A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.
4th July 2004
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Nearly two years have passed since the Diocesan Synod determined to adopt its Mission. The Mission is a bold attempt to express our commitment to Jesus’ greater mission, by seeing all our community comes under the sound of the Gospel.
The initial period of mission activity is ten years long. It involves the changes to our church life that will reverse the long trend of people moving away from church until hopefully ten percent of the population are members of a Bible based church. From that base the next phase towards reaching everyone with the Gospel will have to be planned.
After eighteen months there are all kinds of signs of a significant turn around happening. For those who attend Synod the mood and even the manner in which Synod’s business is dealt with is quite different. There is a new unity of purpose and from that a new unity of will amongst the Synod and standing committee. This unity flows from a common agreed purpose in adopting the mission.
There have been some very significant appointments. The latest one is the appointment of Mr Peter Kell to be the new CEO of Anglicare. Peter is a leading solicitor and business man in Wollongong. He has been an active member of St Michael’s Wollongong, and has served on many diocesan committees. His commitment to Jesus, his passion for the gospel, and his obvious administrative and entrepreneurial skills will all be required in this very important ministry.
There have been some important changes in the way the diocese conducts its business. The pattern of Diocesan expenditure has changed. Instead of annual budgeting we are working on three-year budgets. Money is being spent more on long term infrastructure spending. Real attempts are being made to invest in growth rather than creating dependency, while all the time preserving the important use of finance to support those who are in need.
However while these structural and organisational changes are needed and taking place the real work of a spiritual and personal nature is not being ignored. Bishop Piper in Wollongong has been in charge of the first mission policy: Prayer. He has been calling people to pray for the work of the gospel. He has set up a prayer team and has established a helpful page on the Mission website (http://www.themission.org.au) where people can help work with each other in prayer.
Already we are seeing God’s people taking action to reach the society with the Gospel. Over fifty new congregations have been commenced since the mission started. Some of these are in schools, some amongst ethnic groups, some are additional congregations within parishes. At this stage, many of these new church plants are still small and finding their way. Presumably some of these will come to nothing in the future. But people all across the diocese are starting to act to reach more and new people with the saving knowledge of our Lord.
Furthermore we are seeing a growing number of men and women training for ministry in our Theological College and Bible College. This has lead to a 30% increase in the number of ordinands in our diocese. In 2004 we placed about 20 ordinands in parishes in Sydney. In 2005 we are expecting this number to grow to around 30 and from 2006 onwards we are planning for about 40. This is not just wishful planning, for these people are already part of the way through Moore College training for these placements in the coming years.
“Societas”, the annual student magazine of Moore College, is now available at the Cathedral and can be purchased from the bookshop or from one of our Catechists. Moore College is involved in very exciting work headed up by our Cathedral member John Woodhouse.
Please pray for the men and women in training and that God would continue to raise up many more godly people who will be able to take the Gospel of Jesus to our city and nation.