Home Mission Update – Re:imagine
This month’s Home Mission update is a personal report from Ruth Whiter who has joined the Re:imagine learning community with her church leadership team.
One of the ways your giving to Home Mission has benefited our churches over the last couple of years has been to help churches engage with Re-imagine.
Every individual who takes part in the 18 month learning community for church leadership teams is subsidised by Home Mission. Unlike most Home Mission grants, which are designed for churches who are at a specific point of need, this subsidy is one way every single WEBA church can benefit from our partnership for mission.
Why are Home Mission grants being used in this way?
The WEBA Regional Team are conscious of an urgent need for missional transformation across our network. Despite many encouraging signs, our churches are declining and the harvest, in terms of people who might be open to hearing about Jesus, is vast. As Re-Imagine enters its third cycle, they are convinced that this is the best ‘tool’ at their disposal to help churches adapt to a new and challenging missional landscape.
Personally, I designed the Re-Imagine logo nearly four years ago – the four coloured pencils representing a team working together to turn things around. But I didn’t experience Re-imagine myself until this January, when my own church leadership team took part in the residential launch weekend at the Webbington Hotel, Axbridge.
My church isn’t exactly declining. In fact, we’ve grown over the last decade. But we are acutely aware that we are surrounded by hundreds of households where no one knows very much at all about Jesus or the good news of the gospel, and our church activity is having very little impact on this.
What did I think of it?
Well, it was a full weekend. Free time was mostly limited to an hour and a half before dinner on Saturday, when I did manage to try out the pool, sauna, and steam room. But that’s not what your Home Mission giving was intended for!
Most of the time was spent sitting around a table with my fellow deacons and elders, listening for a while and then breaking again and again to pray and discuss our church, its culture and its activities. In a way we discussed the same things over and over again, but that was really what made this experience different from any other conference, training session, or meeting. The process gave us time to listen to God, to see what was important, to learn about the way others discern God’s direction, and time for new ways of seeing to emerge. By the end of the weekend, we were in a different place. I think I could claim that some kind of transformation, or renewing of our minds, had taken place.
What really sets Re-imagine apart is the challenge to experiment with one new thing between one ‘hub’ meeting and the next. For my team, we chose to address the fact that so many of our congregation are busy with demanding jobs. I don’t mean that we want this to change so they’re available for church activities; I mean that we need to think about building our mission around it, by being much more intentional about praying for and sharing our day to day lives, our front lines.
That’s just hub 1. There will be three more hubs, and three more experiments, on the themes of discipleship, leadership, and mission. They won’t involve saunas, I’m afraid, but I’m looking forward to where God will take us over the next 18 months and beyond.
Home Mission funds support for churches from regional and national teams, and grants to churches, of which the re-imagine subsidy forms one small part. Find out more about Home Mission giving here.