Tim Griffiths, Local Misssional leader for St.James Wigan talks to us about his new role and the key challenges of discipleship and mission.
Tim began his working life at the age of sixteen as a coal miner. "It was during this time that I came to faith. I started a Christian Fellowship meeting at the pit and within twelve months or so the membership had grown from two to thirteen . We met on a monthly basis and we all attended different churches. From here I attended teacher training college and graduated four years later taking my first teaching post. During my second year of college I met my wife Barbara. We married in 1991. We have a daughter Bethany who is now fifteen. We have attended three Churches of England during our married life and we have been involved in a range of ministries including youth leaders, house group leaders, Alpha leaders, PCC members. In 2007 I started reader training. I was licensed in 2010 and I completed my foundation degree in church ministry in 2013. We attended St.Thomas church Ashton in Makerfield at the time of my training. We began to sense that God was calling us into some other form of ministry and began to pray in relation to this. We explored some areas of ministry when the post of Missional leader for St.James Wigan was advertised. Following a lot of prayer from close Christian friends, family and members of the church we moved forward to apply for the post for which I have now been appointed."
Aknowleging the spiritual challenges ahead he continues "The greatest challenge as far as I see it is that there are so many people who regard church and Christianity as irrelevant.We live in a broken world and many people are searching for hope/love and spiritual fulfilment. This is a great challenge for the church. I believe that Jesus Christ was the most exciting person that ever lived on this Earth. We as Christians have this incredible message of hope and love and salvation and yet we so often fail to communicate this message effectively to those who live in our parishes, those who have no church connection. Jesus spent time in the temple praying but He also spent a lot of time ministering to people at their point of need in a practical sense as well as leading and guiding them spiritually. We as a church must follow and model the example of Jesus. We must be prepared to move out of the comfort of our church buildings and organisations and we must be ready to move out and serve the people who live in our communities thus demonstrating the love of Jesus."
"I believe the challenge above God is also saying to me. An essential part of mission is prayer. I believe that we should commit to prayer all of our works. If we do not pray, we work in our own strength. It is God that has the power to change lives through His Holy Spirit. Prayer I believe is therefore an essential prerequisite of any aspect of mission or work within the church. It also enables us to grow closer to God in a personal sense and allows our faith to increase. "
Tim will be busy as he is taking on the role of Locan Missional Leader in addition to working full time as a teacher. "The key aspects of my role will be focused around discipleship and mission. We will be looking at ways of enabling our church members to grow spiritually. We will also be working with the congregation to consider what their vision for the future will be and to find ways of implementing that vision. We will of course be working closely with Tim Montgomery (transforming Wigan director) and Rev. Neil Cook (priest in charge) as we seek to follow what God is saying to us."