MEF SmallI’ve had the very enjoyable opportunity in recent weeks to visit most Queensland Presbyteries of the Uniting Church to meet members of Presbytery, and introduce the Synod of Queensland’s Mission Engagement Project.

It’s early days, but as we explore ways of encouraging the church into a more open and effective mission engagement, there are a few key themes emerging from conversations across the state. Here’s a look at what I’m hearing:

(Check out this “Prezi” presentation to go along with these notes).

And you can continue on for the rough notes that I speak to, along with the presentation:

1. Intro project, self and background

2. Church and Mission….current context

Church over last few years a lot of conversation about our future, or lack of, but more importantly about reclaiming of mission as primary focus for the church, and rediscovering broader perspectives on mission:

  • Not mission as in going to overseas to “non-Christian” countries and converting them, but recognizing that mission is here, that we are a church that is sent/invited to join with God’s mission
  • Missio Dei – mission of God, not of the church (Mission of God has a church, not the other way around)
  • Three questions of mission: Who is God? What is God up to in my neighbourhood? How do I participate?
  • Not about doing more, but reflecting on how, why, priorities and practices
  • Stories that demonstrate:
  • Tassie – Stowport story – post office, morning tea, growing community and capacity
  • Tassie – Lower Wilmot Story – biker church
  • Tassie – Kingston story – families, young people, residential, growing capacity
  • Tassie – Launceston North story – gaming shop closing, investing in the invisible
  • Tassie – Scotsdale story – art shop/cafe church
  • South Caloundra/Bell Vista – pizza shop, parkland, houses, schools, families
  • North Rockhampton – after school open house, high school students gathering
  • Local/context story – what is God up to and how do we participate?
  • implication – discernment, giftedness, spirit of God, discipleship

3. Role – TOTWEC mission engagement project

  • “what is our way of being that enhances our capacity to effectively participate in God’s mission?”
  • listening, learning, compiling, sharing a ‘mission engagement framework’ or way of being, resourcing through networks such as presbyteries

Here are the key issues I think we need to work on (but recognising I’ve only been here a short time):

What is mission engagement?

  • underpinning theology of mission
  • language and definitions
  • identity and discernment

Training and learning

  • learning about mission
  • learning to read context
  • learning values:
  • learning continuously
  • “just-in-time” training approaches
  • Continuing Education for Ministry
  • POD / selection / formation
  • lay education/training

Approaches to Mission

  • range of approaches
    • planting
    • hospitality
    • community-centred
    • and more!
  • stories and examples
  • partnerships with church & community

The “L word” (Leadership)

  • how do we organise ourselves?
  • to whom do we look for leadership?
  • how do we nurture/develop/equip leaders?
  • how do we protect leaders moving into new places?

Mission :: Discipleship :: Worship

  • what’s the connection between mission and discipleship and worship?
  • two sides of the same coin (triangle?)?
  • building discipleship practices into mission engagement
  • building mission engagement into worship practices
  • building worship into discipleship

Monitoring and review

  • how do we know if we’re heading in the right direction?
  • are we making progress?
  • is our mission engagement approach working?
  • how are our leaders travelling?
  • is our structure supporting or hindering us?
  • what about learning for the wider church?
  • not about approval, assessment but monitoring for learning
  • an experience not reflected upon is an experience lost

4. Questions for table discussion (if time)

  • In terms if mission, when we are at our best, what does it look like?
  • What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about mission?