Like many places across the globe, we are seeing significant change in the church and society. Parish ministries were hit hard by the effects of Covid. Most are static or in decline. Our people are getting older on average and our resources are reducing while costs increase. At Synod 2022, Bishop Steve described this using the image of the "hole in the bucket". During 2023 we embarked on a Season of Discernment to listen closely to what God might be saying to us about how to respond to these challenges.
Because of the complexity of these issues, the diocese has asked City to City Australia to share their expertise to help parishes respond to the changing context of ministry and mission in our communities. The bishop has also asked that City to City help the diocese to be more effective in the support of parishes and the provision of training for ministry.
Our agreed aim is to get clarity on how the Anglican Diocese of Nelson can grow fruitful, multiplying churches through resilient, gospel-shaped leaders. The plan brings together:
· Nelson Anglican church leaders who are committed to the gospel transformation of their communities,
· City to City Consultants who have proven church leadership experience in an Anglican context that is gospel-centred, and
· proven tools in training, coaching, and funding that have been developed over many years in Australia and overseas.
Our intention is that every parish and mission unit in the diocese will work through a revitalisation consultation to bring new health, life, and growth to the Anglican expression of the gospel across the top of the South Island.
City to City is all about empowering local church leaders to design a plan for effective mission that responds to their unique context at whatever stage of their church lifecycle. The City to City Revitalise programme employs an open framework, as opposed to a specific model of church. It believes that a variety of models of church can be effective, and so does not work from a single or preferred model of church.
A City to City lead consultant will be allocated to work with each church and walk alongside them to help identify the key opportunities for impact and where to develop the ministry of the church inits local context.
They will collate research into the life, ministries, and resources of the church to help determine how we can be more fruitful in mission. Their exploration and discoveries will be presented to the church as recommendations.
City to City and their team of consultants will work with all parishes and mission units across the diocese. Each will engage in 3 key pieces of work:
1. Consultancy Process (2023)
2. Re-Vision - Vision Casting Workshop (First quarter of 2024)
3. Ministry Education Training and Development for clergy leaders (2024 – 2025)
The consultancy process is made up of research, analysis, and a report.
To start off, the consultant will gather a range of existing and new data to give a holistic picture of the church and its ministry. Data will be gathered from the parish, leaders, and the diocese as well as statistics of the community in which they minister. This includes:
· A parish life survey
· Parish documents on strategy, mission or vision
· A 360-leadership review of the minister/pastor
· Leadership self-study by the church leadership group
· Discovery workshop for parish leaders on current ministry and parish context.
Although much of the data will be collected remotely, each consultant will visit the church over the course of a weekend torun a discovery workshop, meet with key stakeholders and attend a worship service. The consultant then analyses the data and produces a comprehensive report that is sent to the parish and the bishop. The report will contain a series of key recommendations that leaders take back to the parish for discussion.
After the parish leadership have studied the recommendations, the City to City consultant will work with the church to deliver a 2-day facilitated Re-Vision workshop. The aim of the workshop is to help the church communicate the unique, clear, and compelling picture of where God is calling the church to go and what God is calling the church to do.
For 2024, the core of Ministry Education Training and Development for clergy in the diocese will be provided through the City to City Leadership Incubator Core. The 8-module course covers the gospel-shaped essentials for building fruitful ministry that will transform leaders, churches, and by God’s grace, their wider communities. The course is taught in cohorts and includes coaching, spiritual formation, and practical application that combines biblical theology with insights from a range of other disciplines.