How a special initiative is injecting new life and vision into churches
Forecasts call for gloom and doom on the UK Church front. However, the team behind the increasingly popular Leading Your Church into Growth (LYCIG) is seeing signs of hope.
Now in its 16th year, LYCIG is designed for clergy and lay leaders from across traditions and denominations who are looking to inject fresh life and vision into their congregations and communities.
“We focus both on numerical growth and growth of spirituality, unity, worship and love,” says Robin Gamble, part of the leadership team.
Proving that those who “can do” often teach, LYCIG’s leadership team consists of a vibrant, diverse group – clergy, missionaries, evangelists, liturgists – who have all at some stage helped their church experience noticeable growth.
“As a team we’re drawn from a broad range of church backgrounds and social settings,” says Robin, who helped a Bradford church grow from 30 to 300 people. “We’re able to draw on our experiences and be honest about challenges church leaders face today.”
In addition to its leaders, the course is also known for its lively, interactive format and relevant seminars and workshops, such as evangelism in a post-modern culture, leading a positive team, becoming a mission-focused church, and preparing church people for evangelism.
The emphasis on encouraging churches in mission and evangelism motivated a new partnership between LYCIG and CMS. LYCIG’s goals fit hand-in-glove with CMS’s aim to equip people for sharing Jesus, and seeing lives changed, both in UK communities and overseas.
LYCIG’s distinctive strategy involves both fresh expressions of church and revitalising inherited models. “It really is a course for everyone,” Robin says.
As one church leader said: “I’ve been to many conferences … but never before to one where there were things worth taking away from every session.
“Of course, with anything this good there’s that ‘reality moment’ when you get home and wonder if any of it will actually work for you in your context. But the leaders’ testimonies, which told of how they faced joys and challenges and lived what they now teach, provide encouragement to try it and see.
“LYCIG is as valuable for the experiences shared and contacts made as for the content taught. I’d recommend it to anybody.”
So far three dioceses have analysed the patterns of their churches that have been part of LYCIG and have seen growth (numerically and spiritually) in all. So recent statistics on church life and growth in the UK may be daunting; evidently they are only part of the story.
Find out more at www.leadingyourchurchintogrowth.org.uk
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