Rev. Les Jones opens the ‘re-Imagine’ Forum for South Wales at St Julian’s in Newport. ‘Are we going along with the wind of change?’ Great to have 150 attending the event. Scroll down for pictures.
PREBEN’S RANDOM NOTES FROM RE-IMAGINE FORUM
AT ST JULIANS 18.11.2017
53% of people today are non-affiliated with any form of religion.
We must mind our Christian vocabulary in conversations with the “un-churched”. Exercise: Describe in 25 words or less what ‘gospel’ means, using only compelling, secular language. Then, but only then, add more vocabulary, e.g. faith, worship, discipleship, mission, etc.
Encourage 4-5 minute testimonies in our church services. Make this the normal practise rather than the exception. For preachers, this could be a springboard to your sermon.
We have in our society today a shift from Broadcast (one TV, one channel, one presenter), to Multicast, with many more ways of communicating and presenting everything. Our problem today is when the Sunday morning service becomes the only thing we do. We need to experience with a number of new ‘models’ for the rest of the week.
How can we engage new people?
Every minister should be a Pioneer, and every member of every church should be a Pioneer too. Try something new. Do something different.
Every member should be an Evangelist. Say something about God, say something about the Gospel.
Ask this question with Bishop Graham Cray, “Who will never be reached if you only do what you are doing now?”
God’s time is not always, in fact rarely, our time. “Things” may happen, but not always in the way or at the time we expect or even plan.
The church needs to go out into the community, but equally invite the community into church.
Old people’s mindsets can be young too and should be stimulated and encouraged. There are no age barriers to mission – there are ‘movers and shakers’ among many in their 80’s and above!
PRINCIPLE 1: Challenge yourself. Don’t say we are a dying church, for if we keep saying that, we will be! Look at what God may want us to do. Work beyond the walls (look up the hymn in Singing the Faith 547 “Beyond these walls of worship…”)
Remember God often works in mischievous as well as mysterious ways!
PRINCIPLE 2: Mission is about joining in with something God is already doing. Ask and find out what is going on around our church? Start a mission project. Don’t just go to church. BE the church. Engage with the people using our premises.
Discern what is happening in our societies. Create something new.
PRINCIPLE 3: Not everything we try will work, but don’t worry about that, it’s OK. It’s not trying that won’t do (just read the Parable of the Sower) 75% of projects and plans may well fail!
Learn about one-to-one relational meetings (an extensive paper was provided). Meet with someone in a public place over a cuppa for 45 minutes. Train say five people in your church in regular one-to-one conversation with one other person you would like to see joining us, strike up a working relationship and some, though not all, will – in time – join our churches. When you first try to engage with someone, try in no more than 30 seconds to present yourself, your church, what you and the church can offer, and then invite that person to some and see, or offer to accompany him or her to your church, after you have already researched something you know he or she might benefit from, and which you or the church can actually offer.
Preben Andersen 18.11.2017