Spring Campaign 2018 Introduction Edition (First Thoughts)
Our church family has been on a journey now through a seeming wilderness but definitely towards a promised land. This is a season that has been promised to us prophetically numerous times these last few years as we’ve sought to DWELL in the revelation Christ brought and help each other declare, represent and demonstrate the kingdom of heaven ON earth right where we live and play and then as God sends us beyond. It started with a repeated prophetic word from a number of our network partners that the time of Moses (Anticipation) was becoming the time of Joshua (Realization). Dwelling in Christ’s revelation inspired us to read the bible more and more, to INTENTIONALLY hear from God rather than just storing up knowledge.
This year’s key prophetic exhortation has been to work hard and do all that’s required to ensure the mission of our church (aligned to the Primary Purpose of God) is sustainable and reproducible. We have been assured by the Holy Spirit time and again that the people God has gathered together to this point in time have ALL they need to establish this sustainable and reproducible edition of Corrimal Community Church. This was confirmed resoundingly during a month or two where more people than ever found the freedom and energy to intentionally step up to ‘share the responsibility’ for this mission.
So …… we began preparing and training for summiting this ‘unclimbed peak’ and by His grace we expect that assent to commence in late Spring this year.
Meanwhile, some things needed to be re-formed and re-shaped and these efforts are going on in parallel with the early equipping so that there will exist at the required time, a framework for better developing and supporting facilitating servant leadership for sustainability and reproducibility. And, as it was in the time of Joshua, moving beyond the promise of God through Moses will be like how it is at the time we are ready to leave Camp 4 for the summit.
The following Paragraphs of explanation, give some clarity to this re-forming, re-shaping work essentially going on in the background.
It needs to be said from the outset that the template we are using in ALL of this work, starts with Jesus and seeks to align /measure everything we end up doing, by Jesus’ life and ministry. We won’t get it absolutely right all the time but Jesus is our end game coordinate and this is the process we are engaged in… ‘Mission starts with God, is led by the Holy Spirit and should look more and more like Jesus’
As this journal goes to press, a bunch of people acting as an ‘interim sounding board’, established out of the May, Special Church Family Meeting and ensuing Think Tank, are appraising some first draft details about a comprehensive, relationship prioritized discipling and equipping process that we are calling ‘Covenant Partnership’. For too long, our church family has been unclear about how we achieve church membership and all that this means. It might seem like semantics, but we have removed the word membership, to intentionally focus on a relational AND equipping to fullness process, rather than a ticking off of boxes or a club recruitment way of operating that has no basis in scripture.
I have included ‘everything’, whether I fully agree with it or not into this first draft outline for appraisal by the 15 people I’ve initially asked to have a look at it so that we can together, genuinely seek the Holy Spirit and end up with something that isn’t just espoused theory but empowers us practically whilst looking and operating more like heaven.
NB: Everyone who calls CCC home will get the chance to input to this later on.
A Sustainable and Reproducible Leadership Development Process
Earlier this year we agreed as a church family that we needed to make changes that would usher in a process for developing the sort of facilitating servant leadership that could sustain and reproduce the mission that God has called us to declare, represent and demonstrate.
We identified as a Church the need to develop our shared leadership responsibility beyond the current deacons who, even though have been functioning well in the role of overseeing the daily operations of the church for years, can’t (in the current shape and format) facilitate the multi-faceted mission that is unfolding.
We also believed at this time that the current ‘constitutional’ view of church membership and leadership didn’t reflect the framework for leadership development that the Holy Spirit had been / is revealing to us. The more we sought to understand things by measuring everything we stand for and are seeking to be against the standard of Jesus’ life and ministry, the more we recognized that we needed to re-start this process of developing an expression of the ministry of the ‘body of Christ IN community’ and using God’s word and the counsel of the Holy Spirit, seek to hear from God about how to re-align things with heaven.
There is absolutely no desire to dishonour those who toiled to lead us this far by His grace, but like many ships that head out from the port that they believe is their home or foundation for existence, the circumstances of the journey can leave a ship rudderless or with a damaged sail or with some other barrier to getting back on course.
We believe together that God has given us the tools now, which can repair the vessel and re-calibrate its coordinates enough to get it back on course so that the journey can access the resources that flow from the fullness of heaven and not struggle simply because it has exhausted all the resources it has on board.
So … the ‘interim sounding board’ will be receiving a draft outline that promotes ‘The HOPE Project’ as an apostolic framework. Apostolic in that it troubleshoots where things don’t represent the fullness of Christ as it is designed to do. This practical, Nehemiah like diagnostic consists of Jesus’ method for leadership development in the gospels and keys we receive from the experience of the early church which sought to keep the Holy Spirit in the driver’s seat.
To become sustainable and reproducible we need to commit together, personally and corporately, to a process that results in measurable kingdom of heaven growth and advancement in the spheres God has given us favour and responsibility for.
The Body of Christ is made up of all the followers of Jesus, not just the church staff or affirmed deacons/leaders. A healthy body makes efficient use of all its parts and clarifies the things that are important to us so that anyone we journey with can engage appropriately, safely and inclusively to the glory of God and His church IN Christ Jesus.
Everyone encouraged to play THEIR God given part (not only the parts we THINK they should play); everyone presented with ways to access support, resources and equipping; everyone knowing who they are mutually accountable with and everyone knowing that if we keep trusting the Holy Spirit to lead AND keep trusting each other and the gifts that God has given to others amongst us IN Christ Jesus; ALL things are possible
A Re-Drafted Constitution
A strategic and necessary part of this re-forming and re-shaping work behind the scenes is to firstly, honour the efforts of those who have gone before us, particularly during the 1990’s when the ‘Constitution’ was last re-drafted. Whilst including some helpful stuff that we will surely seek to develop further, like clauses that are minimalist and thus provide an amount of freedom IN Christ to achieve a purpose to His glory, we have recognised recently that these don’t go far enough towards aligning us with what we believe the nature, function and purpose of ‘the church’ is currently and into the future.
Apart from a few legal parameters that all human organizations that exist in the world need to abide by, there is simply too much in the current constitution that when referred to, as has been the case in recent times, create confusion because of the lack of clarity.
In the recent ‘Shaping the Future – Recommendations’ paper, which you can re-read here,
on behalf of those who engaged in the ‘Think Tank’ process I highlighted that the above processes already outlined pre-suppose that the current Constitution of Corrimal Community Church is out of date and, in accordance with the feedback from many of our church family, we agreed that we needed to produce a new Constitution that reflects this new wineskin indicating who we are and what we are called to go after.
So … as soon as these new processes seem good to us and the Holy Spirit, and we have enough information to write a ‘Special Resolution’ (which is required for any change to a Constitution), we will give TWO months’ notice for our 2018 Annual General Meeting and at that meeting of the church family, after prayerfully examining the way forward, we will TOGETHER, establish the new framework for better developing and supporting the facilitating servant leadership for sustainability and reproducibility and we will COMMISSION the late Spring 2018 Summiting Team soon thereafter.
Spring 2018 Campaign Details
We will start sharing details of the Spring 2018 Campaign NEXT week but for now we just want to establish that the campaign will start with, be fuelled by and be sustained by CORPORATE PRAYER so we will release some ways for us all to be able to access prayer opportunities very shortly. PLEASE stay tuned and BE in prayer …
We are Backyard Missionaries – Update
Thanks for your faithful prayers (requested in last week’s missional article) into the things God has been laying on my heart with relation to ministry with and to young people. The initial answers to prayer are as follows: –
- In light of the developing a workable, Jesus looking strategy, a kind of ‘Youth HOPE Task & Support Force’ prayer need, I had a phone message this week from a young adult whom I have had the privilege of mentoring in recent times, informing me that they had felt a nudge from God to think of Karen and I and get in contact ASAP. PLEASE PRAY for God’s purposes as that catch up should happen shortly.
- God opened doors this week for me to enter the THREE Northern Illawarra High Schools from THIS COMING WEEK starting Tuesday 4th September. PLEASE PRAY as I support the awesome Leanne Begg (Scripture Teacher & Chaplain) and her helpers whilst serving a lunch BBQ for students at Corrimal High. Lord grant me the wisdom to engage with key school leaders at CHS on Tuesday in a way that represents heaven and opens doors for Kingdom Conversations. PLEASE keep praying for God’s opened doors over the next TWO weeks for visitations to Woonona and Bulli High Schools.
More Backyard Missionary Frontier Situation Reports (Sitreps) soon …
A Summary of Sunday’s message for Prayer, Reflection & Response. Signpost: See & Engage the Harvest
Theme: ‘Discovering the Language of the Kingdom Part 2’
Reference Scriptures & Material – Matthew 22
Preparing for the ‘Spring 2018 Campaign’
Following closely on from last week, this isn’t a theoretical pursuit for me.
The transforming kingdom gospel of Jesus & knowing the heart behind it, is the whole kit & kaboodle and is an extremely practical endeavour. (Matt 22)
I spent a few minutes reflecting on the Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22, acknowledging that without the context for the language Jesus is using, we could get a very different picture from just reading or hearing this story, than we do when we open our hearts up to connect with Jesus’ heart for the clarity and context that comes with that sort of intimacy. (e.g. not the sort of story you share with kids without making some things clear first)
So … What we are trying to do, is spend some time thinking about what language of heaven, what particular parable of the kingdom, describes the kingdom of heaven clearly to people in YOUR spheres of involvement and influence.
- Julie for example, provides a fortnightly bible study for aged residents in her workplace, and the language of heaven that she has discovered opens doors for people describes the kingdom as a place where everyone is a princess, where everyone has genuine worth, where it doesn’t matter where you are from or where you were educated or how educated you are or that you are growing older and feeling less important to those around you …. Jesus says to you AND ALL OF US …. ‘You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world, (Matt. 5) you are awesomely and wonderfully made (Ps 129), you have a unique and specific purpose under heaven (Eph 4), you are made in His image (Gen 1), you are carriers of the presence of God (1 Cor 6-14) … the language of heaven challenges the lies of this world ….
- For our neighbourhood I am discovering that the language which describes heaven as a safe place (Matt.11), a place where we all come together and share our story without fear (1 Jn. 3), a place where everyone can be heard, a secure place where we feel as safe as we ‘think we do’ in the privacy of our homes (Deut.33; Job 11), a place where discussion is encouraged and there are essentially no wrong answers just an encouraging word to keep searching for truth and meaning and a clearer understanding of what we think we know (Mt.22;Lk.18;Jn.3) …. The kingdom of God is like a good pair of ears, a warm heart or hot chocolate, a word in season without judgement (Jn 12) … This language is opening doors in this neighbourhood and appointments have started to be scheduled.
- The kingdom of heaven is like the biggest and best party ever ..
Had a revelation about this when searching the gospels with kingdom questions a while ago, looking for ways to represent the kingdom in my spheres …
I’ve spoken at various events about ‘Jesus, on partying’ (John 2; Matthew’s Party in Ch 9)
I’ve scheduled parties instead of church services (Matt.22;Rev.3:20)
On a number of Christmas Mornings I’ve advertised that Jesus invites you to His birthday party at our place with significant response
I have booked the Party Room @ a number of McDonald’s restaurants over the years – Church Planting Strategy at Maccas revolved around Parties
Party – it has a useful ambiguity and all descriptions that flow from the idea celebrate Jesus
More about this in our planning to come ….
- Think about the spheres you are involved with. What description or parable would best describe the kingdom of God to the people you connect with. Listen to the Spirit beyond these examples. The kingdom of heaven is like …..
A tennis player who competes for the joy and fulfilment of those she or he opposes (Phil. 2:3-5)
A trade person who quotes only the amount the work will cost (Prov. 21; Micah 6:8)
A politician who thinks about what is best for the people whether they are able to advance in their career or not (2 Cor. 8)
An academic who doesn’t care if they are acknowledged for a thought or a work of research, as long as it helps someone else achieve their full potential (1 Peter 5)
An entrepreneur who gives away 90% because 10% is more than enough (Matt. 6; Luke 18)
A supportive network, a beautiful dance or artwork, a just and fair court, a reconciling revolution or a redeeming or rescuing or heart or quiet revolution and so on ….
- The other side of discovering the language of heaven is finding an appropriate way to speak or express it … Jesus and Paul taught, each with a particular style of presenting You might be good at writing messages or poetry, or maybe acts of service or kindness, or maybe you are a good listener or you are able to provide a safe escape space or hideaway, or maybe you could smile more intentionally, or just look available for a chat or you are skilled at facilitating group stuff, or you can coach or ……
One of the tools I have found opens doors for kingdom conversations – music
I have testified before about how God challenged me in a miraculous way in 1982 to only ever use music as a kingdom tool and not to make it my trade …. As much as I believed I could’ve pursued that, having independently produced or helped produce, 16 music albums (7 of my own) over 30 years. As a tool, God ensured it would never be about me but would take the heart of the kingdom of heaven and open doors for kingdom conversations in a wide variety of contexts and indeed as it has turned out, countries.
I’ve sung duets to equip my partner, started bands to provide mission experience, I write songs as prayers or gifts to people OR to paint prophetic pictures of what has been or what could be …
The tools and gifts we have that should be used to God’s glory (reason we have them) their usage breaks down walls by interpreting the language of heaven in a palatable way
My Home Town first appeared in the form ‘My Hobart Town’ (a different lyric) which was a sung prayer I wrote whilst sitting at Rosny Lookout on the eastern side of the Derwent River looking back at the city of Hobart nestled in the arms of Mt Wellington. The Home Town version sprung from my desire to find the language of heaven for the town of my birth and upbringing. I specifically prepared it for my first ever gig at Bellambi Surf Club, to both bless and challenge the people who come out (if any) to see God’s hand at work in that place; that even through all the isolation and disadvantage (perceived or otherwise) which perhaps has its roots back as far as Captain Cook in 1770, there is so much more.
When my band performed it in 2001, people who had been hidden in the houses around the performance venue started venturing out and that afternoon sparked responses in the form of kingdom conversations, pictures drawn and presented, questions asked, that fanned a small flame of HOPE.
To complete the example, I have provided the words for your reflection as I did on Sunday when I performed it for the first time since 2004. I performed it because I believe the prophetic purpose for which the song was written, has re-surfaced.
Have a read of the words and pray about WHY I might be thinking that the time for this prophetic word for this sphere of my responsibility has re-presented and if you wouldn’t mind letting me know what you hear from God, I’d deeply appreciate it.
My Home Town (An Ode to & Prayer for Bellambi)
We’ve always played soccer here, Wollongong’s first State Champions
Elizabeth Park was our weekend home
Weekdays at Bellambi Public School, I grew with so many friends there
Learned to play cricket and golf on the fields of ‘The Holy’
Fishing for mullet in the creek, dodging stray mullet in the pool;
Playing tennis at Hennessy’s
Riding my bike with my best friend Mark … some visions of my home town
Petrol tanker hesitates, in the channels of the sea lanes ,
Memories’ silent for those who fell
The reef lays quiet now, waiting for that next invasion
Of boarded up jockeys all keen to ride their crest.
White horses break up the blue, vying for recognition,
Being honoured by those surfing warriors
Shifting and peaking toward the prize … First to reach my Home Town.
Buster heads in from the south,
Bringing rain that floats on cooler air
Frequent, predictable, sometimes strong.
Forest covered western cliffs, Broken Nasal profile, Identifying my Home Town.
Caught in an urban tension, espousing confused traditions
Amidst the demands of a 21st century
The potential is great I have to pray,
Mercy and peace for my Home Town
Somebody please, please restore its heart, Come redeem Bellambi now.
Its panoramic view is breathtaking, first to be seen,
‘Endeavour’ was hoping to find a way in,
Beyond this unseen wall chaining freedom,
Spirit-ual air has choked on appearances,
To the loss of precious souls
The warmth and love of single hearts,
Needing release, yet somehow still fighting
Keep loving and helping out, keep giving yourselves away
My warm and caring, my wonderful seaside town
Don’t undermine your own self-esteem, dream worthy dreams.
©Graeme Hush – Heartland Ministries Inc. 2018
Here’s the Link to the home page for all that’s happening with the HUB https://www.corrimalcommunitychurch.com.au/blog