Saturday, October 22, 2011

National Ministers Conference 2011 - Adelaide (Fresh Expressions)

Juleen Villis writes:
I have spent the last week attending the National Minister’s Conference 2011 - Adelaide. It was great to catch up with many of my deacon colleagues again; however most of the 100+ attendees were Ministers’ of the Word. On reflection I am struck by the profound diaconal nature of almost everything that was said throughout the week as we were encouraged to explore ways to engage those who are ‘ not yet members of any church’. Phrases such as ‘out there’, ‘taking the altar to the people, not bringing the people to the altar’, ‘incarnational mission’ that ‘encompasses God’s mission for the whole world’ made me feel right at home and an excitement in realising the unique opportunity deacons have to encourage all ministers in the quest to do ministry diaconally. This does not mean that all minister’s must be deacons, but that those of us who have a call and gifts for ministry to ‘those not yet members of any church’ can lead the way when, inevitably change becomes difficult. The conference made it clear that this move toward what is a more diaconal way of doing ministry is imperative if the church is to not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century.
I would be interested in the comments of other deacons who attended the conference.

1 comment:

  1. Indeed, we have previously commented at DUCA SA meeting just how diaconal so much of the emergent church stuff is. The appeal of diaconal ministry for me has always been about offering the gospel to the church. Or as author Ann Morrisy puts it, “Enabling people to embrace the possibility of God”.

    As someone who made that transition from unchurched to churched I have often said that christology was easy, understanding church culture is the hard thing. It is so complex and multilayered and in a slightly different form wherever you go. People understand if you query a point of theology but get the church culture stuff wrong and sometimes the church folk can be down right unchristian.

    So it is good to hear that Fresh Expressions etc is very much about letting people develop their understandings of a faith community that is relevant to them. Let us hope that the "inherited church" is interested and has enought time and energy to let the emergent church continue to move.

    Actually, there is a sense where it doesn't matter, we are to follow God's call and do what we can and from then on the emergent church is very much the work of the Holy Spirit, which is what I hope, believe pray that it is.