Growing Disciples

The Diocesan Ten Year Vision

This is a summary of a booklet which was published and promoted in six meetings round the Diocese in January 2011.  It sets out our Vision and Strategy for the next ten years 2011-2020. 

The Vision and Strategy doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. There are several enormous issues to be addressed (including widespread indifference to the gospel; the age-profile of our congregations and clergy; and the number and cost of our buildings). But we are confident that, with God’s grace, a combination of good leadership and clear vision at every level will result in sustained growth. 

The Vision and Strategy builds on what has gone before (for example Survival to Revival and the Rural Manifesto).  It is, though, a fresh milestone in that work, and an attempt to chart a direction of travel which we can take together, each Parish looking to God for the detail of how they take the journey.

 

Mission Statement

By God’s grace, to grow God’s Kingdom in Cumbria

 

Vision Statement

To see our churches growing Disciples of all ages.

 

We believe there are ‘five marks of discipleship’. For each of them we have identified a number of definite ideas - see the Vision booklet.  As we work at these things - with confidence and in partnership with others - we will grow in our faith; and as our faith grows, we will do these things more and better, so that we will actually be able to see discipleship developing throughout Cumbria.

 

The five marks:

Maturity in Faith

Jesus’ gifts were … “to equip God's people for work in his service, to the building up of the body of Christ. So shall we all at last attain to the unity inherent in our faith and our knowledge of the Son of God - to mature adulthood, measured by nothing less than the full stature of Christ.”                                                                              Ephesians 4:11-13

 

Expectant Prayer and Lively Worship

Jesus said to his disciples: “God is spirit, and those who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.”                                                                                       John 4:24

 

Community Service and Engagement

Jesus said, “If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet,  you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”                                                                                 John 13:14

 

Evangelism

Jesus said to his followers: “Go and make disciples of all nations.”         Matthew 28:19

 

Quality of Relationships

Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment,  that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you,  you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples,  if you have love for one another.”                                                    John 13:34,35

 

 

Strategy

It is one thing to ‘have a vision’ – and quite another to make it happen. So we need a strategy for getting from “here” to “there”.  It has four main ingredients:

Leadership by clergy and others;

Local Ministry because it is ‘on the ground’ that lives are transformed and discipleship grows;

Focussed Planning - we want every benefice to create a ‘Mission Action Plan’ with three important features: doing a few things well (and having the courage to stop doing some things), exploring ecumenical initiatives (as part of the Diocesan commitment to ecumenical working at all levels), and ensuring that our buildings are used creatively; Deaneries also have an important role to play in this focussed planning - some things will be better done at Deanery level than any other!

Comprehensive Mission tailored to be appropriate to the different groups in Cumbria who currently have little contact with (and even less knowledge of) the Christian faith. 

 

What now?

The most immediate steps to be taken are:

For the Parishes:   Start praying and listening to God as the first (and central) part of developing a local ‘Mission Action Plan’.

For the Deaneries:   Work on creative plans for deploying ministers and using buildings.

For the Diocese:   

  • Make sure that all diocesan policies, resources and posts ‘line up’ with the Vision and Strategy. (There are lots of good things we could do, but we won’t if they are not part of the Vision and Strategy.)
  • Work out how to measure progress in order to be sure that the plan is succeeding. 
  • Provide people and resources to support the Parishes as they prepare their Mission Action Plans.  (There is a longer list of steps for the Diocese in the Vision booklet.)

Prayer

Heavenly Father, your Son called His disciples to watch and pray for the coming of your Kingdom;   by your Spirit make us more and more ready to learn true discipleship of Jesus Christ our Lord.     Amen.