Persevering - Excel Church, Bilston
Bilston is part of the Black Country in the West Midlands, and it has a strong industrial history. It also has high levels of deprivation, unemployment, and other entrenched social issues related to poverty. Daniel Lee is a Church Leader at Excel Church, and has worked there for over 20 years. He has developed the church’s relationship with the local community over these two decades, mainly in schools. Initially, the church would go in and run assemblies and lunch clubs. This has blossomed over the years into a variety of projects, events, mentoring, and clubs.
Daniel describes the importance of persevering, as he has seen “the relationship grow and develop into a real strong trust relationship, which has enabled us to really engage not just with the schools as institutions but with the children”.
This relationship is a partnership between the church and schools, which the CEO of St Martin’s Multi-Academy Trust, Ben Davis, says has led to “many of our community finding out more about the church community and the great work that the church does there”. The years that these two local institutions have worked on their partnership has meant that there is “a strong sense of trust with one another”. The church has become a trusted partner and local institution, providing both a safe place for people to go, as well as practical and useful resources.
The perseverance shown by Dan and Excel Church has led to fruitful relationships in the community and growth in the church, with many of the families that are involved in the church joining because of “the relationships that have been built up over time with the schools”. This work is an “investment in the long-term”, and, although it has been a struggle at times, is something that has born fruit for both the church and the local community.