CAPTION: Rev'd James Grier says he wants to help Christians talk about faith with the people they are already connected to

Devon’s new Mission Enabler says churches have lost confidence in sharing faith

Posted: 20th September, 2019

The new Mission Enabler for the Church of England in Devon says he feels some churches and Christians have lost confidence in sharing the good news story of their faith at a time when confidence should be at its highest.

Rev’d James Grier, who currently leads Unlimited Church in Exeter as well as being the Youth Mission Enabler, said he was excited about his new role: “I am convinced that for us to change the lives of young people we have got to reach all ages and connect with parents and grandparents.

“Grandparents particularly are key to us working with young people.

“More and more I see that we are struggling to reach out. Churches so easily get pulled in.

“I think we’ve lost confidence at a time when it should be highest.

“Relationships are key. According to the Talking Jesus research, 67% of people in the UK know someone who is a Christian and either a close friend or family member.

“So actually, nearly three quarters of people we are already connected with and we can have a relationship with them about faith.”

James, who is married with two teenage children, was born in Plymouth and studied for ordination at Wycliffe College in Oxford. He served his curacy in Oxford before becoming an Associate Vicar in Birmingham. He then returned to Devon in 2007 to become Team Vicar of the rural Clyst Mission Community for six years, alongside founding Unlimited Church.

He will be taking over from Rev’d Barry Dugmore who has left to become the new Archdeacon of Coventry.

He inherits the Mission Shed network that Barry set up and will be responsible for organising initiatives like Thy Kingdom Come and encouraging fresh expressions of Church.

James will start in his new role at the beginning of October.

Rev’d Philip Sourbut, the Diocese Mission and Ministry Team Director, says he is delighted that James has been appointed.

“He has real energy and vision for mission in Devon and experience of working across different age ranges, particularly youth.

“Getting better at engaging with young people, children and families is one of our key priorities.”

James says his initial aim is to help churches have confidence to identify and work with the people already on the doorstep they have connections with, for example the parents coming to toddler groups and local church primary schools.

“It’s not doing anything radical.

“The message is just have confidence, which literally IS just faith.”