Growing as Kingdom People - a guide for reflection

Growing as Kingdom People

Growing as a healthy and sustainable Church

In the second round of Open Conversations we have been thinking about some important questions. 

We may find it helpful to ponder and discuss some of the following issues as well. Practical considerations, theological underpinning, new beginnings and brave endings are all part of the bigger picture of the transformation and change in which we are engaged.  Thinking this through together may give us a clearer sense of our church’s vocation and calling in its unique context, and help us clarify our vision for the future. 

All our churches are different, so we suggest you focus on the areas here where you are strong and want to be stronger, or issues that emerge for you as being important and needing attention, rather than trying to answer everything.

Questions we considered in the Open Conversations

Health:

  • To what extent are we becoming rooted in prayer and scripture, and growing in love, trust and understanding? Does worship help a range of people meet with the living God?

  • Do we see ourselves as disciples called to form, grow and mature other disciples?

  • Are there signs of hope and energy, creativity and initiative? Are we willing to explore new possibilities?

  • Are we keen to discern and respond to God’s call to serve and grow, as individuals and as a church community?

  • How multi-generational are our congregations? Do we engage with children, young people and working-age adults as well as the retired?

  • Does the church engage with those outside it, communicating effectively, building relationships and serving community needs?

  • Are we effective in inviting and enabling new people to deepen their engagement with church and faith?

Sustainability:

  • Is the church appropriately able to sustain its life and ministry, for example through a range of volunteers taking on different roles? Do we have enough money to cover costs?

  • Is the building sustainable, supporting mission and ministry, rather than a drain on time and energy? 

Other issues to consider in PCCs, teams or benefices

Before we reflect on our churches, some basics:

  • This is God’s church, into which he has called you and me at this time and in this place

  • This is God’s mission in which he is calling us to participate

We are the body of Christ:

  • Reflect upon the treasure which he has entrusted to us

  • Give thanks for the depth of his love for us

Pray that:

  • God may grant us calm, clarity and direction in our discussion

  • We may help others sense God’s loving presence & respond to his call

  • Together we may know what to do, and what not to do

O gracious and holy Father, give us wisdom to perceive you, diligence to seek you, patience to wait for you, eyes to behold you, a heart to meditate upon you, and a life to proclaim you, through the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(A prayer of St Benedict)

Worshipping God creatively

As we seek to grow as Kingdom People, which of the following might present challenges or opportunities for us?

  • Could we start a new congregation – Messy Church, Afternoon Tea and BCP, Contemporary Compline ... ?

  • Have we explored options for Fresh Expressions?

  • How will pandemic initiated online worship continue to develop?

  • Is our worship accessible, contextual, intergenerational?

  • Are we using the gifts of congregation members fully inleading aspects of worship?

  • Are we using our buildings well to communicate God’s presence, to focus our attention?

  • Can we use unique features of our buildings to tell the gospel story in new ways?

  • Is our building fit for purpose as a centre for worship, or is it leaky and cold?

Making disciples

Jesus told his followers to ‘Go and make disciples ….’.  If our churches are healthy, new disciples will be being made. Which of the following  might it be good to think about in your church to help people come to faith and grow in discipleship?

  • When was the last time new disciples were made in our church, and how did they come to faith?

  • What opportunities do we offer for people to explore the Christian faith – for example, Alpha and Emmaus courses, confirmation classes, catechesis?

  • How do we help each other mature as disciples, deepen our prayer lives and theological understanding?

  • Is there a ‘rule of life’ we could encourage people to follow?

  • Are we calling young disciples?

  • Do our clergy and other leaders have the time to prioritise this? What might we need to stop to free up time?

Sharing hope

As we enter a deep recession, ongoing uncertainty about managing a global pandemic, and loss of much that has been familiar, our churches can be sharing hope, being beacons of light. How are we engaged in this?

  • In what ways are we proclaiming the good news of the gospel to those in our parish – signage, leaflets, events?

  • Are we using social media effectively to share hope?

  • How are we visible in the public square, on the village green in times of local tragedy?

  • Are we restoring hope though good pastoral care in our funeral ministry?

  • To what extent are we bringing a message of hope to our local schools?

  • Is a sense of hopelessness about our financial sustainability of building costs preventing us being agents of hope?

Transforming communities

Healthy churches reach out to transform their communities. Is our focus inward looking or are we being the body of Christ, his hands and feet, as we serve others?

  • How are we serving the poor?  Are we actively involved in food banks, debt advice, other services?

  • Are we addressing inequality, promoting inclusion, drawing attention to local issues such as rural poverty?

  • Are we actively tackling racism?

  • How are we promoting health and well-being, life in all its fullness?

  • Are we offering solutions for the epidemic of loneliness?

  • Are we dementia friendly, working with care homes in our parish?

  • Do the most needy in our community know we are there for them, or are we too focussed on ourselves?

Sustainable churches

Sustainable churches are able to do the above, with motivated and trained people, sufficient money and buildings that are fit for purpose. How well are we resourced?

  • Do we have committed volunteers who are trained and authorised where necessary?  Are we currently engaging in a range of different ministries?

  • Is finance a barrier? As a church community are we giving generously and regularly? Are we making the best use of fundraising opportunities and other potential income streams?

  • How well does our building enable our mission? Is it fit for purpose?

Next Steps

Having reflected on some of these which seem pertinent in your context and setting, there are various opportunities for you to explore to enable further action. Read more about these.


Page last updated: 4th September 2020 7:53 PM
Bookmark and Share