Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Flyer ready to print

Why am I always surprised by how long it takes to get something like a flyer ready to print? It seems it should be a simple job, but getting all the relevant information together, presenting it so that it makes sense (let alone is attractive!) and then getting rid of all the little typos …
At last the Flourish brochure is ready to go to print. It is going to be a great conference. I am confident that the main speakers (David Jones and Douglas Milne) will do a terrific job. The workshops all look absorbing (the brochure can only list a sample of the workshops). We are also planning some extended interviews with women who have fascinating stories. There is already plenty of interest in Flourish and we are looking forward to that building over the next few months. Keep an eye out for a print brochure in the next few weeks. If you want an electronic version let us know.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Missional church in Auckland

"Missional" church is a trendy term (or maybe it isn't as trendy as last year - it is hard to keep up with trends). When people talk about missional church, they usually mean a church that is approaching ministry in a Western nation with the mindset of a "missionary". It doesn't assume that it has a right to exist and be heard, it realises that the gospel needs to be translated into the language and culture of the people, it aims to be an alternative community and not mimic the society it lives in, it is determined to bless the community it lives in. All that can be an excuse to make church fun for Gen X Christians who are burnt out by programmed church. But it can be an important paradigm shift.

I saw a great example of real missional church in Auckland last week. Redeemer Presbyterian Church is a about 10 years old. It has focussed on a defined area in South Auckland and a community with high rates of unemployment, broken families, alcohol abuse and crime. It is the kind of place where kids are quickly left behind in the education system. Redeemer have spent the last ten years building relationships in that community. Over the time they have built real trust in the community and from that have been able to talk about Jesus and show how he makes a difference. They have been part of setting up a pre-school and an after school homework club that runs every school day. There community centre provides a mid-wife service for the community as well as legal advice. Amidst all this they talk about Jesus (a lot!) and they pray and the Lord has used them to make a difference.

I was in Auckland with a bunch of students from PTC Sydney as our annual 'mission'. It was great to see what was happening at Redeemer and share in it for a week. As I've thought about now that I'm back, it dawned on me that missional church is hard work. It is long term investment in relationships for the sake of the gospel, not funky music, stylish graphics and great coffee. (In fact on the evidence of Redeemer, great coffee doesn't get much of a run in mission in South Auckland). Missional church is often paired with being incarnational. If the incarnation is our model, then we can expect mission to be hard, painful and even deadly.