This summer, many of our members went away to CMS Summer School; a great time to gather under God’s word and be encouraged about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of mission. Back at St Michael’s, we aim to support mission partners and organisations through deep, practical, and prayerful partnership. And so, some of those who went away have kindly agreed to share some reflections and encouragements from their time away in order that we too, might be thoughtfully encouraged by world mission…

They were asked:

What is CMS Summer School & why did you choose to attend?

“CMS Summer School is an annual conference in the Blue Mountains, hosted at the KCC conference centre. Many CMS missionaries from around the world attend this conference, so it’s a great chance to connect and hear about global mission. But the conference itself is intended for any and all Christians interested in Jesus’ great commission to make disciples of all nations! It is a brilliant way to start the year, gathered around God’s word, being reminded of rich gospel truths meanwhile being challenged to look out to the world around us that needs to know Jesus.”

– Lauren Russell, 9:45am

“Garry and I, along with our children, have attended CMS Summer School in Katoomba for more than 50 years. It was a great chance to catch up with our Christian brothers and sisters from around NSW and beyond. However, when COVID brought its lockdowns, things changed for us. This year I attended the Livestream at Figtree Anglican Church. It wasn’t the same as being in Katoomba, but it was the next best thing.”

– Mia David, 9:45am

What were your highlights from the talks/missionary sessions?

“Ed Loane (an ex-St Michael’s youth) spoke on Galatians. I was challenged to think about how Paul and Peter were partners in the Gospel, but had very distinct and different God given areas of ministry. Paul to the Gentiles and Peter to the Jews. These distinct areas freed them to focus on those rather than feeling they needed to minister to everyone. I was challenged to think about what this means for me as I seek to partner in the Gospel with our mission partners at St Michael’s and more broadly in the other ministries I seek to support. It’s not doing their ministry for them; it’s supporting them in their ministry while continuing in the particular ministries we have been entrusted with at St Michael’s.”

– Fiona Henderson, 5pm

“I attended a missionary session called, ‘Are my professional skills of use? How can I use my occupational skills to share the gospel cross-culturally?’ The seminar outlined three ways people can be engaged in mission:

  • First, directly in ministry or at a church.
  • Second, as a supportive role (like Lydia from Acts 16; someone who opens up their home to enable ministry or show hospitality to pastoral workers).
  • Thirdly, in community participation; this is mission in everyday life, whether at work or home, with family, friends or colleagues. It means living missionally wherever you find yourself. For example, consider Paul training Priscila and Aquila in Acts 18:3 (“Paul lived and worked with them, for they were tentmakers just as he was”).

The speaker also shared that having professional skills can be helpful for gaining a visa in certain places; something to keep in mind if you choose to pursue further qualifications.”

– LR

What did you learn from the missionaries at CMS Summer School?

“We had the chance to hear the missionary session from the main auditorium (there are probably about 5 other missionary sessions on at the same time, but only one was live-streamed). This included interviews with new missionaries, as well as returning missionaries such as the Dethlefs (another Wollongong couple, who have attended St Michael’s in the last few weeks).”

– MD

“I was reminded that mission is hard and can be isolating but also that God is enough and gives us what we need to keep going even when we don’t see fruit. We can be confident that God is at work in all circumstances.”

– FH

Do you have any new encouragements/challenges that we at St Michael’s should be thinking about as we seek to shine as lights to make more disciples of Jesus in our city?

“One encouragement was seeing our long-term St Michael’s link missionaries, Charissa and Malcolm Forrest, ‘passing on the baton’ to the Rosser family for ministry in Jordan. Praise God for raising up gospel workers to keep doing his incredible work in Jordan.

My main takeaway is to keep mission at the forefront of my mind, and part of everyday life. As followers of Jesus, we are all missionaries in some way or another. Prayer is powerful and effective, and we can support and love our mission partners at church through practical and prayerful partnerships.”

– LR

Compiled by Justin Blanch
Ministry Trainee