Reaching out to ALL of Niddrie

Reaching out to ALL of Niddrie

Niddrie is changing. When I first came here four years ago the community was much more clearly defined. Families had been living here for generations and the ‘mission’ (as our church building was called and still is today despite the name change!) has been here for almost 100 years. It was pretty easy to identify the ‘community’. In response to this we opened a ‘community cafe’ which is now the hub of everything we do and the heartbeat of the church in terms of its outreach and service to Niddrie. It is used by unemployed locals, teachers on lunch breaks, workmen, council care groups, the elderly, young people, community arts groups, drama groups, dance groups, addicts and is sometimes booked for private functions such as parties, weddings and funerals. It is what a local church should be – integral to its community.

The issue is that Niddrie is changing. Some of the old guard have been moved out and we have wide scale rebuilding schemes going on all around this. This is both good and bad: good in that it is cleaning up the aesthetics of the place: bad in that it has actually killed off, to some degree at least, the ‘community’ feel of the place. We now have more and more people from overseas as well as more and more young professionals moving into the new flats and houses. We are seeing first hand a ‘clash of cultures’ between ‘old Niddrie’ and the ‘new’. The overseas populations bring with them their own distinctive cultural flavours from around the globe and the young ‘professionals’ come with a wholly different worldview based, largely though not solely, on consumerist individualism. Niddrie is less a home and more a step on the property market for many.

The challenge for us as a body of God’s people here in this place is how we (1) respond to these changes and (2) reach out to the various subcultures in a meaningful way and draw them into a diverse worshipping community. We have some hard work to do in understanding who our new neighbours are and looking at culturally applicable ways in how we reach out to them with the ‘word of life’. For instance,  the cafe is a useless tool for those who work all day. So, how will we reach them then? This is going to require prayerful thinking and a radical ‘shift’ in how we view our mission as a church. Tonight is the first of a new series on ‘Missional Living’ in the church. Our aim is not to jump on the current church trendsetting bandwagon but to come together as a body and look at how we can use the various gifts at our disposal more strategically for the benefit of God’s kingdom. We have families in the ‘new builds’ – so is it worth, for example, establishing a small group in that part of the estate whose sole intent is to reach out to the young professionals and new house owners? Would it be helpful to allow a small group to just go and investigate that subculture and prayerfully consider what may be a better way to reach out to them? The great thing about being at Niddrie is that we have the flexibility to try new things. So, for the next 6-10 months we are going to be studying together what that might mean for us as a church seeking to reach ALL of our rapidly changing culture. Please pray for us as we seek God’s will in these endeavours.

One Comment

    val

    Farely opened mined views, why not encourage them ‘subcultures’ to come to you, have an event, doesnt need to cost a bomb, invite both the old and new and break the ice.. you dont want the new residents scared off by your enthusiasm. Then decide how best to intergrate the community.

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