Our mission, as detailed in our constitution and canons, is to proclaim the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ in every facet of our faith and life.
- To support and encourage the regular worship of God in Word and Sacrament;
- To create opportunities for the on-going study of God’s Holy Word;
- To draw God’s people together in loving communities of fellowship;
- To show forth the love of God in our care for the poor, the imprisoned, the hungry, and the sick; and
- To fulfill the Great Commission
Our strategy to accomplish this is to encourage missional initiatives and planting congregations; to strengthen existing parishes and ministries; and to identify, train, and deploy missional leaders.
Our diocese has a long and passionate commitment to church planting. Studies have shown that new churches reach unbelievers and unchurched people at a rate of 6-8 times that of established churches. We therefore believe a vibrant church planting culture is essential to effectively fulfilling the Great Commission and have committed to designate every diocesan contribution over 4% from a congregation to church planting.
In recent years, we have strengthened our church planting infrastructure by increasing funding systems, developing our assessment process, strengthening our curacy program, and training and supporting planters. We currently have four planting curates in our program, and we have growing partnerships with multiple church planting organizations. Moreover, there are many opportunities available in cities which currently lack Anglican churches.
Along with planting new churches, we strive to strengthen existing churches, focusing on principles of church health over church growth. This is accomplished through individual assessment of the health and progress of our churches, support through our deanery structure, and ongoing coaching for rectors. Each parish is assessed to identify areas of strength and areas where growth is needed. Clergy gather regularly in their deaneries for encouragement and support. The deaneries also provide a context to follow up specific areas of growth from the assessments. Coaching is offered through both one-on-one and group support with training sessions that increase leaders’ abilities to reach others with God’s love and lead healthy thriving churches in their communities.
Raising Up Leaders
Identifying, training, and deploying missional leaders is integral to continuing the work of the Church. If we do not consistently seek out the next generation of leaders, the Church cannot, and will not, continue. We must be continuously passing on the faith, and passing the baton. We seek to do this by identifying and training leaders committed to mission. When they are ready, we work to deploy them into missional leadership with their community to continue to tell God’s story and each of our places within it.
We are also intentionally discipling the next generation through three programs: Camp Araminta, Dynamos, and Soul in the City. Each of these programs offer scaffolded leadership pipelines for youth and adults seeking to serve. Our student leadership programs are well known throughout the province as incredible opportunities for leadership development.
Additionally, the Gulf Atlantic Diocese is an active part of the ACNA’s Next Generation Leadership Initiative (NGLI), one of the five key initiatives set forth by Archbishop Foley Beach. NGLI strives to raise up the next generation of ACNA leaders from all age groups and people groups. This involvement by our diocese demonstrates our commitment to raising up exponential numbers of male and female leaders of all ethnicities, beginning with youth and continuing through all age groups.