Initialising….. Mission and Discipleship
The phrase “moving from maintenance to mission” has been overworked and overused in many circles. In the Mission and Discipleship Committee we have worked steadily to ensure that this is not merely a slogan that is bandied about, but something that we have backed with action.
To this end our work over the last four years has included:
- Grants for Church Development Evangelists, Maintenance of the Ministry and Buildings.
- The setting up of the Order of Lay Ministries which celebrates, supports and enhances the giftedness of people in our congregations who offer themselves as Lay Preachers, Youth Workers, Pastoral Visitors and other ministries.
- Conducting two Inspire Conferences where people have been able to gather to be equipped and encouraged in ministry.
- Relentless research into the future of church growth and planting, along with the publication of thought-provoking material to help people get on board with the things that are happening.
- Provision of free and non-copyrighted training and Bible Study material on our website to assist under-resourced congregations.
- Partnering with Fresh Expressions to offer the “Mission Shaped Ministry” course which has impacted a number of our ministers and elders already.
- Partnering with “1001 New Worshipping Communities” in the PCUSA to learn more about church planting trends there.
- Presenting thought-provoking reports and initiatives to General Assembly to address the crisis of infertility we are experiencing and to help us prepare for the changes in ministry and church-planting that our changing times are bringing us.
BUT one of the most exciting initiatives we have is that we are wanting to promote and encourage the planting of new congregations and worshipping communities. We’re very excited that General Assembly has approved ten once-off grants for the amount of R20,000 each that are for the sole-purpose of assisting with the planting of brand new worshipping communities. Your congregation or presbytery can apply for one of these grants if you are considering new work that meets the following criteria:
- The new work will nurture Christian faith beyond the bounds of the present congregation.
- The new work will create a new worshipping community.
- The work will be innovative and documented so that lessons can be shared with others.
You will need to answer the following questions:
- Who will benefit from the project?
- What are the needs you have identified?
- What do you intend to start/do?
- How does this fit in with the criteria listed above?
- How will the money be spent?
- What other sources of funding do you have?
- What do you expect to learn?
- How will you be accountable?
Our hope is that these grants will start a brush-fire of new work within the UPCSA so that we may be faithful in fulfilling the Gospel’s call to reach the world in Jesus’ name.
As you consider this, remember that as the UPCSA we believe we are called to be a missional Church. All members of the UPCSA are encouraged to reflect on what it means to be a missional church:
What is a Missional Church?
A Missional Church is a sent Church, which understands its primary work as witnessing to Christ and serving God in the world.
A Missional Church is shaped by God for the community into which God has placed it.
A Missional Church is focused on those who don’t yet know Jesus.
A Missional Church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, is focused on working with God in bringing fullness of life (involving justice, healing, wholeness and reconciliation) to all the people of the world.