Community and Outreach Report to Christchurch AGM, 2014
In our Church Vision Day back in 2012 we identified that as a Church we were called to focus on what we were already doing in this area of Church life, and "do it well" unto the Lord. This was particularly relevant as we were going through the process of preparing a Church Profile and calling a new minister. We decided that the valuable initiatives we were already providing for community involvement should be continued and supported.
Existing activities that are relevant are:
- T @3
- Boys Brigade and Girls Association
- Open the Book
- Coffee and Chat
- Messy Church (albeit lack of support has caused this now to be put on hold)
- Alpha (albeit this has not been run during the period where we were without a minister)
- Craft clubs
- Holiday activities
- Flower Festival
- Church Fairs, special events (eg Songs from the Movies evening), etc.
I would like to thank, on behalf of everyone at Christchurch, all those who faithfully give their time and effort to make these activities happen. You are our unsung heroes.
In addition, during the last year we organised a stall at the GL4 Community day, where we gave away over 200 balloon models, provided colouring opportunities for children (book marks and badges) and provided visibility for the Community of what we at Christchurch provide and stand for. We had a very good reception. Parents were amazed that we were giving away rather than expecting to receive. I pray we "gave away" the love of God to those who came. This included the Mayor and his family!
Seminar with Rev Malcolm Duncan
Three of us attended a seminar led by Malcolm Duncan on what we are here to do as a church in the area of mission. He looked at the Gospel message we have to give (that reconciliation with God is possible, of God's unconditional love for us, a new life with and through Jesus, our future hope and that we are a "work in progress" being transformed as we grow on Christ).
He emphasised that the Gospel message is unchangeable and that the facts that Christ is God and Man, that he died on the cross for our sins, that he was buried, rose again and sits at the right hand of the Father are not negotiable and underpin our mission and thinking. He also said that Jesus appeared to many after His death and that we can bring our own witness to an encounter with Him when we present the Gospel message.
As a Church our outreach to those around is so important. We are to be:
1. A proclamative people, pointing to Jesus with our words
2. God's local presence- His hands and feet, pointing to Jesus through our actions
3. A prophetic people standing against injustice
4. A community of prayer as "without God we can do nothing".
He told us to celebrate what we already do and not "beat ourselves up" over what we do not do today.
He also identified two, what he called, "theological principles":
1. I need help- "without God you can do nothing"
2. I can help- "who, me Lord?"
What therefore might our next steps be?
In committing to any course of action that shows Christ to others we must expect opposition. It is therefore essential that anything we do is grounded in and covered by prayer. In Acts 1:14 we see that prayer was the foundation for the building of the early church. We need prayer in order to identify and support the vision- we need to take up the challenge of prayer specifically for this area. We have to seek the heart of God regarding our local community
We can consider:
- Identifying and commissioning an “outreach/community prayer champion” to organise us for prayer
- Add to the Prayer diary specific local outreach issues
- Engage those who are unable to be actively involved to pray regularly from home
- Prayer walks around the community
Prayer must come before new action and can of course focus on lifting existing activities up to God too.
We also need to identify who we mean by "community" and identify what their needs might be. For example, our “Community” can be seen as:
- Un-churched or unsaved family members
- Our friends and close acquaintances who do not know the Lord
- Those around us in their homes
- Users of the local facilities and shops
- Others in our city
What do I need from you next year?
I need help!
It is clear to Jan and I that if we are to launch any new development we need a core team who feel the call “I can help”. This does not mean you have to be the front-person for anything, just a reliable team member with a burden for the unsaved around us. If we are to go forward we need this team to be identified.
We need then to find the focus that God wants for our future development and resource it.
Please consider and pray about this part of Church life. Is God speaking to you? Are you listening? Please speak to Steve, Jan or Chris if you feel led to join a core team for this area of our Church life.