2015 AGM | Rector’s Report

With the 2016 AGM fast approaching I thought I’d share last year’s report for prayer and reflection…

 

We have enjoyed the last two months very much.

  • We have felt welcome
  • We have felt at home in the rectory
  • We have begun to make connections, and form friendships in the community
  • Special thanks to Trustees Bernie and David who have personally been very encouraging

And yet the work is only beginning!

  • Past AGM reports indicate there is much work to be done.
  • Past AGM reports are humbling. There is nothing new under the sun.
  • Past AGM reports indicate that there is no “magic bullet” – what will count how we steward the gospel and put it to work (Luke 19).

What will drive us forward will be our vision for ministry, along with the core values that we base the ministry upon.

Our values shape and direct us each day as we seek to preach the gospel and challenge Norfolk Island to become committed disciples of Jesus Christ.

… In the past I have been involved in writing a “ministry obituary”. It was particularly helpful in clarifying our vision and values (without which, no oragnisation can move forward). The question we asked ourselves was this – if we all died today, what would our ministry be remembered for?

It’s very easy to be shortsighted in ministry. We go from event to event, series to series, and at the end of each one we’re often so close to the ministry, that we unintentionally lose the bird’s eye view. How do we even know if we’re moving in the right direction? This exercise (while maybe a bit morbid) can be very insightful for bringing the horizon back in focus. Here’s how it works…

  1. Write an obituary for 10 years in the future

Project the ministry forward 10 years. Imagine that the Lord takes you home with Him having accomplished the vision He placed on your heart. Write a short obituary about your ministry, as you’d like other people to have experienced it.

Keep in mind that your ministry has been as “successful” as it can be and the Lord calls you home at the peak of its game.

What do you want people to say about the ministry?

How do you hope it will be perceived?

What will people respect about it the most?

What new ground has it broken for the Kingdom?

How has it partnered with the Holy Spirit for life-change in people’s lives?

 

  1. Now write an obituary for your ministry as it stands today

Okay, back to the present. Let’s just say that your life on earth ended today. Perhaps you were killed in a car accident, maybe silently in your sleep, or maybe you choked on a communion wafer – it really doesn’t matter – the exercise remains the same. Write an obituary for your ministry as you see it now.

What do others say about it?

Will it continue without you?

What difference is it making in people’s lives?

Is it breaking new ground for the Kingdom?

Is it a reflection of what a healthy ministry should look like?

 

The key to it is to look at the two obituaries and compare them. Reflect on the differences!

Of course I’m not predicating our untimely demise – quite the opposite – God is always breathing life into the Church.

The Corinthian church was rife with division (1 Corinthians 3:2), sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 5:1), lawsuits (1 Corinthians 6:1), and idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14). The church was an absolute carnival of dysfunction.

And yet God continued to preserve his church.

The Galatian church was deserting the true gospel for a false gospel (Galatians 1:6). The Barna group would have released a study indicating that 75% of the Galatians preferred the false gospel to the true gospel.

And yet God continued to preserve his church.

The Colossians were getting hoodwinked by philosophy and empty deceit (Colossians 2:8). The Hebrews were in danger of drifting back to the old ways of Judaism (Hebrews 2:1). The churches in Asia Minor were being swayed by teachers who denied the divinity of Christ (1 John 2:22).

And yet God continued to preserve his church.

The gospel essentially disappeared for several hundred years while one particular church filled its treasury with money gained from the sale of indulgences.

And yet God continued to preserve his church.

The church will continue. Our church will continue. Not because of an innovative new model or an awesome new leader. The church will survive because Jesus is firmly committed to the church.

In keeping with all this, my overall vision as the Chaplain of the Church of England is as follows:

That God, in his mercy, will shape us into a community of disciples who:

  • Love Jesus 
  • Love Each Other 
  • Love Norfolk Island

While we do this we want to innovate for the future, value the past, and to capitalise on the position that God has been kind to grant us. These are the core values that we want to base our ministry upon.

  1. Value the Past:

The Church of England on Norfolk Island enjoys a significant legacy of ministry and I thank God continually for those who have gone before us and dedicated their time and efforts to this place. There is also a distinctive culture that is a part of this that we must strongly retain. Values of a strong caring community, lay ministry involvement, a relaxed positive “can do” spirit and a passion for mission both locally and overseas. This is who I believe the Church of England is as a community and these positive cultural markers need to be held onto dearly.

  1. Innovate for the Future

There is also a great need to seize the day with passion and focus to re-engineer the church for the next 20 years. The strategy that has brought churches to where they are today generally will not take them forward in the future. The world and culture that we minister continues to change and we need to continually think through how we minister the unchanging gospel into this changing community and culture. Work needs to be done to reset the vision for growth alongside a practical strategy for how this will take place. Why?

  • Because we imagine a church that our kids and grandkids want to come to.
  • Because we want to be a church our friends love to attend.
  • Because we want to be a place where people who don’t feel welcome today feel welcome tomorrow.
  • Because we love Christ and the island for which he died.
  • Because we have a passion for those who don’t yet know Christ.
  • Because our current methods aren’t optimally helping us accomplish our mission.
  1. Capitalise on the unique location and heritage:

I believe that the Church of England on Norfolk Island enjoys a unique location and heritage in the heart of historic Kingston, and here at the Mission Chapel. As an evangelical church this presents endless opportunities to connect with the world as they visit Norfolk, and speak with them about Jesus. Whatever strategy the Church of England develops, this fantastic feature must be leveraged to full advantage in the pursuit of growing God’s kingdom in our unique setting.

My prayer is that God, in his mercy, will shape us into a community of disciples who:

  • Love Jesus
  • Love Each Other
  • Love Norfolk Island

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