. A monthly mid-day communion service is held. Over the years housegroups have met regularly as part of the midweek programme of the church, though numbers fluctuate from year to year. Thursday Pre-school. Toddlers. Monthly evening prayer meeting. Welcome Break (average attendance 30) provides a meeting point for the older people of the area. Girls Brigade (average attendance 30) meets. Housegroup. Friday Pre-school. Foodbank. Youth Fellowship (average attendance 8) meets in various homes. Saturday Prayer Meeting. WEEKLY PROGRAMME 6

7 MISSION The church seeks to encourage its members to engage in mission in all its aspects. In recent years teams have gone to India, Romania, El Salvador and Uganda (totalling approximately 40 members). We are planning to send a team to El Salvador again in Alpha courses have been run every year for a number of years. We are partnered with a church in El Salvador and have had several exchange visits as well as supporting them financially. As a church our mission statement is Centred on Christ and serving the community and we have in recent years adopted a focus for each year according to the pattern of Sowing, Reaping, Keeping, Sending based on the work of Lawrence Singlehurst. A unique feature of Didcot Baptist Church is the number of Christian ministers and leaders and their families in membership owing to the location in the town of Baptist House, the headquarters of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, BMS World Mission and the Baptist Times. In addition the headquarers of Girls Brigade (England and Wales) is situated in Baptist House. In 2009 the church established a foodbank in the town operating from town centre premises and for the last three years has funded and distributed food parcels at Christmas (81 in 2009). REACH is a group which exists to build personal relationships with non-churchgoers broadly focussing on the year old age group and on building relationships with new folk at church to help them become incorporated into the church family. The church seeks to welcome people with learning disabilities and each year organises a Summer barbecue and Christmas party for a local club. LINKS WITH OTHER ORGANISATIONS The church is in membership with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Evangelical Alliance and affiliated to the Southern Counties Baptist Association. We are active participants in Churches FUTURE DEVELOPMENT Together in Didcot and District, contributing to two Detached Youth Workers for the town. The church has planted two additional congregations within the town which are now autonomous churches Fleet Meadow Baptist Church which commenced in the late 80 s and The Ladygrove Church, a partnership church with the Church of England, which was initiated in the early 90 s. We are now seeking to plant a further congregation, in partnership with other denominations, on a new development to the west of Didcot (Great Western Park) which will add a further 3,500 homes to the town. The council and developers have indicated that one of the community buildings being built on the site could be suitable as a worship facility and that an offer of management by the churches will be sympathetically considered. 7

8 PRACTICAL MATTERS In the town there is a separate boys comprehensive school and girls comprehensive school which have a joint sixth form. There are six primary schools (two of which are Church of England). There are good local sporting and leisure centres and shopping facilities in the town. Links for More Detailed Local Information: Church Town South Oxfordshire Churches Together Detached Youth Work Didcot First SENIOR MINISTER Like all churches, DBC is a mixture of stronger and weaker areas. And of course, any given area seems stronger, or weaker, to some than to others. Nevertheless, in a survey carried out in September 2010, church members identified strengths and weakness of the church in a way that now begins to shape our search for a new senior minister. The comments that follow are inevitably generalities therefore, but still helpful. Stronger areas of church life It is generally agreed that the church s work amongst young children is reasonably strong, though like many areas of the church this is the result of dedicated work by those who would long for others to come and join them. Work amongst seniors is also in reasonably good shape, with Welcome Break a strong weekly gathering. The Church has a strong mission outlook, but with more emphasis on the world than perhaps our own nation and locality. The church is considered welcoming by many, but not by all. Finances are strong and major building work in recent years has been fully funded such that there are at present no loans. The church has a good blend of gifted musicians, though inevitably worship styles do not suit everyone. There is scope for developing services which deliberately adopt different styles of worship. e.g. Sunday evening could be reshaped, as could occasional, more reflective services for those who prefer a gentler approach. A key strength, highlighted more than any other, is our contact with the community through a variety of social outreach initiatives. Some of these will change with the departure of Keith and Anna, our previous pastor and his wife, but others continue and are much valued in the town. The church has a good reputation amongst social agencies in Didcot. 8

9 Weaker areas of church life Without a doubt, the work amongst teenagers and young adults has been a concern for some time. We did try to recruit a youth worker in recent years but we were unsuccessful in finding someone to fit the opportunity and funding that was available. This is an area we will want to return to without too much delay but not before a senior minister is appointed. In addition, we had just begun the search for an associate pastor to complement our senior minister in early 2010 when he indicated he was leaving. This will also be an area to look at again following the appointment of our new senior minister. Teaching and preaching, along with a perceived lack of evangelistic edge would be seen as an area of concern to many, and will be a key area of gifting we will be looking for. A number of people identified a lack of opportunity for social gathering of the church apart from Sunday worship, part of a wider desire for a strong and caring church community where newcomers more quickly develop a network of contacts and friends. Like many churches, people these days seem to be busier than ever, with many who commute each day and so find it hard to take on further commitments within the church. As a result, a disproportionate load falls on a smaller-than-desirable group of people. Other Comments Whilst the church s pastoral care team do a stalwart job, with too few people, there is a felt need for any future senior minister also to be part of that visiting team. Also, there is a desire that our links with the local Baptist Association not be forgotten, even as we rightly recognise the need to be part of Churches Together in Didcot and District. Senior Minister Profile There were many character traits identified as desirable in a new senior minister. No-one is perfect, and so we will not expect to find everything we desire in one person. Nonetheless, it would be fair to say that we will certainly be looking for a minister with strong preaching and teaching gifts. They will have the ability to apply God s word into the everyday lives of God s people, and through biblical exposition, challenge people to come closer to Christ, or to deepen their discipleship. We want someone who has leadership qualities, able to help generate vision within the church, and identify steps needed towards the attainment of that vision. He or she will build a sense of team, encouraging people into supporting roles within the life of the church. Our new senior minister will have a discernable interest in people, along with the people-skills to translate that interest into an ability to relate warmly to people of all ages. As has been the case till now, ministerial involvement in pastoral visiting will be warmly appreciated as part of the team. It seems likely that our new senior minister will have experience of church ministry before coming to Didcot, but as in many matters we are committed to being open to God s Spirit surprising us. A new senior will find themselves in a church that is far from perfect but one that is grateful for all that we do have, and eager for God to show us the next stage in our story. 9

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