Stockton Baptist Church | Christian Vocations

Stockton Baptist Church

Type: Church
Stockton Baptist Church was formed in 1740 and has been a centre of strong Evangelical witness to Christ in the town over many years.

The current building was only built 19 years ago, but we are exploring how we can accommodate the growing ministries within the Church. Current Membership is about 320. We are experiencing growth in numbers in the Sunday morning congregation, including an encouraging increase in families who are joining us regularly, as well as a significant number of asylum seekers and refugees.

Theology

The Church is evangelical in conviction and is a “broad Church” embracing those who tend towards the Reformed position, and others who would accept the label “Charismatic” and every shade in between! 

We are united in our commitment to share the good news of Salvation through faith in the death and resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ, and to live in obedience to His calling, in the power of His Holy Spirit.  

We are members of the Baptist Union of Great Britain and within that the Northern Baptist Association; and the UK Evangelical Alliance.

Staffing

Our current Team comprises a Senior Minister, an Associate Minister, a Children’s Pastor and a half time Outreach Youth Pastor.  We employ a  Buildings Manager, Office Manager, a Refugee and Asylum Seeker Ministry Administrator and three Cleaners. In the past few years, our youth work has been augmented by short-term interns from America (Youth for Christ). Our Trading Companies (Coffee House and Bookshop) employ a number of people.

Location

The Church is located in the Town Centre, a couple of hundred metres from the High Street, overlooking the river Tees.  A newly-opened Hilton Hotel is adjoining our site.  We are exploring what ministries are appropriate for a Town Centre church, recognising that we do not have an obvious residential “parish” to which we relate.  We are therefore a destination church for most, and at least one third of our congregation and Leaders live between two and seven miles away.

The building - its facilities and further development

The focus of the building is a 500 seater theatre style auditorium - this means that it is an attractive venue for other groups in the community. 

We have a Christian Bookshop on site, which serves a wide region, beyond the town itself; and a Coffee House.  These and a number of other ministries enable the building to be open 7 days a week. We have somewhere between 1,250 and 1,750 visits to the premises each week.  It can be very busy.

A variety of rooms are available for our own groups to use, and for hiring by others.  Because of the development in the past five years of a wide ranging ministry of friendship to Asylum Seekers and Refugees, and a Christians Against Poverty ministry, the existing set of rooms have come under pressure.  In 2017 the British Red Cross  based their Stockton new Asylum Seeker Hub on our site, providing support at the Monday and Friday Drop-ins. In addition, the development of the hotel next door presents further opportunity for usage of our facilities, and reaching out to the wider community.  We are currently exploring ways to cater for the increasing attendance and ministries within the church.

Church Life
We currently meet for worship on Sundays at 10.30am and 6.15pm. The morning congregation is currently about 300, up from 250 five years ago. Evening worship, with up to 50 attending, has been moved to a side hall in order to foster a sense of fellowship and intimacy which is difficult for a group of that size to feel in our large auditorium. We are one of the very few churches in  Stockton still offering an evening service and by this means we hope to see it grow.

We are committedly evangelical and place a high value on faithful, relevant and effective Bible teaching. When there’s a time for testimony, we are becoming less reserved about telling each other about a healing or a specific word of prophecy or encouragement. We are increasingly looking at how ‘whole life discipleship’ can be worked out within our fellowship and encouraging people to be more aware of their ‘Frontline’.

Services are planned and led by a minister or by a volunteer worship-leader. The worship style is planned but informal and would normally include prayer, Bible reading, singing, and preaching. There may be a call for testimony or an opportunity for people to pray for each other. 

There are House Groups, which we call Life Groups, spread throughout the town and further afield, and this involves about a third of the congregation.

Congregation

We have a wonderfully diverse range of old and young; local and international. Our international friends are not just from the Refugee and Asylum seeker community - but a diverse range who work or study in the area.

Growing numbers of families are joining us from different backgrounds - some Christian, but not necessarily from Baptist churches; others with no Church experience at all!  We are encouraged by this development and recognise that the time is right to put more resource and impetus behind our work with children, young people and families, including new efforts to reach out to our community and our schools, hence the new appointment of our Outreach Youth Pastor.

Children’s and Youth Ministries

  • Sunday morning groups for all ages
  • Girls’ Brigade
  • Boys’ Brigade 
  • Tuesday Youth Bible study

Other Ministries (not an exhaustive list)

  • Alpha, Growing in Christ, Freedom in Christ (about 80 attending each Tuesday evening)
  • Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Drop-in Monday and Friday; English Classes; offering friendship and personal support.  2 houses have been acquired to provide accommodation for Asylum Seekers with no recourse to public funds. Work with other churches; weekly Farsi Bible study for Iranians; Farsi translation in the morning service; 120 + baptised in the past two years
  • Christians Against Poverty - job club
  • Luncheon Club each week for 60-80 pensioners
  • Sew’n’Sews
  • Little Fish (mid-week outreach to Mums and occasional Dads) Approx 30 Toddlers
  • Time Out (day time women’s Bible study with crèche)
  • Walking group
  • Ladies Link
  • International Mission Action Group

Missional Communities

Part of our Church Vision is to begin to develop Missional Communities.

  • a running club has recently started, meeting one Sunday morning each month for a run and inviting non Christian friends; there is always a word of testimony, prayer etc
  • with the help of Green Pastures, a house in one of the most deprived streets in Stockton has been purchased and will be the home for 6 people including our Associate Minister and his wife (our Outreach Youth Pastor); the purpose of this Missional Community is to reach out to the many people in the area who are in need.

Wider Stockton Church

Over the past couple of years there has been a growing collaborative working of local churches and Christian Charities both in the North and South of the River Tees with a real desire to see the “Transformation of Teesside”. At a recent joint evening Sunday Service over a 1000 Christians took part. It is wonderful to see exciting things happening as the Holy Spirit empowers and unites His Church.

We also have strong links with Stockton Town Pastors - which functions under the umbrella of Christian Nightlife initiative; and with “A Way Out” - an excellent local Christian charity working among street girls and young people.

Congregationally Governed

In keeping with the Baptist tradition our church is congregationally governed.  Membership is restricted to those who have been baptised as believers and we have typically four or five members’ meetings a year. Deacons are recognised and elected by the membership for the practical running of the church; likewise for Elders, who look after the spiritual direction. We also have a Church Treasurer and Secretary.