Growing Together is not another program, completed after several workshops. It is a journey for lasting cultural change; for health and vitality within our churches.
Our Victorian Growing Together Cohort recently joined more than 170 other sites across Australia, representing over 80 churches, to continue the Growing Together journey that for Victorians, started earlier this year.
It is a journey toward helping our churches become vibrant multi-generational communities. It started with a worship based on Ps 91. We serve a God with a habit of delivering with extraordinary results, especially out of disastrous circumstances. The question was asked – what if out of all this pain, our churches overflow once the doors reopen?
Coronavirus was inevitably a part of the subsequent conversation, stimulating discussion around what the future of the church will look like. The webinar commenced with the determination to use the opportunities that arise out of social distancing and lockdown, such as possible more time to listen and experiment and build teams.
Throughout the session there was a palpable shift in attitude and perception. Initially participants were wondering if the training was even worthwhile with the current situation. They came to see the principles they were discussing were not an extra but were actually going to help navigate this new territory and provide a framework for church communities to work from.
“Off the back of a busy and stressful day the last thing I wanted was another Zoom Meeting,” said Shonet Heath, one of the participants. “Especially one where I was going to have to try and plan for the future when everything felt a little bleak.
“I was so wrong. After all the negativity and oppressive media covererage of COVID-19 over the last couple of weeks it was a breath of fresh air to log in and hangout with the Growing Together crew. Incredible stories of how people had been experimenting on the margins, small things that were being used to involve, build and grow people were shared. We were encouraged – not that we had to be doing something but that we COULD do something, that individually and as a group we were perfectly poised, despite everything going on, to build our community, be the best neighbours and toempower our young people.
“I can’t say thank you enough to the whole Growing Together team and I am excited for all that the future holds.”
This IS the perfect time to embark on this journey building our churches into vibrant multigenerational communities for God’s Kingdom.
Isn’t God great!
At such a time as this, right when we need fresh ideas and new ways of doing church to reach the wider community, we have a cohort of people from around the state, passionately learning and discussing and willing to try out new ideas.