Mission Action Plan (MAP) Short Term Initiatives
Following the first 3 Parishioner Sessions of the Mission Action Plan, the Leaders Group reviewed the results and have published the 5 Short-term initiatives to be progressed.
- Worship; and
- Small Groups.
They are expanded upon below.
Progress is already being made in a number of these areas, however, for this to really become as effective as possible, it needs the support and activity of all parishioners.
These 5 initiatives stood out, as the leading of the Holy Spirit worked through those many people who participated in the workshops.
This is by no means the end of the MAP process. The above initiatives are just some of the things we can do now to make a difference. To keep up the momentum.
Let’s all work together to active support these initiatives where-ever possible – and thus grow the church in this community.
GOAL 1 – Prayer
Jesus actually commanded us to pray; and yet it can be one of the most challenging activities we are invited to do. How should we pray in order to GROW our Church? Here are 6 suggestions:
1. I will pray that the Holy Spirit will be infused within each member of the leadership team that they corporately seek to wisely lead our church into growth.
2. As I read the daily passages of scripture, let me ponder what they are actually saying to me today? How can I respond to them such that it may being life, peace and joy to others?
3. When I pray, I will allow time in quietness for God to speak to my heart. I will no longer make prayer “a one-way street” of requests.
4. As I pray each day, I will ask God to empower me through His Holy Spirit to determine at least one person that I can contact, assist, encourage, or support, and show His Grace to in humility.
5. As I pray, may God give me a spirit of generosity of time and talents towards:
- making sure the fabric of the Church is worthy of our glorious God; and
- ensuring other church members and those outside the current Christian community are experiencing God’s blessings.
6. I will pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit will empower me to give generously of my wealth, without “counting the cost” to do so, to enable my Church to effectively reach out to others and provide adequately for their spiritual, physical and mental needs.
GOAL 2 – Hospitality
Hospitality – what does that mean?
Hospitality (from Wikipedia) refers to the relationship between a guest and a host. In ancient cultures hospitality involved welcoming the stranger and offering him food, shelter, and safety. In Christianity, hospitality is a virtue which is a reminder of sympathy for strangers and a rule to welcome visitors. This is a virtue found in the Old Testament, with, for example, the custom of the foot washing of visitors or the kiss of peace. It was taught by Jesus in the New Testament.
Some Relevant Bible Passages that refer to “hospitality” include:
• Romans 12 v 13: Marks of a True Christian “extend hospitality to strangers.”
• 1 Timothy 5 V 10 “shown hospitality, washed the saints’ feet, help the afflicted”
• 1 Peter 4 V 9 “offer hospitality to one another”
• Hebrews 13 V 2 “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.”
• 3 John v8 “We ought to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.”
In the West today, hospitality is rarely a matter of protection and survival. However, it still involves showing respect for one’s guests, providing for their needs, and treating them as equals. Cultures and subcultures vary in the extent to which one is expected to show hospitality to strangers, as opposed to personal friends or members of one’s ingroup.
The suggestions that came out of the MAP workshop sessions for ways of showing hospitality included:
Developing our gifts in hospitality; Being mindful of new people & meeting their needs; Invite people (new & old) home for lunch; Arrange dine-outs with others to restaurants; Better coffee and quality of morning teas; Host functions that people can be invited to; Get togethers for new people; Different Groups to provide morning tea – Cursillo and Home Groups; Fellowship time with multiple congregations; Follow-Up and fellowship for new people; More Social events; Events not necessarily held at Church;
Newcomers events eg 4 times per year.
We encourage you to use the guidelines for Prayer and the Prayer for Growth and to ask yourself:
How might I show hospitality and help God’s kingdom to grow in Waterloo Bay?
GOAL 3 – Welcoming
Welcoming – what does that mean?
The Cambridge Dictionary describes Welcoming in the following way: “To meet and speak to someone in a friendly way when they arrive.”
It is often said “there is one opportunity to make a first impression” and that is so true within a Church environment.
Whilst we may have a very important and caring “Welcome Team” who greet people as they come to Church, we are in fact ALL welcomers as we create an impression on others – whether official “Welcome Team” members or not.
Some Relevant Bible Passages that refer to “welcome” include:
Matthew 10.40: Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.
*Luke 9.48: and said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.’
*Romans 15.7: Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
*Acts of the Apostles 21.17: When we arrived in Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us warmly.
Welcoming is treating others as you would wish to be treated and can occur before or after church when we see someone who may not have attended before or has not been attending for some time.
Let’s be warm, genuine, and interested in what they have to say. Introduce new visitors to others. Particularly if there is a special interest expressed during conversation and you know of someone else with the same or similar interest.
Here are some of the suggestions and reflections from the 3 MAP parishioner workshop sessions:
Welcome people even if you are not a “Welcomer”; Ensure the follow-up and identification of newcomers and those missing; Enngage/sit with new people who are new or alone at Church and Morning tea; Making a more intentional effort for genuine long-term friendships with new parishioners; Be more outgoing and welcoming to new people, encouraging them get involved; Hold more intentional Welcoming events; Be tolerant; Name Tags – wear and offer to apply for one for new-comers; Consider a follow-up and hospitality programme to welcome new people; Practice talking more with people we don’t know; especially newcomers; Engage new people in real conversation, and to invite them for a cuppa after Church; Re-examine how we invite and welcome people to church and follow up newcomers; Develop a formal team of welcomers and train them; Welcoming team trained to visit newcomers
• Ask yourself, “how can I improve my welcoming habits personally, to enhance our welcoming at APWB?”
GOAL 4 – Worship
In “Being Christian in the Church”, Bp Andrew Curnow wrote: “At the very centre of our experiences as churches and Christians is worship…..for Christians that means honouring God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit….Worship refers to community gatherings of adoration, praise and thanksgiving to God through Christ….it is about speaking, and listening, remembering and hoping…it involves the elements of time, space, place, symbols, human relationships, songs, words, rituals that are set apart from our ordinary everyday lives to be offered to God.”
In our Parish we worship in different spaces and places – St James’, St George’s, in nursing homes, and “Under the Stars” at Christmas.
We use liturgies based on “A Prayer Book for Australia”, but different “orders” at 715, 9 and 930 services. We use other variations in nursing homes and for Messy Church.
We use hymns, songs and music from many sources today (not just “The Australian Hymn Book” or “Together in Song”).
Some questions we should ask ourselves and consider prayerfully:
• If we succeed in attracting visitors to our Church, how will they react to our worship style?
• What appeals to you about the worship style at the service you attend?
• What don’t you like about the worship style at the service you attend?
• What do you find exciting when you visit another place of worship?
Here are some of the suggestions and reflections from the 3 MAP parishioner workshop sessions:
Opportunities to encourage others; Opportunities to share our Faith; Intentional Preaching; Be Tolerant – others, children…; Embrace change, new perspectives; Themed worship – Taize, Healing…; Sermons and teaching focus on prayer; Analyse worship styles; Providing accessible opportunities for worship and reflection; Being open to the influence of the Holy Spirit; Show excitement of our faith during services Alternative worship; Variety in Service eg more worship songs at beginning, use of video during sermon, different week to week; Invitation to prayer at end of service; Flexible service times; Make services “user friendly”; Reflect on why it is hard to invite others to church – space, style, music?: Consider events that would attract first timers.
In writing to the Thessalonians, Paul said “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5 : 16 – 18).
How will we – Anglican Parish of Waterloo Bay – embrace change to foster Growth through Worship?
GOAL5 – Small Groups
In her article on ‘Why Small Groups?’ – The reason behind intentional Christian community,
Carolyn Taketa writes:
“These believers engaged in life together through teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer, miracles, radical generosity, and corporate worship. They spent time together eating, learning, celebrating, proclaiming the Good News, and supporting each other. In addition, the 50-plus “one another” verses in the New Testament flesh out other aspects of this community. For example, it was a place where people loved, forgave, served, bore burdens, encouraged, exhorted, prayed, equipped, spoke truth in love, confessed sins, and treated each other as precious members of one body.”
In our Parish we have several types of Small Groups or Home Groups. Each group meets a specific need in respect of those who attend. Youth Small Groups, Women’s Small Groups, New Christians Small Groups, Mature in Faith Small Groups.
For those not currently in Small Groups, here are some questions we should ask ourselves and consider prayerfully:
• Am I really growing my faith by attending only the Sunday service?
• Do I ever have an opportunity to discus and explore the real ‘meaning of life’ with others?
• Do I need something like Small Group involvement to cause me to regularly participate in Bible Study?
• Do I feel fully loved and supported by my Church family? and
• Do I currently have any opportunity to share how I really feel without judgement and fear of breach of confidentiality?
Here are some of the suggestions and reflections from the 3 MAP parishioner workshop sessions that relate to Small groups:
Connecting with the Church – (really getting to know my God Family) Promoting Small groups for Spiritual growth
Studying the Bible more; Encourage more Home/Small Groups; Encourage others; Nurturing the people who attend Church to encourage them to reach out to others; Grow my spiritual depth; More pastoral care ; Sharing our Faith; All of us to train and care for each other; Building myself up spiritually; Listen to ideas, needs and suggestions; Communicate ideas; Providing non-threatening environments for people to connect and “feel at home”; Support one another.
Did you know:
• God is a Small Group comprising Father, Son and Holy Spirit and they work in perfect harmony.
• Jesus created a Small Group of 12 Disciples whom he trained and shared His vision.
So, the Bible makes reference to Small groups and their vitality they bring.
If you are not currently a member of a Small Group at – The Anglican Parish of Waterloo Bay – Now may be the time for you to investigate more closely the tremendous value in belonging.