In 2016 Armstrong Creek Church Plant began with a 0.5 lay leader (Chris Machar) and a support team to establish Christian Community in this growth corridor of Geelong. The team came alongside the local community through a stall at the community market, children’s playgroups and a social group for over 50’s. This lead to the establishment of a Christian Action-Reflection Group and a Messy Church. Now they have equipped others for leadership and one family is now hosting a further Christian Action-Reflection Group in their own home.
This is one example of how some Uniting Churches are discovering new ways of being Christian Community in order to engage different people. Armstrong Creek, along with other congregations are featured in the New Ways video series available here.
The New & Renewing Report from eLM (2018) identified that within Port Philip East Presbytery there were 8 “New Communities”. Of those 6 were Messy Church communities.
There is an opportunity to establish further new faith communities – especially for those congregations who have been alongside people from the broader community in relationships of trust. Oftentimes congregations have missional activities in which they serve the community, yet congregations perhaps do not recognise the amount of goodwill that has been established with those people they are with. It could be that some of those people would be interested in exploring Christian spirituality if they are presented with an engaging option.
As the Synod’s New & Renewing Communities Catalyst, I can resource communities who are looking to explore beginning new faith communities and connecting faith with the mission they conduct – just like the resourcing and coaching that has been provided to Chris Machar from Armstrong Creek for the last 6 years.