3. Encouraging each other

The people of Braunstone, like many other areas of our cities, have been told for generations that they aren’t up to much. “You live in Braunstone, therefore you must be thick!” goes the tag. This simply isn’t true. And it’s wonderful to see a person, or a whole group, discover that they can do something new and do it well…

Learning is key to empowering. We found ourselves with able people who needed to grow in their faith through more training, but for whom the “normal” training courses would not have been suitable. So, over several years, we formed a team with colleagues in other parishes and the Diocese, and developed a course called “Discovery” which has a new approach. Instead of starting where people are weak and will feel inferior (like book learning) Discovery starts where people are strong, by sharing their experience of life. Then the new learning is building on strength that’s already there, and confidence grows as well as understanding. The diocese now runs Discovery, but St Peter’s pioneered it!

Now we’re looking for ways to help our people grow further. Each autumn we invite newer worshippers to a Christian Basics course. Two church members are running a small group every fortnight in someone’s home, studying the Bible and praying together. We send people on training courses run by the wider church. And we’re working on ways to empower our children, to learn and grow, and to get more involved in worship and activities. (This is taking time – we’re not there yet…)

When the PCC discusses in depth round an issue there is a training element, as we find ways to help the quieter ones be more confident to express their thoughts (and the more talkative ones to be quiet and allow them to speak!). We want to encourage newer church members to get involved, instead of feeling they have to leave it all to those who’ve been around for ages. And we’re beginning to learn how to handle disagreement in a constructive way, as we discuss issues that divide us and seek a consensus, based on our shared concern for God’s mission.

Top of the page