Lessons from Cross-Cultural Mission Can Help Us Reach Our Neighbours

We have already recognized that this month of May has been given to us by God as an important acclimatization time as we establish the basics for achieving the next section of the summit climb towards completion of God’s primary purpose. Well, perhaps we haven’t recognized just how important, indeed strategic, May 2018 will be. If this last Wednesday’s neighbourhood ‘Face Time’ is any indication, we can learn and grow in effective representation and demonstration of the kingdom gospel by simply regarding the key lessons from basic cross-cultural mission equipping.

For example, language is one of the main barriers to effective mission in another cultural context. Language is just as large a barrier for effective mission to your average Australian neighbourhood. The majority of people, in fact about 90% are ‘unchurched’, in that they don’t go to an established church meeting, they don’t understand the symbols, they don’t get the nuances of the language and so on. Learning to speak fluently about things that are commonly conversational for a person who lives near you or travels on the same bus as you or ends up at the same counter of a store you are in, is crucial to breaking down barriers. Another example would be customs and traditions. If you are hanging out in a neighbourhood with the expressed purpose of representing and demonstrating the kingdom gospel, you need to firstly recognise, as Jesus did, that you are a guest in that neighbourhood and you need to operate in such a way as to build trust and open doors of respect, indeed being a good neighbour. You are an ambassador for the King of kings, a representative of Heaven and so you need to be GOOD NEWS to a neighbourhood. People in Australian neighbourhoods DON’T by and large have a Christian world view, so don’t be shocked or phased by the raw view of the world that people with no experience of ‘church’ often see and review in your presence. As such, there is nothing Micah 6:8 about just superimposing a view, you need to work hard to find hook points or find things that can become excellent examples of kingdom values e.g. sports or workplace team analogies. Jesus used parables … same thing. Using such a communication tool will result in their being more likelihood of a person having an ‘aha’ or epiphony moment, or in new testament language being ‘cut to the heart’. The way the human psyche works, people need to work things out for themselves from something that breaks through and re-shapes their heart – which will transform their mind. It seldom if ever happens in the reverse because human thinking construct biases or filters can only be penetrated by Holy Spirit truth. Our convincing or apologetic defence or modelling can and should be tools, but that’s all they are. These are just a couple of examples to reflect on. Very soon we are going to conduct some equipping experiments where we maximise ways for us to spend time together without it revolving completely around 90mins on a Sunday morning. We have things to learn ourselves, and things to help each other learn so I hope and pray we will start to sign up for an experiment or two when we can facilitate these. Please pray for our preparation because finding ways to equip more people more often with more outcome effectiveness is something that could revolutionize our mission efforts. And that, I think, is the need of the hour. More soon ….

A NEW Priority for our Front-Line Mission Effort 

Schools, particularly High Schools are a case in point when it comes to being confronted by something akin to cross-cultural mission in our backyards. Yesterday during the Woonona Baptist Church family morning worship celebration, we commissioned the THREE scripture teachers that we, as a member of the Combined Churches High School Scripture Board, play our part in supporting employment of for teaching at Bulli, Woonona and Corrimal High Schools. If you recall, we hosted the annual Commissioning last year and since then, Graeme (on behalf of our church) has been appointed the Chair of the Board. In his welcome comments yesterday, Graeme said “In practical terms, we facilitate the raising of finances, so we can employ teachers & hopefully chaplains to teach & co-ordinate volunteers for SRE in our High Schools. It’s ambitious but it’s God’s calling upon us and our responsibility to faithfully journey it.” He went on to encourage those in attendance to recognise the very ‘Front-line shape of this missional endeavour. “This is a hugely important ministry, even though it doesn’t hit the marketable heights of other, seemingly more interesting mission efforts. How important? Well … if young people in years 8 and 9 of every High School are changed by the gospel, they become the missionaries that change the world. If a Year 8 or 9 student decides to reject the gospel, they seemingly never re-engage.” Graeme concluded with the key reasons for his personal commitment to the THREE palpably anointed teachers that we have the privilege of supporting. “Sociological surveys have consistently reported that tens of thousands of young people a year in Australia abandon their Christian faith; one group numbered it at approximately 50 000 people between the age of 18 and 30 in Australia every year.  So, we must commit, not only to being where these young people are on a daily basis, but also the need to impart this Christian life to young people, in a way that is MORE relational and looks more like Jesus the revolutionary and less like Jesus the moderator of western church culture mediocrity,” he emphasised. Graeme has repeatedly indicated that this Board responsibility is our church’s commitment; he’s just the vessel through which it happens. It is a significant kingdom endeavour and we thank our brothers and sisters at Woonona Baptist Church for their welcome yesterday and for their minister Michael Bates’ timely exhortation. Let’s engage!

THIS WEEK’S Base Camp Essentials! 

Corporate PrayerJoin us in the Prayer Lounge, 5.30-6.30pm Tuesdays OR email/text/phone things you are hearing from God about the HOPE Project, so we can share in prayer TOGETHER and record what God shows us in an accessible way for all. You might find the weekly HOPE project prayer diary a helpful guide. PRAYING AS ONE, is key life support for ‘Base Camp’.

Positioning (gifts and anointing apportioned by Christ) – Please continue to sign up on the task list sheets that have been available at our meetings and online. We’ll leave the sheets out during May. Yesterday we ANNOUNCED a Special Church Family Meeting for 11.30am, Sunday 27th May so we can wrap up, the first phase of the NEW leadership development process and activate some important new realities. We will provide some more information SOON to help you pre-prayer for the meeting. REMEMBER – this is simply a response to God’s call to our church to ‘move on’. Its’ God’s plan so we DON’T want names on bits of paper as some sort of skills inventory. We are looking for responses that reflect how the Holy Spirit is nudging you, whether you understand why or not. We want God to shape something He’s looking for, something Jesus can build, based upon what has been revealed to US.

Observe Graeme Practising Kingdom Conversations – This Wednesday from 5.30pm for 45-60mins we will stage the second of THREE opportunities to respond to the questions our neighbours MIGHT have. We have invited the residents of Augusta Street, particularly, those who have been engaging with us since we opened the ‘Hub Café Space’ out on street side of the facility for coffee, chatting and general neighbour type connecting late last year. We believe God is challenging us as part of this Base Camp season, to make time available to go deeper with those who would like to. In a time of equipping, the disciples observed Jesus’ work first before assisting, then doing with His help then just doing. This 3-week pilot is one of many opportunities to follow, where a supportive, accessible equipping process will be available. Just contact Graeme if interested.

Each Sunday Morning Gathering in May – will explore a revelation from God’s word about provisional needs at Base Camp as we practice for the imminent climb. So, let’s journey this together so we can bolster support and trust between us. We will share morning tea. ALL WELCOME!

‘Walk for Chloe’ Ends In Acceptable Pain & Victory! 

We are excited to report that the ‘Walk for Chloe Saxby’ 100kms from Sorrento Pier to Melbourne CBD has concluded successfully. Our girls Sharon Sackett & Jennifer Thorson are hurting but victorious so head over to our current support page https://www.facebook.com/24HrDrumMadness/.

to see some posts and find out more. Congratulations to the 55 amazing ladies who raised over $100K for research into a cure for ‘Vanishing White Matter’ disease. We are privileged to be in partnership with you. We will continue praying for you and serving you as best we can. More information soon about our continued support for Chloe and her family as well as brave little Beau and Michael who we have added to our support, love and care efforts this year. Updates will happen regularly on the above FB page and via this blog journal. Thanks for your partnership in this. If you’d like to know more about our support of these THREE beautiful kids and their wonderful families, please read the PRESS RELEASE on the FB Page.

God IS Moving In the South – REMINDER!

Just a quick reminder that we have taken a faith step and hired a small meeting room at Albion Park Community Hall, 5-6.30pm Saturdays as a starting point for what Jono Hyratt now calls ‘Serenity’ – a Christ Centred 12 Step recovery support group. We will faithfully support this journey and seek God’s clarity for a future ‘targeted’ work in the South and in the process remain a responsible kingdom team member. If you would like to help us with some seed funding (we’ve had to pay hire bonds etc…) please deposit your gift into Westpac Account, Heartland Ministries, BSB 032727, account number 203307 and identify your gift with the letters FTM or Jono, so we know how to account for it. Thank you. We primarily covet your prayer partnership.

We’ll add a Summary of Julie’s excellent revelatory message in the ‘Base Camp’ series to next week’s journal, so we hope you’ll look forward to that as I will. Meanwhile ….

Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening at the HUB https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog