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Our Vision

‘There are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.’ (John 21.25)

To live Christ’s story is to be part of God’s mission of love in and for the world today and we need a flourishing and sustainable church of followers of Jesus for this to happen.

‘You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all; and you show that you are a letter of Christ, prepared by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.’ 

  (2 Corinthians 3.2-3)

As the church of Jesus Christ we have two stories to tell: the story of Jesus’s life, death and resurrection; and the continuing story of what Jesus has done through his church, including what he is doing in our lives now by the power of the Spirit. That is Living Christ’s Story. Our task as the people of God, here and now, is to live and share the story of Christ by letting God write that story on our own hearts and by writing the next chapter of all that Jesus is going to do here. This is about church being simpler in our systems and structures to serve our mission; humbler because we must acknowledge our failures and live within our means; and bolder because the things entrusted to us in Christ are what the world needs.

To make that vision of Living Christ’s Story a reality, our diocesan goals are:

Becoming more like Christ

Which means receiving and knowing the story ourselves. Before we do anything else we remember who we are: God’s beloved children, those whom he came to seek and save. We also remember that we know this story by prayer and service as well as by Bible study and learning. This is demandingly life-changing, and it happens by God’s grace alone working with us and through us. Without this foundation, nothing else makes sense.

Reaching people we currently don’t

By living and telling this story, remembering that the story we share is those two stories of what God has done in Christ and what God is doing through the Church down through the centuries and in us.

Growing churches of missionary disciples

By reaching new people and growing in discipleship as a whole church, striving to be younger and more diverse, and to move towards becoming a mixed ecology church, sustaining and developing church life in the many different places in which we live our lives: in church and online; at work or in education; in places of leisure as well as in neighbourhoods. We want our churches to be places where the story of Christ is known and lived out, transforming the communities we serve. 

Transforming our finances and structures

By finding new ways to support a Christian presence in all the neighbourhoods and networks of the diocese; to find a new story that will not just be about sustaining our life as the church, but recognising that our life needs to be transformed in order to be an agent of God’s transformation in the world.

We believe that this vision will be made real by focusing our resources on a strategy of ‘Revitalised Growth’.  We will commit to becoming more like Christ.  We will invest in growing the church in places of potential and find new ways of sustaining ministry in places which will struggle to grow today.  We will reimagine ministry and mission everywhere, finding new and better ways to nurture vocations, lay and ordained.  We will find new and better ways of being church, simplifying where we can so that we can spend more time reaching people we currently don’t and growing as disciples. 

As The Church of England we have been on a process to discern what our vision and strategy is for the next 10 years. The five marks of mission also focus our mission and ministry away from ourselves, and to the needs of God’s world. From this centre three strategic priorities have emerged for us as a national church. 

They are that God is calling us to be:

  • a church of missionary disciples.
  • a church where mixed ecology is the norm.
  • a church that is younger and more diverse.

None of this works or makes sense, unless it inspires, shapes and informs the life of the church in our parishes, church plants, chaplaincies, fresh expressions, Multiply and Mustard Seed ministries, messy churches, refugee ministry, church schools, foodbanks and in whatever other ways we live and share the gospel in this diocese of York.

This is the hope and the vision we must share with our world: the story of what God has done and is doing in Christ. *

*Taken from Archbishop Stephen’s Diocesan Synod address on 28th November 2020.