GROWING HOPE: The Diocesan Strategy for Growth

 

The diocesan Strategy for Growth is our response to the Archbishop of Wales’ call to everyone in the Church in Wales to envisage – and plan for – what the church might look like in 2020, when we celebrate our centenary.

It proposes a series of interlocking changes that are now being implemented and will transform how the diocese looks and works.

Our first Local Ministry Areas (LMAs) have been in place for a year or more, giving them time to understand the practicalities and find out what works and what does not. This will differ from one place to another, but not always…

Canon Philip Wyn Davies is Team Leader of the Lampeter LMA and has described one success for our diocesan newspaper, Pobl Dewi:

LMA MINISTRY PORTFOLIOS

You’re now a Local Ministry Area (LMA). But what comes next? One thing you will surely find yourselves doing at this point is carrying out an unofficial audit. On one side of the balance sheet, the particular challenges you face; on the other side, the resources you have to hand. Identifying those with skills and talents, and drawing on them appropriately, is simple but effective, says Philip Wyn Davies, Lampeter LMA Leader

THE Lampeter LMA is mostly a sparsely populated rural area with a large number of small churches. As the number of stipendiary clergy decreases, the maintenance of worship in these churches will become more and more of a challenge, even though we already have some NSM and NSM(L) clergy making a valuable contribution.

The recent illness of one of our stipendiary clergy put me, as LMA leader, under quite considerable pressure as I sought to maintain ministry in his parishes – constantly looking for people to take the services the following Sunday.

But this has, I hope, been a positive experience in that it has shown me at an early stage that an LMA leader cannot do everything, and that there is a danger that “keeping the show on the road” becomes the be-all-and-end-all of the LMA. Maintenance, yes – for the time being – but no development, no growth, no mission. That clearly won’t do.

But having already functioned as a deanery we are used to working together as a team, and we sought to reinforce this by following the Building Teams course.

The LMA Ministry Team members also have extensive and varied experience – a priceless resource. And so, when I began to worry about my own focus, as leader, being too much on the maintenance of ministry I realised that the answer was there to hand.

In our team we have an incumbent with a passion for evangelism, and with wide experience of evangelistic work. We also have a retired but active cleric from England with considerable experience of work with children and young people and we have an active and enthusiastic NSM(L) with substantial experience in the field of communications. I have given each of these three a Portfolio – evangelism, youth work and communications.

Their task is not only to keep in touch with developments and activities outside the LMA, it is also very much to act as advocates, coordinators and lead persons for their portfolios, each having a guaranteed slot in every team meeting. Perhaps you’re already doing something similar? How does it work?