Over at Phil’s Treehouse, Phil Ritchie is asking questions about the strap-lines that several CofE dioceses have adopted to proclaim their mission statements: Missionary Diocese of…, Going for Growth etc. I think he raises important questions about these, not least the issue about giving a hostage to the future. So many of these things seem like a good idea at the time, only to look rather naff a few years down the line.
However, one question I think the dioceses ought to ask seriously before adopting these statements is to whom such straplines are directed. Is it to remind those who are currently members what they are about? Or is it to say something to those currently outside the fold?
I rather suspect that many of them are the former. Who currently outside or s phere of influence really wants to know that Wakefield diocese is missionary, or that Lichfield is going for growth? In many ways I suspect these could be rather off-putting, making the outsider or casual visitorfeel like they are perceived as evangelism fodder, one element of the vision for “growth”.
For those of us who are already members of the CofE there are plenty of other ways in which the internal message could be put across. And it will take more than such strap-lines across every diocesan publication to change the culture of a diocese and the national church as a whole.
So let’s see something more empathetic and imaginative, that tells others what we are about. How about “Good news to the poor”? Or would that be just TOO radical?