Friday, 24 October 2014 22:49

Archbishop wants 'radical' rural leaders

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Archbishop wants 'radical' rural leaders

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has urged rural church leaders to be 'brave' and 'radical' – particularly with reference to shared leadership.

Justin Welby was speaking at a 'Germinate!' rural mission and ministry conference attended by more than 270 rural church leaders in Coventry.

The Arthur Rank Centre's Germinate leadership programme helps to develop creative and entrepreneurial skills in lay and ordained leaders from the rural church.

It encourages lay and ordained rural church leaders to develop an 'entrepreneurial leadership style' – including project development and management skills.

Church leaders are encouraged to start new community initiatives and social enterprise projects so they are more effective in engaging with their communities.

The archbishop said: "Reimagining ministry in the countryside involves coming back to the faithfulness of God in all his people, especially lay people.

"It means coming back to the God who pours out his gifts and his Holy Spirit on us and strengths and encourages us."

"I really want you to be brave and radical in how you look at rural ministry, how you think about it, how you pray for it, what you hear the Spirit saying to the churches about the future of rural ministry."

The Bishop of Shrewsbury, Mark Rylands, said 'Germinate!' had the potential to be "a movement for the renewal of God's Mission in the countryside".

The conference was a shared initiative led by the Arthur Rank Centre.

It involved the main rural denominations, networks and agencies, including Fresh Expressions, New Wine, Messy Church and the Rural Theology Association.

Conference organiser and Arthur Rank Centre chief executive Jerry Marshall said: "I am thrilled that we had such a good response and that so many organisations came together.

After a series of case studies, and workshops, and a session sharing rural mission resources, delegates told us they left inspired, encouraged and equipped."

Several "Germinate" initiatives are being offered or developed for rural churches – including the leadership programme, learning communities and a rural business start-up initiative.

Conference presentations, transcripts and hand-outs are available at:

People in this conversation

  • I am somewhat troubled by the Archbishop's comments as related in this article. For some years now the growing number of churches & communities that come under the responsibility of one ordained person has meant that there has been no alternative but to seek to engage as many lay people as possible in taking forward the rural ministry of the Church. Whilst such willing people exist, it is no secret that the age and number of such people makes it difficult to maintain such ministry.

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