Linda Jones, Director of Church Growth speaks on how tools like the growth planning framework have contributed to increased attendance.
Last week we revealed the national figures which confirm we are a growing diocese with average weekly attendance being up by nearly 5%. This week Director of Church Growth Linda Jones reflects on these figures and how tools like the growth planning framework have contributed to the increase.
“I would be reckless if I claimed too much but I do think that have a tool such as the Growth Planning Framework has helped churches step up a gear and become serious about growth. From my conversations around our diocese I’ve heard many people say how it has helped their church focus on the most important things they need to do to grow. That may be looking at their welcome, their worship or their approach to all age ministries. Every church is individual. But what I love and can’t get away from is the fact that, under God, people having been having serious conversations about when the rubber hits the road. They’ve been getting serious about the parts of church which matter to them. And that’s great.
It’s been pretty awesome how the Growth Planning Framework has been received. We spent a long time working on it, trying to get something that parishes will use. We were determined that it was something that could work in busy parishes which was why we went for simple tick box questions and lists. I want people to continue to own this and work with it so they own their ideas and plans.
And it’s adaptable. That’s why its been used by other dioceses and across the globe – more proof that Liverpool is ahead of the game.
I am delighted that our diocese has grown. It’s been hard work and taken a great deal of determination. But it is worthwhile. To see new members join our church family and be exposed to the love of Jesus is stunning. And when we’re looking at these tick lists and tools we must keep I mind that this is our aim. To make more disciples.
We shouldn’t think job done. We must continue to look at our welcome, prayer and worship life, discipleship and attitude to service. We must continue to make our churches places for all people. We must continue to look outside of our wall, to our networks and communities for find ways to connect and serve those around us.
I am committed to helping make it easier for parishes to do this stuff. I am working with colleagues on the second version of the framework, keeping its essence but changing those bits you've said don't quite work. And this is just one of the tools we're putting together at St James House. The things like the growth planning framework, the parish dashboard and the archdeacons' reviews that give straightforward ways for parishes to engage with the things that matter to them.
It matters and it works and my prayer is that through these offerings we continue to grow as a diocese."