The View from the Other Side

There is always a great deal of encouragement and blessing received by SGA staff members when they gather to report on their visits to churches and the response to their deputation meetings and presentations they have been able to make. We don’t often get ‘the view from the other side’ – how the congregations feel and respond when an SGA visit is imminent. However, recently Pastor Jeremy Bailey of Bethlehem Evangelical Church, Port Talbot, South Wales, sent us this interesting insight.

Jeremy Bailey a
Pastor Jeremy Bailey

Sometime in March each year the announcement is made, ‘SGA is coming to our church this week!’ Over the last six years we have been excited to hear these words. ‘Who is visiting this time?’, is the question that usually follows. We are a church of around fifty members of all ages in a town in South Wales that is dominated by a steelworks. Eastern Europe can seem a long way away, and when we hear that we are having a visitor from Ukraine, Hungary, Romania or Moldova, there is immediate interest. Whether it is a Saturday evening, the Lord’s Day or midweek, there is usually a good gathering as the SGA staff member introduces the visitor and we eagerly listen to reports of what the Lord is doing in His vineyard far from our small country of Wales.

Why are these annual visits so valuable to the local church?

First, they open our eyes to the breadth of the Lord’s work. It is so easy to become inward looking and think that the slow progress of the gospel and frequent discouragements in Wales are characteristic of the whole Church.

Secondly, they open our mouths in prayer as we become burdened with the needs, and full of praise for the joys of our brothers and sisters. Because we are not a very large church we focus our support for missions on those that are gospel centred and support Pastors in their work.

That is why SGA is invited to return each year.

Why not share your SGA visitation story with us at office@sga.org.uk