Bishop David and Richard Steel, Mission Leader are visiting deaneries and parishes around the diocese to engage them with the 'Leading your Church into growth programme'.

This is one of the most effective courses to encourage people to think about the wide range of issues surrounding the necessity for, and issues surrounding, growth. This is not just about numbers but also spiritual depth and 'joyful service'.

Both the Bishop and Richard are more than happy to come and run the course for you locally whether that is in your deanery, parish or learning community. Please contact Richard via email or call 01522 50 40 30.

Sonia Barron, Rector of Claypole Benefice & Rural Dean of Loveden deanery has worked with Richard Steel, Mission Leader on the LyCiG initiative and found it very beneficial and her church is now exploring possibilities where they can do things differently. An interview with Sonia is below:

The Revd Sonia Barron, Rector of the Claypole Benefice and Rural Dean of Loveden deanery, leads the first church in the diocese to have worked with Mission Team Leader Richard Steel on the Leading Your Church into Growth (LYCiG) programme. 

The Bishop of Grimsby and Richard Steel are leading on LYCiG in our diocese, and its aim is to encourage churches to think about ‘growth’ in its widest sense. It is not just about numbers, but also spiritual development and joyful service. 

The role that Richard plays is that of a ‘critical friend’, who is there to listen and talk to everyone involved in the life of the church. He describes it as ‘walking alongside’ the team as they think of new ways to approach things or new ideas on how to lead their mission.

In speaking about the programme, Sonia has said: “It was really helpful to have Richard come and talk to us, and I think it has made us think about things differently. He really helped us to see the wider picture.

“Since he came to talk to us we have done a few things differently.I ran the Bible Society’s Bible course recently, which was very successful and well attended because members of the parish were canvassed about what day of the week, time of day, and how regularly we should meet.

“The study was based around a series of videos which took us through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. It helped us to understand how the books, characters and events fit together; and provided tools and skills to help us apply it to everyday life. It completely changed the way we look at the Bible, and 10 people came, which I was very pleased about. We all learnt something from the course and it has transformed the way we read it.

“We are also having more success with growing our Messy Church as a result of reaching out into the community. We see that many parents do want their children to have a Christian input in their lives and bring their children along. Children are talking to their friends about it and more people are generously helping with activities and providing food, which I am very grateful for.

“Like a lot of other churches across the diocese we need to be flexible, open to new opportunities and to embrace new ideas. To attract more people we need to be more outward looking and mission minded, and each church will need to have its own approach. 

“With a grant from the diocesan Transformation Fund we have recently had a new projector and screen installed, so people are excited that we now have the possibility of showing films. It will also transform our family services and those which the school attends in the church at least once a term. We have an indoor toilet now, which really does make a difference in being able to host weddings and events and provide hospitality and welcome.

“It’s easy to think of ‘church’ as always being the actual building itself but there is so much more to life as a Christian than that. Part of ‘growth’ is also growing ourselves. 

“What I would really love is for the people in our churches to feel more confident in sharing their Christian faith, even if it’s just with the person nextdoor; that’s part of mission. I understand that people like to feel that their faith is personal and that it is between them and God; but I think it would also be good to tell others how their faith and praying comfort them when they experience difficulties in life, as we can all learn from that.

“I would love to see faith in action more – it is exciting to see how we have started to be more outward looking, giving an annual donation to a different charity each year, and I want to build on that.”