We asked Dan to reflect on some of the highlights and also the challenges encountered during this first 12 months of the project.
“It’s been great getting to know lots of different people from all across the Diocese, and seeing all the different ways they are serving local people.
A challenge we come up against is that people often disqualify themselves (and sometimes others!) from having a go at leading new Congregations, because maybe they haven't been Christians for very long, or perhaps because they haven't been trained in theology, or possibly even because they are daunted by the potential workload involved.
So, when I talk to people about 'leading new Congregations', I try to describe in detail what that role actually involves - and also what it doesn’t! To help them to imagine what it might look and feel like for them to have a go at it. I want people to understand that leading a Congregation is achievable, well-supported and hopefully enjoyable!”
While we are hoping that many of these new Congregations will be fruitful and multiply, we are also expecting that some of them may not. And that’s OK. We wouldn’t want anyone starting a new Congregation to feel under pressure to ‘succeed’, and we certainly wouldn’t want anyone to not start a new Congregation because they are afraid of ‘not succeeding’! We just want people to pray, have a go, and do their best. In turn, we too will be praying and giving everyone the best possible support that we can.
Looking toward the future, we asked what the plans are for growing the project further.
We are already partnering with 7 new Congregations, and are working towards partnering with 30 new congregations, all across the Diocese, by the year 2022.
Our prayer is that each one of these new Congregations will be fruitful in making new disciples, and in multiplying more new Congregations, which would serve the longer-term Diocesan goal of establishing 100 new Congregations in the next 10 years.
To help achieve these goals we are running a leadership development process called ‘Cultivate’, which was devised by the Transforming Wigan team. All the new leaders with whom we are working will be taking part in that.
How do people get in touch with you if they want to go about setting up a new congregation?
If you have started a mission activity to reach a particular group of people in your Parish, and would appreciate some support to develop and establish that initiative, we would love to hear from you.
To get in touch, just go to our web-site: www.joshuacentre.org.uk
, click on the ‘Contact Us’ page, and write a brief message in the boxes provided. This will come directly to my inbox, and I will get back to you as soon as possible, to arrange an initial meeting.