Growing Good: social action and church growth explored
The Dioceses of London & Southwark, together with the Church Urban Fund recently hosted an afternoon with churches to explore the connections between social action, discipleship and church growth.
We started by hearing about the GRA:CE project: a 3 year research project that visited and listened to parishes of all sizes and tradition across the Church in England.
This research asked: what are the threads that run through churches that are engaging with their community and growing in depth, number and relationship through it?
Hannah Rich joined us to unpack this research.
She raised some great questions for us to ponder, as churches who are committed to serving our communities, seeking justice and wanting to see growth.
Her research highlighted 6 characteristics of churches that are growing: presence, perseverance, adaptability, generosity, hospitality and invitation to participate.
You can read more about the research report, produced by Theos for the Church Urban Fund here
We had reflections from Revd Canon Jay Colwill, Director of Mission & Evangelism for Diocese of Southwark on why this matters as Gospel work, and closing reflection and prayer from Bishop Rob Wickham, CEO Designate of the Church Urban Fund as to how we are called by God to care for those in our communities who are most vulnerable.
We then explored the new “Growing Good” church toolkit, grown out of this research.
Growing Good is a free six session course helping churches explore the connection between social action, discipleship and growth.
Each session is based on one of the characteristics identified in the research (presence, perseverence, adaptability, invitation to participate, hospitality & generosity), looking at how we might grow that in our own contexts and communities.
Through flexible, interactive small group sessions, the material aims to help explore explore how our churches can be faithful and fruitful in our local communities.
Finally, we had chance to hear from church leaders that have used the Toolkit. We heard of the impact that using it had on their congregations and communities.
Our panel discussion was a fascinating and encouraging conversation between different church expressions in Southall, Islington, Battersea and Bermondsey.
Each church has used the Growing Good resources in their context in different ways and reflected on what it has meant for them as a church and the shifts and changes it has made in their communities and congregations.
Many thanks to our panellists:
- Revd Idina Dunmore & Nandini Keay, St George & St Johns Southall
- Revd Iain Luke-Macauley, St Peters Battersea & St Barnabas Clapham Common
- Paul Warren, St James & St Anns Bermondsey
- Anthony Codling, Church on the Corner Islington
You can find a link to the Growing Good materials below
Interested in finding out more?
We’d love to host more conversations about church growth, social action and community engagement, and this Growing Good resource. Please do get in touch if you’d like us to come to Chapter, Synod, or to your church meeting!