Thursday, July 21, 2011

msm adelaide update 1

The start of the first ever mission-shaped ministry course in Adelaide is only a week away (starting Wednesday 27 July) and the working team met for a final planning meeting yesterday.

There are some real encouragements.

  • Enrolments currently stand at 45 29.
  • We will have a group from Kangaroo Island part of through the use of (touch wood) Skype technology
  • We have a teaching team that includes at least 15 people, ensuring a genuine team feel
  • We  have four hardworking hosts, from four denominations, that will also ensure a genuinely ecumenical feel.

It is amazing that only 8 months ago, November 2010, was the first meeting of a group from around Australia to simply canvas the possibility of working together. And now, it’s about to start. (If you want more of this history, go here)

I left reflecting on what it means to be a pioneer. I was thanked for being willing to be the first speaker on the first night. But for me, it’s a privilege. I’m energised by that sense of uncertainty and unknown.

I (as a pioneer) am needed.

Yet I know that once a thing starts, I find it much more difficult to pay attention and keep focused. While others are energised by having a pattern and a template, which they can refine and improve.

They too are needed.

As it says in the Basis of Union, “The Uniting Church … acknowledges with thanksgiving that the one Spirit has endowed the members of Christ’s Church with a diversity of gifts, and that there is no gift without its corresponding service.”

Posted by steve at 11:25 AM

Friday, April 01, 2011

mission in digital frontiers: a learning day with Andrew Jones

delighted to announce this –

mission in digital frontiers: a learning day with Andrew Jones

Thursday 28 April 1:30pm – 3:00pm Pioneering lessons

Pioneering is hard work and Andrew Jones has been doing it, and seeing it, for over 20 years. This session offers some wisdom on sustainability, dealing with difficulty and building creative partnerships.  It is by invite only, by simply asking for the pioneer password. The aim is to encourage folk with a pioneering heart and is jointly hosted by Mission Resourcing Network and Uniting College.

3:45 – 5:15 pm Social media as fresh expression of mission

The digital world is a fast moving frontier. This session with explore the potential of blogs, Facebook, Twitter for congregations and communities in mission. The content will cover getting started, strategies for effective network and the shape of mission theology for a digital world. The aim of this session is to both upskill and encourage local churches to think about their use of the internet.

7-8:30 pm Social media and justice-making in God’s mission

This session will explore the relationship between social media and justice-making. Can the use of social media be an outworking of “Your Kingdom Come”? If so, how? The session will share stories from around the globe mixed with theological reflection. The aim is to explore the potential and pitfalls that face those surfing the digital frontier.

Andrew Jones aka Tall skinny Kiwi travels the world with his family in a 4×4 truck. They seek to see the world that God loves, to eat unusual food {but not too unusual} and to help change the world by telling stories, throwing parties, making friends and giving gifts. Andrew is interested in spirituality and religion as it collides with new media and the emerging culture.

Details: April 28 2011
Venue: Uniting College
Cost: $20 per session or $30 for two.

Here’s a publicity brochure, which doubles as a registration from – low res here, high res here – feel free to post in your church, email it onto your friends.

Posted by steve at 04:31 PM

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

mission shaped church australia?

A sign, small and white, stuck on a door. An invitation to enter, to begin a conversation. The future, uncertain, the companions inside, unknown …

And so yesterday I at Uniting College hosted 11 folk, from 4 States and 1 territory, representing 4 denominations. The invitation, as the sign indicated, was to a conversation about mission-shaped church training in Australia.

The conversation was wide ranging and frank. The outcomes were for the next 12 months. To seek permission from UK to a pilot, in two places, from mid-2011 of an Australianised version of the UK Missionshaped course. One in Canberra using a more intense format over a number of weekends. Another in Adelaide weekday evenings during Semester 2.

An initial (cash) intention to partnership from five groups, with three other likely partners and an open invitation for any and all to join at any time later. A (time and skills) commitment from different folk to be part of a national team of trainers by workshopping segments, both individually and in partnership, with the intent of developing an ecumenical team of learners-together-in-teaching.

And the hope that, based on learnings from the two pilots, based on feedback from the UK, that we might look to run more courses into 2012, not only in Adelaide and Canberra, but perhaps in Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales.

We finished thanking God for those who have pioneered before us, both here in Australia and in the UK, on who’se work we are building.

And with excitement, of being part of a broadly ecumenical partnership wanting to follow the Spirit in providing concrete mission-shaped training.

And of affirmation, that the sign on the door remains, to anyone, to enter, to join the conversation – one that us uncertain, unknown, but it does now have some companions on the journey.

I’ll keep blogging more details as they shape up; for an earlier post/invitation, see here.

Posted by steve at 03:38 PM

Friday, October 29, 2010

mission training into 2011

The last few months have involved lots of talk, networking, dreaming, discussing about ways to make concrete mission and pioneer leading training here at Uniting College. The upshot is that in 2011, and through a number of developing partnerships, we are hoping to provide:

mission training for whole people of God – through an Aussie version of the UK Fresh expression Mission-shaped course. This is based on a partnership with a number of other denominations and in a number of states, as a one year part-time learning journey equipping people for fresh expressions. Starting perhaps mid-2011 or 2012. (For more, see here)

mission training for potential pioneer leaders – through a three year Bachelor of Ministry, and the provision of majors in Missiology and Innovation (Subject to accreditation, will blog more when that is approved)

missional leadership training for existing church leaders – through an existing Master of Ministry, but with a distinct missional leader focus. This one really excites me! We will train by inviting leaders to work on missional change within their own ministry context. Growth will be fostered in a combination of coaching, guided reading and peer cohort support. The final thesis need not be a traditional thesis, but can instead be a journal documenting the process, the learnings, the theological integration over the 4 years of mission change in context. The aim is engaged action-reflection leaders in mission. For those interested here is a (1 meg) brochure master ministry 2011-www. We are wanting a cohort of 5 per year and I’m already getting phone calls, so if you are interested, do get in touch.

Posted by steve at 02:34 PM

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

mission shaped ministry training Aussie style

There is a development in the whole area of ecumenical co-operation in mission that might be of interest to some of my (Aussie) blog readers.

The development is some discussion regarding offering ecumenical Fresh Expressions type training starting here in Australia. The discussion currently involves folk from the Diocese of Adelaide, Uniting College, Diocese of Canberra, Church army, Uniting synod of NSW, Vic/Tas and South Australia.

To this end an initial discussion is planned here in Adelaide on November 9, from 1-5 pm, at Uniting College. The aim is simply to gather folk interested in exploring ways to stimulate training and interest in fresh expressions. The initial idea is to look at offering a Australian variant of a one year, lay focused course called Mission shaped ministry, coming from the UK.

Mission shaped ministry is a one year part-time course equipping in planting and sustaining fresh expressions of church, currently running ecumenically in over 30 centres across the UK. It has been hugely important in developing a mission mindset in the UK context. The course is for leaders and members, clergy and lay people, learning side by side, who want to focus on either preparing to start a fresh expression of church or because they want their existing church to be more mission-shaped. There is more on the website here.

The temptation will be to cut and paste from another context and so the more Aussie, local and diverse denominational voices that can be part of a local planning, the more likely we are to workshop something that might genuinely serve the breadth of the church in this country.

I am also aware that Forge historically has been doing a variant of this for a while here in Australia. However, there is a lot of energy coming out of Fresh Expressions in the UK and this has caught the interest of some mainline folk here in Australia, who want to explore ways to train. This might provide a window of opportunity, yet another fresh breath of the Spirit.

Ecumenically, from my perspective, the more the merrier, so I have decided to blog this. I am also really keen that from the beginning, this not be a solely Anglo-Australian table. So I am asking that you, my blog readers, might pass this information on to appropriate folk in your denomination ….

Posted by steve at 09:47 AM

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Church as community partnership: great article on Opawa Baptist

We got posted over the weekend a Christchurch newspaper article (thanks Mum), profiling Opawa Baptist. It’s a neat snapshot, so encouraging, that is some evidence of what God’s been up to the last 6 years at Opawa – partnerships with local community groups, new initatives, an outward focus.

Church has long-established partnership with community (Observer, Sunday February 21)
By Nick Tolerton

Opawa Baptist church will celebrate its centenary next year, but there is nothing old fashioned about what it offers the community.

And the completion next month of a new $500,000 seminar, office and kitchen facility will make its partnership with the community even stronger.

The church and its neighbour Waltham Community Cottage (two doors away), are the heart for one of Christchurch’s poorer communities.

Associate pastor Paul McMahon points out that Waltham, slashed by the Brougham motorway, lacks a hub.

The church and the Community Cottage worked together to build on the strengths of Waltham, and tried not to duplicate what the other offered, he said.

He is proud of Waltham’s strengths: “The good thing about Waltham is that people have time for one another and people have time for community stuff, “ he said. “We have no real gang problems. We’ve got a great pool – the most well used community pool in Christchurch – and we have a really good school.”

And school, church and Community Cottage have worked together for Waltham, he said.

Hundreds of residents enjoy the church’s weekly English classes, craft classes, music classes, and indoor bowls for only $2 or $3 a session. And its monthly movie night – BYO dinner 0- draws dozens of people who can’t afford to go to the cinema. Women’s groups and a book club also meet monthly.

Last year the Shiloh programme to teach life and relationship skills for nine to 12-year-old girls from Waltham School also [re]started (editor correction) and has proved a big success, and the church is also the home for Koru (year seven to eight) and boys and girls brigade programmes for Waltham youngsters.

The church also hosts six-week courses blending both religion and life skills, including parenting.

And with the new facilities set to be completed early next month as well as its old hall across the road, the church is now even better placed to be a strong partner for the Waltham community.

For more
for more on the building project go here.

Posted by steve at 08:49 AM