Parishes see clear benefits of the Growth Planning Framework

Nearly 90% of parishes in our diocese have returned the Growth Planning Framework document – an overwhelming indication of support for this tool.

Nearly 90% of parishes in our diocese have returned the Growth Planning Framework document – an overwhelming indication of support for this tool. We’re now looking at the forms that have come in to see what the common themes are and the support we can offer as parishes seek to implement their key actions.

Canon Linda Jones, Leader of our Church Growth Team will be unveiling the main themes from the framework in her keynote address at June 16th’s Growth Conference but we have managed to get a brief idea of what parishes are saying.

“It’s been a fascinating process analysing the returns as it has given a real insight as to what is on the heart of our diocese and the important issues we need to address” explained Linda. “It’s clear that the most important issue for you is how we welcome people. Parishes have been raising that in one way or another time and time again. Our challenge will be how we help parishes address this.”

Weddings, baptisms and funerals emerged as an important part of considering that welcome.

“Parishes seem to be saying they want to get it right on those times our communities look to us” Linda told us “the challenge is how we get it right in those contexts”.

It’s not just about welcome. Worship featured strongly in parishes’ lists of concerns. Areas such as how to do good family worship, learn new hymns and songs and help become communities of prayer have all come across very strongly.

As one of the speakers at the Bishops’ Growth Conference Linda will not only go through what we’ve been learning from the Growth Planning Framework but she will also take it the next stages – encouraging us to make it more than a one off exercise. Using her experience of review her own parish life with the framework, Linda will be able to draw out how it can work to bring continued, sustained growth for parishes.

“What’s exciting for me is to see how this can make a difference” said Linda “it has caught the imagination of our parishes as well as dioceses across the globe so clearly it’s something that can be seen to be of use. The challenge for us all now is can we use it to make a real difference as we seek to share the gospel across our region. That’s what I look forward to exploring on June 16th.”