Vision

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Our Vision at Barlaston Church

As a Christian community in the village of Barlaston we believe God is calling us to live out His exciting mission in this place. To help discern more clearly what that mission for us is and to set objectives that will guide us on our journey, we have produced this document.

Our vision for the next three years of our Church’s life has come out of a time of prayer, reflection and discussion by the PCC in early 2018. It endeavours to set a path for the life of the Church and was officially launched at the Annual Parochial Church Meeting in April 2018.

Being part of the Lichfield Diocese we are committed to the vision: ‘Come follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad,’ and so our document tries to make that real for us in Barlaston.

 We have divided our vision statement into three parts: ‘Come’; ‘follow Christ’ and ‘in the footsteps of St Chad.’; this is more for ease rather than thinking they are separate in themselves and what we have said in each section of this booklet connects together to make an overall vision.

The work we now need to do is to make it happen. This will require our time, money, skills and gifts. Some of it might seem too big or too difficult but we believe this is what God has called us to do and with God’s help we will see this vision become a reality in our church and community.

 What matters to us most?

Human institutions and organisations have things that matter most to them. This is true of churches too. These are sometimes called values and are often not named or articulated. That is a mistake, for they then become the unseen driving forces in the work of that particular institution. This is probably fine so long as they are healthy values. But if you don’t know what they are they can sometimes be unhealthy and divert you from what you should be doing. By clearly noting what matters most to us at St John’s we are saying these are positive things we want to retain, build upon and develop.

 The following four areas are our foundational values:

·       Our faith in God and Jesus Christ.

·       Our worship

·       Our welcome to everyone, so all feel they belong.

·       Our relationships and how we care for each other.

In the following sections of our three year vision we have tried to ensure that these four foundational values are included recognising that the objectives we have set out to achieve are all expressions in some way of what we have said here.

In each section there is an explanation about what we mean by the title to the section and this is followed by a set of objectives for us to aim at. The detailed work on each objective will be the responsibility of the PCC in the coming months and there will be an annual review of this document to see how we are doing and to avoid this simply just being words on a page!

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 COME follow Christ in the footsteps of St Chad’

This part of our vision is all about welcome. There are three parts to this:

·       Invitation to services and events.

·       The welcome experienced when attending these services events.

·       The follow up arising out of the welcome.

Aim: We want to continue to be a warm, welcoming fellowship of believers, open to all and to seek new ways of drawing new people into the church community.

Within the next three years we will do this through:

1.    Setting up a pastoral team to follow up contacts we make through baptisms, weddings and funerals.

2.    Explore how to make our building more welcoming and accessible.

3.    Create high quality welcome packs for newcomers and visitors.

4.    Organise at least three social events a year to which we can invite people from the community.

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 ‘Come FOLLOW CHRIST in the footsteps of St Chad.’

In this section we focus on how we can grow as followers of Jesus Christ, deepening our commitment to him and seeking ways to use the gifts he has given us to reach out with gospel.

Aim: We want to be a church where our relationship with Christ is vibrant and life changing.

Within the next three years we will do this through:

1.    Holding at least two enquirers groups each year for those new to the faith and those exploring the claims of Christ.

2.    Developing a network of small study groups to encourage and deepen our faith.

3.    Create a prayer ministry team following appropriate training to offer prayer in some of our services.

4.    Developing our children and young people’s work so that we offer clear Christian teaching on three Sundays every month.

5.    Exploring setting up an after school club and or youth group working closely with the local school.

6.    Developing our worship so that it is relevant and more accessible to all.

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‘Come follow Christ IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ST CHAD.’

St Chad was the first bishop of Lichfield and was a key figure in bringing Christianity to this part of England. His ministry was marked by his prayer life, his humility and his willingness to go out to where people are with the good news of Jesus Christ. We want to follow in these footsteps recognising that in doing so we walk the way of Christ.

Aim: We want to seek ways to reach beyond ourselves into the wider community with the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Within the next three years we will do this through:

1.    Exploring ways for the Church, the Parish Council and the Community Group to work together for the greater good of all the people of Barlaston.

2.    Offer a coordinated and consistent way of praying for all the homes in the village.

3.    Develop the work of Tea and Talk.

4.    Provide opportunities for the community to enjoy food together.

5.    Create suitable and sensitive evangelistic events.

 What happens next?

Everything we have said in this document will not happen without three things:

·       Prayer

·       People

·       Finance.

The PCC will be responsible for ensuring we work out the detail of each of our objectives and seek to ensure we have the right resources in place to make them happen.

The wider church community needs to be involved too. Everyone has a part to play in this and our hope is that you will get involved.

As a church we all need to adopt this vision and pray for God’s help in seeing him work through us to make it happen. That will mean sacrifices on our part in terms of our time, our talents and our money. That is not always easy, but together with the Holy Spirit at work in and through us we can see God do amazing things.

Jesus said: Believe in God. Believe also in me. Let’s do that and see what happens.

 Stewart Jones

On behalf of the PCC of St John the Baptist Barlaston