Are not :-
- A new structure devised to manage decline in numbers of people or amounts of money available. It is not so much about a new structure, but a new culture
- Simply an amalgamation of a group of parishes
- A way of doing what we’ve done for years but calling it something different and with fewer clergy involved
- Making big ‘benefices’ where all the churches in a particular group ‘look the same’
- Imposing ‘top down’ leadership where all follow a new set of rules.
- Being designed to close churches.
They are :-
- Communities of faithful and committed Christians seeking to use the vast variety of gifts, often unrecognized, that God has given to his people
- A recognition that life has changed for everyone and that the church needs to respond to these changes in order to be attractive and faithful to God’s call
- Flexible networks of places where people (lay or ordained) have a chance to explore their gifts and are given the opportunity to use them, and where resources are honestly evaluated and made best use of
- Groups of people working together, sharing their talents and resources where they are best suited, freeing up opportunities for specialist ministry, for example, with children and youth, the elderly, families, worship, evangelism, pastoral care, education, administration etc..
- Models of church grounded historically and theologically in the New Testament. Recognising and affirming the ministry of all believers, lay or ordained, who share in the ministry of the Bishop. The role of the ‘Leader’ is to guide and encourage people to develop their personal discipleship and co-ordinate initiatives, whether old or new, which help the growth of the church, both spiritually and numerically
- A way to ‘re-root’ churches in their local communities as they seek new ways of engaging with and serving the people who make them
- An encouragement to all people to be creative in working together towards the common goal of a stronger and more effective church where disciples are welcomed, fed and nurtured
- A call to be the ‘Body of Christ’ committed to helping transform lives and communities as we gather together as God’s people, grow more like Jesus and go out in the power of the Spirit