COMMUNITY MINISTRIES REPORT 2015
From the 1960’s and through a surge in the ‘80’s Baptist churches have been growing their role in the local community. Many churches set up trusts (which was largely about increasing their fundraising potential) and have gone about growing some very impressive services and projects. Many have since crumbled as key leaders have left or burnt out, and others grown away from the church from which they were birthed. Largely they have been activities that were responses to need and deficit, or programmes that sought to draw the community into the church orbit.
Coming into this role I have sought to better understand what it is the churches are now doing, and what is going well and bearing fruit; also to critically think about the models we are using and whether they are now effective in impacting our community for good and bearing fruit for the Kingdom. We are in the middle of running regional forums to bring community focussed people and pastors together to ask hard questions of ourselves and reflect on our models and direction. These have been well attended and stimulating. I have been encouraged by how many pastors see themselves as taking a key role of responsibility in considering our response to the community, as this is mission.
As a resource to the churches our team is working on communication (it has to be online eh!) and connection. I have appreciated the hospitality of churches who have been honest about what’s going well and what isn’t.
We continue to represent the Baptist movement at a National level through NZCCSS and are proposing a more open process of appointing representatives and sharing the load of the annual levy.
With our Tindal Foundation monies the allocations team is seeking to think strategically around the impact of what we give, and being sensitive to encourage the moves of God’s Spirit in creative new expressions of community impact and mission.