We are a welcoming, inclusive community, following God in Jesus, learning about God and caring for Creation, growing in faith and joy.
We aim to be witnesses to the love of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ, by supporting people within and beyond our community.
Does this ring true to you for our Forest Group churches?
This Vision Statement evolved as a result of our joint Elders Day on 15 June, where the holy number of 12 of us met for 3 hours to work together on the questions:
- What is God’s vision for us? (What is our purpose?)
- What do we stand in for/ stand up for/ stand out for in our communities?
Our conversations were very engaged. There was a buzz in the air, when Elders exchanged in pairs on the question: How does your church feed you spiritually? And then: What would you like your
church community to be known for? If you asked random people on the streets: what would you hope they would say about your church?
As you are reading this now: How would you answer these questions? We’d love to know! Why not share your thoughts at your next church meeting?
The Elders answered: “Church is like extended family (support in difficult times, advice, caring community, witnesses around you); a place of learning to follow God in Jesus, intellectually challenging; growing in faith, practicing Holy Habits”.
And wanting to be known as: “A place that offers a different perspective: quirky; open to
everybody. Non-judgemental; people who make a difference because of their faith: active in community, caring for people (social) and environment; happy place full of joy; a place where you learn about God and can grow in faith; a place where you can help make a difference/ get involved (in wider community, wider world, environment).”
All this we wove together into the above Vision Statement.
We then wondered: What needs to happen to make that true?
A lot of our answers reflected the fact that we need to turn our attention outside: outside our buildings (use spaces outside our buildings and go out into the community), be better visible and
audible (become braver speaking about our faith); better advertising (become more public about what we believe); show and celebrate inclusiveness and diversity (eg in the films we choose for film
nights, or in linking up with other organisations for bigger events).
But also inside: more focus on our “core business” (Bible and prayer).
Small steps we can all take already today for making this come true were identified: Speak out about your faith. And/ or join a new (nonchurch) group and identify yourself to these new people as Christian (talk about your faith and church).
Bigger, more innovative steps had not really emerged, but may still come. We will keep thinking, praying and sharing, and have our eyes, ears, senses open to God’s lead.
We are on the way! Walking the Way with Jesus more jointly, more intentionally, more sharing in Spirit and resources.
Yours in faith, love – and hope,
PS: If you want to get involved more practically in our joint Forest “Mission Action” group, please contact me.