A selection of questions to choose from for Part One of the Conversations.

Ascend & Faith Nurture recently hosted a series of two-part conversations involving a wide variety of people from across the church to engage in creative thinking and preparation for the season ahead, asking questions about the new things emerging and encouraging agile thinking for complex season of transition.

These documents provide you with the framework used in those conversations, so that you can host similar conversations in your presbyteries, networks and congregations.

 Looking back

What have we lost?

  • What were we on the verge of discovering or accomplishing before the onset of the pandemic? What needs to move forward in different ways now?
  • What seemed important before that feels superfluous now?
  • What are we not doing that we used to? How do you feel about that? Will we continue them when we resume?

What did we assume?

  • What was undervalued before that may hold greater value now?
  • What used to “have to happen in person” before and no longer matters?

Looking forward

What can you see?

  • What is our greatest asset now?
  • What are the needs and missional opportunities emerging in our wider communities?
  • What motivates non-Church attenders to access on line worship? How do we maintain contact with them after this?
  • What relationships will we need to build on or strengthen in the months ahead? Where are new collaborations possible? How do we build capacity so our people do not overstretch?
  • What are we going to continue to do that we were not doing previously? Why? In the present form or adapted in some way?
  • How will we encourage curiosity – moving from surface to deep conversation, from online engagement to discipleship? Whose voice is not being heard?
  • Tod Bolsinger’s question ‘What could we be doing now that would help us become the best version of our community after the pandemic?’ What help might you need to get there?
  • What kind of leadership is emerging and what is needed? Michael Moynagh suggests we need a new kind of leadership, where ‘leaders are not “heroes”, but “hosts”, who give hospitality to fresh ideas and talents.’ How do you react to this? Do we need to retrain Church leadership?
  • Of the new opportunities which are emerging, what needs weeded out and what needs nurtured?
  • How are we going to help people cope with the loss which comes from another season of change?
  • What are the big theological questions for people?
  • What unique role might our congregation, network or presbytery play in local, national, and even global recovery? What long term changes in the bigger picture would we like to be part of bringing to fruition?

Looking in

How do we sustain for the next season?

  • Self-awareness. What is happening in me?  What do I need at this time?
  • Embracing uncertainty. Fear and anxiety, holding contradictions. How do I manage this?
  • Awareness of systems, patterns and connections. How do I work within the systems around me? Are they empowering or limiting? Where does change need to happen?
  • Taking adaptive action. Do I feel like I have permission to fail/experiment – where are the support systems?
  • How will we really listen to what is important when everything is clamouring for our immediate attention?
  • What does support need to look like in this next season?
  • Imagine you are two years on from now. What will your life be like? What will be present from the old and what from the new?