As we move into a new season, there are plenty of things we can do to help us and others think anew about God’s call on our lives. Here are ten ways to do just that.
Explore what it means to become more Christ-like. Four study guides, by Bishop Steven, are for home group and personal study.
Navigate God’s call for your church. The Parish Planning Tool is suitable for use by every parish/benefice, whatever your local context.
Fund new initiatives. Parishes, benefices and deaneries can bid for grants from our development fund to become more Christ-like.
Go green. A parish energy audit will help you to discover the simple no-cost and low-cost changes you can make.
Go greener. We’ll facilitate a parish retreat for you focussed around the environmental themes in Ruth Valerio’s Saying Yes to Life.
Offer a course. People want to explore Christian faith in a way that’s accessible and welcoming. Pilgrim and Alpha are great examples.
Encourage generosity. Sign up for the Parish Giving Scheme and check out the range of helpful resources on the Parish Resources website.
Read Everyday Faith: 21 daily Bible reflections to inspire you to find and follow God in the ordinary stuff of life. Suitable for use throughout the year.
Identify your gifts. Gifts for everyday faith can be used on its own, or as the first step in a Personal Discipleship Plan – a mentoring scheme for your spiritual journey.
Keep going! Visit Pathways magazine online for further inspiration and the steps you can take to become more Christ-like.
As we begin to act and attempt new things, it is a good moment to listen to St Luke and to find fresh inspiration for God’s mission.
Luke chapter 5 tells the story of Jesus teaching by the lakeside. He gets into the boat and says to Simon: “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answers, “Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.” They put out into deep water, and they find a miraculous catch.
Might we respond to the call to become more Christ-like in a similar way to the disciples? “Look, we have worked all night and caught nothing. Ministry has not been too fruitful of late. The things we have done are not really making a difference.”
We must be ready to hear Jesus’ words and say with confidence, “if you say so, we will let down the nets”. Only then can there be the equivalent of a miraculous catch of fish: new disciples; people confident and equipped to live out the good news in all areas of their lives; a fresh relationship with our schools, children and young people; new congregations planted; the captives set free, and signs of the kingdom in ways we do not expect.
The harvest will, of course, have a different emphasis in every place. God’s Spirit is a Spirit of infinite variety and creativity and we need to draw on the diversity and God-given gifts that are already there in every church, school and chaplaincy.
The resources and tools on the opposite page are just some of the things available from the Diocese that are designed to support your mission and help you to discern God’s call.
Think of an area where you feel in need of fresh inspiration. Take a moment to pray that you will put out into deep waters this week and let down the nets.
This is an edited extract from Principles of Deep Water Fishing.