Reflection by Stewart Perry

Last year we had planned to do some strategic thinking about the direction of our church moving forwarded. Our current strategic plan was produced in 2014 and was in need of relook, refresh and refocus… then the world changed…

I know when I use words like ‘Strategic Plan’ there are a small portion of people (who are a bit like me) who get really excited and engaged… but for the majority of people I can almost visibly see their eyes glaze over.

So in light of a desire not to have you drift off into your happy space, we are not going to do ‘Strategic Planning’ this year… BUT in light of the world around us changing rapidly over the last 18 months, and in light of our need as church to actually do something constructive to position ourselves to respond, serve and be effective in mission an ministry… we are going to do something different…

Myself and the staff have been reflecting over the last few weeks on a Thursday lunch time about what and how to move forward…

2 realisations have hit us:

  1. We are not a very old church. We actually turn 24 years old this year in August. Effectively we are a ‘young adult’ in our life cycle. So we started to talk about where we were, what we were doing and who we thought we were when we were 24. Which naturally lead us to reflect on the difference between who we are now and who we were then.
  2. If someone asked us or asked you in the street to describe ‘who is the Anglican Church Robina’ we would probably hear lots of unique and genuinely interesting things about our church but we don’t have a shared narrative or shared identity that we can easily roll off our tongues to explain who we are in Christ and who we are becoming.

When I was 24 I was in my second job out of university as the Financial Controller of a manufacturing company already starting off well to achieve my goal of being a CEO by the time I was 30. I was dating Leanne but I already knew that she was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I was passionate about my faith and making an impact on the Anglican Church of Australia but the way I thought I would be doing that would be in my ‘spare time’ by leading youth events, starting new a new congregation in my local church that was ‘different’ and maybe if everything worked out I could be a CEO who was also a Christian rock star in his spare time… Back then people would ask me when I was going to follow in my dad’s footsteps and become a priest – I would laugh and reply that I knew how much they earned…

As I look back at that time. I am still very much that same person. My identity was pretty evolved at 24. I was and still am passionate about the same things in terms of my faith life and my personal life. I had direction, I had purpose. BUT… it has all played out very differently as I look from my vantage point at 49 years of age… and what I’ve learned about myself and what I’ve learned about God and how God works in me and in and through others is so much more deep and profound. Even though if you had of asked me at 24 I probably would have given you an answer that really meant that I didn’t think I had any more to learn and that I had it all worked out thank you very much.

Who are we as a church and who are we in Christ and who we are we becoming are critical questions for every single church, but for us they are the most important questions for now.

To get us to the point of answering those questions I would love you to think about what life was like for you when you were 24 and what wisdom you now have to share. If you or a family member is under 24 maybe consider where do you think you’ll be at 24 and what wisdom will you need to get there.

We will meet together as a church for a facilitated conversation on Saturday the 10th of July at 10am for a facilitated conversation to answer these questions for our church from our collective wisdom with 3 desired outcomes:

  1. To name who we are and who we are becoming
  2. To own that identity
  3. To commit to be open to the Holy Spirit who may shape or reshape us as we move forward

Details for this will be in every “What’s on” email until then. Everyone who wants to contribute to who we are as a church and who we are becoming is both invited and encouraged to attend.

Over the next few Sundays a couple of our interns will be asking some of you to answer these questions and hopefully you’ll be willing to let them record your answers to share with our community.

I am excited about what God has done in our church, I am excited about what God is doing in our church, but I am most excited about what God will do in our future together. Please pray intentionally as we lead into and move from this time together.


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