St Barnabas Fendalton was well represented at the Leading Your Church into Growth Conference held this week at St Christopher’s, Avonhead.

Jenny Wilkens, John Shoaf, Wendy Kington, Olive Lawson, Andy Dickson and Jo Cotton all attended this Diocesan conference held over 3 days and led by Archdeacon Rhiannon King and Rev Harry Steele, both from the UK. Both were excellent speakers and took us through 7 steps of growing a church and encouraging and equipping clergy and lay leaders to grow their churches. 

The aim of the course is to:

  • Inspire us as leaders to lead our church into growth – spiritual and numerical
  • Encourage us to feel that in our own way at our own pace in our own place and with God’s help we can do it.
  • Equip us with straightforward and workable strategy
  • Give us teaching resources so that we can share Leading your Church into Growth with our people
  • Enable us to create and put into action a growth plan

I really enjoyed it and I think it was a good practical guide that can be used in our own context, and is manageable no matter what size your church is. Over 100 people attended from all over the Christchurch Diocese, plus some delegates from our Te Wai Pounamu Diocese,  Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin Dioceses, all representing different types and sizes of Anglican parishes. 

As Rhiannon said on day one: “this isn’t rocket science. But sometimes we just need to be reminded and encouraged every once in a while.” 

Both speakers shared some great and encouraging stories from their own ministry experience.  Harry has been involved with Leading your Church into Growth for 25 years and Rhiannon for 10 years.  

The following is a prayer which they suggested we pray as often as we can

      God of mission,                                                                                        Who alone brings growth to your Church,                                            Send your Holy Spirit to give                                                                  Vision to our planning,                                                                            Wisdom to our actions,                                                                            Joy to our worship,                                                                                  And power to our witness.                                                                      Help our church to grow in numbers,                                                    In spiritual commitment to you,                                                              And in service to our local community,                                                 Through Jesus Christ our Lord.                                                                 Amen

The food at the conference was top notch, we were well fed and watered. The worship band led by our own Geoff Bevan was outstanding. It was a great time to catch up with some folk we hadn’t seen for a while and to meet some new people.

If you are interested in finding out more about Leading your Church into Growth, click here to go to their website.

By Jo Cotton