Friday, November 11, 2011

Handout summarising everything we said


As we face an uncertain future, we want to explore the place of St John’s in:
·      Supporting young people as leaders in mission,
·      Training leaders to help us into ongoing change
·      Placing of a high priority on mission among children, young people, young adults and families

There’s a difference between St John’s College being relevant for the Church as it is and St John’s being relevant for the Church as it needs to become.

We believe in and experience a God of mission. This is not a God who is overly concerned with the status quo or the survival of our churches.

We believe that young people have a key role in helping us in our journey towards this future.
-        This new world is the world they have grown up in.
-        They are not as shaped by church as it has been up to this point
-        They are able to imagine new ways of being missional, new ways of being church
-        They are able to think creatively
-        They ask hard questions of what we do
-        They look for more
-        They are often more interested in doing rather than talking

We need to stand beside and resource young people to ‘give it a go’.
-        If we allow young people to ‘give it a go’ St John’s is an appropriate place to enable this to happen

The majority of our communities and populations are young people.

When you work with young people, you are forced to be missional, to think creatively, to ask hard questions and to look for more, to be more interested in doing rather than talking.

Being 3 Tikanga means knowing and respecting each other’s
identity, sharing our stories, sharing our struggles, and owning each
other’s mission as our own.

Young people in our Three Tikanga Church are perfect examples of leading the way in growing and developing our understanding of what it means to be a three Tikanga church.

St John’s College is a unique place where we can live out our three Tikanga relationship.


Our future leaders need to be equipped to lead through change

At present we are equipping people for a mission field that no longer exists; for a ministry paradigm that is no longer working.
We believe a change is required within theological education from educating to equipping, from specific skills for specific tasks to the ability to acquire, use and apply information in changing contexts.
We need leaders who will work with what already exists and help communities as they are to see the need for change and help make those changes happen.
Our hope for these future leaders is that:
  • Like Moses, their mission and ministry is based on an encounter with God; that they are called.
  • They are equipped to take risks; to journey confidently in faith into the unknown and the uncertain.
  • They are aware of their gifts and talents and can work collaboratively with others to staff their weaknesses.

Our greatest hope is that St John’s would place a high value on children, young people and family ministries.

We want to see St John’s lead the way in precipitating change in our churches by equipping people to engage and understand mission with, for and by children, young people and their families.

If we’re going to reverse the current trend of declining congregations, it is imperative that those entering ministry have more than a superficial understanding of children, youth and family ministries. 

We’re not talking about adding a children and youth session on the side.  Rather than one class on young people, entire courses should be re worked to incorporate children, youth and families.  We need to flip it around!  What we want to see is a fundamental shift in the focus of theological education at St John’s.



Our future leaders need to be equipped to lead through change.

Our future leaders need to be equipped to lead through change.
And more than that: they need to lead our church into the ‘unknown’. Into places for which, at present, there are no road maps or text books, no papers or classes, no star-charts, no GPS, no ipod apps.
And it’s not ‘unknown’ because we’re too lazy to sit down and figure out where we are headed.
The world is changing and changing fast and we’re quickly being left far behind.
There is an understanding in schools that 90% of the jobs for which students are being educated don’t yet exist and that in some degree programmes half of what you learn in your first year will be irrelevant by your third.
At present we are equipping people for a mission field that no longer exists; for a ministry paradigm that is no longer working.
We need resourceful leaders who can develop new ideas and inspire in new and creative ways; leaders who can take risks and think outside the box; leaders who are intuitive, who see opportunities and go for it; leaders who can work with others, to develop and articulate vision; leaders who know how to empower and equip others. And leader’s who’re supported by their communities to do this.
We need leaders who know how to initiate and lead people through change.
Whether these changes are good or bad, society is changing rapidly and our church needs future leaders with the skills to deal with these changes. Existing models of ministry and mission are failing. We can no longer be certain about what the mission field looks like. We need new ways to deal with present and future challenges of the church; we need people to be equipped to do the thinking and engage with these challenges.
This requires a change within theological education from educating to equipping, from specific skills for specific tasks to the ability to acquire, use and apply information in changing contexts.
Exodus 14 has relevance here as we read from verse 11…
14:11-16 [The Israelites] said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians?’ It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”
Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today… The Lord will fight for you…”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water…”
Moses and the Israelites had to deal with the major shift from slavery in Egypt to the seemingly uncertain hope of a far off and as yet unrealised Promised Land; and the people still preferred the security of the former to striking out into the unknown.
This space of uncertainty is the place in which young people dwell. They live in a place of change; they naturally question the status quo and desire change and development. They are not shackled to the past and have the ability from their relationship with God to dream bigger and in new ways.
We need leaders who will work with what already exists and help communities as they are to see the need for change and help make those changes happen.
Our hope for these future leaders is that:
  • Like Moses, their mission and ministry is based on an encounter with God; that they are called.
  • They are equipped to take risks; to journey confidently in faith into the unknown and the uncertain.
  • They are aware of their gifts and talents and can work collaboratively with others to staff their weaknesses.
For many of us regardless of the extent, change is hard but necessary. So please equip the future leaders of our church to lead us through change.
Our next section is asking for a foundational change to the way courses are structured at St John’s. Our greatest hope is that St John’s will place a high value on children, young people, and family ministries.
The story you’re about to hear is from a church that had to cope through extreme and ongoing change.  They have handled this in a positive, life-giving way enriching their children, youth and family ministry.

HARD MISSIONAL EDGE

Recently, well in June, there was a hui (Forum) to discuss the future of our theological college. Our Youth Commission was invited to be part of that. We worked hard to talk about where we saw the church going, and where youth ministry sat within that. I am going to put up the transcripts of the presentations we made. I look forward to some feedback. Some of my thoughts on this hui can be found here.

1.      HARD MISSIONAL EDGE



Some might say that we too often train people for the church as it is, rather than the church it will become.



This can be seen in that many of our congregations in this country are aging, struggling to engage with the wider community, and too often focused on survival rather than mission.



The world we live in is vastly and quickly changing.



We believe in and experience a God of mission. This is not a God who is overly concerned with the status quo or the survival of our churches.



This is a God who passionately cares for and loves all people;  A God who through the incarnation is offering good news in the hardest places. We are invited to join in the mission, offering life, love and hope.



We are also invited into a future that we cannot describe. It is uncertain and to a degree unknown. But there are clues and glimpses of the way ahead.



We believe that young people have a key role in helping us in our journey towards this future.

-        This new world is the world they have grown up in.

-        They are not as shaped by church as it has been up to this point

-        They are able to imagine new ways of being missional, new ways of being church

-        They are able to think creatively

-        They ask hard questions of what we do

-        They look for more

-        They are often more interested in doing rather than talking



For young people to play this key role we need to go beyond our all too often tokenistic relationships with young people.



We need to stand beside and resource young people to ‘give it a go’.

-        If we allow young people to ‘give it a go’ St John’s is an appropriate place to enable this to happen



Where we give them permission to unlock the traditions and to be missional in new, creative, relevant and authentic ways.



This is the age group of the majority of our communities and populations.



When you work with these age groups you are forced to be missional, to think creatively, to ask hard questions and to look for more, to be more interested in doing rather than talking.



A question that we could ask is what does our Anglican heritage offer us as we journey towards this future?

-        We are Haahi Mihinare – we value our traditions, our history and our stories

-        Our Liturgy offers a richness and depth of worship 

-        We can also speak about  Cramner - someone who took the traditions of his time and remolded them to create a new church, we are a church with a tradition of innovation and creativity

-        We have a Three Tikanga relationship


1b: THREE TIKANGA:

Being 3 Tikanga is one of the key facets of being Anglican in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia.



We see this as being more than just a loose confederation of three churches that we at times drift into.



At its best, being 3 Tikanga means knowing and respecting each other’s identity, sharing our stories, sharing our struggles, and owning each other’s mission as our own. Our relationships are strengthened by our diversity. Our 3 Tikanga relationship also reveals our interconnectedness.



When we live out our three Tikanga-ness we become a truly prophetic community. Being three Tikanga is the heart of what it means to be missional.



St. John’s is one of the places where we can live out this relationship. It is one of the promises of St. John’s and we are expected to live this out day to day.



Young people in our Three Tikanga Church again are perfect examples of leading the way in growing and developing our understanding of what it means to be a three Tikanga church.



By sharing stories, sharing struggles, sharing priorities, sharing passions, sharing common interests and sharing our common mission in this ever-changing world, our interconnectedness is also strengthened.





Thursday, November 03, 2011

Every child thrives, belongs and achieves

I have been reading the Government green paper "Every child thrives, belongs and achieves." which outlines ways in which the government and government agencies, communities and iwi can engage with and create an environment in which vulnerable children are able to thrive, belong and achieve.

It made me think about church. I wondered we live out the priority for children and young people. I wondered what would happen if bishops used the mechanisms available to them to set out the responsibilities for ministry with children and young people in their oversight of clergy and their annual expectations of parishes. What would it mean to set out requirements of clergy and parishes which are then reported on annually? How do we ensure ongoing research and evaluation to identify how current and future church practices effect and engage with children and young people?

I have been sitting in a Ministry Council meeting where each Diocese reported under a number of headings including ministry to the under 40's (what does that mean?) Each diocese reported about initiatives with young people, but only under that heading (not all dioceses though). It was pretty standard stuff. But I was really interested in how we do the other headings with young people like: formation for ministry and mission, accessibility to education, being Anglican in Aotearoa-New Zealand and the three Tikanga context, deepening spirituality, and equipping leaders and the whole church for a changing world. Each of these is relevant to Childrens and youth ministry. Yet we hardly ever think about it.

Just some random thoughts