Growth in the congregations is the aim of the concept ‘Till Tro!’ (Towards Faith!), which is being launched in Växjö Diocese this year. It is about taking responsibility for the future and will be at the heart of the work of the diocese in the next five years.
This is a new focus for the diocese. Instead of just managing shrinking finances and reduced membership, we will concentrate on achieving growth in the church. “There is much more that we must do as well, but this is where we will ‘put the gunpowder’”, say Diocesan Consultant Carin Frennevi and Diocesan Adjunct Magnus P Wåhlin, who are coordinating the effort.
‘Till Tro!’ is the name given to a programme borrowed from our partner diocese, Oxford. This has been translated into Swedish and will be adapted and further developed to suit the situation in Växjö Diocese. The diocese and congregations together will ‘elevate’ the essentials of the Christian faith. There are five focus points which will be worked on in parallel. These are ‘The Sacred Centre’, ‘Discipleship’, ‘Making a difference in the world’. ‘Leadership’ and ‘Living Christian Communities’.
‘Till Tro!’ is not a project, but a concept and, consequently, has no clear termination point. The diocese has planned for a five year implementation period, with the idea that the concept itself will live on and that this is a way of working which will be a continuing thread in all future activity.
Our aim is that all congregations will be involved for five years, but this is not a requirement, rather an invitation, from the diocese. ‘Each may decide how to be involved’, says Carin Frennevi. ‘How the concept is taken up may vary tremendously and the arrangements are flexible. The congregations themselves choose which of the five focus areas, each identified by a different colour, they will work on. Every congregation will have its individual nuance.’
The congregation may carry out a health check to determine which colours it needs to work on. ‘There is great freedom of choice, but it is not in fact open to anybody to drop a particular colour. They are all necessary for a living congregation’, say Carin and Magnus.
During this year a web area will be created especially for ‘Till Tro!’ and courses will arranged. As material is translated and revised it will be made available to the congregations. ‘Till Tro!’ will be the starting point in conversations between the diocese and congregations from now on. The diocese has successfully applied for an EU contribution of one million crowns for personal development within the concept.
‘The task of the congregations and diocese is to build the church and increase the number of disciples. We have no other task; all other things are support functions. It feels good that the diocese and congregations can come together around something really important’, says Magnus P Wåhlin.
This text has been published on the Diocesan page in the Church of Sweden Newspaper (Kyrkans tidning)
Charlotte Granrot Frenberg
Translated from an article on the Växjö Diocese web pages