Barry King is the pastor of Dunstable Baptist Church and the General Secretary of Grace Baptist Partnership in the United Kingdom. He and his wife Frances along with their children have served there for over ten years. The mission of GBP is to grow leaders, plant churches and reach nations by assisting churches in the planting of more churches. So far there are nine churches in the partnership with opportunities to add more.
Update (from "Faint Yet Pursuing", Grace Baptist Partnership Month of Prayer and Giving, March 2022):
Some seasons of ministry may require us to press on despite personal weariness, but if we are exhausted and exasperated, it should not be because of any lack of provision. Through your prayers and giving, you encourage us to keep pursuing the mission of God even when faint.
“Taking over other churches and their gospel assets - buildings, finance, etc - by stealth, is not church planting. It is church supplanting. It is unconscionable and immoral. God’s people know - and do - better.” It is fair to say that after decades of experience, Barry King – pastor of Dunstable Baptist Church and general secretary of Grace Baptist Partnership – knows a bit about what is and isn’t church planting. He continues, “When other churches seem to be content to asset-strip smaller churches to enlarge themselves while we are prayerfully seeking to be a gospel asset to small churches in our area, we can - if we’re not careful - grow weary in doing good.”
The threat of weariness aside, Dunstable Baptist Church is certainly doing much good. They are stretched: presently they are supporting another church in Dunstable as well as other churches in Edlesborough, Linslade, and now a church replanting project in Wimbledon. But they are not stressed.
Isaiah 54:2 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes”, and the church at Dunstable seems to have taken up a ministry of similar characteristics, “lengthening cords” as they extend their witness, and “strengthening stakes” as they establish their witness. They are seeking to establish the witness in Dunstable through various practical means with long term gospel impact, including but certainly not limited to modernising their building and purchasing a manse that will house their pastor now and in the future. At the same time, they are seeking to extend the witness of the church through efforts in church planting and revitalisation.
Dunstable Baptist Church is itself being revitalised – you see, revitalisation is not something that happens and then later leads to action and obedience: revitalisation happens with action and obedience, as people know the will of the Lord and do it. A fruit of the church’s own ongoing revitalisation has been a greater joy in service and peace whatever the circumstances they are facing at the moment. They are seeing God remould their minds from within, and as they obediently trust him, are demonstrating the goodness of God’s plan in their progress towards true maturity. As they are revitalised, instead of being complicit in the demise of other churches, other churches are being planted and revitalised.
- Pray that Dunstable Baptist Church will be able to be stretched without being stressed, maintaining joy and peace.
- Pray that the church will strike the right balance between establishing the witness locally and extending the witness further afield.
- Pray that the church will not grow weary in doing good, assured of the promise that in due season they will reap a harvest if they do not give up.
- Pray for additional elders and deacons to be recognised among them in the coming year with the increase of ministry opportunities.