God calls churches to grow as they serve, worship and pray; therefore, we aim to focus on the potential for numerical growth, enabling lay and ordained leadership, and encouraging local opportunities for those exploring Christian faith.
In five years' time, impact and attendance will have increased in 20 identified parishes (some will be parishes currently having the lowest per capita attendance, others will be those with significant potential for further growth).
In Year One, we will identify eight parishes (some of which may be in clusters); work to identify concrete needs and opportunities for growth; resource the work through Companions of St Aidan, targeted supporting minister interventions, and one or two new appointments (Christian community worker and/or children/youth family workers).
What we are doing
The first parishes have been identified, and funding from the national church is enabling them to employ specialist lay missioners.
Working with the congregation to develop plans has enabled the employment of two Children and Families Missioners. These specialist roles are both three-year appointments and cover the areas of Denton, Newbiggin Hall and Cowgate.
Initial feedback of the impact being made by the appointments is positive.
Work is now starting to identify the next wave of pilot parishes by assessing their current position and then agreeing priorities to develop a work plan.
This will include exploring the links between impact planning and mission action planning to identify existing parish and diocesan resources for these plans.
Our vision is that the pilots will help to grow these parishes, and we can then use this model in other parishes where there is both a need and desire for change, and the potential for numerical growth.
"It’s been about a new partnership of lay and ordained working together, realising that ‘the vicar can’t and shouldn’t do it all on their own'.
"We need to be working as a team with all our strengths and weaknesses to bring out the talents already here and build confidence."
"The process has been challenging, it's about ‘going where we are frightened to go'."