Queensland Synod General Secretary Rev Heather den Houting provides an update on the Project Plenty visioning exercise.
“If you think the institutional church will look like this in five years’ time, then you haven’t been paying attention.”
This is one of my mantras in 2020, and a sentiment that is being reflected in the What we heard report emerging from the Project Plenty process. This report is available on the Project Plenty website at ucaqld.com.au/projectplenty. The report, published in February, provides an overview of the engagement sessions that took place right across Queensland during the second half of 2019. While there have been many important and valuable contributions, eight key themes that were continually raised and discussed:
- Focusing on discipleship as core business
- Continuing involvement in things that matter in our communities—particularly mental health
- Developing tighter collaboration and integration in the church across the Queensland Synod
- Refreshing our approaches to training and equipping people who minister in the name of the Uniting Church with skills such as reading the context, understanding community and evangelism
- Developing churches locations as community hubs in a 21st century manner
- Using our physical assets (mission, revenue, community) more effectively
- Improving church structures around governance and compliance to ensure we enhance rather than inhibit mission
- Developing the capacity and willingness of the Queensland Synod to make hard decisions.
These eight key themes are incredibly powerful and speak across the life of the church. So, what might these look like in practice?
The strong identification of responding to issues of mental health is a consistent theme which we see played out across all church activities. Our schools have shared stories of primary school children who are struggling with anxiety and depression. Our community services develop specific programs to help with the health and well-being of communities. What might our church look like if we took an intentional, coordinated approach to this passion across the Synod?
We are a church with such potential that when we look at opportunities for collaboration, they are endless. The Synod office has aligned itself to closely collaborate with UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland to support their mission. Our Disaster Relief Chaplaincy brings together resources from across the church to respond to affected communities. What else might we collaborate in?
And of course, there are our physical assets. How can we utilise church assets in order to provide the greatest stewardship of our resources for the future needs of the church? This is all part of the Project Plenty process, a journey of discovery to identify what the Uniting Church of the future might look like.
The report also reflects on our current data from across the church. There was a demonstrated acknowledgement from across the Synod that if these trends continue, the congregational life of the church as we know it now will cease to exist.
So, what’s next?
The Project Plenty team is drafting a set of mission values and priorities for feedback as part of the “Refine and Test” phase of the engagement.
We want to know your feedback to the What we heard report. Specifically:
Do the eight key themes that were continually raised and discussed (detailed on page 3) resonate with you and your local context?
What reoccurring themes do you see as the highest priority to address? Why and how?
Your feedback and input is invaluable as it will help us shape a draft set of mission values and priorities which we will seek your feedback on before launching them at the 35th Synod in Session in October 2020.
Find out more
We invite you to join the Project Plenty conversation, share your voice and stay connected and up to date.
- Talk to your congregation’s Project Plenty champion (speak to your Secretary about who this is)
- Visit the Project Plenty website to access resources, listen to podcasts and read reflections at ucaqld.com.au/projectplenty
- Join the Project Plenty Facebook group to comment, like and share at facebook.com/groups/projectplenty
- Subscribe to and read the weekly Uniting News at ucaqld.com.au/uniting-news
- Read Journey magazine which is sent to congregations each quarter
- Contact the Project Plenty team via email firstname.lastname@example.org.