On Saturday 23rd February 2019 the Itchen Valley Parish PCC (and nominated Church Wardens) and the leaders of our different ministries in the Parish met at Old Alresford Place to look at how we might grow as a parish under the theme ‘churches that intend to grow, tend to grow’.
We used the very useful materials from the Church of England Anecdote to Evidence research on growing churches.
The research paper makes clear that church growth means
-church members growing in spiritual depth
-an increased number of people attending
-a growth in our engagement in transforming society
We need to be a growing church, if we want to be a church at all in the future in this Valley. But how do we grow, particularly when we are losing a significant number of our congregation each year to death or moving away?
Gerry Stacey gave a presentation on growth in the Valley both demographic growth as compared with church growth.
The Church of England’s survey has concluded that there are eight characteristics which growing churches have. Interestingly, growth does not appear to relate to churchmanship, (to particular types of worship) and so we will be continuing our dual focus on modern and traditional worship, as agreed when I was appointed.
The eight factors are as follows:
- a clear mission and purpose
- innovating envisioning and motivating
- actively engaging with local context
- lay people as well as clergy in leadership
- willing to change and adapt
- engaging with children and young people
- welcoming culture
- nurturing disciples
We looked at each of these areas by groups with some speed discussion, scoring ourselves in these fields and came up with some good suggestions on how we might improve in each.
Then the leaders of our various ministries gave short presentations followed by questions about their areas of ministry as follows:
Little Rainbows/Toddlers Julia Wright
Children/Ark Tim Clapp
Wednesday Night Worship Julia Wright
Parenting and Marriage etc. Julia Wright
Band David Parker
School/Open the Book Sonia Cragg/[Alex Pease]
Teenagers/UTX Kelly Gibson/[Alex Pease]
Valley Visitors Lavinia Owen
CAMEO Lavinia Owen
Home Groups Beccy Clark, Theo Mezger, Lucy Pease, John Bouldin/[Alex Pease]
Fund raising as welcome Rolls Coleman
Alpha Lucy Pease
Discipleship Alex Pease
Transforming society Theo Mezger (Street Pastors), Naomi Ellis (Sycamore Tree Course at HMP Winchester), Gerry Stacey (Nightshelter)
I will study the results of our discussions and put together a first draft of our proposed pMAP for our PCC. Thank you so much to all of you for attending and for your contribution to a very useful meeting.