We all want
our churches to grow
but we are facing declining numbers in congregations
across the country.
Many feel that the the Church's days are numbered, that nothing can be done.
But that just isn't true.
In spite of a recent report showing the numbers of priests in the UK going down
and their ages are going up, our clergy in Peterborough Diocese are getting younger
and we are getting more of them. to halt the downward spiral.
It is all part of the vision for the diocese.
Bishop Donald believes that one of the things that
affect church growth is clergy numbers.
You can see him speak of this in his Roadshows here on our Youtube channel. Youtube channel
A Growth Action Plan (GAP) is another method for helping the church to grow in numbers, in discipleship, in evangelism, in community engagement
and the parish team to grow in confidence.
It is about creating a plan that is custom made
for each individual church. Something that may work for an urban
parish might not work at all for something more rural.
As Profession David Voas said: "There is no single recipe for growth;
there are no simple solutions to decline. The road to growth depends
on the context, and what works in one place may not work in another.
What seems crucial is that congregations are constantly engaged in
reflection; churches cannot soar on autopilot.
Growth is a product of good leadership (lay and ordained) working with a willing set of churchgoers in a favourable environment."
Anecdote to Evidence,
a report from the Church
Growth Research programme is what Revd Canon Miles Baker, the Diocese
Director for Mission, uses as the foundation for the activities and
group work used to develop a plan to help each church grow.
Miles explained: "A great Growth Action Plan usually comes from a good vision day."
The vision day asks three questions:
1. Where are we?
2. Where is God calling us to be?
3. How will we get there?
Then with a creative and engaging process, the PCC members and leadership group will work out what is needed in order to be where God is calling the church to be. This leads to to the creation of a written Growth Action Plan.
This includes a One Year Plan with measurable goals to achieve a Five Year Vision statement. There is even a plan for a review date to look at the progress.
Miles said: "Having a plan will give a clear sense of missional direction, which is a powerful tool for church growth."
The churches which are growing are the churches
which are intentionally wanting to grow.
Research shows that of those who report a clear sense of mission and purpose have grown 64% in numbers and discipleship.
For those that stated that they didn't have a sense of clear mission and purpose, 26% had grown and 52% had declined."
(Figures from Anecdote to Evidence).
Bishop Donald said: "We believe in church growth. All our senior staff saw growth in their earlier parish ministries, and it is our expectation for every healthy church.
Rather than a detailed diocesan strategy we are working in terms of a vision for each parish or benefice to develop and own a Growth Action Plan".
For more information email Miles Baker. Or ring 01604 887043