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Re-imagining Rural Church

Values

Relationship

  • We believe that, in Jesus, God is revealed locally, and that we should be committed to our local community or relational network and active members of it.
  • We believe that the gospel works through relationships and that serving God consists largely in building life-giving relationships with others.
  • We recognise that Christian faith is a journey and we are committed to helping people move forward, wherever they are at present.
  • We focus on under-churched groups and communities and want to reach out to neglected people, trying to find ways of communicating Jesus appropriately to those who are isolated, condemned or abused.
  • We challenge consumerist attitudes to churchgoing and encourage Christians who live in rural areas to engage in mission and service in their rural communities.
  • We believe in doing things with and not just for communities, sharing our lives with others and learning from others who share their lives with us.
  • We see teamwork, networking and mutual accountability as vital, recognising that individuals and churches need each other.

Creativity

  • We recognise the importance of taking risks and the demands of mission in rural areas, and we believe that it is acceptable to fail.
  • We value courage, creativity and diversity as we try to discover relevant ways of being church in different contexts.
  • We believe that questions and theological reflection are important as we learn together and so discern the way forward.
  • We aim to be catalysts, encouraging and releasing creativity in both church and community as we seek and share God in rural areas.
  • We believe in discouraging dependency and developing indigenous leadership within maturing churches that will have the capacity to sustain and reproduce themselves.
  • We are excited that God can be discovered in the heart of the countryside and commit ourselves to explore various forms of prayer and worship that are appropriate here.
  • We realise that God’s Spirit blows freely and so we will not assume our work should continue indefinitely.

Humility

  • We acknowledge our dependence on God and affirm our continual need of prayer and God’s empowering Spirit.
  • We believe that all people are loved by God, regardless of age, gender, education, class, ethnicity, sexuality or physical/mental health and that God works through all believers – and others besides.
  • We respect others working alongside us in rural areas and are grateful for the foundations laid by the many who have gone before us.
  • We want to learn from others, seeking to shape what we do in light of the experiences, discoveries, successes and mistakes of fellow-workers.
  • We are careful not to drain other local churches of their often limited resources, but hope to be an encouragement and support to them.
  • We realise the importance of living uncluttered lives, holding possessions lightly and recognising that all we have is to be at God’s disposal.
  • We know we are not indispensable and what we attempt to do is part of a much bigger picture, so will try to keep ourselves in perspective.