A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.
25th May 2003
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As Christians the Cathedral congregations must be committed to the mission of Jesus. That mission is expounded every week in our Bible readings and from the pulpit of the Cathedral.
Last year at its annual synod, the Diocese of Sydney committed itself to a particular expression of the mission of Jesus.
“To glorify God by proclaiming our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, so that everyone will hear his call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love, and be established in the fellowship of his disciples while they await his return.”
The initial goal of the diocesan mission is
“To see at least 10% of the population of the region of the diocese in Bible-based churches in 10 years”
This is not something that we can do or acheive - ours is the task of prayer preaching and godly living – it is God who gives the growth. However this initial goal sets for us the task of rethinking what we are doing in the light of what we are praying, hoping, and working towards. To see 10% of the population in Bible-based churches what changes do we need to make in order to accommodate them and more importantly make them feel welcome? If 10% of the population were in church how many ministers, how many churches, and how many pews, would we need? How large would our Sunday School be and how many home Bible study leaders would we need?
It matters little whether we reach 10% precisely or whether it takes 10 years or 12 or 8. For this is only the initial goal of a mission, that really aims to reach 100% of the population. What is important is that we so adapt our church life as to make possible the rapid increase in church membership that we are seeking.
Even more important is that we so reform our church life that it is genuinely Bible based. Newcomers should be able to enter our congregations and hear the gospel from the pulpit and see that same gospel lived out in the lives of the members and expressed in the way that the church is organised and conducted. There should be no disparity between our words and our actions.
This diocesan mission, being only one expression of Jesus’ mission, cannot be imposed on the individual parishes of the diocese. However as the Cathedral church of this diocese it is important that we give a clear lead to the parishes of the diocese by implementing this mission within the Cathedral’s congregations and ministries.