The Diocese of Liverpool is asking God for a Bigger Church to make a Bigger Difference, more people knowing Jesus and more justice in the world.
There are many ways, as disciples, we can make a Bigger Difference. As individuals, we are encouraged to Do Ten Things. As worshipping communities, we can carry out a range of social action work.
On this page, we talk about how we can all make a bigger difference. We want to inspire you to take action that works in your area It uses research we commissioned from the Church Army which shows the wide range of ways we are making a bigger difference.
Social Action and Church Growth in the Diocese of Liverpool
In 2017, the Church of England asked parishes a question about social action in their annual Statistics for Mission returns. This helped us understand what action is being taken.
We wanted more detail and asked the Church Army to explore this in more depth and to help work out a connection between social action and church growth,
Social action is happening across the diocese.
Churches in the diocese understand social action as broader than the regular, formally-organised activities offered in the Statistics for Mission survey.
Church leaders and parishioners identified other types of social action, including:
- One-off events to bring communities together (often with the aim of reducing social isolation) e.g. Summer and Christmas fetes; Harvest supper meals
- Generous use of the material and financial resources to local, national and international charities e.g. Christian Aid week; the Christmas Shoebox appeal; sponsoring the education of a child overseas
- Involvement in local and national politics/activism (either formally or through individual members) e.g. through social media campaigns, letters to MPs
- Small-scale (potentially unnoticed) neighbourly acts e.g. maintaining the church gardens to provide a green space for those in inner cities; use of Fairtrade products
As these examples suggest, social action may be driven by individual parishioners.
Supporting social action
Where appropriate, seek to work in partnership with other churches, charities, faith groups – this is often a valuable way to effectively engage with local communities and share resources
Support parishioners in their individual passions for social action, considering how to enable their engagement with Sunday congregations
Prepare Sunday congregations to welcome newcomers who have come through social action activities: the level of welcome on Sundays should mirror those of the social action activities
Reflect on how social action relates to evangelism/outreach in the parish - this may involve exploring how to incorporate spiritual elements into social action activities
Regularly seek to connect social action with Sunday services – this can be through teaching, intercessions, notices or inviting visiting speakers
Provide space for parishioners involved in social action to reflect on how this impacts their personal faith journeys