March 2008


The following, with minor alteration, is taken from the Website and starts to explain an exciting new programme aimed at renewing the United Reformed Church. It was launched at General Assembly 2007.

Vision4Life is the next phase of Catch the Vision.  You might say it's about moving beyond structures to the nitty-gritty of renewing the spiritual life of the United Reformed Church. It's not only about personal renewal, however; significantly, it's about drawing the whole of the Church - liberal, evangelical and everything in between - into a renewed and shared engagement with the Bible, prayer and evangelism.


A consultation group on spirituality and evangelism, with members from across the UK and  the whole theological spectrum in the United Reformed Church, met first in 2005.  People found a new excitement about approaches to the Bible, praying together and sharing their faith stories  It was exciting and encouraging - and it worked! 

It worked because those present didn’t start in their usual camps with their familiar ways of reading the Bible.  They used the best of contemporary biblical scholarship, concentrating on the texts as stories rather than continually asking the narrow historical question ‘Did it happen?’  Suddenly, people found themselves in agreement about what seemed to be the three most important aspects of the way we follow Jesus: reading the Bible as a Living Word from God; prayer; and sharing our faith stories.

A very varied group of people, with different views on theology and spirituality, was together in one place and finding the experience enormously enriching. Suddenly, they could picture whole congregations developing their skills of storytelling, listening and conversation so as to connect the ancient texts with their situation and stimulate a new confidence in who we are and what we believe. Might this be how our churches could renew their vision for life? Might people then use these skills to become a diverse, lively, responsive denomination, ready to speak, act and attract fresh generations of believers from a wide range of places?


Each congregation is invited to set up three conversations in the Spring and Summer of 2008 to explore 'the big picture' and their own local story about:

1. the effectiveness of the Bible in their church

2. the role of prayer in the life of their church

3. how comfortable they are talking about their faith to each other and to outsiders.

The material for these conversations will be sent in printed form to each congregation of the United Reformed Church in February 2008.

After these conversations each participating church can decide whether to commit to developing its own 3-year programme of renewed engagement with the Bible, Prayer and Evangelism, using material and support from the Vision4Life process. A fourth conversation will suggest how to plan the decision making and provide material for a Vision4Life Commitment Sunday in Autumn 2008.


  • Each church arranges three conversations and a decision in the Spring and Summer of ‘08
  • Year One materials with support events for planners available from September '08
  • Local church planning & promotion of their year one programme starts Autumn '08
  • Advent 2008 – Year One, focussed on the Bible, begins…
  • Year Two materials with support events for planners available from September '09
  • Advent 2009 – Year Two, with an added focus on Prayer, begins
  • Year Three materials with support events for planners available from September '10
  • Advent 2010 – Year Three, adding a focus on telling faith stories for evangelism, begins

I think it might be worth taking at look at this in the coming year.


March 2008