1 June 2012
Sadly our planned contributor was unavoidably detained so it falls to me to pen this piece. However this does mean that I will be writing two pieces in the next three months. A chance to explore something meaty?
Today I would like to get us thinking about Vision. This is a subject that we have been working hard on in St Andrews
. Vision, in Christian terms, is taking a hold of something that we believe God is calling us to. It is a picture God gives us of a future reality; something that will only be fulfilled if we work to make it happen.
In St Andrews
, our vision is one of growth. We are committed to reach out to a whole new demographic in our parish. Our aim is to try to double our weekly attendance within three years. We recognise that there will be a cost to this but the majority of our church-goers are ready for this. We are willing to do it because we believe that it is what God wants.
Of course Visions come all different shapes and sizes. I wonder if the other five churches in our Mission Community have a vision; particularly the four rural churches. Perhaps even more interesting is the question: ‘what vision do we have for the Mission Community’?
One of the things I admired when I moved to Exeter
diocese was the Mission Community concept. In my humble opinion most rural dioceses seem to be planning for failure. The Church of England actually has a term for this; ‘managed decline’.
is different. As the Bishop explained it to me, the Mission Community approach recognises that all our parishes were once viable and thriving. The idea if the Mission Community is that the flourishing churches give the struggling ones a hand up. This hand-up is not supposed to create a long term dependency culture. Rather, it is helping and encouraging us all to get a hold of ‘the Great Commision’. It is resourcing a small church to reach out, build, grow and once again become a flourishing worshipping community.
So do we have a vision for our Mission Community and our churches? Should we? What do we feel that God wants for our church communities? Is this something that we should put right at the top of our Mission Community agenda?
With every blessing Sean Brassil