Friday, July 25, 2008

exciting church meeting as we discuss family hub ministry

“A church meeting I will never forget” and “so exciting” where some of the comments as people left the church meeting on Wednesday evening.

We commissioned a missionary into long term service, a part-time youth worker and a part-time community chaplain.

But what caused most excitement was the discussions and dreaming around what we are calling, for a lack of a better word “family hub.” In essence, we want to try a new form of mission/church, in which the concerns about being a family are a starting point for spirituality. We want to provide a focus of energy around life, and life to the full, body, mind and soul, for families, particularly into our local suburb which has the highest % of solo families in all of Christchurch. We want to provide resources to help families table talk and build faith, to support each other through the hard places and sleepless nights.

Key steps that have guided us this far are as follows:
1. The interest in parenting, both inside and outside the church, generated by my sermon last year on “Would Jesus smack?” and here. There is a need, both in the church and outside the church, to provide family resourcing.

2. A clarifying conversation with a New Zealand Families Commissioner who, on hearing about our church building plans, commented “Oh, Opawa could become the family hub of your community.”

3. Talking with Board, staff and ministry leaders over April to July.

4. In June, we reach our $400,000 fundraising target needed to start Stage 2 of building project (cafe facilites, more multi-purpose foyer space, more staff offices, toilet upgrade, fire and building code compliance). This means we need to start thinking about ministry into Stage 3 of the building changes (childcare and youth facilities).

5. A gifted individual, sensing a new season in their pastoral ministry, hears about the “family hub concept and is “excitedly cautiously curious.”

6. On Saturday, in a pastoral conversation, I mention that I might have a gifted person, but not the money. A significant financial offer from community business networks is made, giving the “family hub” project time to seek further funding.

And so there was a rush of talking and processing over the last week, which allowed the concept to be considered on Wednesday evening. (I attach the vision paper and the first draft job description. They simply mark a point in the process, not necessarily the finished product: Download file). We feel like things are going WAY to fast, (and boy, were the southerly winds blowing on Wednesday nite as we prayed as a church) but sense that we need to be willing to trust God in this season of seemingly rapid change for the church. The decisions at the church meeting were unanimous: keep following the wind of the Spirit.

Posted by steve at 12:12 PM


  1. I am really proud of my mum going out to full time mission work! I am equally grateful for the support she has from Opawa Baptist Church. I think it is awesome that you guys have sown into her and are willing to sow finances into her mission at a time when you are trying to find finance for all the dreams you have for the local church. I am sure this investment will produce fruit in both her life and in the lives of many in Puerto Rico.
    I am sure the generous support of the Church will have been a fragrent offering to the Lord. And do not believe it is coincidence that as you have chosen to sow into mission outside of your immediate sphere that God has blessed you with financial provision for your family hub.

    Thanks so much for partnering with my mum.

    From one very proud son!

    Comment by Aaron — July 26, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  2. Hey the family hub sounds exciting – Maybe your new staff member would be interested in a coffee sometime to compare notes from Kaiapoi 🙂 If so please pass on my email to them

    Comment by Jo Wall — July 26, 2008 @ 4:58 pm

  3. thanks aaron and thanks jo. we are still all very much in process, not knowing where the winds of the spirit will take us all


    Comment by steve — July 26, 2008 @ 5:23 pm

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