‘To reach people we’ve never reached before, we need to do things we’ve never done before..’ Churches need to have new faces.
Churches need new faces. Most Victorians view churches as irrelevant and boring. We have to start new projects that more immediately meet the needs of our communities –child-care; youth; sport and fitness; health and well-being; counselling; cafes and retail outlets, which also function as vibrant churches.
Setting up these kinds of places requires new leadership. We are seeking to support and train innovators – entrepreneurs who can use their business skills for kingdom purposes; people with a dream for doing church differently.
Jesus sent out 72 saying ‘the harvest is plentiful’ (Luke 10:2) and we believe that that is true for this time in our State, but the workers are still few. Our BUV has a vision to release 72 innovators across Victoria by 2020 – will you be one of them? Can you think of someone else to encourage to join up?
After a successful first year of Innovate we are now opening registrations for 2017. We have streamlined the process into just 4 main components which take place as weekend intensives or evenings so that they can be done if you are working or studying. These cover the biblical and spiritual basis of mission, and understanding the changing social context; learning about best practice in community development, and really getting to grips with context and culture; how to start a social enterprise and gain basic business skills, and how to nurture a faith community and develop your own leadership abilities.
Innovate 101 begins April 1&2, so get registering now here, or if you want to know more come along to a taster night – see details here, or contact one of the Mission Catalyst team via email@example.com or phone 0430 770 474
Innovate – the Dream
“To reach people we have never reached before… we need to do things we have never done before”
The numbers of people failing to hear or understand the message of God’s love, as demonstrated in Jesus, is growing all the time. We have a huge challenge across Victoria which requires us to think and pray regionally about mission as well as at the local and global levels. Massive swathes of new housing are being built without any local communities of faith. For example the City of Melton is set to grow by 200,000 people in the next 20 years to become bigger than Bendigo & Ballarat combined. Currently we have one church in Melton – we need at least 5 or 6, if not double that number.
On top of the challenge of sheer numbers we also know that the church is facing its biggest image crisis in history. Most people reckon that church is not something for them. They would never think of entering a church building; they do not perceive a spiritual need that could be met by a church. Church was something for their parents or grandparent’s time. We are barely touching a fraction of our population, and we need to do new things.
We need a new face for church – different entry points. The services that churches run, such as youth work; playgroups; counselling and hospitality, are what people are looking for, and these increasingly need to be the way that people find church. We need to be planting facilities that build community and contribute to healthy societies, which also function as faith communities. Our church in Anglesea is a good example – its front is a popular op shop, and this is the way many people connect with the church and other services behind. The Early Learning Centre in Torquay is the entry point for many into the church at the back. Councils and developers in new growth areas are willing to give properties for these kinds of services – we just need people with a vision to live incarnationally in these areas and /or run new ventures.
God says to us “I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy; your elders shall dream dreams and your youth shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)
To begin these initiatives, we need to release a cohort of pioneering people, who we are calling innovators, who can think outside the box, and imagine new ways to connect with secular communities in meaningful ways. We need people who will fall in love with a neighbourhood and find ways to serve it; and to do this inspired by prayer and the commitment of a Christian community. Not all initiatives will be in new areas; many will be missional communities alongside existing churches.
As we have thought and prayed about these challenges we believe that God is calling our family of churches to rise to the challenge of releasing 72 innovators over the next few years. In Luke 10, Jesus sent out 72 people in pairs to go ahead of him, saying ‘the harvest is plentiful’, and they returned with joy having seen many wonderful things. Could your church embrace this dream and challenge? Could you be praying with us that God will raise up people from within your community? Is God calling you?
People with a dream from God for a new way to serve the wider community and be a group that follows Jesus. We are looking for:
These people are often on the edges of churches, because they can get frustrated about the slow pace of change in church life, or feel that they don’t fit very well into church patterns.
To foster the incubating of dreams and launching of leaders, BUV’s Mission Catalyst Team will provide training and support:
A new process designed to release people to be innovators called Innovate – largely run on weekends and evenings and aiming to supplement existing skills. On-going mentoring and support from other practitioners. A limited amount of seed funding to help start-up. Advice about on-going support and investment possibilities.
Pray regularly for the fulfilment of this vision and for your response to this statewide need. Discuss in your leadership teams and clusters who might be encouraged down this path. Begin dreaming new possibilities in your own neighbourhood, as well as casting the vision for the unreached peoples of our own State.
The development of Innovate and accompanying resources and training materials has been helped, and will continue to be informed, by an action research project conducted by Rev Prof Darren Cronshaw. This was funded in 2015 by a Collier Charitable Grant “Leadership for the Common Good: Training Pioneering Church Ministry Leaders for Community Ministry and Social Entrepreneurship”. BUV appreciates Collier’s invaluable support.