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In celebration of Mission Accompaniers: Chris Bright supporting Nick Gowers

Published: 18th June 2024

Nick Gowers preaching
Mission Accompaniers are available to come alongside parishes to offer tailored support helping them work out what health and sustainability might look like in their context and then formulate a plan to achieve it.  

Nick Gowers has been the vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Old Hill in Greater Dudley deanery since 2013.  In 2022 he took up the offer of a Mission Accompanier which he hoped would help identify which of the strategies in place at the church they should focus on to develop a clear way forward.

He said:

“I see a Mission Accompanier as an external friend who comes alongside and gives support, encouragement, and direction. Their role is to remind us of the big picture, to tweak or reshape what we’ve already got, to help plan for and safeguard the future.”

Chris Bright is currently working with three different churches including Holy Trinity, Old Hill. Each one is a two-year project. His role as Mission Accompanier to Holy Trinity, Old Hill will come to an end this year.

Chris said:

“My role through regular coaching sessions, is to provide a fresh perspective, to support the incumbent and facilitate the church team to think through how they can be healthier and more sustainable.”

He adds:

“You’re not coming in to say what you think should happen, the role is to help the church work out what they think should be happening and therefore what their focus should be.”

Nick feels this tailored approach is key. He said:

“It has been hugely helpful to have Chris on board as our Mission Accompanier. He has given us so much! Chris is very sensitive to our own context and needs, as all churches of course are different. He gets us theologically and he has worked collaboratively with our team to formulate a new mission plan, ensuring everyone was involved in that process.”

Chris helped the Old Hill team consider what they would most like to have achieved in 5-10 years’ time and what they felt would make the most difference to the life of the church in helping it to flourish.

“Our conclusion was that it’s about connecting with people, introducing them to Jesus, them being discipled as followers of Jesus and then equipped and encouraged to serve where He’s calling them to be,” said Nick. “Chris helped us realise that’s the very heart of it for us so we really need to prioritise strategies that will help us achieve that.”

Chris also helped Nick to carve out the time – an hour or two a week - for the most important priorities to be achieved. He also recognised that although Nick was enthusiastic about researching new ideas he found he didn’t actually have the time to follow them through. Nick feels Chris helped him understand new ideas and strategies without overwhelming him with multiple books, videos or podcast suggestions, but rather pointing him to a key helpful resource on a subject.

Nick feels a lot of the last two years have been about laying the groundwork for what’s to come but there have already been some tangible changes in church.

He said:

“Thanks to Chris we now have much more clarity on who we are, the way forward, our internal leadership structures and how we can grow new leaders going forwards.”

Old Hill have also introduced a welcome course for those new to the congregation and are also reiterating those same key messages about who they are and their vision for the church and the future to their established congregation across a number of Sundays. Their staff meetings have also changed to include half-termly strategy meetings whilst pastoral matters are dealt with at separate fortnightly catch-ups.

Nick concludes:

“I can definitely recommend having a Mission Accompanier. Though it can feel like more work initially, it is worth it. In some ways it’s brought a new season of ministry for me and that really is quite exciting.”  

 

Page last updated: Thursday 20th June 2024 4:44 PM

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