Well, as much as this might sound like Sesame Street, the word of the month is ‘Connect’. Why? Well if you were at church on Sunday you would have seen the final step in our project launch for the renovations that are happening to our site. And while a building project is a physical transformation, with bricks and mortar, the important aspect of it is the meaning behind the change, which we have dubbed Project Connect. If you haven’t seen the video, click here www.robinaanglican.com/projectconnect.
As we launch this Project, we are challenged by the current political climate in which there is a war of words on political ideas, identity, religion and much more. In light of the recent New Zealand tragedy, there are very real questions: ‘How do we seek to bring peace and healing to all those who are hurting?’ And, ‘How do we win the hearts and minds of the people involved, so that tragedies like this don’t happen again?’ As I was thinking about this, I was reminded of a study that I read a number of years ago which showed the most recognized brands in Australia by logo. Up near the top was the Salvation Army. It made me wonder why a Christian organisation was recognized by so many people, in such a positive way.
Well, it turns out that it is pretty simple: implementing actions that show understanding, connect with and meet people’s needs; actions that match up with what we say; actions that show people that they are beyond value; and a call to Connect with those who are marginalized and hurting. Now this might sound rather ‘pie in the sky’, but the Salvation Army gave it legs and has been meeting people where they are at for a long time. Now, we aren’t the Salvation Army but I do believe that God is calling us to do something similar and, right now, that is starting with a building.
As we green up the front of our site, and provide shade and chairs, we will create spaces for the community. As we open up Lakeview, we will create opportunities to connect with people there. As we fill these spaces with relevant and meaningful activities, and share our faith, we will start to shine a light into our community. As we make our current building more user friendly, we can host more events, as well as more outside of our regular services. We are currently working on installing a new visual system in the church, so that we can actively use this space for events to better serve those who come to church. If you have a look in the Project Connect brochure too, you’ll see the plans for more screens. We have gifted, talented and diverse music teams across all of our services and to better accommodate the need, we are making some upgrades to our sound system.
Project Connect is about connecting with the people in our community, finding out what is meaningful to them and meeting them where they are at. We don’t have all the fine details worked out yet but we are moving in a direction that means that we will finalise them in the near future.
If we keep growing as we are, and with the help of Project Connect, we will be filling church to the brim on a Sunday in the not too distant future. As we head towards a new stage of our church, I want to encourage people to think about how we might win the hearts and minds of people in our community. How we might become recognised for the right things, something people want to identify with and aspire to with us.