How you Grow your church?

Discussion in 'Personal Advice, Care & Prayers' started by luke, Apr 12, 2013.

  1. luke

    luke Member

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    Today was "Steamfest"( a celebration of steam engines/trains and Old farm equipment)in our local area and our churches location is right near on end so every year they open the church grounds with a few stalls of Church members ,and they run a BBQ and do sandwiches and scones in our hall. There is also some helpers around sharing history of our church and a tour up the clock tower to see the working of the clock system. However i think this is good for Fund-raising but there is no active encouragement for new members.
    The most obvious short fall was the church recently started a "Let sing and play" group for parents with children under 5, the reason for this is obvious , the average age of our congregation is at least 55 and they have been selling off the smaller churches within the area to make this the Main grounds. Now today there are plenty of young families around, yet, i could not see any mention of this, no one was handing out pamphlets or making this new group know. To me this is a huge shame, as such my wife and I were discussing how to "Help" our church but because of the "CLICKS" its going to be interesting to get involved and make any beneficial changes. Last time my wife tried to Help she ends up stepping on peoples toes and felt unwanted.

    So my question to you is this, what do you do to help grow your church , do you have any special groups, specific ways to share your message that seam to work also what methods DON'T appear to work....Advertising is not really my thing but i don't want to see all the local church's shut down over the next 20 years because of lack of new blood so its time i get involved also.


    Woops, i posted this is the wrong section, Admin how do i move it?
     
  2. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Just send a message and it will be moved wherever you want it to. :)
     
  3. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    I think you have to try different things to find out what works and what doesn't. It's such a shame that you and your wife were prepared to take an active role but were made to feel unwelcome by the clique mentality. I've seen strong personalities stifle church life.

    At my parish church we have a good relationship with the village primary school and run an 'Open the Book' scheme with them. Several times a year, children from the school (together with parents) take an active role in church services such as having the children sing and act out a bible story. The 'Messy Church' scheme is quite popular in my area - that might have been a good option for your 'SteamFest' day. 'Fresh Expressions' is another option to explore, perhaps something like 'Cafe Church' which is very informal. These are all areas where the laity can take a front line.

    In the CofE we have Lay Worship Leaders who undergo training and have the Bishop's authority to lead non Eucharistic worship. Often LWL's are responsible for setting up and running these 'alternative' forms of worship - they are not always held on Sundays. Ideally, worship should engage people of all ages and sometimes a specific target age - this requires a fair amount of planning but it can be rewarding. One of the churches in our Benefice which is on the edge of a larger town runs a men's breakfast - often the blokes get overlooked as women in the pews often outnumber men. Consider special one-off services such as an animal and pet service, Taize or Celtic worship, seasonal services - harvest festival for children etc.


    http://openthebook.net/home.php

    http://www.messychurch.org.uk/

    http://www.freshexpressions.org.uk/guide

    http://www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk/worship-resources (Lots of service, many rural themed but still useful)

    http://www.textweek.com/ (Sunday by Sunday resources)
     
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  4. luke

    luke Member

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    Some excellent resources there, thankyou.

    "Openthebook" sounds interesting, i wouldn't mind dressing up for a day;)

    Messy Church is ramping up at a few local parishes but it looks like funding is a big issue, i have already told my the wife i am happy to pick up any craft supplies BILL to get it started IF the prospect arises but right now we feel that we are still viewed as "outsiders" at our church and not sure what is holding it back. My wife has gone back in today to infiltrate the "clique" with some more volunteer work whilst i watch the kids , hopefully she has a good day :p

    Does anyone's church do any advertising of any sort? Some of the smaller evangelic churches around our area send some advertising material out from time to time to share the word via Junk Mail but i have never seen any Anglican or Catholic material in my life. I know i always have a read ( even before i converted) but maybe that's just me . Does anyone church do anything like this?
     
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  5. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    I've not seen advertising material included with junk mail in my area. Some churches put notices in the local papers or get special services/events advertised on local radio. At Christmas and Easter the CofE, Catholic and Methodist Churches club together and have a folded card printed with details of all services. Volunteers drop these through letterboxes. Other than that we tend to pin A4 posters to telegraph poles!
     
  6. luke

    luke Member

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    So a Year has past since i first posted this topic and over the past 12 months my wife and i have decided to get involved in as much as possible...

    Steamfest was 2 weekends ago and we set up a kids tent to run a colouring in competition, face painting and handed out flyers to local families about Messy Church and our toddler play group. We had 114 entries in our colouring in competition and most parents were happy enough to at least take a flyer about Messy Church, there were a couple that flat out refused :)

    Our first Messy church will happen this weekend and to help advertise this i created some postcard size flyers and have done a letter box drop to most of our parish area.

    I have also taken over the Church website and gave it a complete makeover as the old one appeared to be from 1990 :)

    looking forward to seeing if all this effort pays off for anything...
     
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  7. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Many thanks for this. I look forward to reading them the attachments soon. They've come at a very good time, since I'm involved in a Growth Action Planning scheme for our parish; I'll give you details later. The press portray the CofE as struggling, but in fact cathedral attendances are increasing remarkably, and a third of parishes have increased congregations. Nil desperandum!:)
     
  8. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I'm not sure if this is advertising in the exact sense, but our website seems to be attracting quite a bit of interest.
     
  9. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Our church has a fairly old age profile, but we have made an effort to attract young families, both by following up baptisms and by "mums and toddlers" events. This seems to be working.

    We have an electoral roll of 125. Many are rarely seen at church, so we are planning to send them a questionnaire about what they would like us to provide. New housing developments are planned in the parish, and we will be visiting every newcomer. We are thinking of a monthly "healing service", but I'm not sure what this involves.


    Incidentally, at our "Growth Action Planning" meeting last night, the Churchwarden reported on a meeting with the Archdeacon who had told her, "forget All Age Services. They don't work". That's my experience. There's no eucharist, congregations are low, the service unordered and embarrassed adults endure things like the Butterfly Song. More to the point, the numbers of children and young parents are no higher than for the normal Sunday eucharist. But when I suggested Mattins instead, there was an uncomfortable silence.:unsure:
     
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  10. The Hackney Hub

    The Hackney Hub Well-Known Member

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    Preach the Gospel.
     
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  11. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    That goes without saying. Hardly a constructive contribution to a serious discussion between mainstream Anglicans.:(
     
  12. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    Clergy often say that all age worship doesn't work. It can work, but needs very careful planning, and that takes time. The fact that the all age services you've experienced have been unordered seems to indicate a lack of planning - perhaps that's why they haven't worked. Whilst such services are often informal and under the guise of a 'Service of the Word' there should be structure and pattern. Like a good family movie, successful all age worship should have something to appeal to all. There should be a mixture of well known hymns and songs, not just children's songs. It should be multi-sensory and multi-level. Yes, it's going to be a bit of a compromise so don't expect everyone to be equally engaged with everything all of the time.

    Roots magazine might be a useful tool:

    www.rootsontheweb.com/


    An all age Eucharist is possible. There are 8 Eucharistic Prayers in Common Worship to choose from plus alternative forms of confession and affirmations of faith which are more suitable for an all age service. Hackney is correct about proclaiming the Gospel but there are many other considerations when planning a service, particularly with all age worship.

    As much as I like 1662 Mattins, it's rather inflexible and can be dreary in a small parish church sans choir chanting the canticles and psalms. (As an alternative, you can sing them in metrical versions from the old Anglican Psalters such as Stanhope & Hopkins or Brady & Tate using well known hymn tunes.) I prefer Morning Prayer from Common Worship as it allows for greater variety, both seasonally and generally. It's possible to do Mattins with Holy Communion or a Service of the Word with Holy Communion if you want a compromise.

    Special occasional services are worth considering. Before the Easter break we had 50 children from the village primary school in church for an 'Easter Experience'. (The church was decorated for Palm Sunday.) There were lots of Bible stories concerning the season with activities and crafts. The children were invited to write prayers on post-it notes which were then stuck to a large wooden cross next to the High Altar. It was quite touching to read them - we tend to forget quite how spiritual children can be.

    On the Feast of St Michael & All Angels last year I tried out a Celtic Evensong at my parish church. (I'm a Lay Worship Leader.) The church was decorated with paper angels and loads of candles - it was very atmospheric. I used material from the Iona Abbey Worship Book with additional material from Common Worship to bring it in line with CofE Canons. For music, there was a mixture of reflective recorded songs which we listened to and well known hymns with a Celtic influence which we sang. We served refreshments afterwards. It was very well received and the congo keep asking me to do another one so I'd better oblige soon!
     
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  13. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    I hope Messy Church goes well for you. Even some English Cathedrals are getting in on the act, my Diocese included.

    It's been 10 years since the concept of Messy Church was developed by members of St Wilfrid's Church, Cowplain in the Diocese of Portsmouth. Seems to be quite widespread now across much of the Anglican Communion.
     
  14. luke

    luke Member

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    Well we survived our first Messy Church, numbers were a lot lower than expected, even the few families that already attend our parish for traditional worship didn't bother to show up, but it was a bad day Weather wise so lets hope that was a contributing factor... We had 5 families attend who don't normally attend church with us , two families attend our play group, one attends a evangelical church down the road who we meet through running our steamfest Kids tent and the others were friends of parish members.

    So we are hoping to build on this, 5 families this time around, let hope for 10 next time. We have started gathering ideas for next months service and we have started looking for dates for our next meeting with our helpers.