As part of a current project to shape the church in a new housing estate I was reflecting on the tasks facing the person who starts up the work in a new housing area. This is the ‘simple’ job description I came up with:
- Welcome and orientation of new residents in the area and networking across churches and community groups (pastoral)
- Lead/plan a coherent church response to changes in the area, working with parishes and deaneries (apostolic)
- Explain (and model) the distinctly Christian perspective on community – with stakeholders, with developers, with local authorities and local community leaders (teaching)
- Identify needs/promote action in the area, especially in the poorest and weakest parts of the local area (prophetic)
- Fan the flame of faith and mission inside and outside church (evangelistic)
Underpinning all these activities are the essential skills of administration and leadership, without which the work will lack coherence at best and descend into chaos at worst, with an associated waste of resources that most churches can’t afford.
And it’s worth noticing that this combination of roles are nothing new: it’s a job description that every priest in the Church of England (and any other denomination) should be able to fulfil.