Today we had various members of St Edwards, Eggbuckland and Christchurch, Estover meet at St Matthews Academy in Derriford for our annual Away Day at which we discussed our vision for the newly inaugurated Forder Valley Mission Community. We were pleased to welcome Rev Andrew Godsall and Penny Doe from Exeter to facilitate and lead our time together.
Opening worship, with reflection led by Penny on subject of calling of all to mission. She reminded us that we are misfits following Jesus, who are foolish and weak. We doubt we have a calling or gifts we can use in service of the kingdom. God invariably chooses misfits. Moses, Ruth, David, Jeremiah, Simon Peter, Paul. Is our calling to be misfits. God calls us all to ministry……every one of us. He calls and he equips….so we can become fools for Christ.
As is traditional there was then a icebreaker session in which we were separated into groups and challenged to create chain stories but adding a sentence each in turn.
Andrew and Penny then gave a short introduction to Mission Communities and Bishop Roberts priorities. It was explained and reminded that Exeter Diocesan Vision is growing in prayer, making new disciples, building community. Forder Valley MC vision is closely allied to these.
As the morning progressed we explored what Mission Community meant to us and what it might actually look like in Forder Valley in the context of Loving Worship, Growing Discipleship and Serving Community.
After a very copious faith lunch and a short tour of the new school we continued the afternoon session discussing Natural Church Development (www.ncd-uk.com). This is a survey based identifier that focuses on eight vital signs of a healthy church to answers the question, ‘How healthy is your church?’
- Empowering leadership
- Gift orientated lay ministry
- Passionate spirituality
- Functional structures
- Inspiring worship
- Small groups
- Need orientated evangelism
- Loving relationships
Again we broke into our various groups and discussed these points and our own community’s strengths and weaknesses. The strengths identified in our feedback session ranged around loving relationships, empowering leadership and passionate spirituality. Weaknesses were seen to be in the area of structures, small groups, inspiring worship, and gift orientated lay ministry.
The day ended at 3pm after a short time of worship, and we went away with lots of new ideas for the Mission Community.
Thank you to all who took part and contributed, also to Andrew and Penny for their leadership and guidance through the day.