Dr George Lings, one of the church’s leading experts on the factors leading to growth, will be speaking at the Bishop's Growth Conference on Saturday 16th May.
George explains what he will be speaking about at the conference:
"The four key words, reflect, learn, change and adapt are drawn from a wider research process that has been going on in the Church of England for some years. It is part of a shift to give greater support to what in church life can be shown to work, rather than just propping up the existing system because that’s what was done the previous year. This is no narrow focus on numerical growth alone, but equally values grow in depth and engagement with the surrounding community."
"Researchers have found that it is more helpful to show the Church of England what has already been achieved in growth, than to urge pie in the sky. Showcasing what is possible is better than promoting the improbable. George Lings will take the same stance, drawing on Church Army’s research into existing fresh expression of Church and also longer established churches to explore what is being learnt, how change and adaptation are moving ahead. This will key in with the hopes for the new unfolding chapter in the diocese."
George Lings was a curate and then vicar for 22 years. Since 1997 he has worked for Church Army, directing its research unit. His focus is the re-imagination of Church.
He served on the 1994 working party producing the church planting report Breaking New Ground. He later wrote large parts of Mission-shaped Church, which has reached several continents. He has spoken about fresh expressions of Church around the developed world. His doctorate was on why and how the church should reproduce. He became a Canon of Sheffield Cathedral in 2011.
He is a member of both Northumbria Community and the Church Army’s missional Community. Married to Helen, they have three grown up children, are recent grandparents, and enjoy life through a variety of sporting and creative hobbies.