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Churches with a Vision for the Future: A profile of the Baptist Union of Victoria

Cronshaw, Darren J.; Powell, Ruth; Hancock, Nicole; Sterland, Sam and Wilson, Stacey (2014) Churches with a Vision for the Future: A profile of the Baptist Union of Victoria. Australian eJournal of Theology, 21 (1). pp. 63-81. ISSN 1448 – 6326

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Abstract

Having a vision for the future is an important barometer of church health and vitality. Drawing from analysis of the Australian National Church Life Survey (NCLS) 2011 data of Victorian Baptists (8330 adult attenders across 79 churches) and a small set of follow-up interviews it is clear that while there are high levels of commitment to the idea of vision, at both a leadership and membership level, it can be hard to help attenders capture and own a vision. The data has demonstrated a strong association between churches with a clear vision for the future and numerical growth, a strong sense of belonging and innovation. Church leaders reinforce this, stating that a well-defined vision gives a clear sense of direction and facilitates decision-making and resource allocation. To be most effective a church’s vision should be mission focused, engage the skills and gifts of the membership and be accessible to the whole group. A vision should be discerned in a context of trust, acceptance, humility and patience. The ongoing examination and evaluation of the outworkings of a church’s vision enables churches to move forward with confidence and purpose. Finding the balance between innovation and realism, planning and action can be challenging but ultimately very powerful.

Item Type: Published Articles
Repository Version: Published Version
Keywords: Baptist church, vision, church growth, practical theology, NCLS
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220405 Religion and Society
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950404 Religion and Society
Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
Subjects: D - Ecumenical Studies
Ministry Studies
D - Missiology
College/Association with University of Divinity: Whitley College
Depositing User: Rev Prof Darren John Cronshaw
Date Deposited: 12 May 2014 00:47
Last Modified: 12 May 2014 00:47
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1451

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