Experimenting for the Kingdom!
Would you be interested in piloting any of the following ideas? Is there one that stands out as being relevant to mission and ministry in your context? If so, we would love to work with you to give it a go, see if God blesses it and to share what can be learnt from the experiment.
If you are interested in finding out more, or would like to access support to try any of these out, then please contact Chris Priddy.
Messy Church Discipleship
Working closely with the Diocese, the Messy Church team and the Church Army Research Unit, participating Messy Churches will have an opportunity to try out a particular approach to moving people on in faith in their Messy Church and will receive lots of expert help to find out if this is working or not! Messy Churches in Bristol Diocese have been invited to explore; investing in young people as leaders and providing space for intentional, all-age, faith exploration conversations to take place. Find out more here.
The Parenting for Faith course
Based on the book Parenting Children for a Life of Faith, the Parenting for Faith course is a free video-based resource for communities. It's normally run in a church or home group, but can be used by individuals as well.
The goal of the course is to help parents discover that they are perfectly positioned to show their children the reality of a life with God and to empower them to have their own vibrant two-way relationship with him. This has been found to be crucial in enabling young people to grow up in the faith. If you would be interested in trying the course and letting us know how those involved benefitted, we would love to hear from you.
Using the Barnabas Family Bible, we have developed a resource for running a short church service which includes breakfast. Families are invited to come to worship, wearing their sports kit, eat, pray and worship together, before heading straight out to their various sports activities.
We would love to work with you to trial this and see if it meets the needs of families in your parish. Contact Dan Jones if you'd like to test it out with us.
Summer bags of discipleship
Would it be appropriate to provide families with resources to continue to explore and grow in faith together during the summer holidays. In a paper bag you could provide a list of bible verses/prayer activities and challenges to be completed one per week throughout the summer and all the resources they will need to undertake these activities and challenges. You could also invite people to feedback their experiences on the first Sunday in September.
If you'd like to work with us to design this resource and trail it in your parish, please contact Chris Priddy.
Simple expressions of youth ministry
Looking to start a youth ministry....we have a 'How to...' guide for that.
Still unsure about how to provide a space in which young people can explore and grow in faith, then we'd love to work with you to see how this could be done in a simple, flexible, appropriate way in your parish, and help you to get it off the ground.
It could be as simple as buying some pizzas and sitting around a kitchen table talking about life, Jesus and all the big questions. Contact email@example.com if you'd be interested.
Linking with your local school
Thirteen trained Inspire mentors are available to support churches to explore the ways in which they might engage with, serve and support their local schools or colleges. These mentors are spread across the Diocese and each has a particular focus on primary schools, secondary schools or colleges.
Mentors are available to offer free advice, wisdom and support to help churches, church leaders and volunteer schools workers to shape the offer that churches can make to schools and colleges. They are equipped to offer a tailored service exploring the opportunities that are unique to each church and school. Click here for more information about accessing this support.
Rule of Life
Many churches and Christian communities are finding a 'rule of life' a helpful way to establish rhythms and disciplines of discipleship in people's lives (see this example from Liverpool). Those who sign up to follow the rule take part collectively, living out these spiritual disciplines in their lives. If you would be interested in developing a 'rule' for your church and sharing with us how people found it supported their growth as disciples then please contact Chris Priddy.
Digital Small Groups
Some people in your church might struggle to engage in a small group that meets at a set time in a set location each week. Creating a group that 'meets' digitally could provide a safe place for discussions of faith and the sharing of prayer requests.
Such a group would still require a group leader who could share content and facilitate discussion. If you would be interested in setting up such a group, please contact Chris Priddy.
Book: 'We will feast': http://kendallvanderslice.com/we-will-feast
"The gospel story is filled with meals. It opens in a garden and ends in a feast. Records of the early church suggest that believers met for worship primarily through eating meals. Over time, though, churches have lost focus on the centrality of food-- and with it a powerful tool for unifying Christ's diverse body."
What if food didn't take place after the service, but as a key part of our worship. This could be as simple as sharing soup and bread whilst discussing the gospel reading of the day, finishing with sung worship and a time of prayer for one another around tables. Contact Chris Priddy if you'd like to hear more about the concept of discuss how it might work in your parish.
A simple concept building on a history or prayer walking and the current popularity of running.
Gather a group of people interesting in running and praying!
Run 5km together. Every 1km pause and pray together. Choose a different topic of prayer for each stop.
This could also be done with different groups going out at different speeds or to cover different distances.
For further inspiration check out FitFish.
Offering a good welcome to church is key, that's why its a core element to the Safe and Welcome Award scheme. Many churches also use the 'Everybody Welcome' course to train their welcome teams. But what if we invested just as much energy in offering a good goodbye - thanking people individually for coming and inviting them to activities happening that week or to next weeks service. If you would like to explore how this could be developed and done effectively please contact Chris Priddy.
Primary to Secondary transitions
What does it look like to support really good transitions within church for children moving from primary to secondary school? Sports clubs and uniformed organisations appear to help children to make the transition between age group activities really well. But so many children leave the church at this transition point. We would love to work with you to explore what strategies can be put in place to enable this to work really well in your church. Contact Dan Jones for more information.