Last Saturday 40-50 leaders at Springfield Church gathered to look at some the areas that we believe are vital for the health and growth of the church going forward. I earlier this week blogged about the need to decide what we do about the Church Centre when we move out of it at the end of April.
The Church Centre wasn’t the only area that we looked at.
We spent the morning feeding back from the staff away days at the end of last year and the areas that we believe God is calling us to focus on to grow and strengthen Springfield. In all we focussed on four areas (we thought that four gave us leeway but that more meant that the focus would too easily get diluted) that we thought crucial to either take to the next stage of their development or things that we see as very important for the growth of Springfield. None of the areas needed to be totally new but they are all crucial for us as a church.
One other thing I should also say – a huge thank you to Caring Cupcakes who baked the cakes for us for our morning coffee! Carolyn, they were delicious!
The first area was our cell groups. Cell groups have been around in Springfield for about eight years now. We believe that it is time to move further with them. We agreed a statement about our cell groups:
As our values and cells are foundational, to the life and health of Springfield; we will encourage people to be part of healthy, balanced cells as the cornerstone of our life together.
We agreed that we would put more emphasis on the centrality of cell groups within the church. This will be discussed with cell leaders and co-leaders but ideas might include that cells would have a space in the service to share something from the cell – a testimony, feedback on an event etc, we would look to see how we can ensure that we keep our focus on cell things – e.g we would only advertise charities that we support as a church or that a cell supports (we have 22 cells and each can choose a charity, besides the central ones giving quite a range of charities!), we would also look to see how we can inform newcomers into the church about the centrality of our groups for nurturing, worship and outreach in Springfield.
The second area, which we also saw as foundational, was that of growing leaders. We looked together at the need for more leaders and helping people grow as leaders. We have great leaders and a good number of them but leaders enable us to grow and develop as a church and the more that we have the more that we can grow and develop! So, we are looking at ways in which we can encourage people to become leaders and grow in their leadership abilities. This will include encouraging more people becoming co-leaders in different ministries as well as in cell groups. The aim we agreed was:
To identify the potential in people and encourage and develop servant leaders growing into God’s Kingdom
The third area was to do with our River Ministries. These ministries are where we launch a ministry where people are rather than where we are. Ministries such as Footsteps, Tiptoes, Xplore and Chatterbox are examples of some of the River ministries that we have. The aim here is:
To encourage and nurture a culture where we create and develop ministries that care for and share the love of Jesus for our communities – starting where they are.
The key for new ministries here is that they are supported by staff but not run by staff. So, how do we do it? We look to see where people believe that they may be called to and look, most importantly, for those who will take the lead in that ministry. Without someone to lead it then the ministry won’t get off the ground! But that leader will also need a team and support. So, the key here will be for someone to take the risk of leading and with support from the staff creating a team that can help that ministry come about. The staff’s role will be to support and encourage and advise the leader and team. Of course, it is likely that not every ministry will grow and flourish – but its so much more important to try than not to!
The final area was our young adults. We have seen that there are a number of factors that have come together. Firstly, we have seen more young adults in or on the fringe of church and that has been very encouraging but we have also seen that they haven’t always known how they fit into the church. It has therefore been great to see that with the arrival of Donna that we have the staffing to encourage and develop this key area of the church. We want to develop this ministry and help our young adults to grow into maturity in Christ and to be self-sustaining and so our goal is to have:
A self sustaining young adults ministry fully engaged in their church and embracing the values.
These four areas will, I believe, enable us to build firm foundations and grow Springfield in new ways. None of this means that we are taking the eye off the ministries that we are already involved in. Rather these are ways that we can grow the church further, built on firm foundations.
(pictures of our away day: usual tip click on a picture to have it in a larger size and start a slideshow)