Mission Wrap Up
Here are some random thoughts I have after Moore College Mission 2009 at MerrylandsAnglican. They’re not in any kind of order, just putting it out there. I also attended a youth event run by Liverpool City Council on Saturday, so I’ll add my thoughts about that here as well. (MTC = Moore Theological College)
- Door knocking works. It can be impersonal, confronting, and disheartening. It’s almost impossible in unit blocks. But it works. Example: there were ten extra women with their kids at playgroup this week because someone knocked on their door and let them know it was on. That simple. Until we find a more efficient way to advertise our churches and really get the message out their to the community that we exist, door knocking is essential.
- Being billeted works better for team building than not being billeted. In my first two years of MTC Mission, I was billeted. This year, half the team, including myself, were not. There was an obvious difference in how we bonded as a team. There were just not the same opportunities to get to know each other. Going home to our families, while important, cost us time to get to know each other. At the end of the week, I regretted not being billeted. Even when I was at home, I was still on mission. I hardly spent any time with my wife. I would have been better serving her by staying at Merrylands and calling her each night. That and the daily commute was rough. My sympathies to everyone who travels an hour plus on the way to work, in the car. And then backs up and does the same thing again on the way home.
- The daily vodcast had unexpected benefits. I’m not sure how useful people found it outside of the Merrylands mission. But from what I could see, it had two benefits for us. It got the team excited about what would be shown each day. No one on team declined to be on camera. And secondly, it got the church members excited. I had many people from Merrylands Anglican come up to me and comment that they had seen the videos. One congregation member told me how excited his son was because he had appeared in Saturday’s video. It was a great way to keep the congregations in touch with what was happening. If I do it again next year, I’ll be really plugging it at church on the first Sunday.
- I’m grateful I preached on the first Sunday and had no major speaking gigs for the rest of the week so I could put together the vodcast. My biggest day after that was coordinating the high school seminars on Thursdays. It’s telling that the only vodcast that was late was Thursdays…
- There are never enough opportunities to use puppets
- We had two congregation members join us on team during the week. We were encouraged because these two took annual leave to be part of the mission. They were encouraged because the team included them and treated them like they were equal members of the team. They got to do things they may not have done before. And they had 20 people willing to take them by the hand and show them how it was done. If you’ve got someone at church who you’ve got in mind for gospel ministry, get them to be part of the MTC mission when you have one (if you’re an Anglican church in Sydney, you are going to have one, right?)
- High School Scripture ministry is hard work. There’s so much work to be done before you even set foot in a classroom. Getting on the good side of the principal is essential. Events like pancake breakfasts at schools are brilliant opportunities to show the school that you love them and that you offer something to the community, rather than just demanding your half an hour a week.
- Twitter enabled me to be aware of what other MTC teams were up to. More students need to be on Twitter! It made it a lot easier to pray for what other teams were doing and the struggles they were facing.
- On the Saturday (which was meant to be team day off, but I’m a bad boy when it comes to days off) me and Dave, the Merrylands Anglican youth worker, went down to my church at St Luke’s Anglican Church, Liverpool. Liverpool council was throwing a big Youth Week event on our church grounds. And why wouldn’t you? It’s a massive green area right in the middle of the suburb. We noticed two things: it was hard work getting teenagers to rock up to an event, and secondly, there was no much difference between the council’s events and some youth group events. Here were all these things being put on to attract teenagers: bands, free food, rides, even more freebies. If you had an evangelistic talk in there somewhere, it would fit right in with some youth group events. Do our youth events need to stand out more? Should there be a difference between what the secular world does and what the church does? And more importantly, should we be pursuing this model of youth ministry if even the secular world finds it hard to reach youth with it?
I think that’s all I’ve got. If anyone who was at Merrylands Anglican this week or any other MTC mission would like to add to the discussion, I’d really like to hear from you. What worked on mission? What didn’t work? What did you learn that you wouldn’t have if mission hadn’t happened?