On Sunday 15th June an open invite was given to those attending the 10am service, to come and discuss in small groups what would be important for us as a congregation moving forward.
Over 60 people attended the event, and they split into 11 groups for discussion.
The first task was:
i) to read one author’s ideas of the top ten things which help churches thrive,
ii) to discuss what items the group might add or subtract,
iii) and then to draw up their own top ten list for Southover to thrive.
In order of popularity the results are as follows
(brackets = number of groups who mentioned this)
DYNAMIC BIBLE PREACHING AND TEACHING doctrine, practical and applied (11)
PASTORAL CARE being a supportive church family; listening; caring; not just Sundays (11)
CENTRALITY OF PRAYER (8)
OUTWARD LOOKING. Mission; evangelism; sharing faith; active in community (8)
SMALL GROUPS IN OR OUT OF CHURCH for teaching, bible study, prayer, sharing life (8)
WELCOMING AND INCLUSIVE. Inter-generational; love all ages together; accessible (7)
ENGAGING WORSHIP quality music; mix of styles; in spirit and truth; expectation; meaning (7)
FELLOWSHIP sharing in a variety of ways and contexts; building community; unrushed (7)
VISIONARY LEADERSHIP humble, spirit-filled. Effective delegation / use of people’s gifts (7)
DISCIPLSHIP AND PERSONAL GROWTH (6)
OPENESS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT (5)
HOSPITALITY across all sorts of ways both in and outside church (4)
GENEROUS/SACRIFICIAL GIVING of time, money and skills. (4)
GOOD CHILDREN’S WORK (3)
CLEAR ADMINISTRATIVE AND ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE planning; goal-setting (2)
PREPARING OURSELVES BEFORE SERVICES quiet, reverence (2)
ACCOUNTABILITY to each other and to leaders (2)
Learning from each other (1)
Give and take! (1)
Encouraging more men to attend (1)
Integrating new people with a ‘buddy’ system (1)
Changing to a 10.30am start. (1)
How might your top ten list help us as the 10am congregation to function well?
The variety of response here makes it worthwhile to give direct quotes:
– Everyone would be excited to come to church – with a sense of anticipation. No-one would want to leave afterwards!
– We’d function well if we had a right balance of all the above
– It would lead to an outworking of the fruits of the spirit – in words and action
– It would be like a piece of heaven; there would be no ‘strangers’. It would bring glory to God.
– We’d have a more encompassing and loving church family
– It would be a wonderful place of which to be a part
– We would know people much better
– We would have better integration and more concern for each other
– We as a group are comfortable with the 10am but do have fears that we may become a boxed-in congregation rather than with all Southover, especially as the leaders time will be stretched across more demands
– If we were mixed more, then all age-groups would get to know each other and better understanding would develop.
What ingredients do you think are essential in the 10am services to impact us and others?
– Welcome, word and worship
– More flexibility – e.g. space for prayer; different uses of the church space
– Longer contemplative space within the service. Some silence.
– Hearing from mission partners
– Less rigid adherence to service plan and sermon series
– Interviews with people’s stories – everyday ones to help us know each other
– An intergenerational dynamic; having people who can connect across all congregations
– Warmth of welcome
– If we had the Holy Spirit and the top ten points – that would do it.
– More chance to discuss sermons, have prayer; maybe a prayer request box at the back?
– A better balance of sound from the chancel; choir is under-employed?
– More emphasis on notice items – e.g reps of monthly mission; different church groups; events coming up or reports on what’s happened as part of the service. This would give prayer opportunity and we’d increase our knowledge of the congregation. Book reviews?
– More visible women up front
– Less regimented in time-keeping to make space for our top-ten and to allow creativity in general
– Personal interaction. Quality worship and preaching. Balance