All this year, we’ve been reporting updates from Rev David Kriel, Strategy and Mission Planner for the Uniting Church in WA in his work looking towards building strategies for the future. In our final article in the series, David offers some ideas for a way forward for us as a church.
David shared that in this journey, it’s vital for congregations to do some active soul searching.
“For the future it’s a question about faith formation and faith sharing,” he said. “Congregations need to discover who they are as a faith community and how they’re going to share that faith with their neighbours, their community.”
Part of being able to share faith with our communities is to know our communities.
“Congregations need to see who their community is and how they are going to engage in their community; not asking people to come to the church all the time, but getting out and engaging with the community. I think that’s very important,” he said.
David encourages congregations, faith communities and any Uniting Church community, to undertake a proper review of their situation to start developing strategies for the way forward. This frees up space for new forms of church to arise.
“I think congregations who only want to survive need to let go to free up resources for the wider church to use in mission and outreach,” he said.
“The church needs to allow new ways of being church to emerge – without restrictions and without any conditions.”
David said that the Presbytery also has some work to do.
“We as a presbytery must relearn how we do things. We can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results,” he said.
“We need to develop our mission capacity. We’ve lost that. You can’t do mission without people that are energised.”
“Each individual in presbytery needs to look at how we can be the best in Christ.”
To start this conversation and ignite our focus, the Mission Shaped Ministry course will be held next May. It will be a 24 session course helping people discover how to develop ‘fresh expressions’ of church in their contexts, starting on Wednesday 13 May.