Talking about the growth conference

With just over a month to go we talk to the organisers of the Bishop's Growth Conference about what those coming can expect.

Two years after the successful growth conference at the ACC Liverpool we return to look at how we can let our light's shine in 2012. The Growth, Leadership, Evangelism and Mission Conference is the only time this year we will be coming together as a whole diocese to engage seriously with the Bishop's Growth Agenda.

Bishop James who is delivering a keynote address said "Whenever we come together in these ways in our diocese there is always a great sense of fellowship, learning and inspiration. I look forward so much to wlecoming you on June 16th"

So what's the conference all about? We spoke to organisers and speakers Linda Jones and Phil Potter about their aims for the day.

In 2010 the Let the Rivers Flow Conference was a great success – what is your hope for this year?

Linda Jones:- We want people to come to be inspired by what they hear but then to act on it – to be inspired by what they hear to enable them to engage in earnest with the Growth Agenda, The feedback from the Growth Planning Framework exercise is that people are keen to grow in their faith and to be disciple makers – we hope that the event will encourage us to explore new ways in which we can engage with our communities

Phil Potter:- I think the emphasis this year will be on the word "let", and the practical encouragement to let things happen on the mission front. Since the last conference, not only have there been more and more examples of engaging in mission in fresh ways, but an increasing emphasis on partnership and the sharing of gifts and resources across churches, deaneries and denominations. Add to that the level of blessing and permission we receive from our bishops, and the story is ever more encouraging. At this conference,we want to share that story and reproduce the blessing.

We’re returning to the ACC arena – why’s that?

LJ:- The ACC provided a fabulous backdrop – being on the river was a visual example of our desire to be a “lake and river” diocese. It is a great venue and the professional way in which the staff dealt with us last time encouraged us to return there.

PP:- Not only is it an iconic venue in the city, but the spot on which it stands is steeped in the history of Christian missionaries setting sail from here to pioneer across other countries and cultures..so an inspiring venue in every sense!

Last time we were addressed by Bishop Graham Cray – who’s on the programme this year?

LJ:- More and more we are realising that people from around the country are looking to our Diocese to see what we are doing so we felt that this year we would showcase some of what is going on and a great opportunity to hear from Bishop James

PP:- At the last conference, Bishop James encouraged us to take some of the material that we ourselves take to other Dioceses and conferences and share it with our own leaders. So I will be addressing one of the key themes that has resonated at mission conferences and gatherings across the world.

What are delegates likely to learn from this year’s conference?

LJ:- Bishop James wants to use some of the time to reflect back on his visits around the deaneries this will be followed by Phil giving stories with practical ideas and encouragement. Then I will talk through the key issues that have come out of the growth planning framework process.

PP:- Our churches will never be released in mission until we learn what it means to release every member in ministry, out in the world and in keeping with the shape God has made them. We will look at the kind of missional leaders that we need to identify, who and where they are, and how we can release them in mission. We will also unpack what it means to change our very mindset for the missional challenges we face.

I know all about the growth Agenda – so why should I come along?

LJ:- The Growth Agenda is here to stay! We are called to salt and light in our communities and our aim is that you will be inspired by what you hear to continue to address Bishop James’ 3 questions so that we do see spiritual and numerical growth in our Diocese

PP:- We hope the content at this conference will inspire people to take what they 'know' about all this, and begin to reimagine and decide what they themselves might actually do with encouragement, blessing and support..

How will I be able to put into practice what I have learnt?

LJ:- There will be an opportunity during the morning for you to reflect on what you have learnt and to take away something that you will seriously think, and do something about.

PP:- As a pioneer, I hope this will encourage us all to think out of the box more, and then begin to practically try and experiment with things we haven't had confidence to in the past.