So much of what is on the inside of anything remains hidden and isn't exposed until a major catastrophe happens - hence we are shocked by pictures of earthquake damage, or lightening strikes, or surgery because of what they expose.
Yesterday was spent with our Area Team together with Area Deans and Lay Chairs, and we spent the day thinking about local ministry, the needs of the deanery and archdeaconry and collaborative ministry (what we believe it is and the blockages to it). So much of what we discussed came down to the all important values we hold. These, not only inform our vision but give us the energy for it. In my last parish I spent a lot of time with our Ministry Leadership Team discussing our values as a church. Once agreed they were displayed on the wall as you entered the building - such things as creativity, prayer, variety in worship and welcome. They reminded us of what we were about as a church, and acted as constants around which parish life was framed.
So what are my values for the archdeaconry? based on yesterday, here are a few starters:
- Commitment to the deanery being an important unit for mutual support, affirming and resourcing parish life;
- The flourishing of individual gifts and talents in the life of the church, and the provision of support in order for this to happen
- Flexibility over the deployment of ministers based on the above
- Creating a permissive enviroment for churches to take risks in doing new things, and having the freedom to fail
- Enabling local response to local need (financially and practically), and supporting this where ever possible.
Values are what inspires and energises us, they are contained deep within and, for the Christian, come from theological conviction or belief - hence my own being based upon deeply help principles about service, sacrifice, freedom, generosity and love. What is inside is so important, and for the human being (unlike my extension!) is revealled in how we live our lives, not only when catastophe happens but each and every day.
As Christ said 'You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:16 (New Living Translation)'