Saturday, January 29, 2011

Looking ahead in 2011 at East Taieri

Over the quieter January period I gathered this list of ministry activity that contributes to the overall mission of East Taieri Church which we describe as:
 One people in mission for God’s glory
Growing in Christ and making him known in love through word, sign and deed
Because all people matter to God.

A memorable summary of this is:
...Growing in Christ and Making Him Known...Because All People Matter to God

Much of the fruitfulness of our ministry at East Taieri Church comes from faithful ministry by the whole body of Christ. Week by week people gather together, drink deeply of the living water Jesus offers, are changed from the inside out, and then overflow in mission to others around them in the Holy Spirit’s power. This occurs in both ET programmes and through one to one contacts. This is the Lord’s key strategy – disciples making disciples.

However, we do plan some special events, strategies and programmes for the year. At the risk of missing some out, let me name a few:
• We are going into the year with a revitalised creative ministries focus in morning services.

• Alpha has been having a steady impact at ET for years and it is gaining momentum. We want to build further momentum by:
         o Praying regularly in services for the people in our bundle of prayer cards.
         o Hosting a national Alpha Training Day at ET on April 2nd.
         o Night Church will begin the year using the Alpha material and ET congregations inviting people.
         o We a holding an Alpha reunion on April 14th for people who have come to Alpha in the past.

• Using the H2O evangelism programme with Mainly Music Mums

• Continuing to train and challenge us to speak about Jesus to our friends. [Friends for Life – March, Sharpening the Saw, XEE]

• Joining the “Essential Jesus” campaign as a follow up to the successful E100 Bible Reading Challenge

• We are holding our first ET Leadership Summit called “Lead Where You Are” on March 5th using Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit DVD. This is for equipping people at ET for leading in their home, business, ministry...

• On May 16th we are hosting Doug Pollock from Athletes in Action USA here as part of a nation-wide tour to help prepare the Church and individual Christians to use the Rugby World Cup as a unique opportunity to reach out into their communities.

• Our South Island Ministry Conference in May has Murray Talbot from Hornby Presbyterian as keynote speaker – “Let My People Grow!” Murray will address the challenges for churches breaking through growth barriers.

• We will be conducting a detailed Mosgiel Community Profile looking at needs and resources in the community – aiming to develop a significant community development project in Mosgiel in partnership with other organisations.

• We will be running the Marriage Course at ET beginning May 27th

• We will use a mix of Days of Prayer and Fasting, and Weeks of Prayer, to focus our prayer together as a church.

• We will gather all ET congregations for “One Service” for celebration and vision casting (probably at Taieri College) on September 18th, with David Lyle Morris.

• Christmas Eve will again be a key evangelistic opportunity.

• In partnership with FUEL, Fairfield school and a YET youth ministry intern, we will seek to develop a youth ministry programme in Fairfield.

• Develop our overseas mission focus in Thailand. Martin and Sue visiting the Fleck’s, Potters and Robertsons. Short term mission project.

Some great highlights ahead for us!


Friday, January 14, 2011

Reviewing 2010

In many ways 2010 was a hard year for East Taieri Church with staffing issues, a drop in numbers of people attending morning worship services, and financial pressures amidst the recession.  In behind these presenting symptoms of course lie deeper issues about mission, vision and expectations related to that; our Sunday worship and expectations about that; and how we relate and communicate together within the church.

Having acknowledged the challenges, I found it spiritually uplifting to review some highlights:

• 13 Adults were baptised including a whole family of 6.

• Two ET families stepped out into Ministry Internship training at the start of the year (Harrexs and van’t Wouts). Always hard to see quality people like this go, but they have been a blessing to the churches where they are doing their internship this year.

• At the end of the year Deborah Bower accepted a position as pastor in the Wakatipu parish (Queenstown, Frankton and Arrowtown).

• We held our first church camp for a few years, with around 150 people attending.

• Joy Davis stepped into a full-time community ministry coordinator role, developing new connections in the community, “Where is God on Monday?” programme, the Parenting Matters group, Christmas Dinner (90 people attending in an excellent partnership between ET, the RSA, Community Board, a community trust, and other organisations and churches).

• 150 church leaders at our inspiring South Island Ministry Conference in May with Paul Windsor as keynote speaker, and Tony Robinson taking one session.

• Global Missions weekend with Jim & Diane Young from Malawi.

• We have 5 young people on a summer mission experience with Teen Mission (2 in Uganda and 3 in Argentina)

• We Hosted the awesome World Vision “Girls Night Out” with Petra Bagust and Julia Grace.

• We took up the E100 Bible Reading Challenge. 235 individuals and 32 families participated plus some extras who joined in along the way.

• The One Service in September at Taieri College with all ET congregations participating.

• We have trained people in evangelism and put it into practice, one to one, and in Journeys and the Alpha Programme.

• Held a difficult but helpful forum to help elders and leaders hear from the congregations about issues facing ET.

• Following our forum in November a reinvigorated group of people met to discuss resourcing creative ministries in 2011.

• Fantastic Christmas services that reached around 1000 people. Huge number of community families at the children’s services. In the later two carol services many people responded by coming forward to write light candles or leave written prayers.

All this is to say nothing of the consistent week in, week out, gathering of children, young people and adults to worship, discover more about God, build community together and reach out to others, in Sunday services at ET,  FUEL, CCC (and in retirement homes); youth ministry and children’s ministry, chaplaincy, life groups and pastoral care ministries... Youth East Taieri for example connected with over 250 young people a week in 14 youth programmes.

So, amidst the challenges I find myself encouraged and hopeful - Happy New Year!