31 October 2016

Friends, recently an 8am congregation member asked: What are we doing for the new apartment residents in the Gong? You can’t help but notice cranes on the horizon and hundreds of new apartments going up, where eventually a few thousand extra residents will move in around the Wollongong CBD – our parish!

People who are moving are also experiencing change. They are often open to new connections – like joining a new group, such as a church, or reconsidering relationship with God! However access to modern apartments with security features is next to impossible. So contact via door-knocking is impractical.

So spring-boarding off the congregation member’s initial ideas, here is what the pastoral staff have brainstormed: a series of targeted latter-box drops to raise their awareness that St Michael’s exists, what we are on about, and that we welcome visitors and newcomers.

And I’ve just seen the first postcard (above), introducing and advertising our church. We are soon going to trial delivery of this to some new apartments, such as the old Oxford Tavern site.

Next year, in our ‘E for Engage’ Term 1, there would be a series 4-5 drops to recently built blocks, every 3 weeks or so. One postcard would advertise Mini-Mikes playgroup (Side A) and English For Life classes (Side B); another might advertise our youth groups and Night Church; we want to trial a historic Cathedral tour with free Devonshire tea. And we’d finish off with an Easter post card. We are trying to appeal to the range of demographics moving in, young couples and families, international students and migrants, retirees 55+.

What about ‘No Junk Mail’ signs? As community groups, churches have a junk mail exemption (as does political advertising). However we do not think it is wise to ‘push your luck’ with this too much. Therefore where new apartment blocks, or individual mail boxes have ‘No Junk Mail’ signs, we plan only to deliver the initial church postcard with basic information (with a fine print disclaimer about community mail).

We think this could produce an effort at engaging that is realistic and contained (we have heard of a church plant in a high-rise area of Sydney where this has produced fruit). It would also be easily repeatable with subsequent new apartment blocks.

How can you help? The idea is that interested church members ‘adopt a block’ of new apartments, and take responsibility for (i) letter-box dropping the series of postcards to that block, and (ii) praying for the new residents to be interested to engage with us,.

If you want to know more, please express your interest via the connection card (or by emailing the office) and I will email you the full proposal.

As followers of Jesus, we have so much that’s good to offer our city. I hope you are as encouraged as I am that we have a plan to engage the new residents of Wollongong!

Warmly in Christ,
Sandy Grant