Friday, May 07, 2010

mission that’s out of the valley 4: grounded in a local church community

(Last post in this series I promise. For the introduction go here, for the motivation go here for the material go here.)


Last week I blogged the fact that according to 2006 National Church Life Survey data, only 5% of Uniting churches had offered significant training at a congregational level for lay people in evangelism.


That’s not many. Which got me thinking about my ministry. You know, the old “reality” check – was I a leader in a community practising what I was/is preaching? So I shuffled through the following dates ….

2004 – Evangelism as process – I preached 2 sermons on the topic of evangelism. A good deal of energy resulted. A church community forum was held and as a result a number of new community contact initiatives were launched – including Koru, a youth programme and a family film night.

2005 and 2006 – Opawa’s energetic Evangelism Ministry leader, Hugh, used a video series to offer training in faith sharing. This happened once in the church foyer and a second time in a local home group

2007 – God at work – a 3 week course on “Where is God on Monday?” run by (then) Anglican ministry candidate, Nigel Wright, all the way from UK. About 25 Opawa folk participated, reflecting on being salt and light in all of life. As a result a God at work group formed and met regularly, keeping each other accountable in this area of faith-sharing mission.

2008 – Biblical pictures of witness – A four week preaching series that explored the themes of

  • being a mate – sharing with friends
  • having a yarn – announcing the good news
  • crossing the ditch – incarnational mission

followed by Wednesday evening discussion evenings. (For more, see here.)

2009 – Mission collectives, including the living collective. This meet four times a year, led by a lay person, in their workplace, (See here for an overview and here for an example of a night). It sought to offer encouragement, resource, prayer, ideas in terms of faith sharing.

Why blog this?
First, it’s a list of dates that I found mighty encouraging, because it shows a regular, year by year commitment, to encouraging and resourcing faith sharing.

Second, it illustrates one way to look at leadership, not as a linear process, but as a spiral, rotating around certain themes.  Hopefully not a rut! but a spiral, building on what has gone before, learning from the past, recircling to allow new people to join, unavailable people to check in.

Third, it’s just one embodied example of what encouraging in faith-sharing can look like in a local community context.

Fourth, I hope it might spark you to think about what has happened in your context. Let’s share our ideas. What things have you seen done, or been part of, that would be ways to get beyond that 5%?

Posted by steve at 06:22 AM