Planting Congregations
Editor's Note
January 2020 is the perfect time to consider where we are headed as a diocese, within our churches, and as missional believers. Our Communique is intended for both laity and clergy, and its content is presented so that our diocesan mission statement is clear, thus keeping our vision always in front of us.

Yes, we are called to plant churches, strengthen parishes, and raise up leaders, but the intention behind these is to be missional. There is no church without passing on the faith. We cannot solely plant churches, but we must plant missional churches; we should not raise up leaders unless they are missional; and we will not strengthen existing ministries unless they are reaching the lost, or reaching those who will then reach the lost.

What you will find in this issue is an attempt to keep our vision clear. You will read testimonies of a missional church planter; an exhortation to follow the Lord’s leading in passing on the faith; an update on diocesan efforts to strengthen our missional ministries; and upcoming opportunities to train and deploy missional leaders. Praise the Lord for the work he has done, is doing, and will do in our diocese and through you!
Planting Congregations
Vision has obviously become a buzzword of late, and as a concept has hopped from the business sector to nonprofits, and now into the ecclesial world. The power of a shared vision is simple- it helps set goals and guides our decisions in ways that are corporately understood and desired. Vision can guard us against the caprice of autocracy as well as the rule of mob by giving us something to aim for and check our progress against. It can be an incredibly useful tool.

Setting vision, as a congregation, is an exercise both in communication and in hope. It’s coming together, with common language, to describe a common ‘preferred future.’ In a corporate vision we say, “this is what we want; this is what we mean.” The challenge becomes how we are to establish common language and common hopes in our people. As a church planter joining a team already in-progress, one of my first goals for this year is to begin moving us onto the same page. I had a team of 12 adults on the ground, with at least 15 different visions of success as a church. How could we come to share a preferred future, with a common vocabulary and a common hope?

Strengthening Churches
In 2019 my focus as Canon for Congregation Health was on working more directly with congregations in need of revitalization as well as providing coaching for clergy in those congregations. As the Deans or churches on their own identify that they are in maintenance or decline I was and will remain available to provide consultation and resources and in order to help each congregation become healthy and better impact their community with God’s Kingdom. I visited and/or consulted with 9 churches in 2019.

Recently, each church’s leadership took the Life Cycle Assessment to identify if the church is in incline, recline (plateau), or decline. In 2020 we will work with the Deans to provide specific help to churches depending on where they are on the Life Cycle:

Recently, our own Rev. Bill Hesse, Retired USMC and Chaplain of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, was recognized by First Coast News for the good work he has done, and is doing, to honor our veterans after they enter hospice. It is a moving tribute and powerful ministry, for which we are grateful.

Raising Leaders
#1: Vision

Wait For It ...

Vision. We want it. We need it. In a way, the God of the Bible promises it. God declares, "I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose . . .’" (Isaiah 46:9b-10).  The whole biblical story begins with a promise that the enemy will be defeated at the end . . . the serpent's head will be crushed.

Honestly, though, God also seems to keep people in the dark a lot. 

Looking Ahead
This Saturday, Jan 25, 2020
Join us for a training for anyone in ministry who hopes to understand and reach teens dealing with the anxiety and depression the culture around them brings.  
Feb 28-29, 2020
Join other youth leaders at the Flagler College Youth Ministry Forum featuring speakers and worship leaders from multiple denominations, seminaries, and youth ministry communities to share the best they’ve got!
Feb 29, 2020
This conference is for those wanting a deeper awareness of how lust affects our culture and the church; those who strive to help the church and those struggling with lust (including themselves); those seeking to protect others; people looking for resources on this topic; and anyone needing information about workshops, therapy, and 12 step programs. Scholarships are available for youth ministers (and spouses) in our diocese (please email Tim Smith for information on scholarships).
March 6-8, 2020
Dynamos is a high school retreat that can play a vital role in strengthening a student’s faith so that they might be empowered to share it in every aspect of their life, including leading with an outward focus within their home community. Candidate registrations are available through the diocesan next gen website.
June 14-19, 2020
Students (7th-12th grade) live on the campus of Grace Anglican in Fleming Island, FL, and are sent out on local mission to a variety of approved locations (with leaders) to complete service projects, build relationships, and share their faith. In the evenings, students hear amazing talks, join together in worship, and bond with small groups. This ‘camp’ is built around worship, transformational ministry, service to community, and making disciples.
SYNOD 2020
November 6-7, 2020
Synod dates have just been released. Mark your calendars to join us November 6-7 with the Pre-Synod Clergy Conference beginning November 5th. Synod gives us a chance to come together to hear what is happening among our churches within our diocese, province, and even globally. More details to follow.
Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ is the light of the world: Grant that your people, illumined by your Word and Sacraments, may shine with the radiance of Christ’s glory, that he may be known, worshiped, and obeyed to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
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Rev. Dr. Jessica H. Jones Editor-in-Chief, Communique
Canon for Next Generation Discipleship
Gulf Atlantic Diocese of the ACNA
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