Growth is one of four priorities in the Diocese of Durham and we may assume this means seeing more people coming to church. Such an assumption is of course spot on, yet, while growth starts with more people coming it doesn’t stop there.
As a diocese we recognise that growth is not one dimensional. We define the ‘energising growth’ priority as working, loving, worshipping, and playing together to:
- Grow in Breadth – growth in the number of people self-identifying as Christian, evidenced through commitment to a local church family (Heb. 10:25).
- Grow in Depth – growth in our lived understanding of discipleship. Evidenced through being transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.
- Grow in Reach – growth in our influence, being a light on a hill (Matt 5:14), or yeast in the loaf (Matt 13:33), to effect the transformation of our parishes through the transformation of our churches.
As a Diocese we are blessed with a wide variety of Christian traditions and practices. We believe that we need everybody if we are going to reach everybody so are committed to:
- Helping one another understand our calling as disciples of Jesus to be fruitful.
- Helping one another to share with one another and their wider parish community the good news of the gospel.
- Helping one another to be confident in proclamation and expectant of fruitfulness.
Values and approach
We can grow together by being:
- Courageous: We are bold in the prophetic proclamation of God’s love through word and deed, we create a culture where the only failure is the failure to learn.
- Incarnational: We allow God to shape ourselves in the image of Christ as his living stones to be His church in our context. Declaring the good news of the gospel in sacrament and deed.
- Relational: Our life together is one of inclusion, hopefulness, welcome and hospitality. Our culture and style, grounded in the Trinitarian God respectfully embraces the value each person brings, their gifts and sacrificial generosity.
- Transformational: We are transformed by the Holy Spirit through the renewing of our minds, liberating those around us to discover their own transformation, even as we discover ours through their example to us.
- Faithful: We value deeply that which has gone before, that which is and that which is to come, we value the faithful expression of whole life discipleship in the whole life always being the church where we are.
What this means for our places:
- We are committed to our parish churches and congregations as the places and people where growth is rooted, and mission opportunities are discerned.
- We are committed to a program of church planting by which we will reach those currently not able to engage with existing church services.
- We are committed to growing and equipping both ordained and lay (non-ordained) leaders to support our planting and growth.
- We are committed to being a church within which evangelism is normal, faith is ‘gossiped’ and belief in the redemptive power of the Gospel motivates all we do.
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