Our passion is to reconnect churches with their purpose. Our Redemptive Family material, the book and the church series, are our regular vehicle for achieving this aim. We believe firmly that we grow in the direction of the questions that we ask, and have facilitated many church-wide conversations sparked by a ‘burning question’ that leads the church back to rediscover its mission.
The board of the Love Your Neighbour Trust challenged our team to find a way to use our passions and skills to minister to the church in this dislocating season of pandemic.
What is the burning question facing the New Zealand church at this time? We wondered how much agreement there would be about what that question means. We decided to convene a gathering of interested parties from across the church spectrum in order to find out!We proposed a summit to answer the question: What is the most important question facing the church in NZ right now?
Thus came about the Bright Spots Summit.
40 participants from NZ-based churches and mission organisations gathered in Pt Chevalier on 9 June 2022 to work out the answer to this important question. A full report on all that transpired can be downloaded here.
Of course the answer to this question was another question! Four questions surfaced as being highest on the hearts and minds of those who came. Here is the countdown to number one:
Four! How do we facilitate the connection and healing of the body in our local contexts
Score : 18
Three! How do we best love God and our neighbours as ourselves in our diverse contexts?
Score : 45
Two! How do we encourage young people to intentionally follow Jesus?
Score : 71
And at number one! How do we re-imagine a counter-cultural, Christ-centred community for the sake of discipleship and mission?
Score : 140
The question that came out tops was twice as popular as the question that came second. What was said at the summit was this:
Why is it important?
• Making disciples was important to Jesus. Making disciples was his final instruction to us in Matthew 28.
• The world needs it.
• Prevailing models aren’t working well. If the prevailing model is songs and a sermon, and if it was really good at making disciples, we wouldn’t have a problem.
What should we do about it?
• The first step is, ‘repentance’. It should burden us that there aren’t more equipped disciples and disciple-makers coming out of our churches.
• We need to be pragmatic and find out what is working. The models and anecdotes we know of that are working all mimic the ways of Jesus – investing in a small group of people and doing life with them. It was His strategy to change the world and it worked.
• Experimental initiatives to try out new and Christ-like models of discipleship with permission to fail. Give it a go! G.K. Chesterton said, ‘if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing poorly’ – by which he meant ‘do it badly until you get good at it’.
• We need to adopt a ‘centre-and-edge’ structure, as proposed by Bishop Justin Duckworth. Leadership at the centre needs to give permission and freedom to their passionate people to give their crazy ideas a go on the edge without having to leave our structures, but where they will do no harm to the centre. Then, when the broad centre realises it needs a new way forward, there is a working model within the structure they can borrow inspiration from.
We think the big question of the day is worth exploring further. The full report is available to download if you want to read further. If you would like to be part of this conversation, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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