The video: Live | Pray | Serve
Bishop Christopher outlines our Live | Pray | Serve vision, and answers questions alongside the Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight:
Our vision: Live | Pray | Serve
We originally drew up our Live | Pray | Serve vision in 2016, and it has guided our thinking ever since. As a diocesan family, we want to equip people to live as disciples of Christ; to pray, individually and together as worshipping communities; and to serve those living in our local neighbourhoods together.
As part of this process, we are seeking growth in depth of discipleship, our impact on society and the numbers of those who are becoming disciples of Christ.
The renewal of this vision in 2021 has come from a process by which our senior staff, Bishop’s Council, area deans and lay chairs have looked afresh what a ‘thriving diocese’ might look like in five years’ time, and what needs to be done in order to reach that destination. It comes out of a challenging context in which the Covid pandemic has closed our buildings for a time and hit our finances. That experience has also sharpened our focus and prompted an outpouring of creativity, as we’ve found new ways to celebrate and share our faith.
We still seek to grow in depth, impact and numbers, under the following headings:
Growth in Depth:
- sharing a prayerful RHYTHM OF LIFE where our Christian faith inspires all our relationships and actions;
- celebrating an IDENTITY IN CHRIST, where we speak of what God has called us to be, and how our vocation fits alongside the calling of others;
- offering a GENEROUS STEWARDSHIP of our time, resources and finances, and appreciation of the gifts and beliefs of others.
Growth in Impact:
- working towards the REPURPOSING OF OUR BUILDINGS in a way that serves our communities as the top priority, through Foodbanks, community wellbeing or artistic expression;
- creating churches as the FOCAL POINT OF THE COMMUNITY, bringing people together in reconciliation;
- empowering Christians to play a central role in PRESERVING GOD’S CREATION through environmental sustainability.
Growth in Number:
- inspiring Christians to SPEAK VIBRANTLY ABOUT FAITH and share their experiences joyfully;
- creating FRESH WAYS TO EXPLORE FAITH, through digital communities, pioneering communities and new ways of being church that fit the local context.
In order to achieve this, we’ll need to work on four key areas. They are:
- Creating VISIONARY LEADERS at all levels, enabling others to lead and do;
- Creating TEAMS ON A MISSION, with a clear purpose, the right skills and the right resources;
- Creating KINGDOM-BUILDING DISCIPLES, who will seek to create more disciples, not just churchgoers;
- Ensuring GROWTH-ENABLING STRUCTURES are in place to enable change, serve mission and allow people to take risks.
Parish stories: Live | Pray | Serve
Many of our parishes are already involved with initiatives that echo the thinking of our vision and strategy. We shared videos of some of those stories from our parishes during 2021. They included parishes that have increased their impact on their local communities via environmental initiatives, or serving others during the Covid pandemic; and parishes that have grown in numbers via digital worship launched during the pandemic.
You can see them again here.
Next steps: Live | Pray | Serve
We held Clergy and Lay conferences on the subject of our vision and strategy in September 2021, at which the mission and financial challenges we face were outlined. Our clergy and lay people were able to discuss and feed back their reaction to what was being proposed. That feedback was then used in seven deanery conferences in September and October 2021, which were able to go into further detail about what this could mean in each specific deanery.
More details of the next steps in our vision and strategy process can be found here.
Our Live | Pray | Serve prayer
Here’s a prayer you may wish to use in parishes and deaneries as we take the next steps forward with our diocesan strategy:
Lord our God, You make all things new.
Inspire our lives with your spirit
Renew our prayer with your grace
Transform our service with your love.
In the renewal of our life may your kingdom flourish
and your church thrive
so that all may come to know and love you
in your Son Jesus Christ.