A very encouraging day yesterday. Each year the leaders of the church go away for the day to think and pray and plan. This year we were helped by Nigel, who helps a bunch of churches in this area, as we thought about the future.
We started by looking at the last five years and were asked how things are, compared with then, in four areas - Numerically, Spiritually, Relationally, and Missionally. Some of those things are hard to gauge of course (we didn't even reach consensus on some of the numbers). But even though we know that we are far from the finished product it was encouraging to see how we have changed and, dare we say, progressed? There is much to be thankful for and sometimes you need to sit down and have these discussions in order to appreciate how far we have been brought on our journey.
It's impossible to know what the future holds, of course, but we then discussed what we might look like in 2020. Firstly, if current trends continue, and secondly, our best (realistic) hope. We have been blessed with growth this past five years. If it continues, or even increases, (and it's a big but possible "if") then what steps do we need to take to play our part in seeing it happen? And what will church need to look like in terms of support structures and the like if it does come to pass?
It confirmed a lot of my thinking and was very helpful in that Nigel drew these things out of us far better than I would have communicated them myself. Plus he had a good number of further insights which helped us all. As a result of the day we left as a group closer to sharing a vision rather than me just assuming everyone knew what we are doing - because, hey, it's obvious isn't it? We have some things to mull over and put into place after the day and that is going to be helpful to us as a group.
A good day, only enhanced by being able to eat outside in warm September sunshine.