Just in time for Christmas, the book of the year from Paul Bayes & Tim Sledge with John Holbrook, Mark Rylands and Martin Seeley. BUY NOW!
Church House communications write:
Rewiring parish churches for mission
A book published today poses a range of questions to help parish churches as they pledge a ‘mission-shaped New Year’s resolution’ to transform their church and community in 2007. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Richard Chartres, is backing the book as a study guide for churches looking to refocus their work and mission for the coming year.
Written by the Revd Paul Bayes, the Church of England’s National Mission and Evangelism Adviser, and the Revd Tim Sledge, Mission Enabler for the Diocese of Peterborough, Mission-shaped Parish takes a fresh look at a typical parish church’s ‘bread and butter’ activities and identifies how these day-to-day responsibilities can be enhanced in the light of God’s mission.
The two authors join three other specialist contributors – between them totalling more than a century of experience in parish ministry – in discussing what happens when churches orientate around mission values, following the guidance of the Mission-shaped Church report.
Avoiding attempting to ‘reinvent the wheel’, the book sets out a range of suggestions drawn from real-life examples and well-tried initiatives, including:
• Developing infant baptism as an opportunity to show what the church has to offer to the family and friends of the child
• Preparation and follow-up for couples getting married
• Regular remembrance services and bereavement support groups
• Setting up small groups and nurture groups (such as Emmaus)
• Re-envisioning the work of PCCs and Deanery Synods
In his foreword, the Bishop of London writes: “These are no ivory tower reflections but suggestions from a group of dedicated ministers who have tried out their advice and found that it works.”
That advice includes specific chapters on life and ministry in urban environments, in major civic churches, and in cathedrals.
The bishop continues: “I can imagine parish groups finding it useful to take each chapter in turn and prayerfully, over the period of a year, to stimulate thought and action about what needs to change if God’s mission is to be in truth the business of Church.”
But the book comes with a health warning - writing in the preface, Paul Bayes says: “One of our fundamental points is that there are no quick answers. Indeed, the point is not to be looking for those, but to be asking the right questions. We’re trying to build on a tradition of mission thinking which sees the mission of God as the mother, or at least the midwife, of the Church.”
Mission-shaped Parish – traditional church in a changing context is published by Church House Publishing, priced £7.99, and is available from Christian bookshops including Church House Bookshop, 31 Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BN, tel. 020 7799 4064, email email@example.com, or on the web at: www.chbookshop.co.uk (mail order available).