What Is Mission & Vision

What Is Mission & Vision

What Is Mission & Vision at St John's Church Ainsdale

A Church’s vision presents a picture of what the Church and its community will be like and acts as a source of inspiration for all Church members. A Church’s mission defines the fundamental purpose of the Church. It describes why it exists and what actions the Church members will undertake to achieve their vision.

The Church of England’s vision is summarised as:

“A Christian presence in every community”

The Church of England is called, as are all Churches, to carry forward the work that Jesus Christ began in all aspects of the life of people in society. As Christians we follow Jesus who said "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20.21). We are called to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news.

Our purpose is dictated by God and is for God – we are here to serve others not ourselves. Our mission is God’s mission: "Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world..." (Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121). "It's not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church".

God's mission is about transformation - transforming individual lives, transforming communities and transforming the world.

As we follow Jesus Christ, we believe that God's mission is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in three ways:

  • Through the Bible
  • Through the tradition and life of the Church
  • Through our own listening, praying, thinking and sharing as we respond to our own context. [taken from Church of England website]

St John’s approach to mission

St John’s exists to support the community it serves. For St John’s Church, this community is Ainsdale – other Churches serve other communities. Our membership includes the Church School. We are unique in Ainsdale in having a Church School and the School family is part of the Church family. Our Mission includes the work that is done by the staff, Church members and others in the School.

St John’s vision and mission are about what God has called St John’s Church to be and how he sees us. It must reflect the gifts and abilities that God has provided within St John’s whilst recognising that God has blessed and equipped other Churches in Ainsdale to carry out their particular missions. Our work should complement, not duplicate, what other Churches do so that we can all work together effectively and make best use of each other’s finite resources. Some of St John’s perceived strengths and weaknesses are captured in Appendix 1.

As the established Parish Church in Ainsdale we are in a unique position of serving the whole community. Even those people who would normally avoid church will, more likely than not, enter through the doors of St John’s at some point because of links with, for example:

  • St John’s School
  • Established children’s work
  • Uniformed organisations
  • Care team including bereavement counselling
  • A family event such as a baptism, wedding or funeral
  • The Garden of Remembrance
  • Our mission should be organic, focusing on doing a few things well in our areas of strength and scaling back in other areas.

What does all this mean for our Mission?

Our focus should be on demonstrating Jesus’ love to our community through the contacts that quite literally present themselves to us on a daily basis. This is not just the responsibility of the vicar who leads these services and events; it is the responsibility of the whole church.

This will require a shift in attitude so that as a church our faith is most visible on these family occasions. As an example, currently baptisms are held at a time when, aside from the vicar and wardens, visitors have very little opportunity to meet any of the church membership and experience the vibrancy of what we have to offer.

Our approach to mission can therefore be summarised as:

  • Touching the lives of others by providing memorable and moving experiences of meeting with God in a beautiful and awe inspiring setting at key events in people lives
  • Providing imaginative, varied, inspiring and entertaining worship experiences at key Christian festivals with arrangements tailored to those attending (convenient times, settings etc)
  • Supplementing these through provision of affiliated practical courses in marriage, parenting and bereavement. Whilst the courses are not overtly Christian in content, they will be run by Christians in a Christian environment
  • Providing user friendly opportunities for people to explore any interest in God through making ourselves and the Church available to them, and offering specific follow-up experiences (but not necessarily traditional Sunday services)
  • Ensuring that as a church we have a progressive approach to worship that allows everyone to explore God at their level from exploring an initial interest through to deepening a lifelong faith, while respecting a wide variety of worship styles.

This requires us at St John’s to be:

  • ‘One Church’ - an active church family where all members are accepted and valued for who they are, respect each other’s different styles of worship, and feel able and encouraged to be involved, participate in and contribute to the whole life of the church with their talents and abilities, whatever form they may take;
  • Centred on God, letting Him lead us into the future He has prepared for us;
  • Growing in our faith as we serve our community in Ainsdale;
  • Sharing the love of God with everyone we meet through our words and our deeds;
  • Transforming the lives of those in need in Ainsdale through providing a safe haven for quiet contemplation and practical advice for those in need of help
  • Nurturing new disciples as we grow together in our growing church.

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