Kia ora All Saints Whanau,
What a gathering we had last week and a great chance to celebrate the past year. It was a fantastic service where the presence of God was felt and people walked away encouraged.
We also held our AGM last week and the big news out of that is the passing of our Mission Action Plan! This has been months in the making; we gathered for meetings as a parish, many of our leadership team were away on Parish Leaders Retreat discussing it there and then the Co-Vicars and Parish Council have discerned some of the missional priorities for the next few years.
We will release a video shortly explaining the Mission Action Plan (MAP) in more detail so that we can share that with everyone in the parish - not just those that attended. Our four priorities are at the top of this page and the parish vision is included - these are the main things to focus on.
I spoke at the AGM about the picture of a tree and Matthew 13 where it is drawn from:
Matthew 13 gave us the picture of soil and the good soil being somewhere where roots can take hold and grow. Worshipping God helps both shape the environment around us and ourselves as well so we can be open to God’s word and how we can be shaped. Hence this being the foundation of the MAP.
Then we have three things that can help us achieve that over the next three years. We want to pray – we want to have a space dedicated to prayer but also create good rhythms around that. Some of that prayer rhythms will kick off some things today about praying into our vision. We want to care for the environment as much as we can and becoming an eco-church helps us care and guide God’s creation. We want to develop that alternative time service where people came to know God and worship God and was so influential.
The seeds in Matthew 13 – many wither away and die but others are strong and grow tall. We want to grow strong tall trunks. Therefore, discipling people is key here to grow a strong trunk that can withstand winds and storms of life.
Our three things: creating discipleship groups, these are places of training people how to disciple others so that they can disciple others. We want to do some more training around multiplication – how do we share our faith? How do we start to think about planting some communities, how do we start to think about grafting to another church. We want to create strength here so that when people are sent, strength remains.
The Mustard seed that was planted and nurtured become a large tree that birds rest in and find shelter. We want to be a place like the Mustard Seed. That although we may be small many birds can rest in our branches. Developing belonging is our outcome we are keen to see here.
Our three things for this area: creating opportunities where we can gather as a parish and where people can come and participate. You may invite your friends but create fun community building activities that enhance our connections and relationships. We want to create a good welcoming ministry – how does that look? What are we going to do if new people turn up here? How do we make sure we are capturing them and caring for them? Thirdly, we wish to develop a space where newcomers to faith can connect and develop belonging here. If we are doing the last outcome many more people will hopefully join us and how do we onboard them well.
Lastly, Matthew 13 talks about sowing seeds – it is a generous sowing all over the place and falls everywhere. We want to be a place that grows people that are excited about faith and sharing faith so that we can grow.
Our three things for this area: We want to grow spaces that Christians and non-christians form together and faith sharing happens in that space. We call these missional communities. We want to grow to be 150 people at our weekly services. This is part of the outworking of other goals in this plan but sets us an aim so that we can be sure that if we send people we have strength left here too. Lastly, I talked about reclaiming that narrative of being sent – we want to help out some churches around our Diocese by sending well trained people to help them out as well. We want to claim that, stay connected and be intentional about sending.
In all of this we cannot do it on our own but require the whole parish to help us do this. So to pray into this please pick up a bookmark with a prayer on the back (written by Ginny) so that you can help pray into our Mission Action Plan.
We are also on the lookout for five people to help us lead out in this space. If any of the below you feel called to or God is prompting you then please talk to one of the Co-Vicars.
In other news the Bentons left for America on Wednesday and are travelling, seeing friends and visiting supporters for the next five weeks. It has been 10 years since they have been back for Christmas. So continue to pray for them as they are away. They will return on the 15th January.
May God bless you this week in all you are doing,