One of the outcomes of this weekend and the meeting following is that we have clarified our ‘missional challenge’. This will be our focus for experimentation over the next year. The form of words we’ve arrived at is as follows:
How do we help families with children feel a sense of connectedness with the community to experience wholeness?
The process of arriving at this challenge has been one of discernment. That means it goes beyond just deciding what we might like to do. It’s been a process of looking to God in order to work out to whom God is sending us, and how God is sending us. We hold to this challenge tentatively, recognising that it may need to evolve and develop as we try some things out. Some avenues may open up for us that we didn’t expect and some things may close down.
There are three important things to remember about this missional challenge.
- It’s what we call an ‘adaptive’ challenge. That means to some degree, it’s beyond us. We don’t have the skills or expertise within our congregation to answer it. Neither could we just go to an outside expert. It means change for us as a church. It means we need to be open to what God will do in us and through us, in partnership with others in Lady Bay that we might not yet know very well.
- It has a focus. Some of us initially might react negatively to it because we think there are plenty of people other than families with children that would benefit from feeling a sense of connectedness with the community and who would like to experience greater wholeness. That’s right, of course. Who wouldn’t benefit from those things? But we can’t reach everyone all at once, so we have to start somewhere. So we ask, as we said above, to whom is God sending us, here and now? And on the basis of our first year of listening to God, to ourselves and to the wider community, we have arrived at a sense of where we should start. That doesn’t mean these are the only people we care about. It doesn’t mean that we don’t value those people in our church or community who don’t fit that category. It just means that this will be the focus for the MIT in the next year and we’ll see where that takes us.
- This is not about how we get these people into church. It’s about forming relationships with people for the sake of God’s kingdom.