Budgeting to reach new people in new ways
Parishes, schools and chaplaincies throughout our diocese are Living God’s Love so that God’s kingdom may grow in our communities. The parts of that vision, are going deeper into God, transforming communities and making new disciples, and much wonderful and transforming activity, undergirded by prayer, is going on in the places where we worship and elsewhere.
In spite of that, the recently reported further decline in church attendance sharpens the focus on the need to make new disciples of Jesus Christ across all of our communities. That will tip the balance from decline outweighing the growth found in some places and make our churches grow.
So the budget for 2018, recently passed by Synod and presented in the Archdeaconries, has been put together to place resources where they will help make new disciples to build our congregations.
A major focus of our efforts will be a new programme called “Reaching New People in New Ways” which is fully integrated with Living God’s Love and aims to make 8000 new disciples of Christ over the next 10 years. We will do this in two ways:
- By creating 300 maturing fresh expressions of church and equipping 1200 lay leaders.
- By promoting growth across our deaneries, benefices, parishes and churches.
We will be appointing three Fresh Expressions Development Officers (one for each archdeaconry) who will play a key role in inspiring and enabling church growth and the development of maturing fresh expressions of church. The bonus for us is that this new Fresh Expressions initiative will be largely funded by a grant from the Church Commissioners and spread over the next five years. We will need to make some funds available in years 4 and 5 (2021 and 2022) but not before then.
In addition to that, we are filling two posts that were vacated earlier this year with Church Growth Officers. They will be responsible for being alongside parishes who need help and support in putting their MAPs into practice.
Our budget will also fund an additional deacon to be ordained thus helping to ensure that our parochial ministry headcount can be maintained even after the anticipated retirement over the next ten years of a large number of our clergy.
After taking account of the clergy stipend increase of 2% and other ongoing expenditure and after working hard to identify some savings, the increase in the budget and in the parish share is 2.45%, below the current rate of inflation and equating to about £13 per church member per year.
We pray that this budget will enable our diocese to carry on the work of Living God’s love and with the additional funds available we will be able to grasp the opportunity to make new disciples for Christ.
David NyeChair, Diocesan Board of Finance
There are other practical ways, apart from attending to finances, in which the diocese is preparing to reach new people in new ways. One is the Mission Shaped Ministry Course, which began recently, It has a full complement of participants for its first season. Another way was through the recent Fresh Expressions Planning Day at which those who are already running or planning Fresh Expressions explored the obstacles, practical and spiritual, to making them travel towards maturity.