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The Pastoral Cycle

A group of churches in Scotland had made what they felt was a bold attempt at mission and been disappointed at the results. Soon after one of the ministers attended a course where he learnt about the Pastoral Cycle or Action-Reflection method. This, he learnt, was a process not a programme and was about people bringing about change.

First he had to draw a group together. The next step was about sharing their personal stories. This quickly bonded the group. They found they had a lot in common. Most of their stories were of the struggle of making a life work in a 'grey place', of a lack of hope.

Their next step was to find out if others in their area had similar experiences and continually to be asking the question why? Why does this situation exist? They visited homes and contacted local organisations asking people how they felt about the area, what good points, what needs? One need stood out. There was no place where local people could come together to talk and to pursue common concerns. Isolation was a big contributor to the felt greyness.

At this point the group took time to reflect and to see what the Bible had to say. From passages they studied in Old and New Testaments they saw how God is with people in their struggles. This was an encouragement which was to be needed. They now set out with others to look for a building for a neighbourhood centre, but there were numerous setbacks. In the end they discovered the ideal place was their own church building and to continue would be at cost to themselves - a cost they decided to take. The result - a Centre where church and community interact.

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