Millennials @ Church: How to be found?

Part 2 in a 2-part series looking at millennials at church written by Dannielle Barry. View Part 1 – Millennials at Church: Reaching the ‘me, me, me’ generation here.

Millennials are seeking community, relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose – and as we know, all of this is answered in Christ, and in the local church. We don’t need to focus so much on reaching out, we just need to be found. 

Be prayerful 

This should be the first step to everything, it needs to be. Prayer changes things (insert applicable bible verse here). This is the first step to being authentic and practicing what we preach, it shows we are genuine and that we care. Pray for the millennials that you know, and for the millennials that are now teachers, doctors, and emerging politicians in our government. 

Be accessible 

This generation has grown up accessing the internet for information. If a millennial wants to go to church, the first thing they’ll search for is ‘churches in my area.’ Don’t worry about how flashy your website looks, just have a presence with the information they need – where the church is, what time you meet, what you have to offer.  

Additionally, being accessible can also mean being visible in the community. Run fundraisers for important causes, offer emergency relief, attend events run by others. Don’t limit the church to your physical location. 

Be inviting 

Be a church that wants to know people and make them feel welcome. Don’t wait for an ‘introducing Christianity course’, Christmas or Easter to invite someone along, be a church that is open to visitors every weekend. Treat everyone as a potential new friend, someone to ‘do life with.’ Again, don’t let the physical location of the church limit you – bring church into your week, into a coffeeshop or the dinner table or a walk along the beach. 

Be authentic 

Being authentic makes the above possible. Becoming a Christian changes your whole life, it’s not limited to church on Sunday. If you want to be a church that welcomes people, become people that welcome people. If you preach about prayer – be seen praying for one another. If you preach that God loves all his children, be people that love all his children, even those different to you. 

Be patient 

I’ve said before that important to millennials is authenticity, transparency, honesty – and these sometimes take time to notice. Don’t pressure a millennial to conform, to register for a class or immediately go onto a roster. Be patient and demonstrate all the above values, being accessible, inviting and authentic – and let the millennial settle in. With the time to ascertain if the church is a good fit, once the decision is made,  you will know you have a committed church member.

Millennials @ Church: Reaching the ‘me, me, me’ generation?

Part 1 in a 2-part series looking at millennials at church written by Dannielle Barry.

Why would a millennial join a church community? 

Who are the millennial generation? 

The millennial generation is one you mostly hear bad things about: lazy, self-entitled, ‘got too many trophies growing up’, over-confident, shallow and selfish, so different to generations before. The people in this generation seem to be delaying adulthood, marrying later and postponing becoming a parent. They appear to be jumping from career to career, searching for work life balance and questioning what a ‘normal life’ means. Time magazine calls it the ‘me, me, me’ generation. 

The millennial generation spans from 1980-2000. I was born in 1991 so at 27 I am one of them, and many of these stereotypes apply to me. I’m not yet married, and I don’t have children. I’ve moved cities in search of somewhere that ‘felt like home’. I’ve changed career direction because I lost faith and satisfaction in my work and wanted a better work life balance. I’m now pursuing graduate education in an area I’m passionate about. And most importantly for this topic – I’ve left many churches because they didn’t feel right.  

In saying this, I don’t believe I’m selfish or shallow, lazy, over-confident or self-entitled. I didn’t ask my workplace to change or cater to my needs, and I never really asked all the churches I’ve left to change either. I just kept looking until I found somewhere to fit, somewhere I could be myself, and somewhere my faith could grow. 

What interests the millennial generation? 

I believe this is the key to reaching my generation. More than any generation before millennials are looking for authenticity. Millennials are challenging the idea of normal because we accept differences; encouraging our peers to be honest, transparent and to have integrity – be your true self regardless of what anyone thinks.  

Contrary to popular belief millennials are willing to work hard, provided it’s for something they believe in. Maybe we are over-confident and self-entitled, but does that have to be a bad thing? From what I’ve seen, that over-confidence and self-entitlement mean my generation are willing to be open about wanting to live in a world that is better for everyone, advocating for human rights, sustainable living, and closing the gap for rich and poor. 

What does this mean for the church? 

So, what do these big ideas mean for our little church? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News for everyone. So, we want to reach out to millennials who now make up the bulk of the working adult population (19-40) and are becoming parents themselves, raising the next generation.  

The good news is I don’t believe we need to work hard to reach out. Millennials are seeking community, relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose – and as we know, all of this is answered in Christ, and in the local church. We don’t need to focus so much on reaching out, we just need to be found.

The revealing of a role model for all humanity

by the Venerable Brian Newing.
Fr Brian has been a priest of this Diocese for over 50 years, faithfully serving the South West.

We are all living through a breathtaking revolution in electronic communication which is changing almost every aspect of our life. Nearly all communication is through the written word and not face to face conversation. This change is being driven by business and picked up by institutions such as Centrelink and Medicare. Have you ever tried to speak to a police officer in the middle of the night? By the time you have pressed two sets of number buttons, confusion reigns supreme. Even worse, trying to get your NBN phone to work when it has failed.

Comments fly to and fro on Facebook making all sorts of comments and allegations. All this communication takes place without seeing the face of the other person. There is no way of knowing how the other person is feeling, laughing, crying, disappointed or even in shock. Things are written that can never be retracted. I recently attended a Supreme Court trial where the judge addressed the jury and instructed them to disregard all they had all they had experienced using social media because it had led people to making snap judgements on limited evidence. He further stated it had cost people their jobs, destroyed relationships and driven people to suicide.

I am not trying to say all in the social media are wrong, but I do believe there are very real danger signs and it is against the way God wants us to live in the community.

The incarnation

In the fullness of time the God of all creation chose to communicate with His beloved people to reveal Himself to the world for all generations. The wisdom of God was to communicate with His people face to face in the person of Jesus Christ. The scriptures reveal to us Jesus was the exact image of God. “Not what God looks like but what is”. Jesus lived in community first with His family and later with His disciples and followers. He spent countless hours teaching them and preparing them for their ministry.

He taught them stories centred on everyday experiences they could easily remember. The shared His frustration and disappointment when so many people failed to comprehend or refused to hear His simple message of salvation. The disciples experienced the pain of Jesus trial and crucifixion. Following these events, they also shared the joy of His resurrection and the birth of the Christian church on the day of Pentecost. The Christian faith has come down through the centuries because people have shared their faith stories from generation to generation.

The Epiphany of Our Lord

The Epiphany means the revealing of Jesus to all people throughout the world. Peter declares, following Pentecost, that he now understands that God has no favourites but loves all people equally. This was the theme the disciples and Christian converts carried throughout the known world, from India to Britain, from Africa to northern Europe. Despite persecution, the Christian faith flourished and transformed the lives of millions of people. The new Christians were recognised by the love they shared with one another.

Down through history we have been called to shape and mould our lives on the role model of Jesus Christ. To look at the world through the eyes of Jesus. To make our decisions in accordance to the moral values of Jesus. To love sacrificially as Jesus loves us even to the cross. To forgive one another as Jesus forgave the repentant thief crucified with Him.

The word Christian means to be a Christ-like person. May we all strive to be a little more Christ-like during 2019 and reflect His glory to a world that is in need of a perfect role model to follow.

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 4: Get in on the Action!

So you’ve enrolled to vote, you’ve been praying about the nominations, you’ve read the report and sent in your questions- now it’s time for action!

Nov 25th AMP Part 1: Elections & Ministry Reports

This is when the actual election happens and where we get an overview of the past ahem… 9-ish months (we’ll explain soon). Voting takes place over 2 weeks (18th & 25th) and is like going to the polls – there’s ballot papers, instructions and you have to get marked on the roll that you’ve voted.

Feb 17th AMP Part 2: Financials & Budget

If you like numbers or are interested in stuff like income and expenditure you don’t want to miss this! This is when we will vote on our budget for 2019. We will release it 2 weeks earlier for us all to analyse and dissect. Again, please send in questions beforehand!

Why the 2 parts?

Having our elections early means our new councillors and office bearers can hit the ground running when they officially start their roles Jan 1st. It also gives a neat six weeks for any handovers to happen. The rhythm may feel off (with only 9 months since our last AMP) but by next year it will feel right in time!

And Voila! AMP accomplissez!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 3: Get in the Know!

This weekend we are releasing our Annual Meeting of Parishioners Report for 2018/19. Thus we humbly introduce to you:

Step 3: Get in the Know!

Inside the Report you will discover a collection of submissions from our Ministry Team Leaders (MTLs) and church leadership sharing their reflections of 2018 and their ministry goals for 2019. (If you would like a copy please get in touch with the church office here.)

Did you know…?

The who, what, when, where, why and how of our many ministries here at St Nic’s Minster? You’ll find some amazing facts and information about our community life in this report. Read it – and get in the know!

FYI the only thing you won’t find in the report is the financials (income, expenditure and budget stuff) – they can only be done at the end of the year so they will be released separately in time for Part 2 (Finances & Budget) of the AMP Feb 24th 2019.

Hang a sec, I have a question…?

We like questions- they’re great for learning stuff! Unanswered questions are not so great. That’s why we love it if you submit your questions before the AMP. That way we can ensure your question gets answered. And who knows? Maybe someone else would really benefit from hearing your question answered!

So please, if possible, submit your questions by Nov 22nd!

Stay tuned for Step 4: Get in on the Action!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 2: Get in the Mix!

Earlier this month we launched our 2018/19 AMP campaign and sent out the call to get those Schedule 9’s in (see our post here). Many of our parishioners jumped into action and before we knew it, those of us in the office had the fun task of compiling this years Electoral Roll.

If you are yet to submit your form, please do so this Sunday!

But enough of that, lets keep the momentum up! Next up is –

Step 2: Get in the Mix!

Nominate for positions – there a four vacant positions on the Parish Council for Councillors (all Councillors must be re-elected each year). Also, we have one vacancy for a Church Warden (we may have a maximum of three Wardens).

The Parish Council is integral to the governance and running of our parish (find out more here). If you are interested in serving our community in this way, speak to Jamie or Suzanne. Nominations close 8th November.

Next in line- Step 3: Get in the Know!

St Nic’s Snapshot: Presenting the marvellous Site Management Team

Wonderful things have been happening at St Nic’s! Parishioners have reported sightings of a group of men doing marvellous deeds around the church. Parking lines have been painted, pathways fixed, doors repainted, handles repaired and bookshelves assembled!

Who are these local heroes? Why our newly formed Site Management Team of course! Tony Wheeler, Trevor Freckleton, Struan Faed have joined Geoff Blechynden and have enthusiastically embraced the seemingly endless task of maintenance and repairs.

So busy are the boys we were unable to track them down for a group photo. “How did we ever find time to work?” wondered retiree Tony.

How indeed! Nonetheless we are extremely grateful and blessed by these men’s selfless service to our community. If you see them around, be sure to say hello and thank you!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 1: Get on the Roll!

On November 25th we will be holding our 2018/19 Annual Meeting of Parishioners.

This year the AMP will be delivered in two parts. Part 1, November 25th, covers Ministry Reports and the elections for church offices. This year we have vacancies for the office of Parish Councillors and a Warden. Part 2, February 17th, will look at our finances for 2018 and the budget for 2019.

But wait! Before you get all excited about being here for the AMP there’s

Step 1: Get on the Roll!

Make sure you are registered to vote on the Electoral Roll – complete and return a Schedule 9 Statutory Declaration to the church office by October 28th. You need to register every AMP. Please note your partner cannot witness for you- please ask another member of the congregation or see Sophie, Ian, Suzanne or Rev Jamie.

 

Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted on Steps 2-4. In the meantime, sign that Schedule 9!

 

 

United in Prayer

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Each Sunday at St. Nic’s we have a prayer and worship service at 6pm, which (although I know you’re not meant to have favourites) is most definitely my favourite service to attend! It’s usually a smaller gathering of around 7-20+ people who come together, firstly to spend time worshipping God through song, then to pray.

Each week this looks different. Sometimes we sit in smaller groups and pray into different situations that have become apparent in church or in the community. There are some great testimonies to how God has answered prayer following this dedicated time of prayer – but again, that’s for another blog post! We have also used prayer stations, prayer walks and often we spend time simply seeking God’s face and asking Him to speak to us to share a word or a vision that He may have for us as a group or as a church.

Churches Together, united in prayer

The most recent Churches Together united prayer service was represented by 7 different churches and had 41 people attending, who gathered together in Jesus’ name, believing in the power of prayer. And how amazingly powerful it was. We began with a time of worship, and it was a real testimony to how ‘where two of three gather together in [His] name, there [He is] with them’ (Matthew 18:20). It really was beautiful to see different churches, people of different nationalities and of different denominations come together to worship the same God.

Prayer stations and a prayer walk were the two main ways that had been set up for our time of prayer – and we were asked to choose one. Then in small groups, we spent time praying into these different circumstances. We prayed for individual churches, for leaders, for streets and areas within Australind, Bunbury and the surrounds, highlighting places that were placed on our hearts and praying over them. We also prayed for the leaders of churches and over other aspects within the community.

There was also an area dedicated to quiet time in prayer, with Bibles available and scriptures available to provide a starting focus for prayer. I spent some time asking God to speak to me and I was really encouraged with a word for everybody, from Romans 12:4 ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us’.

Together we are one body

It was a real encouragement for the individual churches represented there to continue doing what they’re doing and that they each have their own gifts that they can use to bless different areas of the community in different ways. Not every church needs to be great at youth ministry, and it would be unrealistic and unnecessary if we all focused on that one aspect! Similarly, not every church needs to provide a playgroup to bless the local community. However, together we are one body, united; with all local churches individually doing a great job at what they’re already doing! Isn’t that encouraging?!

Fortunately, as I spoke about in my previous blog post, we are called to pray into and focus on the areas that God has placed on our hearts according to our passions and interests. So this applied directly to churches too. What are people specifically gifted at in your church? What are you passionate about that you could serve your church in? Maybe God has placed one of His desires on your heart and has been nudging you to act upon it; something that you are personally deeply passionate about that you could serve God in.

Give it back to God

I would really encourage you to pray about this – give it back to God and ask Him to give you the reassurance or the nudge that you might need to act upon it! God calls us, just as we see in Jesus’ life on earth, to serve others. ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). Don’t get me wrong; we are not all called to give our lives, but throughout scripture, we are reminded to ‘serve one another humbly in love’ (Galatians 5:13). I would love you to share any words or passions that God places upon your heart following this blog post. Let’s come together, united in prayer, believing that prayer changes things.

Blessings, Zoë x

Opportunities in Your Church

Belonging at St Nic’s

At St Nic’s we love and follow Jesus and so love and serve one another in kindness. Kindness originally links to the notion of kindred, a family relationship. This is expressed practically as the church body lives out its life together.

We are the Body of Christ 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, serving in our homes, at work and at play. This calling is more than just gathering on a Sunday. We express being kind to one another by offering lifts, sharing meals, praying for one another, shopping for those in need, and alerting our pastoral care team to more specific needs. It can also mean serving in a more formal role within the Church community.

Sunday Services

  • Welcomers: Welcoming guests and regular members on arrival with distribution of newsletter and assistance as required.
  • Children’s Ministry: Godly Play has roles for Storytellers and Doorpersons (see Karen D.)
  • Eucharist Assistants: help prepare for Eucharist and assist in serving during the service and cleaning utensils afterwards.
  • Sound: setting up and running appropriate sound for the various services we offer (see Alf H.)
  • Overheads: running the visuals on the overheads for the service (see Dannielle B.)
  • Worship: vocals, keyboard, guitar, drums, or possibly another musical talent not listed?
  • Readers: for reading the various readings during the service
  • Intercessions: leading our public prayers
  • Preaching and teaching: this requires training towards Licensed Lay Minister status.
  • Hospitality: Ensuring the availability of beverages and biscuits, assisting with cleaning up afterwards.

Blessing & Outreach

  • Op Shop volunteer (see Judy B.)
  • Little Lambs volunteer (see Barbara G.)
  • Lending Library (see Jan C.)
  • Wednesdays Dinners (see Verity M. or Kate H.)
  • Nourish Kids (see Carli K.): providing childcare for the Nourish Women’s group is an incredible blessing to the mums who attend and study God’s word together.
  • Parish Council: nominations will open in October for our 2019 Parish Council.
  • Mission Secretary: we are still in need of someone who is called to this position.
  • Alpha and other courses such as Boundaries: prayer for those who attend, and for Holy Spirit led invitations to people beyond our church community. Provision of hospitality or as a small group leader.

Small Groups Ministry

  • involvement in small groups
  • leading small groups: this requires discussion and oversight from the parish priest.
  • youth ministry: soon we will have a real need for a youth ministry to nurture and grow the faith of our older children.

General Operations

  • administration/ volunteering in the office (see Sophie P. or Ian C.)
  • assist our Site Management Team with maintenance and repairs of the church buildings and grounds, including the Historic Church (see Tony W.)

As a community we want to celebrate and acknowledge those who serve in these roles. By listing them here we can pray specifically for those areas in our church. If there is an area that interests you or you feel called into serving please speak to Rev Jamie or a team member.

Adapted from Opportunities in Your Church by St Nicholas Minster.