I’ve been in Melbourne for 3 days meeting with the Uniting Church Assembly’s Mission and Evangelism Network (AMEN). This is a voluntary network, primarily of people in Synod and Assembly roles, but open to anyone to join. The group meets once a year in different locations.
On Monday we visited Melbourne Korean Church which is possibly the largest Uniting Church in Victoria. The congregation is just over 40 years old and has recently undertaken a significant property development funded by the sale of another nearby church property. The Senior Minister Rev Dr Paul Goh was an energetic, informative and enthusiastic host. The church is intentional about spiritual formation and education, and is currently exploring open-ended faith conversation with young adults in a mentoring group. They are committed strongly to age-appropriate Christian education, both with first generation Korean language speakers and with second and third generation English speakers. Rev Robin Yang leads their ministry with youth and young adults. The church sees the Korean diaspora as potentially an apostolic evangelical movement.
On Tuesday we visited Hopper’s Crossing to hear Rev Dr Adam McIntosh and Rev Rosemary Broadstock speak on behalf of Port Phillip West Presbytery to share their “Regenerating the Church” direction and strategies. The Presbytery strategy includes inviting congregations to choose whether or not they want to work on new approaches to mission. If they do, the presbytery engages with them in several ways. The Mission-shaped Ministry course provides a foundation for church leaders to think differently about ways of being church and how the Gospel speaks into their context. Congregations are invited to creatively explore new models of ministry, and these are shared on the website as short videos. The presbytery has funding available for new placements with a specific on developing fresh expressions of mission. The presbytery leadership are involved in providing coaching for ministry staff involved in starting fresh expressions. It’s an exciting approach to systemic change.
On Wednesday we discussed plans for another national Mission & Evangelism conference, hopefully to be held in 2016 in Melbourne.
We also heard about Rev Dr Ian Robinson’s’ evangelism training course “Makes You Wonder” and began plans for Ian to offer this across Australia as a train-the-trainer program in 2015.