Jesus' words to those who follow him is pretty simple & pretty clear — “Go and make disciples.”
It’s fundamental to who we are as followers of Jesus. We long to see people come to follow Jesus. And we long to see those who follow him, reflect him. And with all these things, it’s not in a mundane, predictable, uniform, cookie-cutter type of way. But in ways that reflect the variety & uniqueness of those God has brought to Village Church, the freedom we have in Jesus, and the certainty that God uses even imperfect people in what He’s doing in His world.
So for 2015 and beyond, we’re looking to ask the question:
What would it look like to not be limited by our own fear, but to trust that God will continue to do what He’s done in the past at Village Church?
If you haven’t already, read the 2015 Village Church vision document first. If you’d like more detailed financial information, they’ll be available at church from November 23 onwards. Here are the three broad categories of how we’re talking about finances.
OWNERSHIP - $177k
As a church community, while we’re still linked to MPC, we need to own our own debts & costs. At points this is painful, but it’s just part of us growing up as a church.
PARTNERSHIP - $16k
We want to use our money not just within Village, but in other places God is working. This might be other places or ministries in Brisbane, but it might also be partnering with others throughout the world. Not included in this cost is the Christmas appeal we run each year (around $10k), and any needs that arise throughout the year we can help with.
INVESTMENT - $77k
One of the most strategic things we can do for the Gospel is invest in those considering full-time ministry. Some may go on to serve overseas, some here in Australia, and others may return to other work and serve the church in a different—but no less important—capacity. Whatever the outcome, we want to keep raising workers up to send out into the harvest. It’s exciting. But it’s costly—both financially & with time. But we need to commit to identifying, training up, and sending out people so that the Gospel is faithfully & creatively proclaimed here and throughout the world.
The total cost for these plans in 2015 is $270,000. But we’re calling on people to consider giving a lump-sum donation to the Future Ministry Initiative to invest in those trainees we’re training up for future Gospel ministry. We’d love to raise the $77k in the first few months of the year, so our regular giving just goes to our ongoing costs, and trainees can just get on with ministry. To find out more about this, and the people you’d be investing in, there’s an entire page dedicated to them here.
While we need to talk about money, what we really want to talk about are the exciting things we’re hoping will come out of these plans. Here’s some big ticket items.
Jesus said that if “anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23) Peter’s call to those who would lead in the church was to be “shepherds of God’s flock that is under your cae, serving as overseer – not because you must, but because you are willing…” (1 Peter 5:2) These aren’t characteristics or a ways of life for some Christians, but should be the aspiration for all. In 2015, for those who are keen, we’re going to run a Leadership Course between February & November. 10 nights, 10 one-on-one meetings, 10 books or articles, all exploring what it looks like to follow Jesus and be shepherds of His people.
Kids ministry isn’t something that happens for an hour on a Sunday. It’s just an expression of what we hope goes on in houses & relationships throughout the week. Ali & Lauren have been doing a fantastic job with kids ministry in 2014, and the hope in 2015 is that we can continue to creatively build on that work. We want everyone at Village, including parents, to feel equipped in talking to kids about Jesus and explain what it looks like to follow him, while modelling it in their lives – and for Sunday to be a natural expression of that.
There have been some great things happening in women’s ministry in 2014, much of it unpublicised. We want to keep this going, and continue to provide relationships across demographics and stages of life, while providing contexts for connection, mentoring, support and evangelism. Bridget & Emma will be particularly focused on these areas, working alongside all those currently doing it.
SHARING THE GOSPEL
We desperately want people to come to know Jesus, and see him at work in our lives. After talking to people in 2014 about how we can best help with that as a church, we’ve got some things cooking – from Christianity Explore talks while church is on so you can bring your friends, to passover dinners where your friends can eat with you and experience why you’re celebrating over the long weekend, to courses in how to engage with a world that’s hostile to God.
This was an idea raised mid-2014 aimed at giving people contexts to serve others, alongside each other. Some teams are already running, but there are a number of teams we need to get up and going for 2015. From helping people find a home at Village Church more smoothly, teams to explore creative ways through media and the arts to share the Gospel, and teams to organise prayer and support for our mission partners. The teams are designed to create spaces where people can explore ways to creatively serve together.
PRAYER AND MISSION
We want to pray more at Village. And we want to be informed when we do it. There are so many great things to give thanks for, and so many ministries attached to Village Church that we want to keep bringing before God – so in 2015 we want to bring Prayer back to the centre.