We’re excited about where God is directing this church.
In January, the pastoral staff (and Wendy and myself) got out of the city and travelled to Phil’s parents cottage to spend two days reflecting on the past year and discerning what God is calling us to do in the year ahead. While we’ve had time to review and plan before, this time it was different. We saw the need to establish a common goal and direction for the year ahead; the type of task that would demand all hands on deck and would set the tone for all of our ministries.
Views from the staff retreat.
I want to share something with you, church: your pastors love you and care deeply about your spiritual growth. In deep times of prayer, long discussions, and silence before God, they sought his will concerning the needs and priorities of our church.
What emerged were two areas of focus that we wanted to work hard to improve immensley in one year’s time: our welcome and worship.
What we felt, strongly, was that these were two areas that needed attention and love before we tackled other admittedly important and pressing needs. So what does this look like?
Why did we pick welcome? I’ll let Hanneke Cost Budde, a Knox-supported missionary who visited us recently, answer that one:
That’s not good. Sadly, we totally agree with her. Our welcome is inconsistent. Sometimes we do a great job. Sometimes we fail people and do a disservice to what God calls the church to be. Welcoming the stranger into deep fellowship is a directive we find again and again in scripture. We need to love without favouritism.
On that staff retreat, we realized something else: we needed help. We needed some of the great leaders in our church to lead the church towards becoming a more hospitable place. Phil worked on establishing a team to identify how we can better welcome newcomers. Then, these lovely people were recruited:
Ali Symons (who led the team), Don and Mary Jane Scott, Christopher Muddiappahpillai, Rachel and Jordan Pipher, Dan Andrews, Emily Fuller, Alvin Sim, myself, Phil Reinders, the 5pm lead greeter Alena Parkinson, and the 11am head usher Greg Summers.
Ali led us through a series of meetings to establish these following eight priorities for the year ahead:
We are always talking about worship at our church, because we do not think it is an ends to a mean, but it is the very reason for existance. As the first question and answer of the Shorter Westminster Catechism declares:
What is the chief end of man?
Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.
What does this mean for the church?
- Including more testimony in our worship services.
- Renewing our sanctuary space, with a focus on restoration, a more usable stage, and audio-visual improvements.
- Forming a Worship Renewal Team.
- Creating more opportunities for our worshipping communities to worship together. This summer we will be worshipping together for eight weeks at 11:05am, from July 3 to August 21.
- Promoting missional worship that is a witness to a watching world and that makes space for people who are new to church and Christianity.
- Renewing our prayer ministries at both services.
Find out more information in our Annual Report.