Our mission statement is “Building and growing for the glory of God and the good of the community”. We want to keep God central to everything we do.
To help us achieve this, in early 2006 St John’s began some in-depth soul searching as to our impact in and on the community that surrounds us. We embarked on Tear Fund‘s Church, Community and Change programme, which helped us to focus on our strengths, recognise our weaknesses and listen to our community.
By the end of 2007 it was agreed by the whole church that “families with young children” was the area into which we thought God was leading us. St. John’s already had a weekly toddler group that had been running for 30 years, but it was felt that we should extend this to twice weekly. Thus, in 2008 Heart for Family was launched, offering twice weekly toddler groups with a warm welcome and loving support to all. The parents and carers who bring their children know who we represent and are very open to and appreciative of our love and prayer. We offer invitations to special family services and encouragement for baptisms.
Another important ongoing result of this has been a stronger unity, a clearer sense of purpose and a deepening of our concern for and general involvement in our community.
We began to open our Church Hall to community groups such as the Zacchaeus street church and the Contact Centre and to build links with those groups, developing relationships and working together for church events. We put a lot of effort into our special family services, encouraging the participation of uniformed groups, and we are beginning to get to know the children and families who attend.
Our vision for the next 5-10 years is to build on these relationships, broadening our ministry to encompass families as a whole through ongoing social and seasonal events. We are also beginning to explore the possibility of fresh expressions of church.