Riverina’s lay ministry thriving
The church in the Riverina ﬁnds itself in a time where lay ministry is thriving more than ever and the “ordinary person” in the community is being called by God into various ministries.
The Synod Mission Resource Fund (SMRF) has been providing funding for a project to encourage, train, equip and enthuse people on their journey to being the disciples of Jesus that they are being called to be.
What has happened this year
Life in the Riverina doesn’t seem to slow down that much; there’s always change, always new things, the scenery always changes too.
This year some sections of the land have seen the devastation of flood, the brown of seeding, the green of new growth and the yellow of canola. Right now, as many people pray for rain to come, we’re watching the land go through its preparation for harvest.
So change isn’t a new thing in the Riverina. Our leaders, our communities, our schools, our churches and our land are a constant testament to this. Blink for a moment around here and you’ll miss something significant.
This is where the education and discipleship role within the Riverina fits in. We’re trying to see the tides of change and help people to prepare for it.
Many of our churches are experiencing huge upheavals. In some places, where lay ministry is flourishing, leaders are never short of ministry and mission to participate in and the gospel is still being preached and lived out across the four corners of the presbytery.
But the change means we need to find new ways to support people working through it.
How do we as a faith community live out the gospel in our area?
How do we support lay leaders, many of whom are not only preaching but also running the funerals, baptisms, Special Religious Education in schools and outreach activities?
How do we continue to educate and train leaders within the church—many of whom never completed formal study?
How do we continue to see the church make a positive impact on our communities?
How do we breathe life back into the wider Uniting Church from all the way over here?
With the help of SMRF we’re on a journey of change which can be summed up thus:
- We’re listening for God in the wind, rain, rivers, dry land, animals and people.
- We’re looking for new and old ways to live out the gospel,
- We’re living out community, as best we can, with the support of the Spirit.