Vision for 2025
So where might we be in 2025?
By 2025 it is my hope and prayer that we will be a Church which exhibits these marks –
- Evangelism, and the on-going ministry of teaching people the faith, nurturing them into the life of the Church and helping them live as disciples of Christ will be business as usual. Every local Church will be a school of missionary discipleship.
- These local Churches will be more diverse than they are at the moment. There will be lots that are just like the ones we have always known, and they will be flourishing. There will also be lots of other sorts of Churches, large and small. They will be planted into new neighbourhoods and different networks. Some will be lay-led. But they will all have a local ministry and they will all be sacramental communities with the ministry of a priest.
- All local Churches will be part of Mission and Ministry Units and the leaders of these Units (mostly, but not exclusively clergy) will be key strategic leaders taking on a sort of ‘episcopal’ role in the ministry of the Church.
- We will pay our way. Numbers attending Church will have increased. So will giving. We won’t think of paying the parish share as a tax, or even a gift. We will be paying for the Church we love and the ministry we are part of; we will do it out of thanksgiving. We will give; but it will be to other things such as the missional development and outreach of the Church in new places across the diocese and overseas; and for the relief of poverty and the pursuit of justice.
- There will be a ready acknowledgement that there are just some things that every Church needs to be doing, and we must be honest with ourselves about how well we are doing them. We must always be a people of prayer, and teaching people to pray will be our first priority. We will worship God, and that worship will be solemn, joyful, invigorating and compelling. In many ways it will be our best evangelism. But it will also be diverse; we will find ways of worshipping that fit different cultures, and we will become expert at this cross-cultural worship and mission. Other ministries, such as pastoral care, catechesis and other sacramental provision will thrive. We will put children and young people first. Our schools will be an even more important part of our mission and outreach.
- Every Christian will have a ministry. They won’t necessarily have a title; in fact most of them won’t; but they will know that baptism means something. They are part of God’s mission of love to the world. There will be more Church, and it will have more impact. This will happen because we will have been formed as missionary disciples ready to be sent and used by God to bring his rule of justice and peace to bear in the world.
What do we need to do to get there?
- Each local Church to place making disciples at the heart of its strategy and develop its ministry of evangelism, its prayer and biblical literacy, and its service of the local community.
- Each Archdeaconry and deanery to finalise their plans for Mission and Ministry Units
- Each Mission and Ministry Unit to work out its Mission Priority Areas and plan to develop and maintain a healthy and diverse ministry team
- And for the whole diocese? In 2016/17 we are planning a series of events, similar to the evangelism training, under the heading of a School for Disciples
A School for Disciples
Our aim is that every Church should be a school for disciples, that is, a Church where people become Christians and grow up in the faith so that their lives have an impact in the world. Building on the evangelism training we have already done, in 2016 and 2017 we will put on events across the diocese to encourage this understanding of the local Church and teach about the multi-faceted dimensions of being a disciple in today’s world.
This is starting in Lent 2016 with a series of lectures by the bishops on the main themes of Transforming Presence.