Dream - update Nov11

Tuesday, 29 November, 2011

Dream came into being when a group of young adults in the North West began to 'experiment' with worship and discuss what church might look like for their peers. Richard White, pioneer minister of Dream and now Canon for Mission and Evangelism at Liverpool Cathedral, charts its most recent development to go Deeper.

This year we identified a growing need for more specifically adult-oriented teaching and discipleship to encourage those being nurtured in their faith and potential new leaders. This came about through the growth of zone 2 – the informal worship zone which runs alongside the cathedral's traditional Sunday morning choral service.

Zone 2 was planted in March 2011 with a team of nine adults and seven children who were already committed members of the cathedral and/or Dream - as well as a further three adults who were connecting with Dream but were otherwise un-churched or de-churched. This has grown in the first five months to a regular congregation of between 40 and 60 people across the age spectrum.

Roughly half of those were previously either fringe members or not church goers. We are committed to zone 2 being regarded as fully 'church' but this commitment highlights the importance of providing teaching and discipleship to the adults now coming along on a regular basis.

As a result we have reshaped the monthly Sunday evening Dream service at the cathedral to take much more of a teaching and discussion focus. Now known as 'Deeper', the teaching, worship and discussion dovetail with small groups which meet during the alternating weeks for further discussion, support and prayer. This 'pastorate' model has been very effective elsewhere and will, we believe, become an effective base for practical discipleship teaching and leadership development.

Our recent experience of specific pioneer initiatives at the cathedral gives us confidence that there is tremendous potential here to enable new models of church planting that are more achievable and more sustainable than has often been experienced, particularly in parishes with few resources of their own. We believe that the model we are developing - when combined with an online library of effective and high quality resources - gives this an interest and applicability well beyond the Diocese.

Archbishop Rowan has championed a 'mixed economy' where traditional churches and fresh expressions work alongside each other in mission. Our experience is increasingly that there is indeed significant mission potential in this mixed economy approach.

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