Shaping for Mission: Vision-Setting Sessions

As deaneries move into the vision setting phase of Shaping for Mission,  a range of online sessions took place exploring different aspects of vision, and ways to discern God’s vision for us. Each session was open to anyone but was particularly geared towards those involved in the Shaping for Mission process. 

God’s Vision For Us: Learning from Scripture.

  • Date and time: Wednesday 14th April 10-11am 
  • Session Leader: Lindsey Hall
  • Further info: In this session we will be engaging with several passages of Scripture, exploring God’s vision and the part God’s people play in it becoming a reality. We will be looking at Ezekiel 37 as well as some other passages.
  • Session Summary: The first of the sessions exploring vision focused on what we learn about God’s vision from the Bible. The group looked in particular at Ezekiel 37, the valley of the dry bones. Reflecting on this extraordinary passage we asked what Ezekiel saw as he looked at the valley and what did God seem to see? We noted that the bones being bought to life was not Ezekiel’s vision, he simply responds to the question that God asks him. And when the bones begin to live, it doesn’t happen all at once, it's not one stage, you still have the layers and delays, as Ezekiel is involved by God in the process. God could have done it but chooses to work with Ezekiel instead. Participants pointed out that we are not starting from a valley of dry bones, there are so many signs of life for us to work with and build on as we ask what God’s vision for us is. This passage is a remarkable story of death to life; and of course that’s not the only place in Scripture we hear such a story. The group suggested some other passages that might be helpful in thinking about vision which included: Joel 2  about the dreaming of dreams; Jeremiah 29 a letter to the exiles, we have to wait on God…. For I know the plans….and Revelation 21 the  new heaven and new earth and the promise of all things being made new. As we enter the vision setting phase of Shaping for Mission, which Bible passages are you reflecting on?

What if...? 

From what is to what if? How can we release the power of our imagination to think bigger? 

  • Date and time: Tuesday 20th April 11am-12pm
  • Session Leader: Laura Edwards
  • Further info: Join us to explore how to deliver a session of imaginative thinking with your SFM team The session will think about how imagination can and should come before implementation using theory, examples, and practice. The session will explore, what can hold us back and how we can create longing and possibilities to enter into the future before it happens. The session will share examples of visioning activities to support the SFM teams to think creatively and dream bigger.
  • Summary: The session covered how imagination can and should come before implementation. We identified how creative, innovative, and adaptable churches had been in response to Covid 19 and how we need to ‘build to adapt’ rather than ‘build to last’. The group undertook an activity to stretch their thinking, considering different options as solutions, including thinking ‘big’. They found this really useful, coming to the conclusion that the breath of options were often more tangible than originally thought. We looked at some encouraging theory, how we relate to it, and how we can use it as part of the vision process. We considered barriers to using imaginative thinking, including the fact that some will find the process much easier than others, and many are exhausted as we come out of our latest lockdown. To end the session the group considered a question, worked alone and then in small groups to use their imagination to respond. Where in your SFM vision setting process do you need to create space for some big, creative and imaginative thinking?
  • Presentation: Here

Discerning the Diocesan Vision, what might deaneries learn from the process?

  • Date and time: Wednesday 21st April 2–3pm 
  • Session Leaders: Pete Bate, Simon Foster, and Lindsey Hall
  • Further info: The diocesan vision prayer was a vision statement and before that was a slide in a presentation. In this session we will talk about the process of discerning a vision for the diocese: how you work with what is already good, try and hold the diverse nature of the organisation and seek to find a faithful way of talking about what we are called to. Deaneries, like the diocese, hold a lor of units together and together we will draw out some of the ways in which shared vision can be discerned.
  • Summary: Towards the end of 2017 some work was done on a vision for the diocese, which resulted in the Diocesan Vision that you can see at: on this page there are also a couple of videos that were used during the session. Pete Bate, Simon Foster and Lindsey Hall talked about being involved in the diocesan process, which really started with the question what is the diocese for? What is distinct about it? Given that a diocese is a funny sort of organisation, what would it mean to have a vision for it? The team talked about the shared desire for the 44,000 people who work in this deanery to be disciples transforming their communities so that the 2 million people that live in the geographical area of this diocese are blessed by the church. The session explored how to think about a generous vision which allows space for the different bodies encompassed in it to own and interpret it for themselves. The Shaping for Mission process has been shaped by the diocesan vision, and contributors reflected on the way this has shaped our work in the three -four years since it was developed

How to be a Visionary! 

(or more modestly, being part of the vision setting process in Shaping for Mission)

  • Date and time: Monday 26th April 2–3pm 
  • Session Leaders: Simon Foster and Lindsey Hall
  • Further info: This session will explore the idea of ‘visionary’ people and focus on how we use our own gifts and skills to ‘be visionary’. Using insights from the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Belbin Team Roles we will look at how we release capacity for discerning vision and enable all in the team to play to their strengths in the process. 
  • Summary: The focus of this ambitiously titled session was on the way in which it takes a team to discern a vision. We started off by thinking about visionary people as those who can ‘see further’ and visionary leaders as those who help others to see, and move towards, the vision they have discerned. Even famously visionary leaders didn’t do this alone, but as part of teams who supported, challenged, contributed to and improved the process of vision setting. We looked briefly at the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and particularly at the dimension around information gathering and noted that people whose preference (N) is to start with the big picture might really enjoy the vision setting phase of Shaping for Mission. Those with a preference for working from details and working with what already is may find the vision process overwhelming, and there is an opportunity to allow space in the teams for people to play to their strengths. To develop this point we looked at Belbin Team Roles. We explored the 9 different types, which are often grouped into three categories of thinking, action and people roles,  and reflected on the balance of these needed in any team. We looked at some imaginary examples of SfM teams to explore how to help teams that might get stuck, how Belbin might help us notice the dynamics of a team and what some of the responses might be if we realise teams aren’t well balanced.

Changing culture, changing vision for mission

  • Date and time: Wednesday 28th April 7.30-9pm 
  • Session Leaders: Laura Edwards and Steve Hollinghurst
  • Further info: In setting a vision for mission in our deaneries we are seeking to address issues facing the Church both in our local context and our wider context. Our Diocesan vision asks us to be confident in the gospel, knowing and loving our communities and seeing God at work in the world. This session explores how our culture has been changing, why this has led to declining Christian commitment and changing patterns of contact with the church. From there we will explore what this might mean for us in communicating faith in our communities effectively in future in both words and actions.

The Church and the Kingdom of God

  • Date and time: Tuesday 4th May 11.30am-12.30pm 
  • Session Leader: Paul Thomas
  • Further info: Alfred Loisy said: ‘Jesus preached the Kingdom of God and what came was the Church’. What is the relationship of the Church to the Kingdom? How does a better understanding of the meaning of the Kingdom help the Church to discern its role in the world and to hold a proper perspective on the scope of its work and witness?’
  • Presentation: Here

Re-visioning children and church

  • Date and time: Thursday 6th May 1-2pm
  • Session Leader: Laura Edwards and Alex Wolvers
  • Further info: Join us to think about challenges and possibilities around work with children, young people and schools in your deanery. The focus will be on ensuring that these are not a lost group in your visioning process. The session will look at good practice and practical approaches in deanery wide children’s, youth, and school’s work. There will an opportunity for you to share your own ideas and thinking in the session.

Vision: a case study

  • Date and time: Monday 10th May 10-11am
  • Session Leader: Jim Trood with Simon Foster
  • Further info: Jim Trood is a parish priest in Walsall who’s given thought and practical attention to shaping vision in the churches where he serves.  For him, arriving at a clear vision is a careful, intentional process. Learn from his experience in a one hour session which begins with an interview with Jim, then provides the opportunity for questions and answers.
  • Summary: In this session, Jim Trood talked about guiding his church in vision setting.  He explained why he thinks its important for a church to have a well-articulated vision.  He explores the relationship between vision setting and governance, and why he thinks it works best to have a leadership team separate from the PCC.  He explains how his church carefully discerns who should be part of the leadership team.  In the discussion afterwards, attendees thought about how Jim’s perspective might inform Shaping for Mission. 

Mapping a Vision for your Deanery

  • Date and time: Tuesday 11th May 11am-12.15pm
  • Session Leader: Terry Bloor
  • Further info: In this session we will explore a visual approach to discerning vision. Using maps and post it notes, we will look at the priorities for mission in the deanery and different ways to help a group identify the priorities God has for us, and to each contribute to a discussion around resourcing those priorities.
  • Discussed Document: Here 

Vision Setting with Transforming Communities Together

  • Date and time: Wednesday 12th May 2-3pm
  • Session Leader: Adam Edwards and James Henderson
  • Further info: Transforming Communities Together (TCT) seeks to empower churches and other faith groups, individuals and communities to respond effectively to the issues of poverty and social justice that they encounter. Our vision is to work with partners to seek the common good, working for justice as people of hope, so that communities may flourish and those who are vulnerable, isolated and disadvantaged might enjoy life in its fullness. In this session we will look at what Christian social action is and how to set a vision for this, and how you work towards making this a reality. It will also be an opportunity to find out more about TCT’s work and a chance to talk about the needs of your community, and how TCT can work with you. 
  • Presentation: Here
Page last updated: Monday 8th April 2024 9:34 AM
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