‘One Church. One Purpose. Many Ministries’ Workshop
On Sunday morning Bishop Mark and Pastor David Schmidt facilitated a session titled ‘One Church. One Purpose. Many Ministries’.
In his opening remarks, Bishop Mark reflected that what we are becoming is far more important than what we are achieving in a time of change.
“I believe that future generations will look back on this time and see it as a time of enormous change,” Bishop Mark said.
He said change could be unsettling, but we should not fear.
“We need to be kind to ourselves and gentle to ourselves, for the Lord is gentle with us,” Bishop Mark reminded delegates and visitors.
He spoke of the Berlin Wall and how the modern world would not believe today that a modern city could be divided.
He also spoke about days gone by when people attended church and church activities multiple times a week, and when confirmation classes were large.
“We are a very different church than what we were a few decades ago,” Bishop Mark said.
“In 1966, we had two main schools, Concordia and St Peter’s, and some community aged care.
“But we didn’t have the agencies we have today, including congregations, aged care, early childhood services, schools and camp ministries.”
Bishop Mark reminded delegates and visitors that God’s mission was our purpose and highlighted part of a 2012 missional statement from the World Council of Churches: “It is not the Church that has a mission but rather the mission that has a Church”.
“The work we do matters. It matters because we exist to share in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We do the work we do by God’s grace in our small patch,” Bishop Mark said.
“Our Synod theme is ‘called according to God’s purpose’ and we are part of the Christian church on earth.
“We participate in God’s mission to bring Christ’s love to life in the 200 places we have from northern NSW to Cape York.”
“We confess as Lutherans that participating in God’s mission in the world does not only happen on Sundays; it happens in a variety of ways.”
Bishop Mark also spoke of Matthew 28:18-20, which says: ‘And Jesus came and said to … [the disciples], “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age’”
He said that it is the collective “we” who are going therefore to make disciples, and he was praying for a great awakening among all people through the presence of God.
Rev David then facilitated a table discussion session based on Bishop Mark’s three-part video series that helped unpack the Synod theme.
Delegates were invited to discuss the questions and respond in an online forum to collate data that will be considered as the district-wide missional theology is developed, including a theology of sharing, a theology of caring and a theology of learning.
Bishop Mark’s three videos can be viewed online at https://qld.lca.org.au/events/synod/ (under Book of Reports & Video Reports tab).