The third cohort of churches going through the Missional Leadership for Growth (MLG) programme attended their “Follow Up Day” earlier this year. Here’s what I kept hearing at that meeting:

“Isn’t it great when we can all get together and hear how mission and evangelism is going in other churches? We need more of this.”

It seems that what clergy, lay teams and entire churches really want is a space where they can discover what other churches are doing, what challenges they face, what’s going well, and what hasn’t worked. I think people are after encouragement and inspiration and reassurance. As churches of Durham Diocese we’re all one massive team after all, so it’s nice to show support and care for one another’s endeavours.

In whatever way we can, the Mission Support Partners and the wider Mission and Ministry Support Team will try and work out effective ways to help you get what you need, so you can do what you feel God is calling your church to do. What it seems you want and need right now is to gather and share. So that’s what we’ll help make happen.

How? By organising gatherings (like the Follow Up Day) where people can present their ongoing projects and ideas and chat to each other and ask questions. Revd Alan Bartlett is running sessions very regularly here at Cuthbert House titled either “Help… I want to do [insert skill/issue] better” which takes the form of a lunchtime or evening workshop, or “Wow- I could do that” which is where someone shares something that really worked. Topics range wildly from better PowerPoint presentations and making the most of your church websites, to running parent and toddler groups or hand massage in Care Homes. This is gathering pace and we’ll continue to facilitate more opportunities like this so people can get together to learn and share (both clergy and lay folk). We’ll also be encouraging and supporting you at deanery level to do the same.

And there’s another way too. Online. I  hope some of you will write up your own stories and share them here, on this new hub. First-hand accounts are very powerful and helpful to others. Just send me your stories and I’ll get them posted here, on the DDMissionHub Facebook page and on the DDMissionHub twitter feed, so we can really spread the word.

My hope is that reading churches’ stories could lead to you taking a team to visit them in person to see their mission projects first hand, so you can encourage, learn, see what God’s up to, and build bonds with churches just like yours.

Watch this space.