HOPEs Mission Heartbeat
25 January 2013
Building momentum towards a year of mission in word and action
Churches of all denominations and ministries around the country are working towards 2014 and a year of mission together, in words and action. The preparations have started already. HOPE – the national mission movement – has been invited by the UK’s churches and Christian ministries to be the catalyst bringing prayer and mission together to see our nation changed.
Heartbeat of mission
HOPE follows on from the success of Hope08 and encourages local churches to work together using a simple rhythm of mission, like a heartbeat through the year at key moments in the Christian calendar – Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Harvest – so evangelism and making disciples become part of the life of local congregations.
HOPE doesn’t tell churches what to do or how to do mission in their community. Instead HOPE offers a pattern for mission through the Christian calendar and has free resources for churches to use. Leaders of all the Christian denominations are backing HOPE, describing it as ‘a gift’ to the Church. It costs nothing to sign up and HOPE’s website and resource books point to the wide range of tried-and-tested ideas to help churches bring Jesus’ story alive in word and action in villages, towns and cities.
Roy Crowne, Hope’s Executive Director, says, ‘Momentum is already building towards a whole year of mission in 2014 when thousands of projects will be running to bless local communities as churches put their faith into action, living out God’s love, proclaiming the gospel in word and action, and doing it all in unity with other Christians.’
The hallmarks of HOPE are:
· Prayer – effective mission starts and ends with prayer
· Together – churches and ministries, from all traditions, working together for the purpose of mission
· Action – local churches building community, blessing their villages, towns or cities in practical ways
· Words – sharing the gospel through words as well as action, in culturally relevant ways
The colourful and distinctive HOPE ‘brand’ gives national recognition and credibility to local church mission in word and action.
‘We would love churches and ministries across the country to join with us, catching a vision for mission together in word and action, and identifying with us by displaying the HOPE logo. Together we are stronger and can make a significant impact,’ says Roy Crowne.
Prayer is top priority. HOPE has gathered resources from a cross-section of denominations and Christian ministries to help churches to prioritise prayer in preparation for mission in 2014. Churches and individuals can receive HOPE’s monthly prayer calendar; some churches are committed to pray daily for the work of HOPE throughout 2013 and 2014 and in several areas churches gathered at New Year to pray and celebrate as 2013 began.
HOPE has produced free resources to download from www.hopetogether.org.uk plus books full of ideas: a bumper book called HOPE – the heartbeat of mission is due out in March with mission ideas for churches and youth groups to use at key calendar moments throughout the year.
Already churches are working together and planning missions in 2013 and 2014 in dozens of villages, towns and cities. Several have appointed a HOPE practitioner to coordinate their local mission plans. In some Anglican dioceses, the bishop has hosted a reception for local church leaders to launch HOPE locally.
Young people are being encouraged to take a lead in mission. Youth groups are training in mission academies as part of HOPE Revolution. Regional youth missions are being planned in more than a dozen areas. Find out more at www.hope-revolution.com
Mission moments in the Christian calendar
Since 2010 around 20,000 people have gathered in Trafalgar Square each Good Friday to watch The Passion of Jesus – a re-enactment of the final hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. The large-scale, joint church event gains a high profile pointing to Jesus’ passion and opening up conversations.
HOPE is working with partner Bible Society and The Wintershall Trust, so church groups around the country can receive the tools and training to stage The Passion of Jesus on Good Friday 2014- just one of many ways for churches to work together in mission.
Pentecost and the Big lunch
Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, is a perfect time to celebrate with a united church party at the heart of each community. HOPE is working with the Big Lunch to encourage churches to bring neighbours together for a shared meal on the first Sunday in June in 2013 and 2014.
Summer is the ideal time for congregations to get outside the church, onto the streets serving the community and telling gospel stories to people who haven’t heard about Jesus before.
·Summer fetes and festivals can build community and start lasting friendships.
·Weddings can be a first step into church for some couples.
·Children’s holiday clubs can make links with families.
·Summer is the ideal time to get active serving communities, making a positive difference.
A harvest of thankfulness
Harvest festivals are traditional in village church life, but what about the majority of urban churches? HOPE for Harvest helps churches to celebrate the season at the heart of their communities, giving thanks to God for work and reaching out to meet the needs of people who have less than we do.
Services of Remembrance are a significant point connecting churches and their communities. In 2014 the nation will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War 1. HOPE is gathering resources to help churches mark this national moment, bringing fresh hope at the heart of local communities.
HOPE at Christmas
HOPE has teamed up with sports centre chaplains to bring churches and their communities together for carol services in football stadiums in the run-up to Christmas. At the end of last year Bolton Wanderers FC stagedits own modern football Nativity drama with Joseph as a footballer and Mary as his wag. The Bolton carol event was broadcast on local radio on Christmas morning. HOPE is working with sports chaplains to duplicate this Christmas carol event in sports stadiums throughout the country in 2013.
HOPE is gathering resources to help churches make the most of these mission opportunities, together in word and action. Help us to spread the word through your networks and send us examples of your resources and projects so we can offer them to other regions as they come to HOPE for ideas.
Visit www.hopetogether.org.uk or phone the HOPE office on01788 542782 for more information. Follow us on Twitter @HOPEtogether and like us on Facebook @HOPE Together.