God for All Evangelism Enabler appointed
“I shall be pounding the M6 motorway, burrowing into Barrow and careering through Carlisle.” So says the Diocese of Carlisle’s newly-appointed God for All Evangelism Enabler.
The Rev’d Mike Talbot comes to the pioneering post after nearly 30 years in ministry. For the last thirteen and a half years that has been as Vicar of Emmanuel Church in Northwood, just north of London.
His appointment is another key one for the ecumenical God for All vision which looks to offer everyone in Cumbria a chance to explore more of God and God’s purpose for their lives.
Mike said: “This is a ground-breaking job and it’s not one where I shall be sat behind a desk too much. It is very much a case of me getting out and about, covering the whole diocese and meeting people.
“Throughout my ministry I have always been involved in strategic planning – both at national level as well as local level. I enjoy looking at the bigger picture and that is what this role entails.
“This job is all about equipping people, encouraging them and showing them what is possible. It’s about walking alongside them as well as me working as part of a team.”
As the Evangelism Enabler, Mike will be an important member of the God for All Reach team which is tasked with encouraging others in their ministry, witness, outreach and promoting opportunities for everyone to discover more of God.
It is the third key appointment for the diocese in recent months. The Rev’d Peter Clement has just started in post as the new Vocations Development Officer and Director of Ordinands. Meanwhile Richard Passmore will start next month as the diocese’s first ever God for All Fresh Expressions Enabler.
Richard and Mike will work closely over coming years, providing support and encouragement for newly formed mission communities which are being established across the county. These ecumenical communities will be intentional in mission and outreach and offer support networks to encourage a variety of churches and styles.
The role will also explore how others across the county can discern, shape and use the skills they have for evangelism.
Mike added: “One of the things that really excites me about this is that across the country I often hear the same panicky messages ‘We’ve got to get our numbers up or our church will die’.
“It may be that numbers of people going to church are declining in Cumbria too. But this is not about getting bums on seats. It is about growing the kingdom of God.
“I do believe that the church is God’s agent in mission, but at the end of the day this is not about keeping the church going; it is about people keeping the faith and seeing folk come into a living relationship with God and expressing that in a community, together.”
The Bishop of Penrith, the Rt Rev’d Robert Freeman, is leading the Reach team, of which Mike will be a member.
He said: “I am delighted that Mike is joining us in Cumbria as Evangelism Enabler.
“He brings with him an enormous breadth of experience for grassroots evangelism and a massive enthusiasm for helping ordinary churches and Christians share their faith and life with others. Mike will be an invaluable member of the God for All Reach group, whose purpose is to equip us so together we help others discover the reality of God.”
After ordination in 1987, Mike served in Northamptonshire, first in Rushden and for more than 11 years at the Church of Christ the King in Kettering.
He plans to move to Cumbria in early 2016, after serving his notice period in Northwood. It’s hoped that he and his wife Jan, who is a nurse and originally from Selby, will live near Penrith. They have two grown up children; Kathryn and David and two grandchildren.
The God for All vision:
By 2020 every person in Cumbria of all ages and backgrounds will have had an opportunity to discover more of God and God’s purpose for their lives, so that they will discover more of Jesus and the Good News and become followers of Jesus within a Christian community.
For more on the God for All initiative visit www.godforall.org.uk.
For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager, on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.