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Focal leadership

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 suggests that the presence of a focal leader in church life is linked with increased growth of all kinds.

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

So why might you want to 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 missionally focussed locally. 

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

Who might become a focal leader? 

Potentially anyone! Focal leadership 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, the everyday face of 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 vison 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 examples

 ‘”As the go-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.’” 

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

Focal Leaders will not do everything, but will enable others so that all that needs to happen, does.

“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.’”

David Armsbey, Churchwarden, St Paul’s Blackley

It is ultimately aspiring to work in tandem with God and the Vicar to help with the church’s sustainability and growth.  That is, to be another ‘arm’ and ‘tool’ for God to use in the church’s mission and community’

David Onabanjo, Reader, St Cross Church, Clayton.


Focal leadership leaflet

Explore resource coming soon!

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 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 with the Focal Ministry Officer at the diocese to find out more?


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.

If you would like more information about focal ministry please contact:

Beverley Angier, Focal Ministry Officer. 

Mobile: 07423 711298










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