Carry on dreaming

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Creating a new vision for families', children's and young people's ministry.

In February we held Come and Dream, an exciting afternoon where, as a church, we started to re-imagine our ministry to families, children and young people (FCYP). Everyone there played a part in recognising that FCYP ministry is not something that can be led and managed by a separate group of people (e.g. Sunday Club leaders) but has to be the concern and interest of the whole church. So ... we invited the whole church to Carry on Dreaming! on Sunday 1st July. Once again, all ages met together for a relaxed afternoon.

 

The programme was:

Bible reading

Matthew 7:24-29.

 

Our prayer

Lord, we thank you for inviting us into your family and for valuing each one of us. We thank you for your amazing grace that makes this possible. We now ask you to guide us this afternoon as we look to extend your love and the opportunity to be part of your growing family to all around us.

We hold before you our hopes and fears for this afternoon. We are here, each with different ideas and expectations. We ask you to help us express our own thoughts while we hear and respect the thoughts of others. May we see you in the faces of those around us, and hear you in the words spoken today.

Lord, you taught us that our differences are our strengths. You taught us that we each have something unique and wonderful to offer. This is something that some of us find hard to believe. Help us to build each other up so that together we can create love and life at St. Mary’s that will overflow into our community, spilling out your love and a clear vision of the whole and vibrant life that you offer.

Help us to be examples of your love, peace and joy to all the earthly families, the parents, carers, children and young people you bring to us. Guide us as we seek to offer help and support. Show us how to pass on your wisdom with gentleness and truth, offering love and joy to all.

Lord, we look to you, trusting that you will guide us. We lay everything we have to offer before you today. May we truly reflect your grace and your love, and together make plans that grow your kingdom.
Amen.

 

Background

Recap of 'Come and dream'

 

Session 1

We agreed that our 'rock' (Matthew 7:24-25) or our 'firm foundation' should be a clear statement and understanding of our aim or purpose, and we looked at a model of a healthy church*, which supported and informed this.

In other words, we agreed we needed to define our dream, and we spent the rest of the session trying to do that. We worked in three groups and although we didn't achieve a clear single definition, we made a lot of progress. The outcome was a mixture of dreams and possible solutions:

Group 1

  • Church as an extended family on a journey together.
    - engagement
    - spending time together, getting to know each other
    - listen to each other, awareness of other points of view
  • Better communication.
    - between established church and members of church
  • Church and community interaction.
    Some ideas:
    - developing BATS
    - Parents' Bible studies/coffee mornings
    - FACT (Fathers and Children Together)
    - St. Mary's Mums

Group 2

  • Families should feel so welcomed that they wish to return.
  • Families should be supported with communication.
  • Families and children will grow in faith and ministry as part of the church family.

Group 3

  • A more flexible approach to seating.
  • Develop buddy/mentoring system to make everyone feel welcome.
  • Review mission statement and act upon it.

 

Cream Tea

... which was amazing! Thank you to all who helped.

 

Session 2

Discussion. Our overall agreement was that our dream is for:

'better interpersonal communication so that we develop
respectful relationships'
.

Once again, this outcome came from everyone present, so it represents what is felt to be important across the breadth of the church. It also gives us a clear direction, which will help the next step ... watch this space!

 

*The Church Health Cycle Model, Robert D Dale, To Dream Again (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2004)