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Focusing on the journey

Tim Hein from Capacity Builders with Shirley Coulson at a workshop to re-imagine Synod communications. Photo by Osker Lau
AS THE Together on the way, enriching community journey continues Church members from all over Queensland are reflecting on the future of the Church in their own context.

In the light of the Church’s 2020 Call and Vision, five areas of priority for the next two years have been identified.

Focus Group C is working on “developing sustainable, mission oriented organisation for the Church in Queensland”.

Focus Group C convener and General Secretary, Dr Shirley Coulson, said it was challenging but exciting work.

“As a ‘way of being’ it is about relationships and resources; culture and structure,” she said.

“Synod Leadership Team and Focus Group members have been working very hard in this area to develop goals into action plans.

“Some significant changes are being suggested.”

Some of these changes went to Synod Standing Committee in August and will be going to the Synod in session in October.

Focus Group D is looking at “facilitating renewal of leadership for the mission of the Church”.

Focus Group D convener and Principal of Trinity Theological College, Rev Dr Geoff Thompson, said leadership was a God-given gift to the church and therefore, the church should be wise in the stewardship of it.

“That means being intentional about how we discern, foster and nurture leaders,” he said.

“One of the desired outcomes is a change in the way we imagine leadership.

“One of the issues the Group addressed was the polarised nature of the discussion about leadership within the contemporary church.

“We came to the view that one way of reducing that polarisation is to see that leadership must emerge out of discipleship.

“We can’t impose styles or patterns of leadership on the Christian community unless those styles and patterns are themselves reflections of the life of discipleship to which Jesus calls us.

“We’d like to see the whole Synod explore how we are presently forming disciples and what we can learn from the ways leadership is already being nurtured within the framework of discipleship.”

Rev Andrew Gillies said discipleship was the way forward to “missional leadership”.

“There is a sense that what we are doing is impossible; we are asked to do what in some sense is Christ’s alone to do – renew the church,” he said.

Nonetheless I am reminded of the various accounts of the feeding of the 5000.

“I think in the face of the hunger of the world and the church Jesus says to us as he said to the disciples ‘you give them
something to eat’.

“The story of our task group is that all we have to offer is two dried fish and a few loaves of bread – it is what Christ and His
body (the church) do with it that will be the real story.”

Rev Peter Armstrong, said it was the uncommon stories that give life to the church’s vision.

“It is the uncommon story of a young woman who spends as much of her time as possible with teenagers, listening, serving and mentoring them through the challenges of life.

“It is the uncommon story of a bloke on a harvester responding to God’s call to work on God’s business rather than his own and finding himself discipling young leaders eager to follow Jesus.

“Maybe these uncommon stories are becoming more common?

Maybe God’s future vision is being seen by some and not yet by all.”

To be involved email Ana.Mila@ucaqld.com.au.

To see the 2020 Vision visit http://ucaqld.com.au/about-us/about-the-uniting-church-in-queensland/together-on-the-way-enriching-community

Photo : Tim Hein from Capacity Builders with Shirley Coulson at a workshop to re-imagine Synod communications. Photo by Osker Lau