National figure is diocese's new adviser on church growth

An expert on church growth and an evangelist of national renown has been appointed as the Bishop’s Adviser for Church Growth.

The Revd Canon Robin Gamble, who’s a Bradfordian, has put on innovative evangelism events such as a ‘Rock Mass’ and ‘Bart Simpson meets Jesus’ and he created the 'START' course and 'Leading Your Church Into Growth' - now the main church growth course in the country. He was Diocesan Evangelist in the former Diocese of Bradford (where he also he set up the world’s first Christian pub) and he’s written several books, including ‘Jesus the Evangelist’.

Bishop Nick says, "Robin Gamble has this part of Yorkshire running through his veins. His passion for the good news of Jesus Christ being known in our communities is enormous. I’m very pleased he has agreed to work with our parishes in growing the church in our diocese."

As a vicar himself Robin understands the day-to-day challenges parishes face. He says, “Church growth is not so much about big campaigns but about encouraging and building the confidence of the local church, whether they're big or small, rural or urban, traditional or fresh expression, catholic or evangelical. In this new diocese we want to grow our churches, to rediscover our confidence and create a culture of going out and engaging with local people. My job is simply to help and encourage clergy, church leaders and whole congregations in this great vision.”

In the 80s, Robin’s congregation at St Augustine’s, Bradford grew from 30 to 300. He says, “My experience across the country shows that God can use any sort of person and any sort of church – and he wants to. You just have to be really hungry for growth and willing to learn. Our 656 different and equally wonderful churches are highly valued by their local communities – we just need to open our doors a bit wider. Our Christian faith has got a powerful DNA, and if we plant it it will grow.”

Robin will begin his new post in October but will also remain in his current post as vicar of Holy Trinity in Idle. He says, “It’s really important that I stand shoulder to shoulder with clergy as I too try to grow a local church.” 

He adds, “I can’t wait to get started. From the towns and villages I’ve visited as a young boy following rugby league to the valleys and countryside I’ve walked through and painted, West Yorkshire & the Dales is my favourite place in the world.”

Read Robin’s own story on the Archbishop of York’s website here.

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