Creating Connections is our response to Jesus' invitation to see His big idea of the Kingdom of God become a reality. In our churches, when we connect with God, we may then connect others with Him: we share Jesus' story; we show what it means to follow Him; we become signs of God's Kingdom in the world. This is our vision for the Diocese of Bristol. It is an audacious vision energised by an all-powerful God. The plans we have - our strategy - challenge us all to play our part. Bishop Mike Hill
When our relationships with God, each other and our communities grow stronger, we will see God's Kingdom come. Will you commit to make disciples, grow leaders and engage younger generations? Archdeacon Christine Froude
The key elements of the Creating Connections strategy are:
Connecting with God
For Christians, to be connected with God is primarily about being, as St Paul would have put it,
in Christ. This new relationship shapes and empowers our lives and our faith. We journey towards God in worship, through the Scriptures and in prayer. We follow and learn from Jesus’s teaching and example, and can be changed by the Holy Spirit to become more like Him.
Connecting with each other
An important characteristic of being an Anglican is that we are a part of something bigger: a diocese, the Church of England, the worldwide and catholic Church. To be connected with each other means to reflect the unity and the diversity of the Holy Trinity within the Body of Christ. This unity in diversity can be experienced at every level within the Church. St Paul tells us that we have to work at this:
Make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3).
Connecting with our communities
To be connected with our communities is to be an incarnational Church. We participate in the mission of God by being planted and rooted in our local contexts. The call of the Church of England is to proclaim the Good News afresh in each generation and to be a sign of God's Kingdom in every community. We must develop a proper understanding of the communities that we are seeking to serve. In a post-Christendom context, this is a challenge for us. This means we have to start with people where they are, not where we might like them to be.
Priority 1: Making disciples
As disciples and disciple-makers we need to engage in both personal and corporate prayer and bible study, and encourage each other to follow Jesus more closely and deeply. We must also commit to the demonstration and declaration of the Good News and to inviting people into a living relationship with Jesus.
Priority 2: Growing leaders
Leaders make a difference. The only ship that doesn't need a captain is anchored in the harbour. We need to be intentional about rearing the right kind of leaders, lay and ordained, who are fit for the challenge of re-connecting in a post-Christendom context.
Priority 3: Engaging younger generations
To fulfil our call to proclaim afresh the Good News in each generation, we need to connect far more effectively with those aged 40 and under. We particularly need to develop skills and confidence as we find new ways to engage and make disciples of younger generations helping us to pass on the baton of faith and see lives transformed.