Introducing Mustard Seed

You’ll already know all about our Diocese’s goals, I’m sure! — Reaching people we currently don’t, moving to growth both in numbers and in discipleship, and establishing sustainable giving based on a vision for mission.

Let’s remember, these goals came out of a big consultation exercise across the Diocese. We can all engage with them, whoever and wherever we are. Let’s ask: Who isn’t part of our parish or chaplaincy life? Where are our opportunities to grow? Is our giving realistic and is it truly a prayerful response to God’s goodness?

Our goals aren’t just about special initiatives. But we are about to move forward with a new focused venture in mission called Mustard Seed, and we’re applying for national funding to extend its reach.

Mustard Seed faces the fact that in places of deprivation (of finance, health, opportunity and more) a very small proportion of people have contact with the church or join in its life.

Mustard Seed will have two main actions. The first is to run Stepping Up — equipping people to show and share the love of Christ in their communities. There’ll be a one-year mission apprentice scheme, with some people going on to Stepping Up Two, a local leadership programme.

The second action is to have Ambassadors — people with a connection to places with deprivation, but based elsewhere, encouraging an interchange of prayer, energy and giving.

The intention is that we shall see Community Hubs — places that offer welcome and practical support, combined with opportunities to explore and develop faith, and where Jesus is at the heart of everything that happens.

Initially we are concentrating on the urban areas of our Diocese, but it would be wonderful to see the experience of Stepping Up extending to our smaller communities where we know there is deprivation, though it’s often less easy to see.

It’s early days and it will be next year before we know whether we will get the full funding we are applying for. Please pray for Mustard Seed, and for people to find welcome, hope, joy and fresh purpose through a living relationship with Jesus.

+ Paul Whitby