Additional background and questions for each leaflet

Direction – How is your church developing a vision that inspires participation?

Before attending to the ‘going deeper questions’, ask participants to identify a time when they were really inspired by the direction their church was going and were inspired to take part (or any church or job or group)

Going deeper questions – some additional thoughts or questions:

  • The ‘importance’ of a church can be understood differently by different people. Vision or direction can be understood in many different ways, but is essentially about a church’s purpose and what they believe they need to do, or not do, to stay true to it
  • Does your church know what it does best? What might more of ‘best’ look like?
  • Which segment of the second set of ‘going deeper questions’ would be most challenging for your PCC to discuss and why?
  • What is the most important thing God is doing with your church now? How would a gathered PCC or group in your church respond to this question?
  • Vision can be experienced by some as a threatening concept as much as an energising one. Simply keeping the ‘show on the road’ is not vision

Calling – How does your church ‘encourage’ people to find their niche and offer themselves for ministry?

Before attending to the ‘going deeper questions’ choose one of the three options:

  • Ask each person present to share how they came to do whatever ministry they are currently doing in church, or how they see their work/family/voluntary tasks as a calling.
  • Show Dave Walker cartoon called ‘Recruiting Volunteers’ and ask what is the most common way in their church.
  • Recall your best and worst examples of how people have asked you to do something.

Some additional thoughts or questions:

  • How does your church help people find their niche or to move to a better niche? Who would someone in your church speak with if they had a hunch about a ministry role they wanted to explore? The SHAPE course asks participants to look at who they are as a gift from God. Each person has gifts to use in the service of God in our families, work, schools, and the wider world community.
  • Read and study scripture to do with gifts, Ephesians 4, Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, etc.
  • Can you describe the differences and similarities between talent, skills and gifts?
  • List the gifts or skills from everyday life that are used by people within the life of the church. What gifts or skills could get used but don’t? Why might this happen?
  • How can you get to know people and what they might do in your church? How important is that?
  • Gifting can change through the seasons of life, many remain hidden.
  • We require trust to explore gifting with others because our gifting is linked to our identity and how we think about ourselves.
  • What questions would you ask a prospective flower lady/school governor/intercessor etc. before asking them to actually do something?
  • Not ‘finding helpers’ but ‘developing disciples’.
  • Not ‘filling gaps’ but ‘developing people’.

Equipping – How does your church equip people for their task or role?

Before ‘going deeper questions’, ask participants to illustrate how they were ‘equipped’ to do a task or role in their church ‘well’ or ‘badly’.

Going deeper questions – some additional thoughts or questions:

  • What learning would help you do your church role better?
  • How does good equipping inspire people’s confidence to do something really well? What is ‘good’ equipping?
  • Why might different people doing the same task need different kinds of equipping?
  • What local training and diocesan training is available?
  • What kind of learning can good networking with others achieve that training sometimes doesn’t?

Affirming – How does your church affirm and support people in ministry

Before ‘going deeper questions’, ask participants to relate an experience when they were thanked or thanked someone for what they did in church or the community.

Going deeper questions – some additional thoughts or questions:

  • Who gets noticed or unnoticed for what they do in your church?
  • How do you respond to receiving a gold star? Does your experience depend on who gives it to you, where and how?
  • Come up with a joint list of ways of affirming people. Consider who models affirmation best in your church at present and how you might help model it in the future.
  • What sensitivities can be aroused by ‘thanking’ people publicly for services they give ‘quietly’?
  • Does our distrust of seeking attention justify our overlooking of generosity and achievement?
  • Some people feel public ‘thanking’ devalues ministry and it is wrong to want it or do it. Comment.
  • Describe helpful or unhelpful ways to receive feedback.
  • Many people won’t necessarily see the tasks they do in church or community as ‘ministry’ although they might use the word ‘service’ to describe them. Can understanding these tasks through the lens of ‘ministry’ change the way people give of themselves?
  • What are the most commonly used ways your churches offer support to people for their ministries? Why is reviewing of ministry with church leaders or teams important?
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