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.

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

Prayer Changes Things

‘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)

The thing that struck me the most about St Nic’s when I first started attending almost 2 years ago, was their heart of prayer. Prayer that supports, prayer that heals, prayer that changes. It changes circumstances, it changes hearts, it changes relationships and it changes lives! All we need to do is call upon the Lord, pray to Him and He will listen to us (Jeremiah 29:12). There are so many promises throughout the Bible of God promising His people (that’s us!) that if we engage in a relationship with Him through prayer, He hears us and responds. Although that response may not always be in the way that we imagine or hope for, we can trust that ‘as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways higher than your ways and [His] thoughts your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9).

Recently I have been wonderfully blessed by two separate events at St. Nic’s: The Australian Prayer Network (APN) Foundational Level prayer course, and the Churches Together united prayer evening. I just wanted to share some of my experiences, some of what I’ve learnt and how I have been encouraged me in my own prayer life in the next two blog posts…

Prayer Changes Things

The APN has several ‘levels’ of different prayer courses and this was the first one which focuses on the beginnings of really learning about how prayer works and how we can put into practice some Biblical truths. I want to focus on HOW prayer works. The main thing that I took away from this session was that prayer only changes things if we do what God tells us to do in response to our prayers to Him. There is no point in us praying and hearing a response from God then completely ignoring what God is telling us to do! Prayer requires action.

Prayer requires action

Prayer is an activity of God and it requires our cooperation: to be ‘totally available and radically obedient’! He wants to work through people – through you and me – to change the world. There’s a thinking that prayer requires God’s cooperation; that when we pray we want God to do exactly what we want and exactly how we want it. But that’s where we’ve got it completely wrong! God is far bigger, far greater than our circumstances, and if we focus on trying to simply find the right words to say, or believing that we have the answers then we’re losing sight of WHY we pray. Prayer is praying into God’s plans and purposes which are already known; ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

You know that feeling of when you’re praying for somebody or something, and you just can’t find the right words to say? That you don’t really know what to pray for? That the circumstance feels too big or too out of your own depth that you are lost for words? I want to encourage you and reassure you that THIS IS OK. It is not our words in our prayers that change the world. We need the power of God to change the circumstances. All we need to do, in every aspect of our lives INCLUDING our prayer lives, is to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…’ (Proverbs 3:5-6) And prayer is one beautiful way that we can reach out and touch the power of God, and allow it to flow through us in our lives! While I am aware not all of us pray in tongues, I have found this I have found that using this gift can really help me personally when I don’t know what to pray for – but that’s for another day!

Prayer and your passions

One of the big questions that many people have is ‘what do I pray for? There’s so much to pray for: my own family, friends, my community, my nation, the world… Where do I begin?’ Don’t worry. God has it covered. Start by understanding the passions of your heart; those individual talents and passions, remembering that He created you in His image (Genesis 1:27) and that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). This is where to begin. God wants to use these things that He has given you to make changes in your life and others’.

I spent some time in prayer after this challenge and I wanted to share one of my biggest passions – people. For people who are hurting, people who are in need or who are suffering. And also just to love people, to connect and encourage people as they are, where they are. For those of you who know me, this may not surprise you (ha!) but I’ve been really following God’s passion and trying to take every opportunity that presents itself in action and in prayer whenever I can, on a whole new level. It’s something that comes very naturally to me and I just love meeting and connecting with others wherever I go. But this is what God wants to use! He wants to use what we already love and are already passionate about to increase His kingdom here on earth!!

What you need to pray for every day

So I want to encourage you to seek God’s face and to ask Him what He wants you to pray for. Consider what are your passions? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What encourages you to keep going? These are the things that are God’s call on your life – and what you need to pray for every day.

Lift these things up to the Lord. Place them before Him and then ask Him want He wants you to do – then act on it! Remembering that faith moves the hand of God. Passion moves the hand of God. God searches for our hearts and uses those passions. So keep praying – passionately praying. We can’t NOT pray if we carry God’s heart for something. And we can stand secure in the faith that God will hear us, and He wants to work in us and through us to change the world. All we need to be, is ‘totally available and radically obedient’. That’s my challenge to you today.

Blessings, Zoë x

Anglicanism in Africa: Kapsabet, Kenya

Kenya lays on the east coast of Africa. It is bordered by Somali, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania. It is a dangerous and difficult place to live and work.

To put it into perspective, the Australian government’s travel advisory site Smartraveller urges travellers to the country to exercise a high degree of caution. For the northern borders, a ‘Do Not Travel’ notice remains in place.

Kapsabet is the capital of Nandi County, in the west of Kenya. A predominantly Christian town, the local economy is driven by large tea and maize farms as well as a number of horticulture and dairy farms.

Anglicanism in Kenya

A province of the Anglican Communion, the Anglican Church of Kenya is composed by 33 dioceses. The church became part of the Province of East Africa in 1960, but Kenya and Tanzania were divided into separate provinces in 1970. Today there are over 5 million members across the country. Currently, the Primate and Archbishop of Kenya is Jackson Ole Sapit.

May 2016 saw the recognition of Kapsabet as a separate diocese and the election of Rev Paul Korir as bishop. The Anglican Diocese of Kapsabet desires to be “rooted in the word of God for ministry”(Colossians 2:7) and “serving to transform peoples hearts and change their lives by the grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

Exploring partnership and how you can help…

The Diocese of Bunbury is exploring a partnership with the Diocese of Kapsabet. We are considering how we might support one another, in prayer and sharing our experiences and insights in mission.

Recently, there was a fire in the boys dormitory at St Mark’s Kaptumo School (Kapsabet Diocese). Sixty-nine boarders have lost everything in the devastation. We thank God no one was hurt.

Please pray for:
• the means to rebuild the building and restock what has been burnt and,
• blessing of the whole Diocese and the strengthening of Bishop Paul and his wife Selline as they lead the people in a difficult and dangerous place.

Furthermore, practical outreach assistance can be given by donating bibles. You can bring spare or pre-loved Bibles  to the Anglican Diocese of Bunbury office.

Rev Cathie Broome

Where is your sacred space?

Where do you go when you need to pause, ground yourself, and reconnect with the Holy Spirit?
We live in a noisy world and live in a place where we have noise coming at us constantly, 24/7, trying to unplug and listen can be difficult. Needing to connect to God in a meaningful way is a daily thing but how do we do that if we are not at church?

Sacred Space in Godly Play

In Godly Play we help the children enter into a sacred space in a number of ways.
This starts with them being greeted by the doorperson, asking if they are ready and then crossing over the threshold into their space. Each child has their own mat to sit on signifying their spot in the circle.
We then get even more ready for our time with the Word. A stillness settles over the children as we breathe in and listen to our surroundings. The story is told slowly. The storyteller focuses on the objects and places moments of silence in the story. These silences are so that the children may start to wonder.
The Godly Play ‘room’ is not just a place for the children in church to go but a sacred space and, like the church, a liturgical space. Ideally it is designed to help us come close to God and prepare us for God to come close to us.

Connecting with God throughout the week

But how does this help us during the rest of the week? Do you have a space where you can cross the threshold to find your spot? Is there somewhere that you can read or listen to God’s word?
For some people that may be a cosy chair in a corner; some, a walk along the foreshore. For others it might be an exercise—a treadmill, a jog—wherever you are able to connect with God and find the sacred, to be able to disconnect from the distractions and simply listen can become your sacred space.

Where is your sacred space?

Life is All About Relationships…

Life is all about relationships: the different kinds of relationships that we have and those who those relationships are with. Some relationships are good, some not so good, some are temporary, and others are lifelong. A loss of a relationship, whether through death or some other ending, can force us to consider what and particularly who, we prioritise in our lives.

This week has been a tough one for many of us as we say goodbye to two of our beloved sisters in Christ. Our community has been challenged to reflect on what’s really important; we have been confronted with the frail and mortal nature of our humanity.

For some it may arouse some challenging questions: Where am I going? What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is it all for?

Alpha is an opportunity to explore these questions. It’s not so much of a course as it is a journey- and one here at St Nicholas that we would love to invite you on.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to watch the video or click on the link to our Alpha page. Please contact Jamie to register your interest, we would love to journey with you.

Keeping it Real: Praying the Psalms of Lament

We don’t have to go very far into our day to be reminded that we live in an imperfect world. Yes, Jesus has won the victory. Yes, Jesus is making all things new. But this side of his coming again, we still live in a world that’s groaning. A world that is not yet set right. We live in the place of now, but not yet. 
We see people around us suffering and we suffer ourselves; physically, emotionally, psychologically. We can ache in our soul and weep in our hearts for the injustice we see around us. Prayers of praise and thanksgiving can seem hollow and distant. We feel our indignation rising, our anger, our hurt. We can feel unable to connect with God. Where do we go with these feelings? How do we pray?
A method of prayer that has largely been lost in our churches today is the prayer of lament. This is strange, since over a third of the psalms in our bible pray this way. But often in our focus on New Testament joy and praise of the risen Jesus, we can sometimes ignore the side of us that still hurts, and is waiting for his return to set everything right. The psalms are God’s Word to us that we can pray back to him. So we can trust that they are good prayers to use! Let’s look at the nature of this style of prayer:
They are relational – Psalms of lament most often begin with a heartfelt cry to God. There is a recognition that God is our ultimate source of help, even if our complaint is about him.
They are honest – There is a brutal and shocking honesty that is throughout the psalms of lament. This is a relationship that is direct and personal. The psalmist is not worried about getting their manners, morality or theology right before they speak. 
They are evocative – The psalms of lament use poetry and image that is raw and passionate. They seek to evoke and emotional response that will become action. Lament psalms expect God to act.
They are faithful – The psalms of lament are not psalms of doubt, they point to a faith that takes God seriously, even when God himself is seen as the enemy. This doesn’t mean all our questions about suffering are answered, but it does drive us towards God rather than away from him.
They are a journey – Nearly all the lament psalms conclude with expressions of trust or praise. It can seem strange that the psalmist makes such an abrupt turn around. We need to keep in mind that the psalms represent a compression of time and experience. Sometimes we will need to wrestle with God for days, weeks or years before our lament turns to praise on a certain issue.
The lament psalms are invaluable to our journey as a Christian. They can give us words when our anguished mind cannot. To continue the dialogue with God, even when he is the one we are most angry with.  They take us on a journey from complaint to praise, from despair to hope, from sadness to joy.  Let’s rediscover this ancient method of prayer and put words to our honest thoughts and feelings before God. He is big enough to handle them all.
Psalms of individual lament: Psalms 3; 4; 6; 7; 13; 17; 22; 25; 27; 31; 35; 38; 39; 41; 42; 43; 51; 54; 55; 56; 57; 59; 61; 64; 69; 70; 71; 77; 86; 88; 102; 109; 139; 140; 141; 142; 143.
Psalms of corporate lament:  Psalms 9; 10; 12; 14; 44; 53; 58; 60; 67; 74; 79; 80; 82; 83; 85; 89; 90; 94; 106; 108; 137; 144

"They have real coffee!" – A testimony about grace, friendship and belonging

“I just found this really great playgroup!” exclaimed my friend. “It’s at a church and they have cake and fruit for the kids and heaps of toys. They even have NICE coffees, like barista style. And best of all? It’s FREE! Want to go with me?” Little Lambs was my first introduction to St Nicks. A noisy somewhat chaotic playdate shared with two dozen mums, twice as many children and a host of mature ladies and gentleman INSISTING that they serve us and we take the time to rest and recharge. For a new mum suffering child-induced cabin fever it was heavenly. My friends and I attended Little Lambs for the better part of a year. What stood out the most to us, and what my friends still remember it for, was how welcoming, encouraging and gracious the hosts were each week.

One week when I was visiting on my own with my (now) two children a lady came and sat next to me. She introduced herself as Verity and we had a pleasant talk before she handed me a pretty little invitation to Nourish, a new Bible Study group aimed at mums of young children. She explained that I would be welcome to bring the kids and pointed out Emma, the organiser, a mum I had often seen and spoken to but until that point had never been able to remember her name and had been too embarrassed to ask.

I was very excited about getting the invitation. I had been a Christian for five or six years but my Christian walk hadn’t so much as slowed to a crawl as stopped dead. I had only attended a group bible study a few times, and only in the company of my husband (as nice as that was, I confess I rather prefer it when we go separately…), and a group that catered for mums with young kids (i.e. not in the evening or during nap time) was what I had been wishing for.

Nourish was or rather IS a blessing. At first it was quite a challenge. Six or seven mums, a dozen kids and a bible. As any parent knows, children have this fantastic propensity to drive you to the brink of insanity and they really don’t care who they do it in front of. Fortunately for all of us, they took turns. If it wasn’t your child throwing a tantrum, pushing the other children over or face planting it into a door that week then you knew most likely next week it would be.

Hence, what I believe, one of the greatest lessons learnt in Nourish, at least for me personally, was grace- both how to give it and how to receive it.

Interestingly the more I received it, the better I became at giving it. Those early days were like a prolonged team building exercise.

We have evolved quite a bit since those early days. We now have MINDERS- truly wonderful people who give up their Friday mornings to care for and entertain our young children. This has really given us the opportunity as a group to delve more deeply, talk more freely and listen more attentively. We have realised we are an extremely diverse group of ladies from different backgrounds and at different stages of our walk but still with so much in common and that we can relate to.

I love it that on Thursday nights my three year old son is always happy to go to bed because tomorrow is Friday and “on Friday mum goes to bible study and that means friends! Friends for Michael and friends for you too mum!”

X Sophie

YouthCare in Australind

On Thursday, 2 weeks ago, Helen Browne and I were sitting at a table in the Treendale shopping centre as part of the street collection for YouthCare. One man came up to us and said how much he appreciated the Chaplain from Treendale Primary school. Last term his 9 year old son was thought to have cancer and was undergoing tests. Geoff, the chaplain rang the family everyday during the holidays to enquire about the boy and tell the family that he was there for them. This is the sort of support that the chaplains offer to families of the students in their care.

Not only do students come to talk to the chaplain but parents and teachers do too.

They know that they will find a listening ear and a praying heart. Last year Geoff himself was undergoing medical tests for a potential life threatening condition. He knew he had the support of YouthCare as the district chaplain, David Cunniffe, made his condition known so we could pray for him. He made a remarkable recovery.

YouthCare  is an organisation that promotes God’s love in action in our schools and the wider community. It’s fundraising efforts help pay chaplains whose schools want them more than the 2 days of the government subsidy. Two of  those schools are in Australind.

On Friday 25th November, they are having a progressive dinner and we have been assigned the place for entrees’ assisted by the other churches in Australind.

As a fund raiser for this, we are having a garage sale next Saturday, 29th October, at 10 Buckton Place. Anyone who has things they would like to donate, contact me on 97960440.


Panoply of Prayer


Not long after my arrival here I had a strong sense that God was inviting us to ‘seek His face’. This phrase occurs several times in the bible. Perhaps most well known is from 2 Chronicles 7:14  ‘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’ I believe this is an ongoing call to us as a Minster parish. Just over a year ago I gave three talks on this: You can access the sermons here:

The early Minsters were firstly communities of prayer. I believe becoming a community of prayer is crucial for our life and mission together as a minster parish. Last month I created a prayer sheet highlighting some of the areas our church and community need prayer for. Today there is one for September. I invite you to pick one up at church and pray with us around these things. This is one small part of the panoply of prayer. We meet weekly at 6 pm on Sunday evenings for prayer. Our small groups are praying together, we pray in and through our services. We are learning to pray through the day individually.  Most importantly ask the Holy Spirit to inspire our prayer that we would share God’s heart and mind and purposes for Australind and beyond. As we have prayed we have seen answers in provision, guidance, healings and wisdom. Do you have testimony of answered prayer you could share over hospitality or with Karen for the website? 

Shalom Jamie