Last year the Diocese of Christchurch adopted a new Mission Action Plan, which would shape its actions in the coming years. It seeks to encourage the Diocese as a whole—and parishes and individuals—to actively participate in God’s work by turning toward the world with love and proclaiming the Good News. The goal is to regenerate the Diocese by growing in strength, depth and breadth. The Diocesan Mission Action Plan also picks up the priorities set by the Bishop:
– making disciples
– supporting families
– strengthening communities.
There are several principles guiding new growth:
1. God’s intention is for the church to grow (Mark 4:26-29).
2. God’s work in history often disrupts what has gone before (Matthew 5-7;
3. God gives the Holy Spirit to breathe new dreams and visions onto his people (Acts 2:17).
4. The church needs to adapt its structures and approaches appropriately to the social climate surrounding it while staying true to the Gospel (Acts 15:1-30).
5. Like the Easter story, death can be a precursor to new life (John 19, 20; etc.).
6. God calls his people to ongoing regeneration (John 3:3-8; 12:24; Ephesians 2:4-7)
The Diocesan Mission Action Plan has more detailed explanations of the theology underpinning it and also spells out the consequences flowing from the principles.
But I’ll go into those details in future. The DMAP will also have some consequences for St Paul’s and how we operate and interact with the Diocese. Mark Chamberlain is the new Archdeacon for Regeneration and Mission and is guiding the process. We’ll watch with anticipation how this focus will shape the Church here and hope that God can work even within these old structures of the Anglican Church.
Blessings – Tim