A letter to our congregations about the future

Courtesy http://www.solarfeeds.com/wp-content/uploads/future-sign-wide.jpg

Dear brothers and sisters at Oak Flats Anglican,

On Tuesday night our Parish Council spent more than an hour discussing whether or not we would employ a second, full-time minister to start next January, in six months’ time.

This is something we had begun to consider when we introduced the ‘Staff Vision Fund’ at the beginning of this year. However, the timing is earlier than we had originally anticipated.

Yet as we considered this, we were of the mind that it is important for us to have another full-time, trained, minister in our church as soon as it is wise and practical to do so.

A one-minister parish like ours can continue to remain strong if the numbers of people continue to remain steady. Yet, our church is growing older, and the generation gap is widening. Many of our most-active volunteers are in their 60’s and 70’s, and in the coming years, they will find it increasingly difficult to be as active as they currently are in our church.

If we are going to change this trend and work to guarantee the medium- to long-term survival of this parish of Oak Flats, then we need to take a bold and courageous step to focus upon the missing generation in our church.

With this in mind, I will begin teaching High School Scripture in a few weeks’ time. When combined with my current teaching at the Primary schools, this well mean I will be spending close to a day and half each week in front-line evangelism to youth and children in our schools.

Yet, my capacity for further outreach projects is running out, as I balance the need to prepare for the preaching and our Sunday services, to visit and care for our congregation, and to oversee the general running of the church.

However, we need to be more active than we currently are in reaching this lost generation from our church. We need an injection of time, energy, and skill to give us the best shot possible for evangelising the children, youth and families of our parish and our area.

Our biggest obstacle, however, is money.

It will cost us close to $100,000 per year to employ a second, fully trained, ordained minister. And that’s a big ask for us.

Humanly speaking, it will be hard to make this jump in 2014, or 2015 or even 2016.

And so, for this reason, the Parish Council is meeting in a week and a half’s time to dedicate a whole, special meeting to decide whether or not we can afford a new minister next year… or whether we can afford not to.

To be able to afford this rise in expenditure, we need around 20 people to give $100 per week more than they currently do. That’s a big jump.

If our church is to make this significant leap forward in evangelistic activity, we’re going to need to know whether there are 20 people in our church who are willing to make this kind of ongoing commitment… or a commitment something like it.

We have been blessed through the years with generosity from our parishioners, and I continue to be thankful to God for the sacrificial giving our church receives every week.

But what we’re talking about here is a really big jump in giving for next year. Do you think it’s possible? Could we, under God, do this?

Well, with that in mind, would you please pray. Please pray that the Parish Council has giant serves of wisdom as they meet Wednesday week. Pray they will be wise and bold, and careful and courageous.

Please also pray about whether you might be able to make a pledge to significantly increase your giving from next month, and/or whether you might be able to commit to giving a large, one-off gift.

And as you pray, if you come to the mind that you are able to make this kind of financial commitment for the future of our local church at Oak Flats, would you please let one of our church wardens know this, so that they can bring this to their extraordinary meeting in ten days’ time.

Friends, time is short because people in fourth-year of Moore College are already having interviews with perspective ministers for employment in 2014. I know of a man who is in this situation who would be ideal for us, yet he is already speaking to other churches about working there from January next year.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this man could teach many of the other classes at Oak Flats High next year that we’re missing out on? Wouldn’t it be great if he could regularly doorknock the suburb and run introduction to Christianity courses and youth Bible studies and outreach activities, and parenting courses and all sorts of things to connect with the next generation… the generation our church is missing?

Please pray. Please prayerfully consider if you can give to this cause. And please let our wardens know about your response so that they can bear this in mind as the Parish Council meets next week.

Grace and peace,


Sunday, 30th June 2013