Jesus said, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31; NRSV)
This Mission Action Plan (MAP) 2010 has been developed as a process of two revisions of work begun in 2002 (2007 and 2010). It is, therefore, a living document that expresses the understanding that St Stephens has of itself from over 100 years of ministry in Belmont.
The MAP has three aspects:
1. The VISION statement, which expresses what our church sees itself growing into;
2. The GOALS that are a statement of three things that the church understands it is meant to aim for; and
3. The STRATEGIES that our church is focussing on in order to fulfil its vision and goals.
This VISION, GOALS and STRATEGIES are driven and inspired by the VALUES that our church sees expressed in its life.
We believe in God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who, by taking human flesh, dying and being raised from the dead, made it possible for all people to have intimate and personal relationship with God.
We believe that the Bible reveals the nature and person of God through his dealings with people throughout history and that revelation contains everything necessary to be believed true about God and God’s expectation of people.
Kingdom of God
We believe that it is God’s intention for us to participate with God to influence and transform our community to reflect the nature and person of God and that our church is meant to be a symbol of that community for which we hope, by being a church where all are welcomed and companionship and dialogue are more important than uniformity.
We believe that we are called to focus on and express our love for God through the dedication of our time, skills, possessions, hearts and minds in our personal reading of the bible, prayer, and service as well as our gathering as a worshipping community.
We believe that ministry and mission to others, and with others, belong to all who have a relationship with God and that the particular role of the ordained ministry is to enable and equip the ministry of every member of the church.
We believe that Christian faith is a personal relationship with God that we nurture with others in smaller groups and house groups where we can be well known by a few and tend to each other’s spiritual, physical and emotional needs. We believe we need to be intentional about helping others to be disciples of Christ with us.
We believe that, along with Baptism and Holy Communion (and the other five lesser sacraments), there are a variety of symbols and signs through which we can express our faith, hope and the promises of God.
We believe that family is the building block of society and community and we will support and equip parents including their primary role in nurturing children in relationship with God that will enable them to nurture their own children in faith.
We believe that we are a part of the worldwide Christian Church expressed in the Anglican tradition and have financial and spiritual responsibility to, and support from, those churches with which we are denominationally connected.
Growing a Christian community for all
We understand this vision to mean that we as a church are growing as a community that reflects the values of the Kingdom of God, that none should be excluded for any reason from participating with us in this Christian community, and we are a people who is enabling those values of the Kingdom of God to be fulfilled within the greater community.
As a church we are inspired by Jesus’ summary of the law and the prophets (Mark 12:29-31) for our goals:
These are missional goals expressing our need to have relationship with God, help others to find relationship with God and provide care to the needs of the community, and to continue to provide Christian discipleship and pastoral care for those who are a part of our church.
We identify six areas to focus on, KEY MINISTRY AREAS, in order that we may fulfil our vision and goals:
We aim to be a people of excellent, diverse and inclusive worship of God, reflecting the foundations of Anglican tradition based in Scripture and Sacraments, to engage the various generations of our society.
We believe that all creation, including humanity, was made for the purpose of worshipping God. In the Anglican tradition we understand that worship is both corporate, in services of worship in the church building and other contexts, and individual, in personal prayer and devotional times. Worship is the giving ourselves to God and in Anglicanism, various in its expression. We need to make our worship, and worship space, as easy to attend as possible that all may be able to participate in worship.
It is our aim to enable others to become disciples of Jesus and for all to continue to grow in their relationship with God through prayer, reading the bible, participating in worship and being active in ministry.
Jesus said, ‘Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.’ (Mt 28:19) It is Jesus’ expectation that we are a community that is growing in maturity in faith and that will be reflected in the number of others becoming his disciples. To grow as a Christian community for all includes growing in our sense of being community, in our relationship with God and in the number of people within our faith community.
It is our aim to provide ministry to families so that every generation can grow in faith and that parents and guardians are the best people to model and nurture the faith of the children and youth of the church.
The biblical model of nurturing children in faith is done by the parents. The future adult membership, ministry and leadership of the church are the children and youth of the present. We will, therefore, be a church that provides ministry to the whole family and equips parents and guardians in the nurture and modelling of their children in faith so that it is sustained and expressed in the future, wherever they may be.
Our aim is to be a faith community that meets the needs of its members and the community in which we live according to our resources, gifting and ability.
When Jesus washed the disciples’ feet he gave a symbol of the call of us as disciples and his body, the church, to be great in being a servant. It is the role of Christ’s Church to serve the world where it is in need in body, mind and spirit. Service is the steppingstone to building relationships that provide the opportunity to share faith.
5. Young Adults and University Students
Our aim is to provide young adults with an opportunity to meet and fellowship with other young adults who desire to express their Christian faith in a Christian environment and activities.
The Belmont Community is growing in numbers of those who are single young adults, couples without children, and university students. We are called to be a church that provides welcome to those who are strangers in the land. For university students who have come to Geelong to study and young adults who want to fellowship in a Christian culture, we can provide relationships to support them while they are away from home.
It is our aim to become a healthy community of believers, working together to fulfil our vision for St Stephens, now and into the future, within a clear structure of right authority and responsibility.
To be a healthy community of believers we need to establish effective means of communication among our members, providing a focussed vision of our life together and coordinating the activities that are supporting the vision, providing a clear structure of responsibility and authority, and coordinating the resources required to enable and maintain our ministry and mission.