Section 1 – Where we have come from
Section 2 – Mission Statement
Section 3 – Divine Perspective
Section 4 – Culture
Section 5 – Vision Statement
Section 6 – Revelation
Section 7 – Change and Increase
Section 8 – Leadership
Section 9 – Moving Forward
Section 10 – Next Steps
Appendix 1 Prophetic picture shared during Interregnum
Introduction Over the last year, and through various people, it has become clear that God wants to move in a new and powerful way through St John’s. In response to this a period of review and planning began in order to allow time and space for God to speak, and for Him to provide us with a framework.
The process started in December 2011 and continued for 4 months. Many hours were spent in prayer, discussion, review and planning. Initially the team comprised of Nigel and Annie di Castiglione, Antony Spencer, Tim Meathrel, Ruth Hassall, Steve Foster, Marcus Pagnam and Jon Tattersall, with some input from Graham Hopkinson and Bob Dunnett for Section 1. The first sessions provided a model for further prayerful review and development. The team then changed and Debby Bridge, Brennan Horne, Di Copplestone, Jonny Pearson and Geoff Heyes joined Nigel di Castiglione, Antony Spencer, Ruth Hassall and Steve Foster.
The review and planning process was based around proven professional planning tools; bringing them into the Christian arena, where they could be woven together with the dynamics of spiritual discernment and God’s prophetic voice.
Input initially was through using ‘post it note’ exercises. Each team member completed 3 or 4 of these for each question or activity. These were placed on a large board where they were discussed and grouped, and then common themes, statements or threads identified. These have been carried forward into this document.
During this process a considerable amount of time was spent reviewing the past history of St John’s, with a sense that nothing is wasted in the Kingdom of God. Understanding where we have come from has shaped and directed where we believe God is leading us now.
Much prayer, many hours of prayerful discussion and listening to one another; and most importantly time spent listening to God were part of each session.
This document – the result of our review and planning is more of a launchpad to move forward, rather than the finished article. Work has begun in developing the detailed objectives of an Annual Plan. As you read it and consider all that is in these next pages, we pray that you will catch the vision that we believe God is revealing to us as a church. As you read, ask yourself: Am I on board? What could be my part?
We believe and trust that this process has been inspired by God at a key point in the life of St John’s Church.
Section 1 – Where we have come from Testimony Looking at the past and present activity of St John’s. The questions posed were: What would we most want to see repeated and/or strengthened? What are the testimonies of St John’s ministry currently? What are the most significant memories of St John’s ministry? What have we seen God do in the past? What is God doing currently? In response we noted: A place where lives are changed as God is met Hunger for, and enjoyment of God’s presence Children and Young People meeting with God Influence and connections beyond St John’s Signs, miracles, wonders, salvation, healing and deliverance
History Looking at the social and geographical context in which St John’s is set i.e. Birmingham. The following key areas or characteristics were identified: Place of spiritual battle Racial and spiritual diversity Second city and ‘Heart of England’ Enlightened entrepreneurship (socially motivated rather than purely wealth creating) Place of industry, manufacture and learning
St John’s DNA Looking at what has been passed on and established within the ministry of St John’s. What are the unique and important characteristics of St John’s? In the Church of England pursuing the Kingdom Worship and music a key priority Holy Spirit ministry Effective Biblical teaching Strong & visionary leadership External awareness and investment including mission, evangelism and generosity
Key Activities Looking at current activities, what we are doing day by day, Sunday by Sunday. Below are the summary statements drawn together from all our activities. Worship and encountering God Teaching Healing and wholeness Community and belonging for people at all stages of life /over 
Specialist over 70’s ministry Specialist 0 – 21’s ministry Local outreach and global mission
Section 2 – Mission Statement Why we do what we do The mission statement underpins all our ministry and activity. The test to apply for everything is – does this ministry or activity serve the mission? Simply the mission statement is ‘why we do what we do’: ST JOHN’S CHURCH ‘We live to pursue and encounter God, to be changed into the likeness of Jesus and transform society as we carry His presence into the world’. At the same time the following strapline was written for appropriate use ‘Pursuing Jesus and His Kingdom’
Section 3 – Divine Perspective Prophecies Looking at prophecy spoken over the ministry of St John’s and spoken into the church that is held before God for fulfilment. The following summary statements have been drawn together. Place of glory and peace Pressing into all that God has for us Healing and wholeness for thousands Release of new things of God Significance and impact beyond what we can see Beach head for move of the Spirit
Significant Influences Looking at what strengths and gifts the ministry of particular leaders had brought to St John’s. 1950 –1969 Vision for renewed future – parish, premises & people – joy, exuberance & simplicity in worship, pastoral ministry 1970 – 1990 Charismatic renewal – St John’s, city and beyond. Significant church growth, prominent in wave of charismatic renewal 1991 – 2009 Pastoral and healing, consolidation, engagement with diocese and wider renewal movements Interregnum A picture was shared during a time of prayer during the Interregnum which was been significant in the appointment of the current Vicar and future direction of St John’s (this picture is included as appendix 1)
2010 – present Nigel & Annie di Castiglione joined St John’s in December 2010 bringing with them this vision: REVIVAL that goes beyond the weekend activities of organised church and triggers the transformation of society and culture around us. RESOURCING The vast majority of the St John’s family are called to carry this revival into the marketplace and community through the activities of the rest of the week. ‘Back at the ranch’ we need to be a resourcing body – so that those sent out day by day are equipped for God’s work 24/7. RELEASING Recognising the relative strength we have as a local church and allied to the manifest needs of a far wider geographical spread, we must move quickly into releasing people to carry what they get here, into many and various places. Recent
Other speakers and visitors have sensed the significance of St John’s: Bob Dunnett – ‘St John’s will have great and significant spiritual influence’. Graham Hopkinson – ‘strong sense of ‘there is more’, we are OK as we are but we need to change’.
Section 4 – Culture Current Cultural Strengths The team reviewed what we were already known for, what are our strengths and what are the cultures that have become established in our ministry. Expectation of the supernatural Teaching Pursuing God in worship Caring and honouring Generosity
Current Values and Beliefs We identified our core values and beliefs in the following 7 statements; we believe that Jesus, working through the local church is the hope of the world. Confidence in Biblical authority Knowing & serving God in the power of the Holy Spirit Worshipping God is at our heart Healing and wholeness for all Giving and generosity Recognition that everyone can hear God Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus
Desired Cultures What are the hallmarks of behaviour that St Johnâ€™s should aspire to? What are the cultures that we most want to have? Salvation Goodness of God Prophetic Presence of God Honouring one another Risk taking obedience These 6 hallmarks are an expression of our inward attitude and outward focus in reaching and serving the communities we are called to. They are explained in more detail further on in this section. The team felt strongly that when these cultures were established and working together it would reflect Jesus and His Kingdom at the centre and thereby establish a setting where revival may flourish as shown in diagram below.
Diagram Jesus and His Kingdom 1
Culture of the Goodness of God Culture of the Prophetic
Culture of Risk Taking Obedience Jesus & His Kingdom
Culture of the Presence of God
Culture of honouring one another Culture of Salvation
Table – Jesus and His Kingdom 2 Goodness of God
Honouring one another
Exhibits morality, purity & positivity Brings benefits to all people Loving – seeking the best for others Generous Goodness of God contrasts with evil. God is always positive, Satan is always negative Life giving, fun, holistic, called not driven Recognition & understanding of suffering (Romans 8) An invitation for all to take part
Honouring, valuing, caring, nurturing, recognising differences & blessing them Proactivity of valuing a person and actively looking at our prejudices at the same time ‘Calling out the gold in people’ – includes refinement and removal of the dross Identifying gifts and seeing them used Our greatest strengths can be our point of weakness. Dealing with weakness and fault in an environment of trust and love Does not write people off because of sin
Risk taking obedience
Called to action – picture of St John’s as aircraft carrier not cruise ship. This recognises that we will always need provision for healing, refreshment & restoration. Ephesians 6 – we are equipped & protected as we move forward. Tenacious Permission to fail and try again Honoured and valued for trying Challenge to take us out of our comfort zones
Coming to faith, growing in faith, healing, deliverance, freedom (restoring all that the enemy has taken)
Presence of God
Transformation – don’t go out the same as you came in Brings clarity of thinking Captivating – always drawn back
Strengthening & encouraging God’s word for today Confronting the social, ethical & political values of the world around us Identity, destiny, direction & leading
His presence brings excitement, stillness, silence & celebration Hunger & passion for prayer ‘There must be more’ – a dissatisfaction with what we have Signs that make you wonder
Hearing God’s voice personally All held in God’s perfect peace Being involved in the ‘big project’
Hearing God speak Calling that which is not as if it were Prophetic action – declaration & activation in the body
Revival – what might it look like? (cf Acts 2) People being saved ’added to their number daily’ Radical repentance, sincerity, devotion Signs that make you wonder
Everybody involved with ministry Enjoying the favour of all God’s people Presence of God outside the church – church without walls Sending out workers Can’t miss it
Unprecedented outpouring of God’s spirit Always an environment of prayer and intercession Contagious gospel Intimacy with God
Section 5 – Vision Statement From the discussions so far shared in this document the team arrived at the following vision statement. The vision statement serves the mission statement.
Vision Statement Imagine… Imagine… a place where God is worshipped, his presence encountered and his goodness experienced Imagine… a family that supports, encourages and strengthens each other to achieve their potential and maturity in Christ Imagine…the community of Harborne, of Birmingham and of the world beyond transformed by the presence and power of Jesus we are working with God to make it happen
Section 6 – Revelation The team spent time with God together and individually; they shared Communion; they asked Him to speak and bring revelation into this process. The following key themes were indentified: Freedom and restoration for all – Isaiah 61 ‘Father Heart’ ministry is key Expectation – God’s plans are much bigger than we are anticipating Being prepared to meet with God’s presence: the importance of place, people and environment New life is on the way The January 2012 ‘Call to Pray’ revealed the following common themes: Our heritage: This is important for the purposes of moving forward, looking at what God has said to us corporately and individually. However, there was an underlying warning of not returning to some things of the past. Our relationship with God: Most of all God is asking us to seek Him, for each us to have a serious look at our relationship with Him both personally, and corporately. He wants to break in and bless us, and have a truly deep relationship with us; he wants us to be wholehearted and sacrificial in seeking Him. God wants us to experience freedom in worship of Him and in our relationships with each other, in ways that we haven’t experienced so far. Our encounter with the Holy Spirit: There were two occurrences of a picture of a rock splitting and our task being to see it opened up – one picture revealed honey flowing from the centre. The Holy Spirit wants to open us up, to take us beyond our comfort zones in so many areas of our life; but to do this together, working in unity. 
Our encounter with one another: God wants us to open up and be vulnerable before one another. We need to be prepared to let go of things, personally and corporately, allowing God to purify and refine us in all our relationships, submitting them to Him, digging out all that is not godly in our lives and relationships, determinedly, right down to the roots. Our outreach and evangelism: God is going to do some amazing things in us and out from us, influencing the community, reaching out into the community. God wants to light a holy fire in St John’s. He wants us to be a beacon of light in our spiritually poor community. We will have the effect of a great river flowing out, soaking parched ground all around, affecting and watering areas near and far for good and God’s glory. Our church building: God is saying much about reaching out into the community; it would seem that our building is not necessarily the most suitable. Physical appearance and a sense of openess is important when creating welcome to those who do not attend St John’s or church.
Section 7 – Change and Increase Kingdom ministry will always be about change and growth
The Plan for Practical Development In this section the team looked at the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats to St John’s Church. Strengths – something you build on, put energies into, maximise your advantage. Weaknesses – are areas of ministry that you can do something about, need to strengthen. Not life threatening, something can be done about it relatively easily, but does need action. Opportunities – what are the opportunies on our doorstep, what have we talked about/identified but done nothing about? It’s about looking to see where there is opportunity for advancement and increase. Threats – they will take you out of the game if you don’t do something about them. The team identified the following areas as priority: Communications Inspiring and equipping for transformation Buildings and physical environment 0 21’s – reaching & discipling the next generation Evangelism & mission in the local community Evangelism & mission in the city (including Living Stones) Evangelism & mission nationally & internationally (including Living Stones)
Section 8 – Leadership Leadership is key in any strategy for change and moving forward. The scope of leadership will include clergy, staff and laity. The process of identifying leaders will look at the following giftings and qualities in people. This is particularly important when identifying leaders involved in developing the cultures (see section 9). It is crucial that they have caught the vision and demonstrate the following qualities: Influence People who have a natural ability to influence people and groups of people. They may not be in positions of leadership, they may be unaware that they carry this ability. They are people of wisdom who create an environment of trust and respect around them. Character Influence without the right Christian character traits is a dangerous and potentially destructive combination. Qualities of honesty, integrity, humility, teachability and a mature Christian walk are essential for those identified for leadership at whatever level in the church. People skills The ability and sensitivity to take on board the thoughts and feelings of others. The ability to listen and discern the ideas of others – a heart wanting to listen first and speak second. An ability to relate to a wide range of people and personalities rather than just their ‘own sort’. Initiators People who will get things moving. People who have energy that will energise others. Competence The natural ability or potential ability for the role. Good common sense and the ability to think clearly. Godly leadership is a key quality in bringing about change and implementing this strategy. People can be leaders and exercise leadership whether in a formal position or not. We will seek to identify, empower and resource all those who have a leadership role.
Section 9 – Moving Forward Strategic Plans and Timelines In the light of what has been identified in the process so far the strategic direction for the next 5 years will have two paths running in parallel with each other. One path will focus on ‘Developing our Desired Cultures’ and the other will be in the form of a ‘Plan for Practical Development’ (see Section 7). An annual timetable of planning and review will be followed as detailed later in this section.
Developing our Desired Cultures Our cultures are (see Section 4): Salvation Goodness of God Prophetic Presence of God Honouring one another Risk taking obedience 
We will plan to encourage, develop and reflect these values throughout the life of St John’s. In order that these cultures become identified with St John’s they will need to become personal and real to individual members of the congregation – of all ages. Over the next few months ministry leaders will be asked to prayerfully consider and identify objectives that will establish and develop the six cultures. These objectives will be divided between short term and long term. The short term objectives will then be transferred into an ‘Annual Plan’ which will be monitored and evaluated to ensure that a cohesive strategy is delivered to develop these cultures. Some examples of what the development of desired cultures might look like are set out in the next table. A Plan for Developing Our Desired Cultures Desired Ministry Objective Culture area – example* Salvation Goodness of God
Outreach 0 – 21’s Prayer ministry
Regular guest & seeker friendly services/events Peer to peer evangelism encouraged & modelled Every ministry encounter should leave each person feeling listened to, their needs recognised, loved and cared for, and having met the excellence of God’s goodness
All attending or visiting St John’s should feel welcome, secure and respected for who they are. Every endeavour should be made to welcome people, whilst respecting those who wish to remain anonymous
Training for those involved in evangelism in giving and receiving prophetic pictures and words from God 0 21’s Develop regular opportunities to listen to God, and then act upon His perceived word. To pursue practical and non verbal prophetic actions (e.g. litter pick), so that their understanding of what is, and can be prophetic is broadened Presence of Worship Worship team commitment to the ‘passionate pursuit of the presence of God’ God Outreach Develop events and teaching/training on ‘power evangelism’ Honouring 0 – 21’s Leaders trained and equipped to ensure that every child/youth is seen, heard and one another known within our Children’s and Youth ministry Admin Develop culture of support and help among the staff team. Extend this honour to all services those who are accessing admin services and support Risk taking Discipleship Develop and sign post teaching materials that challenge stepping out in faith obedience Preaching Challenge to listen to God’s voice and step out in obedience *this is not a complete list of ministry areas
Practical Development Running in parallel with the Developing Our Desired Cultures will be the plan for Practical Development. This will ensure a forward momentum in ministry whilst the development and establishing of cultures will change and strengthen the character of our ministry. The plan for practical development is set out in the following table:
A Plan for Practical Development Priority Area Short term objective Communications
Inspiring & equipping for transformation
Buildings & physical environment
0 21’s – reaching & discipling the next generation
Evangelism & mission in the local community Note: our primary local community is Harborne, however
Long term objective
We have already: started mid week updates & regular ‘C Group’ bulletins We will: carry out a communications survey in May introduce group email software set protocols to control numbers of emails sent out release St John’s ‘app’ by end of 2012 continue development of web content ensure communication & information is accessible for all We have already: developed the Freedom course & will introduce Father Heart module next term We will: preach & teach on the desired cultures from platform & through small groups
We have/are already: establised a project group visiting similar churches that have undertaken significant projects We will: complete functional report of buildings requirement complete exploring development options in the parish We have already: actioned setting up a schools outreach team begun to integrate our youth & children’s department We will: invest in & recruit new leaders for 3 – 10 year olds
We have already: started planning a new parish visiting programme begun exploring missional small groups
We will: embody the cultural values aim to communicate effectively & appropriately through a variety of means (including paper). ensure our communications are ‘2 way’ (receive constructive feedback, listen & hear)
We will: invest in & develop a School of Ministry plant churches in partnership with the Diocese of Birmingham develop The Prayer & Healing Centre based at The Crossway developing vehicles & resources to support the wider church invest in small group leaders because they are central to transformation as they embrace and live out the cultural values of St John’s We will aim to have: a building that is fit for purpose, reflects our values internally and externally buildings that will effectively resource ministry with 0 – 21’s
We will: from earliest possible age encourage children into living faith, an understanding & experience of the Holy Spirit, & a knowledge of their identity in Christ have a mentoring programme for 11 – 21’s, a strategy to develop young people into leaders services accessible for unchurched families We will: encourage the majority of our small groups to have a specific missional objective/aim this may be geographical, special interest, intercessional etc.
we recognise that we serve other communities as a ‘gathered’ church
Evangelism & mission in the city (including Living Stones)
Evangelism & mission nationally & internationally (including Living Stones)
listen to our community and invest in ministry strands appropriately run life stage/skill courses (e.g. parenting, bereavement, retirement) & ensure that we connect & develop relationship to enable them to be drawn closer to God aim to be known in the community as a place of healing and help (Prayer and Healing Centre based in The Crossway)
increase the number of church families that serve at Toddlers run more ‘Seeker Friendly’ services use recognised festivals as evangelistic opportunities grow confidence for established church family to pray for healing outside of the church community We will:
plant churches in partnership with the Diocese of Birmingham work in partnership to support the ministry of the C of E in the city identify 2 or 3 interdenominational initiatives (e.g. City Pastors) where, in partnership, we can make an effective contribution
continue to support our LS mission partners actively encourage people into Christian ministry support & develop opportunities for cross cultural mission e.g. International Students continue to support Christians to be missional in the workplace We will: continue to support our LS mission partners actively encourage people into Christian ministry
develop an active international mission focus (e.g. partnering with a church overseas) that will involve the whole church
Timeline & Communication Month or event
APCM 2012 May – July July September January APCM 2013
Launch of ‘Mission, Vision & Strategic Plan’ Development of detailed Annual Objective Plan Financial implications drawn into annual budgeting process Presentation of Annual Plan Update Report & review
Section 10 – Next Steps As we have said in the introductory section, we believe and trust that this process has been inspired by God. You may have questions, points for clarification or observations you would like to share. You may just want to say ‘yes I’m on board’. We have included a response form at the end which we would like you to complete and return to Steve Foster by Monday 21st May.
Appendix 1 During the Interregnum the ILT prayer group considered the following ‘picture’ that Gill McIlwaine had received some weeks ago. We were very encouraged by this and wanted to share it widely within the church community both as an encouragement and to further guide our prayers. The ‘Picture’ The following began to form in my mind as we were praying for the Interregnum at Engage I had a picture of a coach traveling along an open road. It was well filled with passengers but, to the consternation of bystanders looking on, appeared to have no one in the driving seat. No one was in the seat of the co driver either, just the road map and a torch. The passengers, however, seemed content with the situation, simply keeping their eyes focused on the road ahead of them, with occasional glances behind them, to enjoy the view of where they had been before on their journey, and to each side to notice their current surroundings. The vehicle approached a lay by. ‘Surely,’ the bystanders remarked, one of the passengers will take the wheel and steer them into safety to wait in peace until the emergency services arrive with the driver to take them on.’ But no, the coach carried on, the passengers talking happily, singing from time to time and gazing fixedly at the road ahead of them. They came to a rough patch of road, the surface broken up with deep pot holes and lumps of tarmac strewn around. The bystanders expected disaster: burst tyres, steering damage, suspension problems. The coach would never be able to continue. But no. It wound its way carefully and safely to the place where the road was again smooth. Next it came up to a roundabout with many exit roads : one to the seaside, one up a mountain, one to a luxurious hotel, one clearly to a dead end, and one unmarked going straight ahead. The bystanders anticipated chaos, with the passengers breaking up into opposing factions with angry words and raised fists. Without hesitation, the coach went on to the unmarked road, the passengers still chatting amicably and occasionally bursting into song. In time they noticed a lone walker by the side of road. He hailed them. ‘Surely they’re not going to pick up a hitch hiker. So dangerous.’ The coach slowed down and the walker climbed into the co driver’s seat and received the map and the torch, handed to him by the invisible driver who had been there throughout the journey in full control of the vehicle. To the astonishment of the bystanders and the delight of the passengers the new passenger clearly knew the invisible driver well and was obviously anticipating meeting them also with joy. Commentary The leadership prayer group reflected on this picture and was very encouraged at the image of safety, unity and purpose in the hands of the invisible driver whom we took to be the Lord. We were particularly struck by the image of the roundabout which we took to stand for the possible ways that the church could seek to go. Some of these possible ways suggest comfort, prominence and pleasure but we were struck that the coach went on the unmarked road which was straight ahead (i.e. a continuation of the way already being travelled). It was on this road that there was an encounter with someone going in the same direction and who knew the invisible driver well. We thought that person represented a new vicar. Our prayerful discussion continued by considering the nature of the unmarked road. We concluded that the road ‘is as much of God as we can get’ and we felt that this needed to be expressed and sought now within the community. Accordingly, we invite every member of the St John’s community to join with us as we pray … ... that God would supernaturally ‘break in’ to the life of the church in new and possibly unexpected ways that would then flow out of St John’s into the wider church and also into the life of the community. …that we would each desire ‘as much of God as we can get’ more than settling for the status quo, comfort, prominence or pleasure in our church. …that in our hunger for God we recognise our own barrenness and the desperate needs of the world around us.
Re esponse e Pleaase return by 21st May M to Stteve Fosterr in the Church C Offfice or em mail him at stevvefoster@stjohns church h.co.uk
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Published on Apr 29, 2012