I enjoyed an enthused and engaged diocesan synod on Saturday 24th November. Those in attendance grappled with some key issues, enjoyed debate, and celebrated some good news stories. I promised that my update and a recap of my presentation would be available as soon as possible so here we go:

My opening comments reminded synod that decline and transition are two different things. I believe that we, the church, are in a period of transition. We are constantly moving forward to engage with the new things God is calling us to. Being fruitful is about seeing the in breaking of His love and truth in every generation. Sometimes that means putting things down that are no longer fruitful to allow space to pick new opportunities up. For some that can feel like loss.

However, the idea that a church that has grown through 2000 years of history is coming to an end is nonsense. In 1 Chronicles 12 the ‘men of Issachar’ were described as those who understood the times and knew what Israel should do. In other words they were people of discernment, it is in the context of discerning the purposes of God for today that I offered my brief update about resourcing churches.

Slide 1: What is a resourcing Church?

A simple definition is a church committed to resourcing growth through a program of church planting that can flourish within any tradition.

Slide 2: Some thoughts on strategy

The diocese has three key priorities which guide strategic decision making and appointments. These are Church growth, Children and Young People and Challenging Poverty. The resourcing church agenda sits squarely within the church growth priority and overlaps generously into the other two. 

Slide 3: How have we shaped our bid and what now? 

  • We undertook an initial identification of locations.
  • We undertook an evaluation of sustainability potential in each location.
  • We adopted of a two phase timeline
  • We undertook an assessment of the long term needs of the project as it develops to include a Leadership Pipeline and a Learning community
  • We submitted a phase 1 in April 2018
  • Submitting a phase 2 bid in November 2018
  • We will receive feedback on December 7th
  • The finance can be drawn down quarterly in advance from January 2019

Slide 4: What does our bid contain?

We are bidding for just under £3.9 million over six years to establish:

  • Churches: Five locations: Bishop Auckland, Stockton Central, Washington Oxclose, Durham St. Nic’s, St George’s Gateshead.
  • A Learning Community to support and grow existing leaders.
  • A Community of St. Cuthbert (Prayer support and vocations)
  • A Leadership Pipeline
  • MEV programme (Lindisfarne)
  • Mixed Mode Training (Cranmer)

Time did not allow for questions but I hope those engaging in this blog will feel free to email me at [email protected] and ask away.