Bubble Church was launched at the Ascension Church, Balham in South-West London as a mid-pandemic experiment in October 2020. There are lots of young families in Balham, most of whom have no connection with church, and Bubble Church was our experiment to see if we could connect with them in a period when parents were starved of personal contact and were struggling to find things to occupy their little ones. So we came up with the Bubble Church service, with the strapline:
A puppet-packed, Jesus-centred, socially distanced, coffee-and-croissant-fuelled, kids and families adventure every Sunday morning
Since launch a new congregation has been formed from zero to around 100 each week and continues to grow post-pandemic.
- Because parents / carers sit and stay with their child on their bubble, they learn about the Christian faith alongside their children in a way that is non-threatening and does not leave them feeling ignorant or uniformed.
- Bubble Church has also helped other areas of church life – the Sunday school at the church’s 10.30 service has grown with children who used to attend Bubble Church, baptisms have tripled and a new mid-week discipleship group has been formed from Bubble Church parents
Given the fruitfulness of Bubble Church at Ascension, Balham, the Church of England has awarded £250,000 of innovation funding across 3 years to roll out Bubble Church to other churches, starting with 5 pilot churches in Southwark Diocese. The Bubble Church Mission Enabler role is pivotal to leading and overseeing this expansion of Bubble Church.
The Bubble Church Mission Enabler will lead and oversee the expansion of Bubble Church beyond Ascension Balham to an initial 5 churches in Southwark Diocese and nationally.
The successful applicant will become a Bubble Church service leader of the Ascension Balham and part of the staff team, expected to play a full part as a member of the staff team including working collaboratively on shared goals and supporting wider ministries of the church as appropriate.
The post holder will:
- Become immersed into the Bubble Church model and culture of church, understanding it’s DNA and what has allowed this service to grow and thrive as a new worshipping community.
- Initially to identify up to 5 different churches in the Diocese of Southwark to pilot Bubble Church so as to test it’s replicability both in terms of ease of implementation and impact on congregational growth
- To codify the Bubble Church ‘recipe’ into appropriate training materials (manual, film clips, etc) in a way that they can be used to train the pilot church Bubble Church teams
- Provide Bubble Church training days to the pilot church Bubble Church teams.
- To run a learning community amongst the Bubble Church pilot church teams where encouragements and learnings can be shared and captured as well as a place to pray together
- To evolve the Bubble Church approach and training materials in the light of the pilot church experience and feedback and to make training materials ready for national rollout
THE IDEAL CANDIDATE
You are a passionate, humble disciple of Jesus, filled with the Spirit, formed by His word and sustained by God’s grace.
You are a high achiever who can both launch and nurture first class work with children, young people and their families.
You have a passion for children, young people and families to come to know Jesus and follow him. You see children and young people as the church of today not the church of tomorrow!
Ascension is a fast-growing Anglican church community based near Clapham South tube station in South West London. Our mission is to reach the 95% of people in Balham and beyond who do not yet go to church with the love of God!
In 2013 Marcus Gibbs joined the church as vicar and has overseen the transformation of the church from a predominantly Sunday focused church to a 7 day a week community hub, with a gourmet coffee shop and community groups including ministry to new parents, refugees, 6th form students, debt centre clients and more. Around 1,000 people come through our doors a week and around 200 attend Sunday services.