Tag Archives: Serving

Painting for proclamation

Welcome to St Augustine’s. So glad you can join us today!

Last Sunday afternoon, I got a delightful surprise. I turned up to church at about 4:30pm in preparation for our Sunday evening Growth Group at 5pm, and I saw that the Church Hall door was open. I knew that Samuel Chan and a few others had started work on painting the hall a few hours earlier, so I thought I’d drop in and see how things were going.

The staff had made a decision a few weeks earlier, in consultation with the finance people at Diocesan Office, to paint the hall to help spruce up the interior after we moved the Op shop to the Old School. Samuel got quotes from professional painters, but both were more than we could justify under the current financial pressures. But we were able to source paint for a discounted price. So Samuel bought the paint and other equipment, and started prepping the walls!

We want to use the hall to expand the ministries of the church, and to hire out to the wider community. We want to think of ways to serve the local community. And it seems to me pretty important to make this space as inviting as we can, with the modest resources we have at our disposal.

As I walked through the door, I saw a group of people standing in a circle and I suddenly recognised Mee Ping’s voice… he was leading in prayer. I quietly walked over to the group, closed my eyes and joined in the prayer. He was praying in a very upbeat manner, confidently asking God to bless our use of the hall and asking that Christ’s name would be proclaimed there. As I prayed, I could smell fresh paint, and wondered how much work they’d done, but thought I really should wait until he’d finished praying before I opened my eyes and looked around…

Well sure enough, the prayer finished, we opened our eyes and I saw every single wall painted! A little bit of touching up was needed the following day, but otherwise, it was done.

So THANK YOU to the huge group of over a dozen volunteers who painted all afternoon last Sunday, and ESPECIALLY to Samuel for amazing hard work, initiative and leadership. Come and check out the hall as soon as you have a chance!

Our ministry: what is it?

Last week was our Annual Vestry Meeting (AVM), effectively a business meeting. We received reports, took minutes, and elected office-bearers. These formal processes are important, as we manage the ministry of our church.

But it is good to remind ourselves occasionally that they are not themselves the ministry of our church. They are supporting structures of much more important things that we do as a group of God’s people meeting regularly.

So what exactly IS our ministry? It is the services we run? Well yes it is, but it’s not only that. Interestingly, the word for “ministry” in the New Testament original language (Greek) is the same as the word for “service”. But here it doesn’t mean church services: rather, serving one another. To minister is to consider the needs of those around us and to contribute to those needs.

Sometimes this is bearing others’ burdens. Sometimes it is practical assistance. Sometimes it is the timely word to strengthen each other.

But at the heart of our serving one another must be the good news of Jesus. The message of God’s love expressed in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus is at the centre of our church life. It motivates us to deny ourselves and take up our own cross; it teach us what it is to make sacrifices; and it draws us to know the very source of love itself: to God. God out-loves us all. None of us can love in the manner and extent that he does. And yet he wants us to walk in his ways nevertheless.

So let’s seek to serve. Whether you’re up the front reading the Bible; whether you’re providing morning tea; whether you’re looking after the needs of others…. Serve, knowing it’s what church is all about.

Having said this, I am so grateful for a great AVM and for the wonderful people who have made themselves available to serve us as office bearers!

Cheers, Mark