Apostolic training for an indigenous ministry?

Estates practitioner and priest, Joe Hasler offers some thoughts around training local people for God’s mission in extracts from his poem below. The whole reflection can be downloaded at the end of this post.

Bristol Estate

Apostolic means ‘Go to’

or ‘being sent’.

An Apostle meaning

‘one sent on a mission’.

  •     We have had the decade for evangelism,
  • a pre-occupation with leadership,
  • and now the emphasis on discipleship.

I hope this means

the direction is getting closer

to listening

to the people on the ground.

 

An important message I have heard in all this is,

“Do we want a ‘Come to’ church

or a ‘Go to’ church.”

Is it desirable to move from maintenance to mission?


So how do the trainers

and their institutions

model God’s mission

in the way we do training?

We have been trying to address these issues in the Northern Ark Mission Initiative in North Bristol.

The pilot period has come to the end of its initial three years.

Some things could have been done better

but we ask

‘Why do people from local council built housing estate congregations in Bristol come forward into growing ministry teams?”

38 people from 4 out of 6 parishes have stepped out so far;

with some to become licensed readers (6),

and some to become ordained priests (3).

Making ministry training

in a mission model

must be one of the driving forces.

But for all the things

we might have done better

here are four things we did well.

  1. Take the training to the people.
  2. Go in twos. (THE INTERVENTIONISTS)
  3. Forming learning communities in the culture.
  4. Practise what we want to preach.

The experience is that the trainers model a ‘go to’ approach

and learning is integrated

with activity in mission.


The beginning

and the end

is in becoming a more self-sufficient congregation

that is more dependent on God.

 

Indigenous is not isolationist.

It is making a stronger contribution to a bigger whole.

But local interventions

can bring the confidence

to let this, happen.

 

I think this is mainly

because the trainers,

no matter how good they are,

‘go to’.

The result is of a local congregation that naturally goes to the wider world and church.

This is what has been modelled in their training.


(More information about the initiative can be found at www.joehasler.co.uk   then find  other stuff and click on drop down menu for northern ark publications.)

To download the whole reflection click Apostolic Training for Ministry and New Pathways

New Resources from Jesus Shaped People

Many of you will already be aware of the work of Jesus Shaped People, helping people to become focussed on mission and service. They have a new course called Stay Alert to the Spirit.

There are intergenerational materials for both on and off line, or a mix of both. For more information you can get in touch with Dawn or Brendon at JSP.

Vacancy: Church Leader (Estate Church Plant) Barton Community Church

Christian Vocations

 

Barton Community Church are looking for a woman or man to move into Barton to lead our 10-year-old church plant and help the experienced team make the most of the mission opportunities ahead. Good character and proven leadership skills are essential, being an accredited minister is not.

Salary: £35.5k
Location: Barton estate, Oxford

Find out more about Barton Community Church at https://www.bartoncommunitychurch.org/

For details about what the role involves, who they are looking for and how to apply visit https://globalconnections.org.uk/vocations/uk-jobs/83384

 

 

Vacancy: Ordained Lead Evangelist, North Sutton Centre of Mission and Vicar of St. Helier

Diocese of Southwark Logo

St Helier Estate is in Carshalton and Morden and straddles the London Boroughs of Sutton and Merton.  It is home to about 30000 people of whom about two thirds live in the parish of St Helier. It is a diverse estate with many young families as well as older residents. About half of the residents own their homes and approximately 38% of all households are social rented. The estate is currently recognised as having high levels of deprivation, unemployment, single parents, elderly people and people with long term disabling illness. 31% of all households with children are lone-parent households. Large parts of the parish are amongst the 20% most deprived neighbourhoods in the country

Bishop Andrewes’ and St Peter’s are small but committed congregations.  We believe in the transforming love of God in Jesus, and we seek to share his love with our community, so people may have life in all its fullness. We are aiming to make “Jesus the heart of the community”.

Post Introduction

This role has been created in partnership between the Diocese of Southwark and Church Army to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the St Helier Estate and to transform the community in His name.  Centres of Mission are small teams of evangelists living and working with local people especially those disconnected from church, seeking to unlock God’s potential within them and to grow new worshipping communities amongst them.  The Lead Evangelist will lead the North Sutton Centre of Mission, recruiting a Pioneer Evangelist to work alongside them, and will also be the Vicar of St Helier.  Members of the two congregations are enthusiastic about this appointment and the Centre of Mission and ready to volunteer to support it.

Further information about the post can be found at https://www.cofepathways.org/members/modules/job/detail.php?record=2818

If you feel this is where God may be leading you a Job Description pack can be downloaded on  St Helier – Job Description and profile Final with pics

You can also download the Vision Statement for Southwark Diocese on Diocesan Vision Statement 2017-2025

Stories from Strategic Development Fund projects

Strategic Development Fund

The Strategic Development Unit are hosting a series of interviews on Zoom with practitioners from some of the Strategic Development Funding projects to share some of the stories of those involved. (Agi is also circulating details via Mission Network News.)

The first interview was held last Thursday 17 September. My colleague Tom Conway talked to Rob Fowler and Russel Baylis about their experiences of leading and supporting a church plant in Whitleigh, in Plymouth, as part of the outer estates planting SDF programme in Exeter diocese. If you were unable to join us for this interview, it is now available to watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GcnT-1X5xk

Later in the series, we will be featuring projects in Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham dioceses.

A full list of future interviews, with the links to enable you to register live to watch the webinars (at which there will also be an opportunity for you to ask questions), is below.

Thursday 8 October at 12.30pm  

This webinar will feature Manchester diocese’s project to establish small church plants in areas where there have been very low levels of engagement with the Church.

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/5416003570133/WN_rrquTRwwQM-8d4MiIHHDkA

Thursday 15 October at 12.30pm

Tim Montgomery will talk about Liverpool diocese’s project to turn around mission and financial strength in Wigan.   https://zoom.us/webinar/register/6816003579899/WN_gFDrqFeISHCUEH7HyEWF7Q

Thursday 22 October at 12.30pm

Liz Dumain will talk about building intergenerational worship in Birmingham diocese

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/8216003583738/WN_8RRPRV6mTFGNHHve_dQhSw

All of these interviews will be recorded and available for you to watch at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMwCFR_zx1Lsx1pp5ffRM4A .

GRA:CE Project Launch (online)

GRA:CE Project

At a time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, what is the future for the national church? How should it respond to the intensifying social, material, and spiritual needs of the people it exists to serve? How has it adapted to declining levels of religious affiliation?

Drawing on three years of extensive research across the country, the GRA:CE Project – a partnership between Theos, Church Urban Fund, and the Church of England – seeks to address these core issues from a study of the relationship between church growth, discipleship and social action in the Church of England. It considers how the Church’s service to its local communities can enrich congregations, both numerically and in their discipleship. It does this through the distillation of over 300 interviews with clergy, lay people, and community members from over 60 communities across every Anglican diocese in England, as well as new analysis of national statistical data.

Uncovering how Anglican churches of all sizes, contexts, and traditions integrate social action and discipleship in creative and transformative ways, the GRA:CE Project provides critical insights into how churches can meaningfully engage with the needs of their communities, build strong relationships, and see their congregations grow both numerically and spiritually.

Join the GRA:CE Project for the launch of the research findings and recommendations, engage with expert panelists, and participate in this important conversation by clicking here.

Confirmed panelists are:

Dr. Grace Davie: Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Exeter and author of Religion in Britain since 1945: Believing without belonging

Rev Graham Hunter: vicar at St. John’s Hoxton

Rt Revd Philip North: Bishop of Burnley

Hannah Rich: Theos researcher and author of the report

Richard Springer: Rector at St George-in-the-East, Director of the Urban Leadership School at the Centre for Theology and Community, and Dean of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Ministry for the Stepney Area.

The event will held on Zoom, and there will be opportunity for audience Q&A. Information on how to access the Zoom event will be sent upon registration

The GRA:CE Project has been made possible by the generosity of the Sir Halley Stewart Trust and the Hartham Church Charitable Trust. It is an exciting three-year research programme that is exploring the relationship between social action, discipleship and church growth. To learn more visit https://cuf.org.uk/what-we-do/the-grace-project

Church Plant Interview Series starting Thursday 17th Sept

Church of England Logo

The Church of England Strategic Development Funding supports projects which make a significant difference to the mission of its diocese.

They are hosting a series of Zoom interviews with some of the practitioners from Strategic Development Funding projects on Thursday lunchtimes throughout September and October. The first of these is on Thursday 17th September at 12.30pm and will be a conversation with Rob Fowler about his experiences of leading a church plant in Whitleigh, in Plymouth. Whitleigh is an estate parish and Rob’s experiences will include the highlights and challenges of working on an estate.

To register to watch live, where you’ll be able to submit questions, please click here:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/4515996685509/WN_xi_vMkdCT7SDQffZSEQBKQ

The session will be recorded to watch afterwards. Some of the future conversations will also be with estate parish ministers and we can share the information if you are interested.

Online Talking Jesus course free till end of August 2020

Hope Together

During COVID-19 the Talking Jesus course created by Hope Together will be free until the end of August 2020.

This is a practical 6 session course which can now be shared with groups online about how to tell others about Jesus. Simply click here and follow the instructions to register your group to the free course. A short video explains how this course gives people confidence to talk to friends and people they know about Jesus.

More about Hope Together

Hope Together is about showing the unconditional love of Jesus in our local communities, whether this be through setting up a food bank or working with local community organisations. Church members are encouraged to invite others to become a follower of Jesus.

The whole ethos of the organisation is grounded in prayer. You can visit https://www.hopetogether.org.uk/Groups/324633/About.aspx to find out more.

Hope Together’s response to COVID-19

Churches in Birmingham have created ‘We are the Church’posters to display in windows and remind people that the church is still present in neighbourhoods, even though we are scattered. You can download a poster by clicking on this link HOPE-Rainbow-Poster

You can also download this folder to share on social media. We_are_Church_Social_Media

You can click here to read about lots of other practical ideas for sharing love in your local community. This includes a short video on how to offer support to someone who is bereaved. There is also a Discover Bible app available which can be read in virtual groups.

Urban Ministry support from New Wine

New WIne

New Wine is a network of different Christian denominations which empowers and equips Christian leaders to spread the good news of God’s Kingdom.  Learning materials can be adapted to suit local situations.

During the pandemic Christians from the network have kept in touch with each other and have shared inspiring stories of how they have led people to Jesus by phone conversations or through another device. You can read the latest blog here.

Leadership Network and Urban Ministry

Church leaders can join the New Wine Leadership Network for free. Support offered by the network includes

  • Pastoral prayer
  • Regional connections and support
  • Training and coaching
  • Mentoring

Your focus would continue to be on your local community.

New Wine also offers specific support to you if you minister in an inner city or an outer estate through events, resources and local support.

Do get in touch with Andrew Jolley if your heart is with urban ministry on https://www.new-wine.org/network/urban-ministry

Introducing Greg Smith Urban Mission & Community Research Consultant

Greg Smith

This week we introduce Greg Smith, who lived and worked for churches in the London Borough of Newham for 27 years.

Greg has recently retired but has generously listed links to his many works and writings on urban mission and 21st century evangelism.

For anyone who would like to reflect more deeply on where God is at work on the estates or how understanding Christian doctrine can be relevant to the lives of working class people in a multi-cultural society, these writings are an excellent resource. You can explore more by clicking here.

Greg’s works are also very useful for anyone training for any form of church ministry who feels especially called to work on the estates or an inner-city context.

For example, a very readable paper entitled ‘Biblical Bases of Socio-Political Action, explains how Christian involvement in social and political issues are linked to key beliefs about God, Creation, the Fall, God’s justice in the Old Testament, the Kingdom of God, Jesus, Salvation and Christian living. Greg writes from an evangelical perspective and as a practitioner who has lived and worked among Christians from different churches and people from other faiths and with no faith.

” …it is out of the experience of mission,
and the awareness that such evils as poverty, racism, unemployment and bad housing
are barriers to the Gospel…”

Greg Smith

We hope that you enjoy exploring the fruits of Greg’s theological research and reflection among the treasure of God’s Kingdom, the people of the urban estates. Much of what  he has written is still highly relevant to today, particularly in the light of increasing poverty during the pandemic and to bring an end to racism highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movement.