What the Special Church Family Meeting Consensus Could Mean
Our Church Family met yesterday for about 40 minutes after the weekly morning gathering to wrap up the first phase of a journey towards establishing a NEW leadership development process; a journey we’ve been on since at least late last year. The new process is about recognizing that we ALL have something to bring to the table when it comes to sharing responsibility for the mission we, as a local expression of the body of Christ are committed to.
We thank God and honour the people that have responded to the call to lead up to this point in the 65 plus year history of this church, but we have together, recognized that God is moving in a fresh, reformational way and the need of the hour is to acclimatize to a significantly changed atmosphere where ‘Christian’ culture is largely foreign. At CCC, we have been searching the message of Jesus to determine a way forward for us as an agency of God’s kingdom that is led more profoundly by our submission to the Holy Spirit.
It is in fact a similar journey to that of the early church. It was confronted by the reality that the lifestyle of believers needed to go way beyond prescriptive answers and platitudes to depict priorities that replaced the idea that religion was just a duty performed as part of a person or a family’s life. They had no way of sustaining this shift by human organization. The transforming truth is that living IN Christ is actually a believer’s true home, and that this is ONLY possible if it’s expressed IN community or common – unity. Instead of being one aspect of life that might have some affect on all the other important ones; following Jesus IS life and it’s a life that not only flavours or fragrances our other priorities, it makes them operate more effectively, in their own contexts and for the neighbourhood, community and indeed the surrounding world.
An organisation can be facilitated by a handful of ‘elected’ or ‘appointed’ leader type people who put themselves in the frame for such responsibility as we have done to this point. However, as history has shown us repeatedly, this isn’t enough for the body of Christ in community to practice the life I’ve described, particularly in the ‘first world’. It will need ALL its parts to play their unique, small or large functions relationally, in a mutually accountable, voluntarily submissive way. Only this can communicate the sort of spiritual truth that’s required to transform whole neighbourhoods or workplaces or community support campaigns or sporting clubs or learning institutions for Jesus or indeed have any chance of engaging the needs of an ‘unchurched’ Australian society that might not attend a church meeting but might interact intimately with something that looks more like heaven touching earth, as Jesus showed us.
Some of us still have questions about how this next phase of the process will work. I am confident that as we journey more comprehensively together, more like a heaven shaped body that honours every part and champions many access points, and less like human shaped structures that rely on strict and limited governance that lack a dynamic diversity; the latter usually leading to people being burnt out or not being empowered to engage the sorts of opportunities that they are actually shaped by God for, or indeed in some cases, people are locked into forms of doing things that achieve the least possible outcome and never entertain an exponential purpose.
We are a small, somewhat mature family. In these last months we have taken God at His word and believed that FOR A TIME SUCH AS THIS, we have all we need to establish a ‘heaven’s embassy’ or ‘kingdom hub’ that can build a sustainable and reproducible present & future work that looks more like Jesus.
So, we have reached a consensus to give ourselves permission to take this God given freedom, wander purposefully outside the limited framework of the known and comfortable, gather together a ‘think tank’; i.e. a larger bunch of people who in recent days have responded to the nudging of the Holy Spirit to share responsibility for this journey and have a look at what Jesus has made possible. We have essentially agreed to genuinely TRUST the Holy Spirit and each other, believing that if we focus on becoming more like Jesus, we might just end up with a sustainable and reproducible facilitating-servant leadership that ensures we oversee and manage a mission that has a chance of being a transforming agency, first in East Corrimal and Wollongong, then throughout the region and yes, even to the ends of the earth. This is what Jesus was sent to show us, what the Holy Spirit has birthed in us and what God has favoured us to be effective stewards for.
Lord Jesus, bring on the year of increase through God’s kingdom rule in our hearts together; for the impact that will have on all people in our spheres of influence and the impact that will have on the other branches of Your church in our region as we faithfully serve our brothers and sisters and as we champion and foster relationships based upon Jesus and not something else.
National Day of Thanksgiving Effort Opens More Doors
Early on Sunday morning a small troop headed into the Wollongong Police Station, simply to cook breakfast for the clocking off night shift and clocking on day shift officers. As our annual effort to do something tangible on the National Day of Thanksgiving, we once again partnered with our mate Tim Hall who made connection with those he knows at the Police Local Area Command through his work as a Fire Officer. Our simple offering was once again deeply appreciated and even though the recipients were effusive in their gratitude, it was us, on behalf of the ‘church throughout Wollongong’ that were doing this small thing to assure the officers of our thankfulness and extreme gratitude for what they do for us, sometimes in the face of significant difficulty.
This year, Tim received a response from the Lake Illawarra LAC also which led to the Church of Christ in Calderwood providing a timely brekky for those police officers on Saturday morning. Timely because of the tragic loss they had felt earlier in the week when one of their own had suicided.
This scenario impacted all regional officers and one of the Wollongong OIC’s at our event shared how he felt a sense of trust in what we represented and how we represented it. Graeme was asked for his contact details which were passed on for reference if there was a need in future for general officer support or morale boosting. We thank God for the affirmation and are humbled by it. We recognise a Holy Spirit inspired opportunity when we see it.
A Summary of LAST week’s message for Prayer, Reflection & Response. Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest
Series: ‘Welcome to HOPE Project Base Camp’
Theme: ‘So, you want to go back to Egypt’ Mick Rowles (20th May 2018)
Reference Scriptures = Numbers 13:1-2, 17-31; 14: 1-4, 20-24
Briefly – Israel had been in captivity in Egypt for a long time. Moses asked Pharaoh to let the people go. God sent plagues and Pharaoh eventually agreed then changed his mind and pursued them. Egyptians were killed as Israel fled into the desert receiving the blessing and favour of Gods provision & promise
But … The people grumbled in any case.. As a nation they are on the edge of the land flowing with milk and honey. They were at the boundary of the land that God promised to give them. They received reports back about this land, and this land that God promised them he would provide was exactly as he said it would be. What do they do?
Do they accept God at his word and take hold of the gift? No!
They were frightened by giants, they grumbled, they rebelled. We can ask the question – why? Why on the verge of receiving the blessing of God’s promise did they turn away in fear? They allowed Fear to grab hold of them and clouded their vision. They turned away from their faith and they became disobedient; They looked at the giants instead of at God
It stopped them from stepping into the blessing of God. We can face giants in our life. If we take our eyes off God, the giants can seem scary.
Giants come in all shapes and sizes and by different names
Giants like low self-esteem, self-doubt, change, uncertainty, being outside our comfort zone, age (I’m too old or too young). We can be ruled by fear of our Giants OR we can use the awareness of them to Build CHARACTER.
In the Israelites case, not only did the people not want to step into the blessing that God wanted to give them, they actually wanted to go back to Egypt. Back to captivity. BECAUSE what is known becomes comfortable and what isn’t known becomes like an enemy, EVEN when the promise of what lies ahead comes to you from your MOST trusted source.
Disobedience and division meant that the people of Israel didn’t move forward. In fact, all those who gave a bad report, and or grumbled and rebelled, died in the desert and never moved into the land that God had promised the people. (cf. Num. 14:20-24) But what can we learn from Caleb?
God says Caleb ‘Follows me wholeheartedly’. He has faith with eyes on God, not distracted by, nor ignoring the Giants. He wasn’t practicing some sort of positive thinking. So … what can you and I learn from this story?
Base Camp IS NOT the final destination. God has said wait – this is a stop on the path – a time of specific preparation. It’s not going to be forever.
We are moving forward IN Christ BUT there’s a climb to be made beyond our fears. God has called this church to move, not called to sit still or worse go back to Egypt. Our responsibility???
BE WILLING AND DO THE WORK (Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:9-10)
Teams don’t turn up at base camp and then learn how to climb before attempting the summit. Base camp isn’t a training camp for new climbers. Climbers use base camp as a place of FINAL preparation. They come equipped.
You are equipped. God has put in you what you need already. (Ephesians 2:10)
BE READY – Be the bride of Christ (ready when the bridegroom arrives)
BE OBEDIENT – like Caleb, move when God says move
BE UNITED / ONE – division cost the people of Israel. It stopped them.
God is relational, look out for one another,
BE A DOULOS – servants like Caleb simply DO the will of the master
Don’t let fear or doubt get in the way. Don’t let fear rob you of God’s blessing
Live in Faith; Live following the Lord wholeheartedly
Live in HOPE (Heaven on Planet Earth)
Let’s encourage each other, discuss revelation and pray together …
Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening at the HUB https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog