Growing Churches Growing Disciples?

bishop markBishop Mark spent a day with us in the autumn, looking at a number of areas of ministry and mission across the parish. Along with George Fisher, the Director of Mission, he met a number of leaders from across Trinity Churches, and was able to both ask questions and reflect with us about some of the different things going on.

We had submitted various bits of paperwork in advance, and worked through some of the usual indicators of growth and health at the heart of a local church. But it was the conversations that were most helpful, with “stories from the frontline”, and people speaking of growing sense of new life in particular areas of ministry.

Some of the time was spent with wardens, and leadership teams from CTK and CMP. We had also identified six key questions which we were hoping for some insight and progress, if not a complete answer by the end of the day. They were in the areas of discipleship, evangelism, all-age church, every member ministry, welcome, and our identity as a parish. There is much work and some important thinking to be done in each of these areas at a leadership level these next months.

We then came together in the evening for a session which saw Bishop Mark and George feed back to a larger leadership group. They had listened well, and it was helpful for many people to hear of the many different ways in which people serve, share and grow the kingdom at CTK, on the Meole Estate, at Holy Trinity, and further afield.

Bishop Mark and George were both hugely encouraged by what they saw and heard, and since then I’ve already seen some of the ideas and good practice they picked up from the parish here being carried into a wider diocesan context.

What next? Unlike an OFSTED – or should it be OFFCHURCH? – we’re not given a grade, or a shiny banner to put outside churches. But we are called to keep learning, reflecting, developing and growing. I have asked the leadership teams of Holy Trinity, CTK, and the Meole Estate to do some work over the next few months on their latest “Mission Action Plan”, and with specific input in this exercise to include children, youth and young adults.

At the APCM in April 2015 we’ll be able to report on much of this. Although the ways in which we ‘do church’ might look different in various parts of the parish, we continue to come together under our common commitment to be “living for Jesus, loving one another, and setting a table for the world”. Do pray for us and with us as we continue to seek to do this more.

Phil Cansdale



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