The Strategic Development money (SDF) from the national Church of England helped us towards our previous strategic priority of seeing spiritual and numerical growth across all age groups between 2018 - 2022. The Intergenerational Mission Project funded Intergenerational Missioners to work in six strategic parishes across the diocese for five years.
Their focus was on reaching children and young people with each missioner leading the formation of new worshipping communities and nurturing faith among all generations. Each Intergenerational Missioner was embedded into parish/benefice or deanery leadership teams and worked alongside clergy and parish /benefice/deanery teams.
The Intergenerational Missioners were located in the following areas of our diocese:
The diocese anticipates the following key outcomes by the end of 2022:
- To reach 1,800 unchurched people with the good news of Jesus Christ, with such interaction leading to 450 choosing to follow him. At least half of these people will be young people and adults under the age of 35.
- To build new faith pathways in each parish where an intergenerational missioner is working. These will include 12 courses for new church joiners and 12 courses for people wanting to grow in their faith.
- A mixed economy of at least 12 new worshipping communities meeting at least twice a month, these will consist of two new communities in each of the locations where the Intergenerational Missioners are working.
- Twelve new voluntary Intergenerational Missioners trained or in training (two per location) working collaboratively with local mission teams that are trained or training and growing.
The Diocese has successfully bid for funding in the latest round of Strategic Development Funding under Renewal and Reform – a national Church of England initiative to increase the number of Christians.
Diocesan Secretary, Sam Pratley explains how the funding and bid system works:
“Due to changes in the way funds are distributed to dioceses by the Church Commissioners there is a greater emphasis on bidding for money and demonstrating that we can provide match funding from within the diocese.
“In this instance £525,000 is coming from the Church Commissioners which works out as £105,000 per year.
“The remaining money is coming from the six parishes where the Intergenerational Missioners will be based. Their contribution is £8,750 above what their annual Parish Offer would ordinarily be.
“The diocese is putting up the remaining £52,500, which has been made possible by refocusing resources following feedback from Mission Action Planning in our deaneries and stopping other non-priority work.”
The cash from the Church Commissioners is specifically ring fenced for the intergenerational growth strategy and cannot be spent elsewhere.
Strategic Development Funding aims to support major change projects that fit with dioceses' strategic plans, which have a clear evangelistic focus and are designed to lead to a significant difference in achieving numerical and spiritual growth.
You can read more about the Strategic Development Fund here.
The overall cost of the project is £1.05m. The Strategic Development Funding of £525,000 was awarded in June 2017.
The posts were limited to five years funding so the missioners were expected to stimulate growth rather than becoming the focus of the developments.
An important part of their was ensuring that others in the parish learn the skills to continue to offer intergenerational worship and outreach. In this way, it anticipated a hand over of the responsibility to the expanding congregation and clergy at the end of the fixed term.
As the project came to a conclusion at the end of 2022 a number of areas applied for additional funding from the diocese to continue the project. In three areas, the intergenerational missioners continue to support and grow parish/benefice or deanery vision and it is envisaged that at the end of this second phase missioners will have established self supporting teams in Pontesbury deanery, Lugwardine with Bartestree, Withington and Sutton benefices and in the parish of Sutton Hill and woodside.
The six Intergenerational Missioners were deployed across the diocese in six strategic parish locations.
20% of their time spent contributing to the wider work of the Diocesan Mission team.
They continue to support work including:
- Sharing their expertise in specific aspects of their work, such as evangelism or children and youth work to support development in deaneries, benefices and other parishes.
- Teaching or contributing to training sessions or courses through the School of Ministry, for clergy and lay leaders from other parishes.
- Working as part of core planning groups for diocesan intergenerational events.
- Supporting the growth of networks of intergenerational churches and leaders within local areas.