Taking the pulse on Innovation
Written by Rev Lindsay Cullen
After sharing stories about how we live out the Strategic Direction of Innovation in the Uniting Church, Assembly Resourcing Unit (ARU) staff were on hand last Thursday to chat with any interested UCA members about their own struggles or triumphs of Innovation.
Myself and Rev Dr Apwee Ting from ARU joined an animated discussion on Zoom. I had difficulty drawing the planned one-hour conversation to a close as everyone had more to say!
The attendees included a mix of ordained and lay ministry agents and general members of the church. We spoke about the growth of online social and spiritual communities — a form of ministry with which quite a few of the attendees had been involved at different levels, from exploration and occasional dabbling to those investing in this as a significant focus for ministry.
Another innovative approach we heard about was Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy, an attempt to enable a ministry agent to invest in connection, service and spiritual growth within a local community, without a focus on the maintenance and pastoral care of an existing congregation.
A number of people shared common struggles. These often related to finding direction in a time when previous approaches no longer seemed to work, or the difficulty of fostering innovation in small and often ageing communities with limited financial and people resources, and which are increasingly led by lay people.
We had a spirited discussion on the need for sustainability — whether it was a helpful focus or not, what it meant in different contexts, and how it related to questions of staffing and buildings. And we finished with a challenge to increase in our willingness and ability to invite others into the journey of discipleship, and to grow them as both disciples and disciple-makers.
It was a stimulating conversation and hopefully another step along the way toward engaging with our Strategic Direction of Innovation.
Stay tuned! Next week we turn our focus to another key strategic Direction - Identity.