The Revd Sally Baily has done the Grow Course three times, in three different contexts. Find out why she’s so enthusiastic and how it’s helped shape life at Holy Trinity Hounslow. 

Being intentional about growth, discipleship and developing a culture where everyone is involved is bearing fruit in West London. Sally Baily and her team at Holy Trinity Hounslow are passionate about their vision to be “…a home for all nations where God’s love changes everything!” This, they believe, reflects perfectly what their diverse Christian community worshipping God in the heart of Hounslow is about and expresses their strong desire and purpose to help people from all nationalities find and follow Jesus.

Since Sally arrived as vicar in autumn 2021, the team has been exploring ways in which their community might grow in depth as well as numbers, being open to what God is saying and guided by the values they have identified as key to their own context – those of Worship, Fellowship, Discipleship, Prayer and Cross Cultural Celebration.

Within this exploration, an area that was pinpointed as being a priority for the church is the development of their small groups – resulting in a change of format to encourage more of their church community to join in.

‘We’ve realised that meeting in small groups is so significant for our discipleship and we’d been trying to work out a way of running them better so more people can be involved,’ says Sally. ‘We recently did the Grow Course and one of the other churches in our cohort shared that they’d started to run their own small groups in a hub at church – with everyone invited to come together for worship at the beginning and then breaking into small groups. It’s in those smaller gatherings where relationships are formed and faith deepened as we journey together.

‘We decided to try this as it fits well with our context, where coming together is such a positive thing and it’s not always easy to find homes for people to meet. As a church we’re geographically in a great position and people feel at home in church. It fits well within our vision to gather to learn and to show hospitality and love one another.

‘We’ve just launched our own small groups starting with a Pancake Party for Shrove Tuesday and offering the Prayer Course (from 24-7 Prayer) for Lent. The party was a great success. We now have five new small groups, 14 new leaders and an average of 40 extra people meeting and praying in small groups! This doubled our small group participation overnight. Moving forward, we’re also planning to offer other courses too, for example Talking Jesus and The Bible Course.

‘We’re hoping this will be a real tangible change which will help us all on our journey of faith and fellowship. Part of the new initiative will also be to try to encourage established group members to step up and become leaders of new groups.’

Sally speaks with enthusiasm about how doing the Grow Course has supported them in other ways in the season they are in. Alongside prayer and discernment, she feels they are drawing on and benefiting from the course’s resources and training as they look to the future shape of reaching their community with the Good News of Jesus.

‘I’ve done the Grow Course three times now,’ explains Sally, ‘and I’ve seen how change has been implemented in three different contexts. Each time was an amazing experience. I’ve experienced it twice in person at previous churches and now with our team at Hounslow, we’ve completed the new online version.

‘Although we were a little nervous about the new format, and about using a new sort of material, we’ve found it’s really good and have appreciated the way the content is offered in “nuggets” of input. For us the material and the process has been excellent.

The new online version is much quicker and having that momentum has been positive. The course has been particularly helpful in helping us work out our vision and has focussed our sights on all that there is still to do over the next few months and years. There’s a lot of information in the course to take in over a shorter time but now we’ve completed this first stage, we’re keen to spend time bedding things in and forming new habits. It doesn’t all have to be done by the next session!’

Sally and her team have been keen to ensure the widest possible engagement with the course, specifically with three groups of leaders: the core team who attend the learning community; the wider staff team, including volunteers who are able to link into the course’s videos at team meetings; and the PCC, who have used some of the videos in away days and are fully engaged with the process and action plans as they develop. The Grow Course actions are now a standing item on each PCC agenda.

Catherine Ellerby, April 2023

If you’d like to know more about the Grow Course why not come to one of our introductory sessions running monthly. You can meet the team and see if it’s for you. Sign up for our next session here.

Or if you’d like to talk to someone, Katie Lysak our Grow Course Relationship Manager would be happy to tell you more – contact Katie at: