A few weekends ago, five of the parish team went on a conference called ‘Leading your Church into Growth’ or ‘LyCiG’ for short. The conference was aimed at parishes who hope to see growth in their churches and want to explore ways of enabling people to encounter God.
Firstly, it’s important to say that growth is not just about the number of people in the congregation. Naturally, we would love to have more people with us each Sunday, and everyone is always welcome, but growth is more than numbers. We also want to encourage our churches to grow in spirit, in faith, in hope and in love. We want to share God’s love with the people we meet and hope to make church accessible and known to all as a place of peace, where everyone is welcome.
During the LyCiG weekend we had the opportunity to listen to one another and share thoughts and ideas. We were given examples as well as theory and engaged in some great conversations. The weekend was the spark which will encourage us to move forward. We decided five main areas on which we want to focus the most…
· Creating space in our churches for people to pray
· Offering a variety of worship and at different times of the week
· Enabling the gifts of others to be nurtured
· Encouraging links with children and young people
· Supporting the elderly and lonely in our community
It’s not a secret that the number of Christians in our country is decreasing. Statistics show that we are in decline. This isn’t a bad thing, the Church often works at its best when we are low in number. A struggle also helps us to not take our faith for granted. However, we do need to address this decline - and soon. If our congregations continue to decrease we will not have churches to visit, to worship in or to get married in. Most importantly, there will not be enough people to share God’s love and the Christian story may become an unfamiliar one.
We owe it to God and to one another to encourage growth in our churches.
Of course this is a long journey and some of these things may take time but we hope that in the future we will see growth in many different ways. It’s only when we take time to share God’s love that we can see a difference. Building God’s Kingdom takes time and nurture, but we have the passion and commitment to make it work. This blog aims to share our story of growth with you as we journey!