23 January 2017
Leading Australia social researcher, Mark McCrindle* has identified his top 5 trends for 2017. No. 1 was the rise of the local, as our cities grow. For example, he says that increasingly, “residents live, work and interact in a part of their city rather than the traditional commuter approach […] The year ahead will see the rise of the walkable community”. In addition, “As unit living increases along with population growth, Australians are looking to meet the timeless human needs of relational health and community connection in their geographical context.” Local barista, local festivals and markets, local community groups and clubs. And we are a local church!
I think our own observations of the city around St Michael’s confirms this and makes it all the more important that our church engages with the local community. And in our new ‘discipleship cycle’ through the calendar year, that’s what the first school term focuses on: E for Engaging the Community.
We want to engage people who may not now have any meaningful connection with a Christian person or church. The next hope is for us is to share the gospel with such people; that is, to evangelise. For those who respond to Christ, we want to establish you well as a Christian for the rest of your lives. And then we want to equip believers to help others along this pathway in whatever way you can.
Here in Wollongong, we all see the enormous number of new apartments being built around the CBD And we wish to engage the new residents. And a first step we have prepared 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.
We are asking individual church members just to ‘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.
There is a series of 4-5 drops to recently built blocks, every 3 weeks or so. The first tells people about our church services and invites them along. The second has just arrived and advertises Mini-Mikes playgroup (Side A) and English For Life classes (Side B). It looks great and should be delivered early-mid February. Another will advertise our youth groups and Night Church; we will trial a historic Cathedral tour with free Devonshire tea. And we’ll finish with an Easter post card. We want to engage a range of demographics, young adults & families, international students & migrants, retirees.
If you want to know more, please express your interest via the comment card and I will email you the full proposal, which should answer all your questions.
Warmly in Christ,
P.S. McCrindle was also positive about sustainable regional cities like Wollongong which “have reinvented themselves from the industrial cities of the 20th Century to be innovation hubs, university towns, and small business friendly 21st Century lifestyle cities.”