Episcopal Leadership Today - Helping or Hindering Church Renewal?

Paper presented at the 2006 National EFAC Conference

The Anglican church is an Episcopal church. One way or another Bishops have a lot of potential for good or ill. Given the need for significant parish renewal, how can Bishops help to foster this?

Nurture a sense of the need for a deep dependence on God

It is a struggle to go forward in many places.
To go forward will only happen with God's help and blessings.
Bishops can foster and model deep dependence in God through prayer.

Teaching, Preaching and Proclaiming the Apostolic Faith

In many places church people have lost confidence in the essentials of the Christian faith. A key role of a Bishop is to teach the faith once delivered by the prophets and apostles. Bishops have a remarkable range of opportunities to do this and should take full advantage of those opportunities.

Building Confidence

Many churches have lost confidence that the can go forward. Bishops need to build a sense of hope and help to paint a picture of what a more positive future might look like.

Being relational not institutional

In a post denominational era a highly relational approach is what people respond to. This means lots of hospitality in groups and one on one.

Establish an agreed set of strategic directions

A Bishop of a Diocese or Region needs to establish their own set of strategic directions in order to model intentionality and accountability.

Give Permission and Actively Offer Support

Bishops are in a powerful position to actively affirm and encourage change and new initiatives. It isn't enough to just give permission, but active support is often needed.

Invest in People/Places

Most Regions/Dioceses have places with more strategic potential. This is the place to start in terms of focus, resources and energy.

Offer High Quality Training/Resourcing

Diocese aren't often associated with the above, yet we need to be in order to be relevant and respected. Good quality training is essential in order to equip churches and leaders who are seeking to go forward.

Stephen Hale is the Bishop of the Eastern Region, Melbourne