Mission Strategy 2021
Our Mission Strategy is an extension of 'Committed to Growth', building on what is already being done and continuing to look to grow in discipleship, service and numbers.
Entitled ‘More than we can imagine’, it identifies four ‘streams’ of work – Listen, Celebrate, Imagine and Empower – and is resourced by grants from the national church (The Archbishops’ Council) and trust funds (not from the Diocesan budget). It is not meant to replace local mission planning, but to aid and build upon it with additional support.
Writing at its launch, Bishop Graham James said:
“We serve a God for whom there are always new possibilities, with whom there is always the prospect of new life and hope. Our prayer is that God will help us in our generation to accomplish more than we can ask or imagine, as we say together “your kingdom come”.
“A strategy is important, but God’s church is nothing if it exists without love. The ministry to which the people of God are called must be an expression of God’s love. ‘Love the people to whom God has sent you’ is the deepest expression of the priestly task…’
“What I hope this new mission strategy will do is to complement all that the parishes are doing in their areas and to enhance the growth in discipleship, service and numbers. More than we can imagine, that’s what God gives us. We are a church committed to growth and we will continue to be so.”
The strategy was formed following a period of reflection and listening. Parishes were asked three key questions: what are some of the good things happening locally; what are the biggest challenges; and what resources or support would be helpful centrally. From the many responses received common themes were identified and the ‘streams’ identified.
- The LISTEN stream helps to address feelings from some church members of sinking under the burden of buildings, finance and bureaucracy. Training is offered to those caring for their buildings as well as support with administration, finance and governance.
- The CELEBRATE stream encourages sharing, celebration and learning together – communicating what God is doing across the Diocese and strengthening the sense of common purpose and unity in Christ. Best practice of growing churches is shared and local experience made known.
- The IMAGINE stream seeks to develop new areas of work in response to the changing needs of society, encouraging one another to take the initiative ourselves and build confidence in sharing our faith. The Diocese runs training on starting a Fresh Expression, Messy Church, Café Church and Cell Churches and offer start-up funds and start-up teams to help locally, and the Church Army Centres of Mission were begun in Harleston and Kings Lynn.
- The EMPOWER stream provides the resources needed to address the challenges identified. Through a range of training and funding the Diocese equips and empowers churches and individuals for the work that God is calling them to undertake. This includes funding project workers to increase capacity working with schools, children, young people and families, and supporting parish and deanery initiatives to address social need, poverty and deprivation.