Growing the future of the Uniting Church through Seeds of Growth
God is at work in the Uniting Church. And through Seeds of Growth, your congregation is helping to support this work.
Over the last twelve months, Synod staff have been working with presbyteries to assist local congregations that are doing great work connecting with their communities. Some of these churches are already experiencing growth. These churches are in small rural towns, large rural population centres, suburban settings in cities, culturally and linguistically diverse congregations, and in the inner-city.
In short, good things – God things – are happening in all sorts of places.
Some years ago, the Synod introduced a new approach to shared stewardship called Seeds of Growth. This program replaced Living is Giving, which was supported by less than two thirds of congregations. Seeds of Growth involves all congregations and presbyteries contributing funds to the Synod for shared services that support the whole Church.
Last year, combined Seeds of Growth contributions were approximately $1.3 million.
So what does the Synod do with all that money? Up until now, these funds have been used to support important ministry and administrative services provided by the Synod to the Church.
That arrangement is changing because the 2021 Synod meeting discerned that God is calling us to become a contemporary, courageous, growing Church proclaiming Jesus Christ in worship, witness and service. This is the vision statement from the Future Directions which will guide the Synod into the future.
Supported by earnings from the Synod Growth Fund, Seeds of Growth enables the Future Directions to come to life through its resourcing framework.
As of this year, 100 percent of Seeds of Growth contributions will be redistributed to Congregational projects and ministry opportunities to enable the Future Directions. This work is supported by a new Growth Investment Committee set up with a charter focused on working with presbyteries to respond to the Future Directions, supporting congregations in all sorts of contexts to reorganise for growth.
What will that look like? The Future Directions vision of a contemporary, courageous, growing Church proclaiming Jesus Christ, is supported by three growth goals:
- Activate: We will lead large, healthy, younger congregations;
- Transform: We will engage with the community in transformative ways;
- Amplify: We will amplify our influence by being a leading and respected voice on public issues.
The Synod also re-affirmed five previous decisions as included within the Future Directions vision of being a contemporary, courageous, growing Church proclaiming Jesus Christ. These were commitments to ministry and mission with First Nations, in Rural and Regional settings, with those in their First Third of life, Environmental Stewardship, and reorganising for Growth in and through congregations.
Seeds of Growth is an opportunity for congregations and presbyteries to support contemporary, courageous, growing congregational projects in a wide range of settings. If you would like to find out more about Seeds of Growth visit the website.
There are many opportunities to get more involved or learn more.
For more information about Growth and Innovation, or to get more involved, contact us at email@example.com.
Dr Glen Powell, Executive Director Uniting Mission and Education