Pastorates are key to experiencing community at Christ Church and are at the heart of the church. Becoming a member of a pastorate provides an ideal place in which to grow as a disciple (an apprentice) of Jesus and to become involved in every aspect of the church’s life.
We are passionate about deepening our community. This means being deeply committed in our relationship with God and one another, whilst also seeking to welcome and reach out to other people in a variety of ways that expresses God’s love for others. God’s desire is that the church the ‘body of Christ’ should be built up and his people prepared for works of service. We are to become mature in faith, ‘attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ’ (Eph 4:12-13). Everything we do at Christ Church is inspired and influenced by Jesus. This is why our mission statement is, ‘to be more like Jesus, to do more like Jesus and to lead more to Jesus.’ We never stop learning and growing in this but seek to encourage one another by meeting together and working in partnership with the Holy Spirit.
A pastorate is a mid-sized gathering of 15 to 30 people who meet fortnightly on a Tuesday or Thursday evening (or on a weekday) for food, friendship, teaching, worship, prayer and fun. On the alternate weeks when pastorates are not meeting church members are encouraged to meet in other ways that build community.
Pastorates fulfill five important roles:
1) A simple way for new people to join the church
John Wimber once said, ‘People come to church for many reasons but they only stay for one –relationship.’ One of the advantages of a mid-size group is that it strikes a happy medium of not being too small making you feel overly self-conscious on that first visit. But it is also not too big that you feel lost and not part of things.
2) A place to experience community
Pastorates, meeting in people’s homes, follows a New-Testament pattern of meeting and is an ideal way to shape and build Christian Community in a great social setting. As friendships deepen there is an opportunity for you to share with some of the members of the pastorate in greater intimacy.
In pastorates we want to encourage dynamic, loving, caring, and accountable friendships that develop within and beyond the pastorate.
3) A place to grow in relationship with God
Pastorates are an ideal place for you to grow in your relationship with God. As well as allowing plenty of time for friendships to develop we also gather for worship, to hear teaching, engage in discussion and pray. We also aim to look beyond ourselves – to get involved in outreach and social action together. The larger gathering increases the impact that we can have. In every meeting we have an expectation that we will see God at work transforming lives by the Holy Spirit.
4) An effective means of church growth
Pastorates provide a platform for church growth, both spiritually and numerically. New pastorates can be formed from an existing pastorate that grows or from an Alpha group (or number of Alpha groups). When this happens it often means that some gifted people move on but this gives space for other people to emerge in serving and leading. Pastorates are always on the look out for new leaders and seeking to equip and enable them to step out.
5) A place from which to serve the wider community
At Christ Church our vision is to restore hope and transform lives both in Woking and beyond. We seek to be a resourcing community with a transforming presence. Part of growing in relationship with God is achieved by getting involved in outreach and social action partnering with Besom and other projects. Each pastorate also has a special link with one of the church’s mission partners either in the UK or overseas. Pastorates also can play a part in facilitating larger church events such as Alpha, marriage and parenting courses.
What is the leadership within a pastorate?
The clergy and church leadership seek to support the pastorate system because it is such a vital role in fulfilling the vision of the church and deepening discipleship within the life of the church.
The clergy meeting regularly with the pastorate leaders to mutually encourage one another . These meetings allow the church leaders to stay in touch with the issues and challenges that pastorates face and to hear feedback. It is a key role within the church and the pastorate leaders need your support and prayer.
How are Pastorates organised?
Pastorate leaders establish a core team, which include a worship leader, administrator (who oversees communication and co-ordinates), host (who welcomes), hospitality (who helps to organise how the meals are prepared) and a mission champion (who helps the pastorate to have an outward focus in sharing faith and getting involved in social action projects). Other roles may emerge within a pastorate (e.g. prayer co-ordinator).
Is there a cost to belonging to a Pastorate?
A small contribution to cover the cost of the food will be asked of the pastorate members.
Please note that information about where Pastorates meet is not published on the general website for privacy reasons. It is available for church members who can log into The City our online community network. For further information please contact the admin office.