During May 2021 we undertook a survery of the Church Memebers to to ask for their ideas and comments on a range of areas of church life.
As you would expect, there was a wide variety of views but there were also some key themes.
It is good to be reminded of the things that we appreciate most about our church. These include friendship, care, welcome, community engagement, worship and inclusivity.
In terms of things we might do better, these include communication, attracting a wider age range, and facing up to the decisions about our buildings. When we asked people when they felt most alive in church there were lots of very positive responses, mainly linked to active involvement in different areas of church life.
It was good to hear of people’s own faith experience and how important a personal relationship with God was to many people.
The Mission Planning Group spent time collating and reviewing the information in the questionnaires and suggested to the church meeting that we adopt the mission statement at the front of this booklet and agree to three priorities for the church over the next months. These give consideration to three areas of church life:
• Church buildings
• Communication and online presence
• Work with children and families
One significant theme which ran through the responses was the need to do something about our church buildings. We cannot continue as we are and we need to take action now in order to provide a home for the church in the future.
From the responses, we should be open to exploring all possibilities, including letting go of one or both of our current buildings, linking with other churches, letting go of our current site, deciding if we still need a permanent home, and considering the environmental impact of our buildings. There is appreciation of our current buildings, the location and the outside space but alongside this we need to plan for a future which is sustainable, recognising that we are currently an ageing and decreasing congregation.
- Within 12 months we will make a decision about the way forward in terms of church buildings.
- The whole church praying about this
- Firming up God’s mission for St Andrew’s, and therefore the needs of a building
- Agreeing a way forward which best suits God’s mission and pulling together to achieve this
- Consulting with other churches and community groups
- The Building Information Group completing their work on gathering all the required information (including the outcome of the listing process)
- Working alongside the Methodist circuit in their future planning
Communication & online presence
Within the surveys there was a positive response to the provision of online resources and the distribution of prayer and worship materials.
It was recognised that we had responded well to the pandemic and St Andrew’s continues to provide resources accessible to those who do not feel able to worship, as well as those for whom traditional worship may not be suitable.
Over the next six months we review our communication and online presence and discern how it can best serve the mission of the church. This will include the daily reflections, the livestreamed worship and also our Facebook and YouTube presence. We will also consider how we maintain positive communication with those who do not use online platforms.
We will achieve this by:
- Gathering a small group of interested people who can consider what we can learn from our online presence during the pandemic
- Considering how we might use the contacts we have, in order to provide discipleship resources, prayer support etc
- Recognising that there may well be a continued sense of isolation following the pandemic and ensuring that we keep good communication with those unable to access online material
- Deciding what we should be providing going forward, and what resources we need to enable this
Work with children & families
There was concern expressed in the surveys about the lack of children and families in the life of our church.
Over the next six months we review our current provision for children, young people and families and consider what is going well and where we might be able to develop this work. This will include Sunday Crew, Messy Church and St Andrew’s Playgroup.
We will achieve this by enabling a gathering of interested people and representatives of current activities.
This group will:
Consider the range of activities we offer, how they link together and where the gaps are
- Look at developing a strategy to enhance the current provision. The aim of this would be to develop meaningful contacts and relationships with children, young people and families
- Have an awareness of the issues facing families following the pandemic and seek to respond to the needs that arise
- Consider how we might use outdoor worship and activities to engage families
- Use our Eco Church focus to engage young people
- Consider what resources we might need to put in place to enable this important area of our church life.