Mission planning for beginners…

Don’t miss the next vital meeting – 16 June in Tayvallich church after morning worship…

Mission Planning for Mid Argyll: North Knapdale. – First meeting

A meeting of the congregation was held on Wednesday 29th May 2019 at Tayvallich church to discuss the requirement from the Presbytery Planning group for the five parishes of Mid Argyll to develop a joint Mission Development Plan.

The meeting was asked to consider:

How do we plan for the Christian church to be a vital and life changing influence on our society over the next 10 to 20 years?   That is really what we are being asked to   consider for Mid Argyll.

We are asked to produce  a “Mission Development Plan” in collaboration with our neighbouring Parishes of Glassary, Kilmartin and Ford; Ardrishaig and South Knapdale; and Lochgilphead.

This plan must be agreed by all the Parishes and submitted to the Presbytery Planning Group for signing off by September this year.    This plan will include proposals for the ministerial cover for the five Mid Argyll parishes.

What should be in our Plan?

What are the issues in our communities?    How is our church involved in our communities?

How do we present “Following Jesus” as relevant to our neighbours?   How do we introduce Jesus, Son of God, to people who have no idea of the Christian story?   How would you like to see the church working in 20 years time?

Some questions to get us thinking:

What would be lost to our community if we ceased to be here?

Why do we exist as a congregation?

What purposes and values must we hold on to, to maintain our identity?

What are we willing to let go in order to continue as a congregation here?

What resources would help us develop as church in Mid Argyll.

Who will suffer if the church does not continue here?

How can we support them into a changed system.

What structure should we have across Mid Argyll to develop as a combined church.

Following a general discussion the meeting divided into two groups for further discussion based on three questions as discussion starters.  

1 What would the community miss if the church was not here?

2 How should the church serve the community in ways no-one else can?

3 What structure do we need in Mid Argyll to be most effective as a church in relation to the answers to Questions 1 and 2?

It would be impossible to provide considered views on these topics in one meeting only and it was agreed that further meetings with others from the congregation should take place.

At the first meeting a wide range of answers and comments were made and these are summerised as follows – 

People in this area in general appear to be fairly satisfied with material aspects of life, although it is noticeable that issues such as addictions, mental health problems , family break up would indicate that this may not be the real picture.

The church provides a place of stability and is seen by some as the heart of the community, even though they may not attend.

People would miss the Christmas and Easter services if the church was not here.

Messy Church would be missed, and Cafe Connect.

The church building could provide a space for quiet contemplation, for prayer, and for deeper conversations.    

The church building is a scary place for some people who would not come in.

Some in the congregation provide pastoral care and demonstrate God’s love to others.

The church could provide more opportunities for teaching about Christianity, faith, and for open discussion and questioning, during and after services.

If we had “One Parish” of Mid Argyll, this would reduce the number of people involved in being Session clerks, treasurers, presbytery elders, Stewardship and Safeguarding roles, etc., and would therefore free up these people for other activities.

We need to consider how we can “connect” more effectively with the people of Crinan and Cairnbaan.

If we have “One Mid Argyll Parish” then we could have an employed person to do training on outreach, pastoral care, visiting, or youth work, dementia awareness, etc. as well as a minister.

We could have monthly central services led by a minister and on other weeks meet in our local church as we do now – led by lay people.   

Mission Development Planning for Mid- Argyll – North Knapdale:  Second meeting

On the 2nd of June we held a second meeting of the congregation, after the Morning service, to carry on our discussions.

The meeting decided that it would consider the first discussion question –

 What would the community miss if the church was not there – considering the “church” to be the people of the congregation, rather than the building.

There were 16 people attended the meeting and discussions reviewed comments from the first meeting as noted above and also moved on to new aspects. 

Comments and ideas covered the following:

It is vital that we pray about this process, seek God’s will and follow that through.

We have a duty to both follow God and to serve the community by being out and about taking part in what is going on.

When visiting with Christian Aid envelopes many people wanted to talk about the church.

There is an increase in people asking for “Humanist” services for funerals and weddings.   

Should we do more to encourage church weddings?

Visiting is an important role for the congregation, and helps to build up the community.

The community would miss Easter and Christmas services and also weddings and funerals.

Messy church would be missed by those who attend.

The church provides prayer and pastoral care – although this may not be seen by the community.

We should aim to have a Youth Worker for Mid Argyll.

The parish has a healthy bank balance, we could use this to fund extra workers, e.g. for youth work.  Also there are many grants available, such as “Going for growth” fund where we could apply for extra funding for projects.

The presbytery is considering having a Chaplain for Farmers, perhaps this post could be based in Mid Argyll? 

What should we be doing to serve and connect with the communities of Crinan and Cairnbaan?

Services at Bellanoch are well attended.  Is that because of the central position?

How can we influence the schools to include Christian teaching in their curriculum, or to have visits by Ministers, elders or SU groups?

We should join in and support the Youth Environment Project which young people in the area have started. (– e.g.first meeting is in Tayvallich on the 2nd June.)

The next meeting will be after the morning service at Tayvallich next Sunday – the 15th June. Please stay after the service and bring your vital contribution to this important discussion. Thank you.

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