A thousand people took part in this year’s Holy Week and Easter services at St Nicholas, Guisborough, where a tremendously exciting twelve months has been driven by a renewed commitment to team working since the church embarked on the Leading Your Church Into Growth (LYCIG) programme.

The parish has worked together looking at everything from the way it welcomes people, its offer to young people and families, its care for the elderly and vulnerable, the use of its buildings and resources, and very significantly, its music and worship.

“Music has the potential to attract, encourage and stimulate growth,” says Musical Director Christopher Nixon.

“As a way of travelling along a Christian journey, it teaches, enthuses, allows reflection and most importantly encourages a team to work together to enhance the worship for everyone. This is what has happened at St Nicholas.”

Through strong leadership from Rector the Revd Alison Phillipson, a well-planned and structured worship pattern, and enthusiastic development of the music department in the parish, the congregation and parish family are growing rapidly. No longer is ‘We've always done it like this’ an acceptable answer.

Developments have included doubling the size of the choir, introducing an orchestra, gaining three organists and training young people to play, purchasing a new digital pipe organ, improving the sound system and staging Raymond Briggs’ ‘The Snowman’. The church also hosts a new choir festival featuring over 500 children.

So how is this possible in a one church parish with limited resources? Christopher Nixon puts it down to encouragement, team work, leadership, prayer – and social media.

Team work has been developed by a strong Rector with PCC, readers, ministry team and musical staff with who share the same thoughts and ways to develop a parish, again encouraging all who have talents to play their part in the team. Everything is questioned in an encouraging way, boldly thinking through ideas. Praying and worshipping together, and caring for one another are the key features of our parish.

As for social media, the Rector and Musical Director along with members of the parish constantly use social media to promote the parish through Facebook posts, a YouTube channel, photos, videos and so on.

As a result, congregations have increased, the number of weddings, funerals and baptisms has increased, the church is growing in every aspect and everyone is encouraged by the signs around them.

“St Nicholas welcomes all, so if you have a musical talent, come and join the team,” says Christopher Nixon (bankfields2002@yahoo.co.uk), “if you would like to become a musical part of this vibrant, exciting, worshipping community.”