5 February 2015

In 2005 management guru John Kotter wrote a book called Our Iceberg is Melting. It was a story about a colony of penguins. Most of the penguins enjoyed life on their iceberg that provided them with plenty of food, protection from the icy winds and relatively safe breeding grounds.

One of the problems however was that their iceberg was melting. There was already a crater inside their iceberg and it was in danger of breaking apart. The penguin colony would be lost if they did not find another place to live.

He wrote the parable to help managers to see the “icebergs” they were facing and to make necessary changes. The reason I’m telling you this is that I think our iceberg is melting.

Life on the iceberg of St Michael’s is good. St Michael’s is a truly blessed church, blessed with people hearing and doing God’s word. Now, thanks to the building works, we’re not in danger of having our cathedral melt, but it is a small building in an increasing sea of people.

Wollongong is changing, the CBD is becoming more populated, but St Michael’s is still the same. Our building can’t be expanded. Yet our vision is that we will an increasing number of disciples shining as lights.  In a growing city that means we need to grow as well.

Firstly we need to grow into maturity in Christ, and that maturity must of course include reaching the lost. I hope that you will make the most of this week’s training week at St Michael’s and the opportunity to grow in every aspect of Christian maturity. And I particularly hope to see you at ‘6 Steps to Talking about Jesus’, so that we might encourage one another in evangelism.

Secondly, it means growing in actual numbers. We could redevelop the site in such a way to create a second, and larger, meeting space. Perhaps planning to turn our hall into a large auditorium with kids’ spaces so we can hold bigger meetings. We could have more services on different days. We could find a bigger space off site. We could plant more congregations in the CBD.

The only option I think we ought to rule out is staying the same. Yes, new churches such as Salt, and the expansion of the Baptist Church create space for more disciples, but it would be a pity if we didn’t make the most of the opportunities before us.

Our parish vision has set us with a great challenge, but it is a challenge that matches the opportunities in our city. The vision of people like Ian McKensey with the IBIS agreement have put St Michael’s in the good position we are in today, but I pray that you might be the visionary ready to help St Michael’s in our next stage of growth, God willing.

May God grow his church for his glory, and may he use people like us to do it.

Jim Douglass