The Gap Uniting Church in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, is a great example of a learning community, discovering together what it means to be a people of the gospel, nurturing disciples of Jesus, building partnerships with the community, supporting their members in their every day life, modelling team work and fostering new expressions of mission. The congregation is aware of the deep history of their community and are involved in the development of their wider community. Hosting of playgroups and early childhood education has been given value through the provision of hospitality. Chaplaincy in the local primary school and partnership with the neighbouring state high school have provided a strong conection between family, children and youth ministry and community development.
At long last the Mission Stories DVD and manual are available to be used. Mission Stories comes out of the Queensland Synod’s Vision for Mission project, a five year journey of learning focused on stimulating new growth in local initiatives of mission. The six part series uses Queensland stories to encourage people of faith to reflect on their current setting as well as focus on their future direction. It is hoped that the Mission Stories will be a rich resource used in many ways, included in teaching, preaching, study groups, and reminding people about the work of God in many places.
The Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia is sending out complimentary copies of the DVD to all people in placement in Queensland, including people working in congregations, chaplaincy, teaching roles, Presbytery leadership and Synod staff. Further copies can be ordered from Pilgrim Learning Community (Queensland) and Mediacom (elsewhere in Australia).
The participant’s manual can be downloaded here on the Faith Stories site. See the sidebar for instructions. It is anticipated that the manual will be updated over time. A generic version, without the references to the Uniting Church Basis of Union, will be be made available soon.
This site will also provide an opportunity for people to share about how they have used Mission Stories, including suggestions for prayer, songs, and connection with other themes.
Mission Stories, the sequel to Faith Stories, is being released in May 2010. The six-part DVD study series is designed to help local church leaders with discerning their direction in their God-given mission. The DVD provides inspiring video footage and discussion resources for church leaders who want to grapple with growing a congregation’s effectiveness in mission. The six sessions explore the changing shape of mission, the gospel focus for Christian communities, discipleship, local and global partnerships, entering cultures and subcultures, and holding together the many aspects of God’s work in the world.
Session 1 – Mission in the World
Early Church, Christendom and 21st Century contexts for mission
God is in the world
Documenting what we know about our local community.
Session 2 – Gospel Community
Missional Church is made up of Gospel People.
How do we embody the compassion and generosity of God?
Documenting what we know about our community of faith.
Session 3 – Missional Discipleship
Worship, witness and service as expressions and resource centres of discipleship.
Exploring the commitment to following Jesus in the context of relationships.
Documenting what we know about how we resource people living out their faith.
Session 4 – Community Partnership
Finding a connection with congregations, agencies or parachurch organisations, community stakeholders or allies, exiles.
Documenting what other congregations, agencies, stakeholders and exiles know.
Session 5 – Who Are Our People?
Exploring the hopes and needs of particular people groups, cultures and subcultures.
Building a welcoming environment and entering the worlds of other cultures.
Documenting what people in particular people groups know.
Session 6 – Five Marks of Mission Together
Bringing together evangelism, social justice, nurture, learning and environmental stewardship.
Honouring and respecting each other in missional community.
Documenting our existing expressions of mission and ministry.
The stories feature Queenslanders from Townsville, Emerald, Maleny, Caloundra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, with commentary from guests such Trinity Theological College Director of Studies in Systematic Theology Geoff Thompson, Pilgrim Learning Community director Rob Bos, and Blue Care Director of Mission Colleen Geyer.
Each session includes processes for discussion, Biblical reflection, prayer, and engagement with the Basis of Union (an additional option for Uniting Church contexts). Groups are provided with a chance to assess their effectiveness at the end of each session by researching their own commitments, achievements and “mission stories”.
Duncan Macleod says, “It has been inspiring to interview so many people from grassroots Queensland. Jason Bray and Mike Crowhurst, the Red Earth Films team, have created a visually appealing resource that will equip church leaders here in Queensland and across Australia”.
Mission Stories will be launched at the Signposts of Hope conference being held at Alex Park in the two days before the Synod, May 19 and 20. See more on Mission Stories at www.faithstories.org.au. Register for the Signpost of Hope conference at www.ucaqld.com.au/signpostsofhope
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
Here’s the trailer for the Faith Stories DVD, commissioned by the Vision for Mission project for the Pilgrim Learning Community, and produced by Red Earth Films.
Faith Stories, the Queensland Synod’s new resource for congregations, was launched in Redcliffe Uniting Church last month. The eight week course, written by Duncan Macleod and Graham Beattie, features Redcliffe minister Peter Armstrong as the narrator, along with members of the congregation sharing about the way they started their journey of faith.
Peter says that he hasn’t seen a course quite like Faith Stories. He says it’s great to have a resource that connects our faith with listening skills, an awareness of what God is doing in the lives of people, and a broad understanding of the gospel. “It’s not a course instructing you on how to convert people. Faith Stories is about equipping Christians with the skills and knowledge they need to bring their best to their relationships. It’s about deepening the understanding of your faith and your life. It will encourage you to strengthen your relational networks with family, friends and the workplace, and in those contexts have the skills and confidence to share your faith in effective and powerful ways.”
Lu Senituli tells his story in the second session of Faith Stories. Lu is a minister with the Uniting Church in Australia but twenty years ago talking about faith was the last thing on his mind. An encounter with a taxi driver with a story to tell changed Lu’s direction in life.
Faith Stories, an eight week course on sharing faith, is a new resource developed by Graham Beattie, Duncan Macleod, Peter Armstrong and Jason Bray. The course, launched this month in Redcliffe, provides an opportunity to develop a ‘cringe-free’ approach to talking about faith with friends.
Graham and Duncan developed the course after noticing that most resources on evangelism overlooked key obstacles in the minds of Australian Christians. The course begins with motivation associated with hope for transformed lives, rather than obligation or guilt. Christians are invited to take the course not as a way to convert their friends, but to become more effective and gracious as they communicate their faith.