From Sunday 22-29 June, Dewsbury Evangelical Church (DEC) held a week of special outreach work called Quench, a project directed by one of DEC’s elders, Ian Goodson, in their local area.
Quench was started four years ago, to connect with local people and provide an opportunity to talk about Jesus. The name ‘Quench’ was developed from the idea that it will quench the thirst that people have for happiness, which ultimately lies in Jesus and the gospel.
‘Quench is not a “mission week”, but a week to catalyse mission further’, Ian said. ‘We have to be proactive, persistent and patient, so that it can be long-term. If we don’t see instant results, we have to be diligent, not discouraged’.
Although members in the church volunteered for some of the work, it was mainly led by a group of 12 young people in a ‘Quench team’. The team met each morning for fellowship and prayer.
‘It’s important to train our young members in gospel ministry. Some Quench team members are students, and university is a mission field they need to be prepared for’, Ian said.
‘We’ve had a brilliant team serving this year; on their own initiative, they took the minibus out into the Westtown residential area and offered free refreshments to passers-by. It was a great idea and generated a number of initial contacts with people’.
A variety of activities took place throughout the week, including the very popular quiz night and ‘Café Quench’ in the church building. The café was designed to welcome members of the community to enjoy coffee, conversation and the opportunity to browse some second-hand stalls of toys, books and clothes. The proceeds raised by the café, second-hand stalls and events were donated to Tearfund.
‘Everyone present appeared to really enjoy the quiz night, and I counted about a dozen non-Christians present’, Ian said. ‘We showed three short films between rounds to provoke conversation and challenge people to read the Bible for themselves’.
Following the purchase of a new building in October 2013, DEC was also able to host new events such as ‘Tea in t’Yard’, a barbecue held in the church car park, to attract people from the local area.
Other new works included door-to-door visiting in Lupset, Wakefield, on the Monday, as some members at DEC aim to plant a church there in the future. This was fruitful, as eight people expressed interest in reading the Bible with Ian in the future.
However, the numbers that attended Quench were less than in previous years. This may be due to the church’s new premises being further from the town centre. Additionally, the week of Quench clashed with 19 World Cup group matches, including the England versus Costa Rica match on Tuesday 24 June.
Ian said, ‘We always knew that the café would be far quieter in our new location compared to previous years. Nevertheless, it’s good to give thanks for the people that did come’.
The church held a brief evaluation meeting on Sunday 29 June, to discuss Quench and ways of improving the outreach. ‘In terms of making contacts and raising the profile of DEC in this new area, Quench was a success. Even so, we need to go into the nearby housing estate more in the future, and do a lot of groundwork with local schools in order for the children’s works to gain numbers’.
If you would like to get involved in Quench next year, contact Ian Goodson on [email protected]