Our Growth Conversation: Leaders and leadership

Continuing the conversation on how we can continue to follow the growth agenda and look to become a bigger church making a bigger difference we are breaking down the different areas of the consultation document. This week we look at Leaders and leadership

Part of our response in focusing on our leaders and leadership so far has been our work in developing local leaders. We have authorised 18 Local Missional Leaders with 5 more in the pipeline; we have c. 30 Readers in training at any point.

Our diocese is also leading the way with Interim Ministry:

In November of 2015, the Church of England enacted a new regulation that allows for clergy appointments to be made on an interim basis. The Diocese of Liverpool is pioneering this form of ministry which is already proving advantageous as the church faces increasing challenges of low numbers in attendance, funding, and available clergy.

Our ability to take the lead on this initiative and effectively appoint vicars on an interim basis is bolstered by the experience that Archdeacon Jennifer brings from The Episcopal Church where she has both studied and served in interim ministry roles. We are further helped by a task group which has undertaken practical study of the interim option basing their work on a report by The Revd. Chris Jones studied the American model.

Consulting with Archdeacon Jennifer, the group has produced a paper for guidance in our diocese as we continue to make interim appointments. These cover ideas around

When would we appoint an interim priest?
  • Turnaround situations in ‘fig tree’ churches which might go either way
  • Pastoral disruption or breakdown, significant conflict or pastoral trauma
  • Significant change on the horizon such as pastoral reorganisation, viability, parish share or building related issues
  • Following long incumbencies (the Ferguson - Moyes effect)
  • Helping a church to die with dignity
The defining characteristics of interim ministry
  • Time scale: typically for 12-18 months.
  • Focus: while attending to the liturgical and pastoral duties of parish ministry the primary focus is the transition, the neutral zone of a church in vacancy.
  • Shared ownership: successful interim ministry depends on shared ownership between congregation, interim priest and the diocese.
  • Process: interim clergy lead the church through a five stage process of ‘holy conversations’ which explore, typically: Heritage; Leadership; Connections; Mission; Future.
  • Outcomes: the interim minister thinks and works backwards, his or her ministry being informed by some established outcomes and working to realise those goals.
There are a few churches currently served by interim clergy; others might also benefit from such an appointment.  Our greatest challenge in making interim appointments is a lack of available trained interim clergy; a challenge we are facing by developing training modules and recruiting potential candidates for this specialized ministry.  We believe this is not a stopgap but a vital important ministry that helps churches and parishes discern the right future for them under God.

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Take part in the conversation

Are you clear about our work on leadership? Is this the reality that you see in your congregation, your parish, your church? Give us your views.

Take part on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/LiverpoolDiocese or twitter feed www.twitter.com/Livdiocese #growthconversation or email