Inspired by a similar project in the Church of England, the Anglican Church Southern Queensland has launched a three-year ‘Resource Churches Pilot Project’ as part of our strategic framework to enable parish health and growth.
Eight churches have been selected following a self-assessment and an open expression of interest process. Churches were chosen due to their size and growth track record; leadership capacity; demonstration of the core values of generosity, collegiality, audacity and humility; location; commitment to discipleship and mission planning; quality of worship; youth and young adult ministry health; and, strength of administrative processes and systems.
The Western Region churches selected for the pilot project are The Parish of St Bart’s, Toowoomba (led by The Rev’d Adam Lowe) and The Parish of Ipswich (led by The Rev’d Selina McMahon). The Southern Region churches selected are The Parish of Robina (led by The Rev’d Stewart Perry), The Parish of Kangaroo Point (led by The Rev’d Canon Gary Harch), The Parish of Springfield (led by The Rev’d Charles Lacey) and The Parish of Waterloo Bay (led by The Rev’d Scott Gunthorpe). And, the Northern Region churches selected are St John’s Cathedral (led by The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt) and The Parish of Caboolture (led by The Rev’d Avriel Green).
The diversity of churches, with their respective strengths, specific mission callings and focus areas of growth, is particularly exciting.
The Rev’d Adam Lowe said that: “As a church, we are passionate about making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ for God’s Glory, which means that we long to see more people become followers of Jesus and to keep on growing as disciples for their entire lifetime. We are committed to proclaiming the Good News of Jesus; expressing our dependence on God through prayer; building up disciples for mission on their frontlines; faithfully growing in God’s Word; training people for ministry; and, genuinely caring for those in need. During the project, we would love to grow in our training of people for ministry in all forms, reaching more people of diverse cultures and ethnicities, making more resources available online, and continuing to develop an integrated approach to discipleship.”
The Rev’d Selina McMahon said that: “St Paul’s, Ipswich is particularly keen to be more relevant to the businesses in the city centre, catering for their needs. St Paul’s is renowned for its history, music and formal liturgy. We really want to develop our youth ministry during the pilot phase.”
The Rev’d Stewart Perry said that: “The Parish of Robina’s vision is ‘Revealing more of God, Through who we are, Because of who God is’, and that while we have an amazing location we are called to focus on service and relationships to respond to this calling. Our church has a diverse offering of worship styles and a strong team, including ministry specialists and a growing community which is increasingly outward and mission focused. We are excited to be part of the Resource Churches Pilot Project, as we are keen to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things and share this journey with other churches and church leaders.”
The Rev’d Canon Gary Harch said that: “St Mary’s, Kangaroo Point would like to continue growing our congregation by meeting the needs of those who walk into our services for the first time, and assisting other parishes in marriage preparation, exploring faith, and structural reform and development. Our key strengths are traditional music, relevant preaching, a supportive congregation, great morning teas and a willingness to reach out to the wider community. We are excited about expanding the leadership of our parish in numbers, training, expertise and responsibility, as well as growing every parishioner’s sense of belonging and faith as we participate in the project.”
The Rev’d Charles Lacey said that his church is keen: “to evangelise in Springfield, with a particular focus on The Springfield Anglican College, to see lives transformed by Jesus. We are a diverse, vibrant and welcoming community, focussed on proclaiming the Gospel and living out our faith with integrity. We want to grow in love for Jesus and for one another and be more effective at making active, fired-up, spirit-filled disciples.”
The Rev’d Scott Gunthorpe said that: “Here at Waterloo Bay we are living our mission statement to know Christ and to make him known to others by focussing on our Mission Action Plan goals of ‘Welcoming, Worship and Discipleship’. Through developing pathways that link our Mainly Music groups with Messy Church, we have seen a growth in our connection with families and the wider community. Our Olde English Fair and Advent Festival have also put us on the local map. Over the life of the project we will seek to strengthen our parish in being a welcoming place where people of all ages can interact to deepen their faith and be built up to share God’s love with others.”
The Very Rev’d Dr Peter Catt from the Cathedral said that: “We seek to shape our ministry around all of The Five Marks of Mission of the Anglican Communion. The Cathedral is known for its worship, hospitality, Christian formation, transformative spirituality, inclusion, reflective practice, and a passion for justice. During the project, we will seek to deepen engagement with the wider community to be a beacon of hope.”
The Rev’d Avriel Green from The Parish of Caboolture said that: “We are a mission-focused church that willingly ventures into our community in schools, hospitals, prisons and nursing homes with a passion to change people’s lives with God’s love. The major strength of St Laurence’s is that we are a church that works well in partnerships – partnerships with one another, within our community, and within our Diocese. Our hope is that we will grow in generosity within our Diocese, giving and receiving in the wider mission of the Anglican Church.”
These Resource Churches will help to resource mission across our three regions, working closely with their Regional Bishop, along with ministry specialists, so they can become better equipped with the skills they need to later support and resource other parishes, develop leaders, and potentially plant or revitalise churches.
The Resource Churches Pilot Project has been in the pipeline for some time, with The Rev’d Adam Lowe visiting Resource Churches and meeting with key Resource Church leaders in the UK in February 2017. During this trip he explored the potential for the Resource Church model to be adopted in our Diocese.
Following periods of discernment and planning, the Resource Churches Pilot Project was passed at Synod this year, with churches invited to express interest by mid-October.
Since Synod, the PMC team has been recruiting ministry specialists, preparing initial communications and continuing with planning. The Parable of the Mustard Seed is reflected in the Resource Churches logo:
‘He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” ‘ (Matthew 13. 31-32)
We look forward to sharing our stories and reflections with you during the three-year project period. And, we ask that our Diocesan community regularly holds up Resource Churches, church leaders and ministry specialists in their prayers.
Our hope is that, in Christ, this project might be a seed that grows and fosters hope and encouragement in many churches in our Diocese.
Find out more about the role of a Resource Church on the faithful + effective website.
Editor’s note 26/05/2021: Text updated.