Editorial – Jan 2018

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAby David Bent; Team Rector

A Vision for the Future

I have a vision to release some of the God-given gifts of people within our congregations in order to grow our mission and ministry to children, young people and families as a means share the Good News of Jesus, bless our communities to secure the long-term future of the Christian Church. Could you join me in this vision?

Toddler Church is a new venture at St Mary’s, meeting once a month. I would love to see it operating once a week, both at St Mary’s and at one of our other churches. We do regular assemblies at two of the eight primary schools across the team; I would like to see this rolled out at all eight schools. We have little or no input into Brinsworth or Aston Secondary School; I would like to see a youth worker regularly going into each school offering support for Christian Unions, RE lessons and pastoral care, and also running outreach events for the young people from the schools. We have big gaps in our follow-up with families from weddings, baptisms, Messy Church and Toddler Church. I would like to see a family’s worker nurturing these contacts and seeing them growing in the Christian faith and in church membership.

Sheffield Diocese has the ‘Centenary Project’ scheme which offers grants to employ ‘Centenary Project Workers’ in churches who work together to develop this sort of vision. I believe that we could support one or more ‘Centenary Project Workers’ across the team, extending the work we already do in areas such as Messy Church, Toddler Church and Schools work, and in setting up new work linking in with the comprehensive schools.

The Centenary Project grants are tapered so that the diocese supports the project 100% in the first year and tapers it down over the following years until the churches are able to support the project themselves, possibly by year four, when they will hopefully have seen significant church growth.

If we were to fund 30 hours of work a week we would need to find £10,000 a year over four years. This may sound a lot, but it breaks down to £200 a week, or £160 a week if it is gift aided. That’s little more than £1 a week for each adult across the team. Which I think is a bargain!

My vision would be to train up and release people who are already part of The Rivers Team and who have time, or who could take time out from their work, to serve the church with their God-given gifts. Will you give your
support, your prayers and your money to support this vision?