I’ve just returned from a few days in Tasmania running workshops and preaching.
I led a one hour session with about 50 members of the Presbytery at Pilgrim Uniting Church in Launceston, helping ministers and leaders think about how they resource their congregations for lifelong growth in discipleship for the sake of the mission of God.
I used the Dulux “Let’s Colour” as a metaphor for the church sharing its gifts and collaborating with others for the sake of enriching the lives of local communities.
I introduced people to the three emphases coming from the Christian Education Research Project
- Congregations as lifelong learning communities of discipleship for the sake of the mission of God
- Church leaders as effective educational leaders, capable of guiding a community in forming disciples
- Congregations developing a culture of learning for and from engagement in mission: mission-shaped discipleship
We looked briefly at Acts 2:42-47 which was one of the lectionary readings for the day.
I introduced people to Robert Schnase’s “Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations” (available from Mediacom)
- Radical Hospitality
- Passionate Worship
- Intentional Faith Development
- Risk-taking Mission & Service
- Extravagant Generosity
I suggested that people are our most important resource and that a local congregation is like a Masterchef Mystery Box – an odd collection of ingredients out of which God can cook up something special. People were invited to name folk from their congregation who had gifts experience, passion, time or material resources in each of the five areas.
We then discussed four aspects of serving:
Invite – How are people given the opportunity to offer their gifts?
Encourage – Does your congregation have a climate of affirmation? What is the result when there is no affirmation?
Equip – Does your congregation actively encourage and sponsor people to participate in training? Does you coach or mentor people? What is the result when people are not being equipped?
Evaluate – When and how do people received feedback? What is the result when people don’t receive feedback?
I then shared a number of helpful resources related to some of the 5 practices.
On Sunday I preached on the Acts 2 passage at Trinity UC in Launceston at a combined service of several congregations who are considering their shared future.
On Tuesday morning I led a workshop for lay worship leaders, and we explored creative ideas for Pentecost and multimedia resources, then in the afternoon introduced some ministers to the three focus areas from the CE Report (see above) and reflected on two video interviews from my research.
Also a nice opportunity to visit a couple of wineries and wander through the city park.
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