Wednesday, January 04, 2006

emerging church postcards : Australia


For words about the image : birth : values : music: mission

How were you as an emerging community birthed?; Transformed rather than birthed. In fact, grown is probably the right word. Although the faith community has been around 45+ years, it started as a group of Christians meeting in a house and launching mission from there. So you could say it has always been a missional community. At the same time, it has often teetered on the edge of falling into a stale version of the tradional mode of church. Fortunately, some ratbag pot stirrers have always been around to keep us on track.

Buldings were built over the years but about 7-8 years ago it was realised that they were holding us back. In fact, the buildings weren’t even any good for traditional models of church but were simply a waste of space and money. They weren’t intentionally built that way (!) but our community changed in a way that was never expected.

Anyway, as a community we decided it was best to sell up everything (church building, office building, manse and another house) to do something that was more in keeping with our missional heritage, would be of benefit to what we were currently doing and launch us into new initiatives in the future. We surveyed the local community to see what the needs were and interstingly the results came back as…a building! A building that consisted of affordable meeting rooms of all sizes as many local community groups had no where to meet. A building that consisted of indoor sporint facilities, particularly for young people that had been forced to travel to play sport. A building that we be a hub for community events and a gathering place for whoever and whatever.

So we bought a factory and converted it into all of the above. The sign out the front says, “THE FACTORY. A community facility provided by Mitcham Baptist Church.” Hopefully that makes it clear that the building is not the church, but is part of the mission of the church. Now refugees meet to play soccer, skaters meet to skate, ladies meet to make stuff, playgroups have waiting lists, you can sit and read or pray or chat or whatever. We still have the traditional Sunday worship gatherings, but they are no longer seen as the main event. You can belong without being there on Sunday.

Ironically, as soon as we moved, new faith communities that never use the place started to spring up around the place, resourced and supported by the MBC community. AS I type we are working throug the process of helping our playgroup leaders, our skate leaders, the group that meets to play poker in the pub, the group that meets for bible study in MacDonalds etc to see themselves as another expression of MBC. It is rasing some big questions – but this is a good thing. And the missional heart continues to beat.

What do you as an emerging community value?; All the disciplines, but especially prayer. Asking questions. Togetherness. Our history. Our future. Teaching and learning by all methods. Coffee.

What music track sums up your year?; Hmmm. i don’t know the name of it, but that piece of classical music that rings out when the missioanry goes over the waterfall in “the Mission” has had an impact. Actually, we played the movie in one of our gatherings and it had quite a profound impact – I think the soundtrack reminds us of that.

What was your best mission moment in 05?; Seeing one of our white Aussie boy soccer teams getting their butts kicked by a team of 8ft sudanese high school students. Love it!

Want to e-visit this emerging church group?

Want to see a postcard from your emerging church group?

Want to see the whole set of postcards?

Posted by steve at 10:29 AM


  1. it might be good to also link to the groups website…

    perhaps include it’s name ?

    Comment by darren — January 4, 2006 @ 12:43 pm

  2. Darren,
    4th paragraph down, the group’s name is “THE FACTORY. A community facility provided by Mitcham Baptist Church”

    and thanks I have asked them for their website.


    Comment by steve — January 4, 2006 @ 4:59 pm

  3. Sorry, I should have included all that info in the stuff I sent Steve.

    Anyway, our URL is but the site that is there is a daggy (can I say that on a NZ site?) thing that I put together. A more professional one can be seen at but that needs more work before it goes ‘live’.

    Hope that helps,

    Matt Glover
    Associate Pastor
    Mitcham Baptist Church

    Comment by Matt Glover — January 4, 2006 @ 5:08 pm

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