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Focal leadership

A Focal Leader is a locally embedded leader who is an everyday face of the church in their local community. Within their role, focal leaders bring an intentional focus on growth, mission and discipleship to the action of the church.

At an event prior to the commissioning service, Bishop David shared his hopes for focal leadership in the diocese.

Focal ministry is one of the bold steps we are taking towards being a Church for a Different World and is one of the ways that our churches may be seen as Growing, Nurturing and Serving locally.

Experience and research in other dioceses suggest that the presence of a focal leader in church life is linked with increased growth of all kinds.

For more detailed information, read the paper that was taken to Diocesan Synod in October 2022.

Key tasks

Why have a focal leader in your church?

Who might become a focal leader?

What might the role entail?

Focal leadership in action

Next Steps and Resources


Contact us

Key tasks

Within the church the focal leader will:

  • Be an everyday face of the church.
  • Provide or facilitate the maintenance of a missional focus in all activities.
  • Hold the pastoral continuity of relationship within the church community.
  • Work collaboratively, to encourage others.
  • Ensure that the identified action of the church happens, but not to do it all themselves.
  • Encourage and facilitate the discipleship of others.
  • Be commissioned for a three-year period.

Within the Mission Community, the focal leader will:

  • Communicate the unique character and vision of the worshipping community into the Mission Community Leadership Team (MCLT).
  • Represent and uphold the vision and mission of the MCLT back into the worshipping community.
  • Contribute collaboratively to the life of the mission community, always with a missional focus.

Within the local community, the focal leader will:

  • As a ‘face of their church’: foster, develop and build links with both the local community and also with those who come into Church.

Why have a focal leader in your church?

Research has found that churches with focal leaders:

  • are more likely to grow.

  • develop more active disciples, living out their faith where they are.

  • have more people involved in doing what needs to be done in church, enabling belonging and participation.

  • have more resources to be mission-focused locally. 

  • naturally work alongside others doing the same, across the mission community.

Who might become a focal leader?

Focal leadership is an option for potentially anyone. It isn’t dependent upon previous training, although ongoing training, support and review will be offered and expected. Focal leadership encourages us all to consider our own discipleship and place in God’s church—in response to God’s calling and equipping.

As part of being a Church for a Different World, focal leaders will be an everyday presence and focus of ministry within their church and community. Focal leadership is a role not dependent upon previous training, and can be prayerfully considered by all. 

Focal leaders are people who love God, love their church and love their local community and will already be a recognisable and trusted person in church life.

Focal leaders have a heart for living the Good News inside church, and where they live. They will be open to learning new things, confident in their own faith and will work to encourage others.

They will have an infectious faith which they take with them into their local community, making links with church and local life. 

The role of focal leader may appeal to people who:

  • are local, trusted and active in church life.

  • feel called to something more.

  • have a heart to see their church grow.

  • are willing to begin a discernment process.

  • are willing to be trained, supported and have others alongside.

They are likely to be:

  • faithful in public worship and private prayer.

  • passionate about living out their faith in church life and in their local community.

  • an encourager, a listener, a pray-er and a disciple.

  • deeply committed to their own church community and to the mission it shares with others in its mission community.

  • flexible, open and approachable, a trusted and respected member of the church community.

  • a life-long learner.

What might the role entail?

A focal leader will:

  • be a go-to-person for the church in the community.

  • hold the continuity from Sunday to Sunday.

  • notice and use the skills of others, to build on what God is doing. 

  • encourage and enable others to participate.

  • be enthusiastic about helping others grow as disciples too.

  • acknowledge the need for welcome, love and care for all in ways which reflect the Gospel. 

  • share the vision of the mission community in their church and represent the vision of their church in the mission community.

  • draw people into the action of the church, so that all can take part.

Focal leadership in action

Robina Jones, PCC Lay Chair, Sidesperson, Intercessor and Anna Chaplain, St George’s Unsworth, Bury:

”As the go-to person at St George’s, I want to be welcoming and approachable and to encourage others in the church and community — to pray alongside them, share faith and offer pastoral care.

I want to see our congregation grow and encourage others in their walk with God. It is an honour and a privilege to be St George’s focal leader, the ‘face’ of my church."

David Armsbey, Churchwarden, St Paul’s Blackley:

“Being the go-to person draws together my roles in Church life as Authorised Lay Minister, Churchwarden, worship facilitator and ‘Grandfather’ in Church.

These roles help me make a difference and make a difference to me— ensuring growth in my own faith. Church is evolving, and I am glad to be part of it—we are meeting people where they are.’”

Next Steps and Resources

Next steps

To be a focal leader you will need to have the support of your Minister, mission community leader and your PCC. You will be asked to complete a focal leader nomination form which will include references, and may need to comply with safeguarding procedures including recruitment, checks and training.

Focal leadership discernment begins simply with prayer and a conversation.

Why not talk to your Minister, Churchwarden, mission community leader, or the Focal Ministry Officer at the diocese to find out more?

Nomination form - this begins the Nomination process and should be completed by the focal leader-designate, in consultation with their PCC.

Personal Profile form - this gives more information about the focal leader, including their journey, skills and safeguarding information, to be completed by the focal leader.

Ministry Agreement - to be completed by the focal leader and their Incumbent or minister, Mission Community Leader, Churchwarden or PCC. Focal leaders who are Bishop’s Licence holders will have a slightly different nomination process and are invited to contact the Focal Ministry officer for advice on how to proceed.


Focal leadership leaflet

Explore resource coming soon!


Who decides what a focal leader does?

The role is unique to each focal leader and their local place and this will be determined by the Vicar, mission community leader, PCC, the focal leader-designate and other key players. There will be training where needed and regular support and review.

How much time will it take?

Time spent on the role will be determined within the working agreement, and will  reflect the home and work situation of the focal leader and the envisaged shape of the role responsibilities.

Will there be help and support for focal leaders?

There will be an induction period, flexible training delivered locally where possible and accessible, whatever your experience. There will be local support from within the mission community, other focal leaders and through the Focal Ministry Officer at the diocese. There will always be someone to talk to, share or pray with and resources available.

How do I know if it’s me?

Firstly, pray! Then have a conversation with your Minister or mission community leader. There are resources available to help parishes discern who the focal leader might be and what the role might look like for your church and community.

Will focal leaders be commissioned?

Yes! Commissioning will take place locally, beginning in the Autumn— in mission communities or parishes, for a period of three years.

Contact us

For more information about focal ministry please contact:

Beverley Angier, Focal Ministry Officer


Mobile: 07423 711298

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