Mission 21 is the general term for the mission and outreach emphasis that it is hoped will revitalise the life of the Scottish Episcopal Church. The original programme is based on the concept of invitation. Research shows that most people join a church because someone, perhaps a friend, neighbour or even the priest has invited them along to worship.
Most congregations don't have a "management plan" for integrating new members. A major part of Mission 21 is about training the leadership groups within congregations to reflect on what they do together, to become informed and to adjust the ways in which they invite, welcome, orientate and integrate newcomers into the life of the congregation.
Key objectives of Mission 21 are:
- to encourage individuals to grow in faith and commitment;
- to build up stronger relationships between church members;
- to actively engage with the local community;
- hopefully to enable congregations to increase numerically.
Initially congregations are invited to take part in the foundation phase, "Making your church more inviting". Supported by a trained facilitator, a representative group of 8-12 members from the congregation works through a 15 session course designed to help churches become more inviting, both as people and as places. Sessions from this initial phase include "Listening to our newcomers", "The history that is our journey", "Who is welcome in our congregation", "Inviting friends and family to Church" and "Managing and caring for volunteers". St Mary's has now completed this initial phase of the programme and is actively pursuing its goals.
Further phases in the Provincial Mission 21 program are: