Starting back? Then join us on …The Growing Faith Adventure!

First published on: 9th September 2021

Sue Mitchell, Children & Families Missioner presents a real opportunity to 're-vision, re-shape and re-set!' this autumn 

As autumn begins, I wonder if you are now hopefully and cautiously either considering or beginning to return to your groups and activities with children, young people and families. 

Throughout the pandemic so much has changed, not least the people we work with. For them returning to church and its activities is in many cases going to be a big ask, and in truth, it’s going to take them a while to remember what it was like! The children and young people who were part of our groups are now at least a year plus older, they have changed, the world has changed and with it their lives. In reality, it will probably take another year to transition and so we need not get too upset when perhaps they don’t all come rushing straight back! We need to be graceful in our expectation of our families and young people in these coming months  

Yet many of us firmly believe that the pandemic has presented us with a real opportunity to “re-vision, re-shape and re-set!” While the children and young people figure out what it is they now need, we as children/youth /family and church leaders must also re-assess, as the pandemic has changed us too! 

Perhaps a big question to now ask ourselves is …. 

“Are we going back the way we want to go back? Or are we simply returning to what we did before?” 

One positive of the pandemic is that it has given us time to reflect on what was working well and consider what wasn’t perhaps going quite so well. So then what if the answer doesn’t lie in simply “Going back to leading the same groups and activities" but instead harnessing this God-given opportunity to discover what our church family and community really need, keeping what worked and leaving behind what didn’t? What would you need to help you do that as a church?  

The Growing faith adventure can provide us with this opportunity. 

What is Growing Faith? 

It’s not an award process, or a course or a programme, or yet another initiative! 

Growing faith is quite simply a way of thinking and being that aims to reprioritize and change our church culture through the three spheres of Church, home, and school, in how we think and what we do. So it becomes second nature to include children, young people and families in every aspect of church life for the lifelong formation of faith. We know Christian faith is nurtured through interactions between people and especially enriched when it is across all the generations, encouraging opportunities to explore faith together. 

Growing faith is a way of doing that becomes our new normal, assessing a new or existing activity, attitude or vision through the lens of Growing Faith enables the three areas of church,home, and school to better operate in partnership. Discovering new ways of being church and creating new thinking and doing in relation to all the ages. 

How can you get involved?  

A monthly volunteer 'Reflecting on Growing Faith' focus group has been meeting on zoom, with an open invitation to anyone interested to join the second one in October. We will also soon be launching our simple 'Growing Faith Toolkit' available for all parishes to use and download themselves. This will include interactive ways to have conversations with all the ages to enable the development of imaginative ways to move forward from your own church's starting point. The aim is not to make more work just look at things in a different way   

So then is the answer to “Go back to what was before?” or is this the right time to begin to create new ways of thinking and doing and be part of the growing faith adventure providing the opportunity for more people to know Jesus? 

I am reminded of a Bible passage recently shared by a member of the current focus group   

Isaiah 43:19  

“Do not cling to events of the past, or dwell on what happened long ago. 
 Watch for the new thing I am going to do.   It is happening already—you can see it now! 
I will make a road through the wilderness and give you streams of water there."

So will your church be part of the Growing faith adventure? I do hope so.  

For more information on Growing faith contact Sue Mitchell  

Look out for an interview with Sue Mitchell, David Thorpe & Dr Sarah Holmes on Growing faith and stories from the current focus group. 

Join the conversation

Get involved as Sue Mitchell and Dr Sarah Holmes lead the first in our new season of Open the Box Conversations talking about 'The Growing Faith Adventure' on 28th September. Register via Eventbrite now.

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