Why a Mission Action Plan?
- To focus our energies and attention towards the development and growth of our parish
- To ensure that God continues to be worshipped, praised, and served in Brunswick
- To help the Mission and Vision statements agreed by our Parish Council in 2016 be more than mere words!
Our Mission Statement
We come together as disciples of Jesus worshipping and proclaiming him through Word and Sacrament, serving him through our love and care of others.
Our Vision Statement
To be known as a Christian community where all are welcomed, respected and invited to experience the joy of knowing God’s grace.
Of course, we are not starting from scratch!
There have been many signs of blessing in recent years, adding to all that has gone on before. These are some of them:
- From an admittedly low base, the 10 a.m. congregation has grown considerably in the past two years—over 100% (see next page)!
- More people are sharing in the leadership of that service through serving, reading, interceding, and offering hospitality.
- Our choir is growing.
- The daily pattern of worship has been extended to include Evening Prayer and intercessions. Often prayers are also said at midday. Mainly led by lay people, the daily rhythm is the heart of parish life and the key to renewal
- The church and garden are again open to the public, and there are signs that they are much valued and well used
- A ‘Year for God’ pastoral scheme has been established.
- The vicarage has become one of the key ‘hubs’ for the parish community, and is used for a new informal Sunday evening opportunity for worship, teaching and fellowship.
- Communications have improved – with the wider world through our renewed website, and within the congregation by an internal weekly email sent to 130+ people
- Grants for $260k have been secured to repair our leaky church roof, and weekly ’live’ giving has increased by 30% in the past year
- The Op shop has a new lease of life with volunteer leadership
We are not so much a group of churchgoers, but a community of disciples.
The surprise of 2017!
Unexpectedly, a parcel of land adjacent the church on Sydney Road came up for sale in early 2017. Through the swift action of the Parish Council, and with the assistance of the diocese, loans were secured to allow us to purchase the land.
Bought with the hope that we might have a visual and potentially missional presence on Sydney Road, it was not the intention that the land be developed as primarily income generating.
To pay for the purchase is a major challenge and there will be considerable work to be done with our partner, the diocese, to test the long term viability of the project. Viability will depend on the development or realisation of other assets, enough to cover the purchase cost.
This Mission Plan and parish efforts over the next few years will depend very much on the outcome of future decisions about the land which will need to be made during the latter part of 2018.
This is a THREE YEAR PLAN
There are clear aims for the first year with follow on action for the second. The third will build on and complete, and during that year we begin to set the next set of aims.
It’s a PLAN THAT REFLECTS OUR MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS and is:
- Open to change for good reason
Once agreed it becomes a measure of our faithfulness
OUR KEY INTENTION…
…is to grow from being a small to a medium size worshipping community (140 adults) over the next three years, that is, by our annual meeting in October 2021.
This is a considerable challenge, but it highlights our belief that there is nothing more important that we do at Christ Church than make and nurture disciples of Jesus, disciples who worship and serve him.
GROWTH CHANGES THINGS
Trusting that it is God who gives the growth, the challenge to the existing church community is to give ourselves to the necessary changes to make such growth possible if God wills.
If we are to grow in depth of discipleship and in number over the next three years it will bring considerable challenges:
- The limited size of the church building means we will need to establish a new congregation, probably meeting on Sunday evening. What sort of format and style should it have?
- The demands that growth brings, both pastorally and liturgically, cannot be sustained by one full time ordained minister. A team approach to ministry must be developed. Leadership styles among both clergy and lay leaders have to change to allow for growth.
- The ‘feel’ of Christ Church may change. A small congregation by and large knows each other and knows everything that’s going on, or at least as much as it wants to know. People know their place in a small church and know what to expect. As growth happens life becomes a bit more complicated, authority and decision making must be more dispersed, which requires more trust, and makes communication a bit more of a challenge.
Sometimes church growth brings unhappiness, and conflicting emotions.
Everyone generally wants the church to grow, but it can feel disconcerting. The pastor can seem more distant and suddenly things are happening that you may know nothing about!
Understanding the dynamics of growth can help deal with some of these confusions
And so to the specifics of the plan…
OVER THE NEXT YEAR
Aim 1 : We will continue to develop a well-organised and intentional ministry of welcome by
- forming a group of appropriately briefed lay people to act as welcomers and guides in the church and Bardin Centre.
- improving our capacity to provide refreshments for a growing congregation.
- providing appropriate literature about our life together and the Lord we serve for both newcomers to the congregation and occasional visitors to the open church.
- developing a pattern of welcome gatherings for new folk introducing them to Christ Church, including the opportunities available for giving.
Aim 2 : We will begin to develop a greater sense of a ‘ministry team’ at Christ Church by
- continuing to provide the necessary finance for the current provision of one full time ordained minister, and continue the ‘Year for God’ pastoral assistant scheme
- continuing to develop the ministry of lay people in a variety of forms, including the leadership of the daily prayer pattern, and in the leadership of various committees and task groups
- developing our PROPERTY STRATEGY to make provision for a future household of students, contributing to the life of the parish as appropriate.
…and in year two
- extending the provision of pastoral assistants by the additional appointment of a theological student living in the vicarage with the provision of a suitable honorarium, and with a particular brief to assist in the establishing of a second congregation
AIM 3 : We will develop a more intentional ministry to children by
- continuing to encourage children to participate in the liturgy through serving at the altar
- relocating the children’s corner from the back of the church to the rear of the Lady chapel on Sundays to ensure greater ‘sight lines’ and engagement
- providing suitable material relating to the theme of the liturgy for children visiting the corner
- beginning a teaching and activity opportunity on Sunday or on another day of the week for children and young people
AIM 4: To continue the process of encouraging discipleship by
- continuing to develop the Meet Up @ 5 program
- establishing further opportunities for Bible study, for example a Friday lunchtime Bible Study in the foyer of the Bardin Centre as part of making Friday a ’hub’ day for parish activities
…and in year two
- seeking to establish a regular outreach event to engage people not currently involved in the Christian community in discussion and reflection
AIM 5 : We will begin the process of establishing our presence on Sydney Road should the financially modelling prove viable by
- demolishing the existing sheds, reducing the size of the wall and providing gates to establish the connection between the church, the land, and Sydney Road.
- working with a design consultant and others for both a long term vision for the site and temporary provision to begin to make it usable and ‘green’.
- seeking some early revenue for the site while not compromising the sense that the site is now church property
- beginning the process of reflection about how the site might be used evangelistically, for example at the March 2019 Sydney Rd Street Party.
AIM 6 : Begin the intentional improvement of the church building by
- developing an ongoing maintenance plan for our heritage listed building and examination of the major repair issues as we wait for the roof slate to arrive
- creating a movable raised dais to improve sight lines for the now established nave altar
- re –roofing the church building
- developing a comprehensive and costed program for the redecoration of the church to begin in Year Three.
AIM 7: Agree a viable property and financial plan that enables the development of the overall site in line with our agreed mission requirements by
- agreeing what’s required of the parish to enable the mission of the church to be sustained and developed for the foreseeable future in line with past and ongoing discussions at parish council and with the wider Christ Church community
- developing a staged plan for the delivery of the above, setting priorities and assessing the financial constraints and opportunities
- clarifying the various property titles that cover our overall site and their implications for development.
Postscript from the vicar and churchwardens…
This mission action plan is a sign of hope and confidence first of all in the faithfulness of God toward his people, and in the renewal of our parish life over the past two years. It presents us with a purposeful way forward. The challenges that face us with regard to property are important; more important is winning souls to Christ and deepening our own discipleship and the quality of our worship. There is much for us to get on with!
The purchase of the land on Sydney Road in 2017 happened in the context of our beginning to explore how to make best use of our property assets for the purposes of the Gospel.
Necessity demanded a quick purchase, a decision made by the parish council in conjunction with the diocese. We are now waiting for a report by independent financial consultants about whether the hoped for and necessary development of other parts of our overall site will make the purchase financially sustainable in the longer term, without detracting from the day to day life and energies of the parish.
When that report is available and has been digested by the parish council and our diocesan partners we will be in a position to call together the parish community to discuss and reflect together about the way forward.
This is an adventure!
Whatever the outcome, there is no doubt that the decision to purchase the land has galvanised us into a more intentional and forward looking approach to our life and mission.
God has blessed us, and we can have a good hope that his blessing will continue.
+Lindsay OGS Cecilia Fairlie Mary Harris Adrian Nye