Seven Areas of Transformation
Drawing us into the presence of the Living God
The breadth of styles and traditions in
worship across our diocese is something to celebrate. At their best, church services are a rich offering to God, nourishing
for regular worshippers and also accessible to newcomers. Every church will benefit by regular reflecting on the quality
and content of its worship, so that congregations may grow in faith and in numbers.
Consider the style and
range of worship in your church, what is valued by those who attend, and how may it be further enriched and extended.
Some questions to prompt discussion:
How is the
liturgy, sung worship, intercession and preaching in your church reviewd to keep it fresh, rooted, inspiring and relevant?
How does your church encourage people to be participants in worship
and not simply onlookers?
It is important that children
and young people engage in prayer and worship. How does your church help this happen, and how might this area be expanded
Which sections of the parish community are best
catered for in the worshipping life of your church, and which are notable by their absence? What change or addition
to your existing pattern might you consider so as to connect with new people?
How might the prayer life of the church be developed, so as to create a deeper sense of faith and expectancy in the
life of the church community?
healing, encouragement and challenge through our life together
Many people across the diocese don't
know where they'd be without the love and support of their church community. Jesus' commandment to 'love
one another as I have loved you' is a challenge to which we all aspire, calling us to rejoice with those who rejoice and
weep with those who weep.
Consider the reasons why people have made your church their home, and the strengths and weaknesses
within your life together.
Some questions to guide your response:
How are the people welcomed into the life of the church and helped to make it their home?
How does your church encourage people to relate to one another openly and generously?
Are there fresh areas which the church could explore to create a deeper
sense of Christian community?
What is the level of pastoral
care for those going through tough times, and how might this be improved?
Does your church offer a regular ministry of healing and forgiveness?
Enabling us to grow as confident followers of Jesus
We are disciples in every part of our life
and daily involvements- paid and unpaid, in home and family life, voluntary work and care, and through contributions to church
life and to the outreach of the church. For this, we need to be built up to become confident to offer and to take part. Confidence
is about knowing how to be involved and believing we can do it. Confidence is also about knowing enough about our Christian
faith and our church to be able to act and speak as followers of Jesus.
Consider the different ways your church
values discipleship and offers help, encouragement and training (e.g. opportunities for meeting together to discuss issues
of faith and life, to study the Bible together, to pray for each other, and to deepen prayer and spirituality). These
might be regular or occasional, parochial or shared with other local churches. Some may be diocesan programmes and opportunities.
Think about how well this is going.
Some questions to help to develop this further:
Given the many aspects of discipleship, what might be needed to provide
support where this is not yet given?
In what ways are
those of all ages being equipped to live as Christian disciples on a Monday as well as a Sunday?
Are there ways in which what is offered in public worship, preaching and prayer can encourage people
to see their Christian faith at work in their lives and inspire them to tell the story of their discipleship?
How far do the congregation have a generous commitment to Christian giving,
and how could this be developed further?
and harnessing the gifts of all God's people
Christian people are often called to positions of leadership, whether
in the church, the workplace or the local community. There has never been a greater need for leaders of integrity and
humility, those who can draw out and develop gifts of those they lead. Each church should increasingly become places
where such leaders are formed and mentored.
Consider how many members of the congregation are already involved
in leadership roles in their families, communities, schools, workplaces and within the church.
Some questions for reflection
How might those who lead within the church
be better trained and supported?
What further support
might be given for those with leadership responsibilities outside the church?
Have your church members ever taken part in leadership development programme (e.g. a Diocesan course or CPAS' Growing
How might you develop leadership gifts among
your children and young people?
How many ordinands has
your church sent out int he past 10 years (both stipendiary and self-supporting)? Is this area that might benefit from
further thought and action?
How does your church seek
to foster leadership vocations among those from ethnic minorities?
How is the church's leadership encouraged and enabled to take time out for personal encouragement and renewal?
Living out God's love in our communities and the wider
A living church will naturally have an impact on the people in its area and beyond. Every Christian
community should speak of God's goodness by its vitality, its attitude to issues in the world, and its commitment to serve
others. Churches are widely recognised for their involvement in community service, but there is a need to reflect on
how a church's energies can best be channelled to enable them to be effective partners in transforming their local neighbourhoods.
Consider how your church already engages with the wider world, and how it is 'good news' in the local community.
Some questions to help your thinking:
your church contribute to improving the quality of life for residents in its local neighbourhood - especially those who are
marginalized or disadvantaged?
Is there an enthusiasm
within the congregation for any new community initiative?
would such a ministry be released and resourced? It is also worth asking if any existing initiatives have had their
In which community groups or campaigns are your church
members present? Which local groups or agencies could work in partnership with the church to serve or change the neighbourhood>
How can you bring a Christian understanding to local discussions?
To what wider issue(s) in society does your church give thought, prayer and energy? How seriously have you taken
the environmental agenda? How might this be developed further?
How committed is your church to Christian work worldwide, whether via the Malawi link or in other ways, and how might
this commitment be strengthened?
others to believe in Jesus and belong to his Body
The church has always recognised its calling to reach
out to others with the Good News of Jesus. There is no 'one-size-fits-all' in evangelism, but every church needs
to seek an approach which is achievable and fruitful, going with its missional grain.
Consider contacts your
church already had with those who are not yet Christian disciples (e.g. neighbours, work colleagues, Christmas attenders,
local school families, users of community projects, contacts through baptism, weddings and funerals).
Some questions for further
What strategies might be developed to draw those
on the fringes into the worshipping life of the church?
the members of your church confident to invite friends along? (especially around Christmas or on Back to Church Sunday)?
What changes in the life of the church might give them a greater
Does your church run a regular Christian basics
course? (e.g. a confirmation course, Alpha, Emmaus, Christianity Explored etc)?
Have your church leaders (ordained and lay) attended a Leading your Church into Growth course, or
Working together with people of goodwill to see God's
Only a few churches have the number of leaders and helpers required to fulfil all the ministry and
mission expected of a parish church. Most churches need to go further in building partnerships so that together the
plans and initiatives put together by the Parochial Church Council can be achieved. Developing existing partnerships
links and creating new ones can create a pool of volunteers, of expertise and leadership, making sure that there are viable
numbers and finance to carry through the plans.
Consider what links you already have, which assist in engaging with
others (e.g. local Anglican Churches, other churches, community and regeneration projects, local schools and colleges, hospitals
and primary care facilities, residential homes, businesses and factories, neighbourhood organisations or civic bodies, those
of other religious faiths).
Some questions to ponder:
may strengthening these links assist your church and its partners in achieving the plans and goals you have set?
Which local partnerships might be further developed or got off the
Do other church groups make use of your buildings?
If so, how might you develop a greater sense of gospel partnership together?
Does your church have resources that might be shared (including people who can help as school governors,
trustees, treasurers etc)? Might there be some benefits in your church exploring a mutually enriching partnership with
another church elsewhere in the Diocese?
purpose are you church buildings? In what ways might you improve your buildings and what partnerships (e.g. with other
local groups and grant-making trusts) might help in this? What is the level of pastoral care for those going through tough
times, and how might this be improved?