Thursday, July 07, 2011

pioneer night for a pioneer course in a pioneer country: launch of mission shaped ministry Adelaide

Last night was a good night. The wind was wild and the rain heavy. But the room felt warm and alive.

A pilot of the mission shaped ministry (msm) course kicks off in Adelaide July 27. A partnership between Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting churches, it will run over 14 weeks and one weekend.

Last night Dave Male, Director of the Centre for Pioneer Ministry, at Ridley College, Cambridge was in town. It seemed an opportunity to good to miss, a chance both to hear from him and to offer some information about mission shaped ministry.

About 40 folk showed up, which was pretty exciting for a wet and wild winter’s night. A representative from each of the 3 partner churches offered prayer and input. This included a ringing endorsement from Archbishop Jeffrey Driver, who hoped that when Anglican history is written, the most important thing about the year 2011 will be the successful launch of the mission shaped ministry course. Dave Male shared about the impact of msm in the UK and it’s importance in cultivating a missional climate. I shared some of the story of how the course came to be in Australia and spoke about the shape of the programme. (For those interested, my notes are below the fold).

Some time for questions. And then we prayed together. Across denominations. A  living ecumenism, gathered around the task of mission.

Please join us. Please do pause at this point

… and pray with us … and for God’s ongoing purposes in Adelaide and Australia.


Posted by steve at 06:06 PM

Saturday, May 07, 2011

mission project updates

Part of my current role (Director of Missiology) involves teaching. So recent months have found me

  • writing a distance unit for lay folk on Jesus
  • teaching an under-graduate course on Reading cultures
  • teaching across a range of post-graduate courses. This is focused on working with church leaders in a mix of group and one-on-one research projects. Some of these are smaller – looking at how church is understood in recent changes in Catholic dioceses, hospitality Bible passages, how Christian education is being taught, researching their local community. Others are more lengthy, the effectiveness of short-term mission trips, the missional practices of pioneer leaders, the cross-cultural skills of church leaders, how migrants do theology.

Another part of my current role also involves catalysing in areas of mission. Quite a bit of this has been going on below the blog radar, so I thought it time I provided a bit of an update.

1. Mission shaped ministry Australia – In November 2010 a group of 12 leaders from four Australian States met at Uniting College to talk about partnership in mission training.  The upshot was a decision to form a national development team, to work collaboratively on contextualising the mission-shaped ministry course, which 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. The core values include hospitality, prayer, ecumenical generosity, interactive learning, coaching and practitioner teachers. Followup includes ongoing coaching and learning networks and it has been hugely important in developing a mission mindset in the UK context.

Since then, via meetings and email, a Memorandum of Understanding has been developed, forming an Australian Centre to allow negotiation and licensing with UK, yet maintain freedom for local initiatives to be run by local groupings. Currently there are seven partners from 4 States and 2 Territories. (Other partners will always be welcome to join in the future.)  It has been humbling to see denominations and states decide to work together for mission.

(Two pilots are being well piloted in 2011 and if the signs are good, then processes are being worked on for other states/cities to offer courses in 2012. If anyone is interested, please contact us)

2. Mission shaped ministry Adelaide 2011 pilot – A planning group from Adelaide, involving folk from the Lutheran, Uniting and Anglican Church has been meeting to explore the first ever pilot of the mission shaped course in Australia. Go Adelaide!

The plan is to run this Wednesday evenings from mid-July to end-November, over 12 weeks, plus a weekend away to build community. The course is for leaders and members, clergy and lay people, learning side by side. It’s a great opportunity for folk in Adelaide 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. More details will be rolling in forthcoming weeks.

(There is also a pilot happening in Canberra, three weekends in the second half of 2011).

3. Innovation and pioneer leader research – Uniting College has partnered with the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) to do some specific research on innovation and pioneer leaders across Australia. This has involved commissioning some research, both on how innovative are churches in Australia and also how innovative are leaders in Australia. This will be used as part of the nationwide NCLS. It will also be used by us at Uniting College.

Our Bachelor of Ministry (practice) and our Masters of Mission (missional) are focused on developing innovative leaders and we want a tool to benchmark whether that is actually happening. It will take a while for the data to emerge, but it is energising to at least be thinking about what questions might need to be asked.

Posted by steve at 12:08 AM