Mission and Discipleship: a review of 2015

Going for Growth Summer School
About 60 people attended the Going for Growth Summer School in June

How can you help people connect with "church" when that word itself is a turn-off? Connections need to be made and people need to be met where they are in ways that engage their interest.

In June our first Fresh Expressions Summer School brought together people for across Scotland to share experience of new ways of doing church which are emerging throughout the UK alongside traditional forms. People spoke afterwards of the unique way the school moved from being simply a conference to a shared encounter. We look forward to a second one in 2016.

Too easily people can be labelled and marginalised because of their learning disability, but in the right environment they often have much to give and teach. Our Community of Belonging day conference supported by the Moderator, opened people's eyes to new ways of creating the space that allowed people to share stories and experience.

One of the highlights of a lively National Youth Assembly was when Gordon Brown inspired them to see the importance of education for all. Events like these in 2015 create energy, share knowledge and motivate people to make things happen

Working with Saint Andrew Press our focussed publication programme has been well received. We were thrilled that "Learn: Eldership", as well as proving a popular and useful resource, was nominated for two design awards. It has been followed to by two other publications on "Learn: Exploring Faith" and "How will our children find faith?" and a study guide "Mission and Older People".

Worship matters to churches and we are listening as people share their highs and lows. Online we have produced both weekly resources and also special resources such as for the current refugee crisis. A new development has been the use of the Church of Scotland Facebook page for daily reflections. Meanwhile the prayer resource "Living Stones" launched at the General Assembly, has been used in a wide variety of contexts.

Research allows us to plan strategically. We have extended our research into Churchless Faith or the Invisible Church and a book will be launched next year. This has stimulated considerable discussion. At the same time we have been listening to rural churches on the demands and opportunities they face so we can address their needs.

Whether by events, publications, research or the use of the web we continue to play our part in shaping a fruitful church for the future