And finally we get to meet the third and final member of this team and how he’ll support your church. The latest arrival, Nathan Bruce, joins us as the Parish Giving Champion. But before we get into what that means, let’s find out how he ended up working for the Diocese of Durham. His background is far from typical…
Nathan, you’re not from these parts are you? Can you share with our readers where you’re from and what drew you to the wonderful north? Are you sitting comfortably?! I was actually born in the South East, but then I spent the first three years of my life in India with my missionary parents. We returned to the UK in the mid-1980s and I spent my entire childhood and teenage years attending a vibrant Pentecostal Church on the outskirts of South East London.
Wow, you’ll have to tell us more about your missionary parents some time. So after school what did you do? I spent three years at Bible College, and graduated with a degree in Theology. After that my wife and I moved back to the South East and became Youth Pastors in our home church for three years until God led us to move north in 2006 to plant a church in Middlesborough.
Not your typical start to Christian life then. Planting a church must have been such an experience. It was, but after seven years of hard work leading that church we felt it was the right time to hand it over to another couple to lead, and we and moved even further north to Gateshead. Up there we play a key role in our local church, Hillsong Church, Newcastle.
So you’ve got lots of experience of the challenges of growing churches and working with local communities. Very handy. Have you ever worked outside the church? I have indeed. Before taking this job with Durham Diocese, I worked for the North East Autism Society in their new Employment Futures service. I was helping people on the autistic spectrum to find employment or meaningful work experience.
Do you think you’ll be able to use these experiences too? Absolutely. I see my role here as being largely defined by the needs of each Parish I have the opportunity to work with, so definitely using my listening skills and hands-on community work. I’ll be listening to their needs and goals and we’ll work on a plan together. It’ll be tailored support for each church. For some it may be that my input at a PCC level that’s required. Others may need assistance with planning a medium-term Stewardship campaign. I’ve also done a lot of public speaking so I’d like to use these skills too.
What are you most looking forward to in your role as Parish Giving Champion? Well there’s one thing I’m really passionate about, and that’s helping people to have financial freedom. I want to help churches to provide avenues to financial freedom and for individuals to be released from debt. I want churches to not just focus on what they get on the Offering Plate, but to look beyond at the things that may be holding people back. Personal debt is a big problem and I think the church can really help with that. I’d like to support more of our churches in hosting courses on financial freedom.
It sounds like you’ll be out and about a lot. I hope so! I am not a big fan of office-based work so I’m keen to get around and help as many Parishes as possible in a focussed and intentional way. A big part of how I will measure my own success will be based on how much time I’m not at Cuthbert House!
If you’d like to contact Nathan and find out about the interesting and diverse ways he could support your church please email him at [email protected]