Know Your Mission-Field

As part of my Acts 29 church planter application process I had to submit a document that proved I had analyzed and understood the socio-demographics of my mission-field – Trevethin. This is an important, albeit challenging part of the church planting process. I had already done a little research into this but last week I came across some new facts and statistics that increased my compassion, prayer and commitment to this estate that I call home.

Check it out:

  • Trevethin is among the 10% most deprived communities in Wales.
  • Trevethin is the most deprived ward in Torfaen.
  • Torfaen is the 2nd most obese ward in the UK (after the Shetland Islands!)
  • Torfaen is the anti-depressant capital of the UK – 11 out of every 100 prescriptions are for anti-dperessants.
  • The top 7 counties for anti-depressant prescription in the UK are all in the Welsh Valleys!
  • Trevethin is trapped in high interest, easy access borrowing via door stop lending, thus reinforcing the poverty cycle.
  • Domestic violence is a significant issue in Trevethin.
  • The percentage of economically inactive people in Trevethin is among the highest in Wales.
  • Trevethin has one of the highest numbers of cohabiting couples with dependent children.
  • In 2017 Trevethin will have one of the highest numbers of children aged 5 and under.
  • Trevethin has one of the largest numbers of children on the protection register in Wales.

I know that all our communities in Wales have deep need and as a friend of mine posted on Twitter earlier:

“The greatest problem with our country is not social deprivation but a spiritual deprivation. Its everywhere!”

I couldn’t agree more with that statement as social change without gospel change is essentially cosmetic surgery! However, understanding the issues that are confronting your community opens your eyes to gospel opportunities, stirs your heart to love, stretches your faith in prayer and generates fresh gospel urgency!

That’s been my experience at least!

Can I encourage you to do some research into the issues that are currently confronting your community – your mission-field! It might just inspire you to go deeper, further and braver with the gospel.


7 thoughts on “Know Your Mission-Field

  1. Good word – thanks for the encouragement! I need to be more diligent in my research here in west London.

  2. Heart wrenching!
    Where did u find this info?
    The last two facts pull at me big time! I want to know these stats for Mellons and Trowbridge!

  3. If good gospel was what was needed to change such a community then surely it would have already happened. I guess this is a opportunity to prove this missions acts as a truth. But would you be willing to admit it when these figures show no change, or worse, degrade? Coming to know God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit (which are all separate but at the same time One???) aint gonna change unemployment statatstic figures if the work available is for skilled people and the vast majority of people have no practical skills, eg a trade. Of course there are exceptions but there are always will be.
    The danger of what you preach, evangelical Christianity, is that it teaches that this life is all about worshiping God because if you don’t your next life is gonna be infinitely times worse if you don’t. The danger of this for people in areas such as Trevethin is that it they due to their circumstances working towards God instead of working to better their lives through gaining new skills to able them into work they neglect it. The next generation follow suit and you still have a community depending on the state to provide for them in order to enable them to pursue their goal of trying to comprehend what an infintly complex bein, which apparently exists outside anything we can even begin to comprehend hence they never will.
    IF the true goal of what your doing is to help communities ride themselves of such statistics then what you need to be doing is workshops which help them understand the statistics they have given themselves. Education is far broader than learning facts, proper education will teach you to understand those facts the bible as much as you like to believe it will, won’t. If it did we wouldn’t have such problems.
    If something is true, its true. If it’s true it will work and will always work that’s the truth about thruths. Another truth is that if you think something is true and isn’t giving the expected results then the chances are somer other phenomenon will help explain it better.
    You teach that the only way to gain *true* abundance of life happiness is to accept Jesus Christ. Any critical thinker can see the countless errors in such a statement and is why, today, religion is failing. “Good” gospel is the last thing you want you only have to look at the Church of England, look how popular they are! LOL

  4. Jesus used parables to teach how to live their lives, and made them short and easy to understand, this is confirmed in,..matthew 13-34,.. his parables are still relevant in people’s lives today because they can teach us lesson’s on how to live a good life.
    i.e… the lost son..(forgiveness)..the good samaritan..(be a good neighbour)..the lost coin..(not to be selfish and share) just a small example, so the bible can help you learn and live a better life.

  5. Ana: Mate great to hear from you thanks for following the blog. The majority of info came from a report produced by Communities First up here in Trevethin. They’re a fantastic group up here (not the same everywhere) and they graciously allowed me to use the info. If you want similar stats for St.Mellons I’d recommend first and foremost chatting to C1st in your area. the problem that you’ve got in Mellons is that there’s a broad mix of social and private housing so the stats are quite varied. It’s nearly all council up here so the stats are far more stark. Hope that helps! Let’s get the families together soon innit?!

    Gareth: Agree that there needs to be social change as well as spiritual, but trust we are working towards that end. The Hub (that we’ve just opened) here on the estate starts a parenting course on Thursday and we are hosting Careers Wales over the next few months too. We are also in talks with the local Youth Offending Team to see if there can be any partnership there too. Furthermore, we have been discussing with a local builder the possibility of setting up some kind of social enterprise scheme to help local young people learn trades such as brick-laying, roofing etc and helping them to find work. Furthermore, my wife (once we have stopped having babies) has done her teacher training in Basic Skills with a view to helping excluded young people get their basic academic qualifications and so that’s in the pipeline too.

    Trust me, we’re not just Bible bashers – we genuinely care about the other stuff too, but neither are we shy about the Bible and it’s implications. We want people to excel in life, but ultimately we care about their eternity more so we shamelessly preach the gospel. That might not sit right with some, but truth be told – if the gospel hadn’t changed my life I wouldn’t care about Trevethin or the challenges that face the people up here. But I am changed and I flippin’ love this place and the people up here – and that’s entirely down to the gospel – so it remains central to all we do!


  6. Hi dai. Your post has encouraged me to revisit my community stats to see what change theres been in the past few years (if any). I love the stuff u have in the pipeline to practically help people in ur context. love more ur shamelessness and confidence in the Gospel of Jesus.

    i for one, hope all you are planning comes to pass and that they will be sowing grounds for gospel seeds that reap a kingdom harvest. go for it!!

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