Flourishing Congregations Making a Difference
The Gospel invites us to celebrate the good news of God’s saving love. That’s what lies behind our shared diocesan vision for Growing in God adopted in 2016. God wants us to grow as his beloved children, he wants us to grow as loving communities, he wants us to grow in sharing his love beyond ourselves in both our words and actions.
“We cannot determine the fruit of growing in number or growing younger. We cannot compel people to have a faith – though we can do many simple things to make that growth possible – planting and watering – clearing the weeds and brambles – sowing seeds – not being fatalistic and believing in God’s providence. But we can determine what we do in seeking to grow in depth, attending to deepening our own faith and Christian practice, and engaging in actions that helps us to grow in influence” Bishop Martin
Growing in Depth - to deepen our awareness of God with us through prayer and vibrant worship, centring our lives on Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the Word and the celebration of the Eucharist.
Growing in Influence - to participate in God’s loving movement towards the world in partnership with other congregations, denominations and people of good will.
Growing in number - to witness to the person and way of Jesus Christ, in word and worship, in service and daily life, inviting others into the fullness of life found in him.
Growing Younger - to engage all generations, allowing them to shape how we do church and investing in them as present and future ministers of the gospel; to develop our congregations to reflect the age profile of the context in which they are set
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth" 1 Corinthians 3:6
Growing in God 2022 - 2026:
A series of resources will be provided to support Growing in God during 2022 - 2026 including:
|Vocations||A series of events being offered throughout 2022/3 highlighting different vocations. This was launched earlier this year at the Vocations Fair in May 2022 and has been followed up by vocations presentations in each Deanery,||www.cofesuffolk.org/training-for-ministry|
|Plan for Growth||
Research into church growth suggests that “churches that intend to grow, tend to grow”. Therefore, we have provided new resources to help benefices create a Plan for Growth to help them flourish in their own unique context. We have provided three simple steps to help you create your Plan for Growth:
'Listen' to your communities,
'Choose' your three main priorities
'Plan' your next steps.
|Growing Rural||We have revitalised our parish training to offer the Growing Rural programme (formly Germinate). This has been developed specifically to help churches to grapple with and overcome the challenges of growth in a rural multi-parish setting.||www.cofesuffolk.org/growing-rural|
|Partnership for Missional Church (PMC)||We are also inviting people to sign up for PMC a process for churches designed to help them connect with the activity of God, each other, their mission and their local area by focusing on six spiritual practices.||Ask your incumbent for more information.|
|Growing in God Growth fund||If our funding bid (to the Church Commissioners) is successful, we plan to extend this fund from £10k to £35k per year in 2022 - 2026. The fund supports projects linked to Benefice Plans for Growth and those with a clear missional objective.||www.cofesuffolk.org/growth-funding-opportunites|
|A refocus on Growing Younger||Providing funding for innovative and inspirational work with children, young people and their families especially in areas of existing opportunities.||Further information will be announced in due course.|
|Development of an online learning and development hub||Offering courses, events and resources to all audiences||Further information will be announced in due course.|
How to grow your parish church | weblink
Growing in influence | weblink
Growing Younger | weblink
Making your parish sustainable | weblink
As part of this vision, we have already received Strategic Development Funding for two major projects:
Inspiring Ipswich | weblink
Growing in God in the Countryside:
Lightwave | weblink
Loverural | weblink