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Thinking about… membership?

One of the questions people ask a bit is ‘what does it mean to be a member at this church?’. We come from a denominational background of a very low bar on this one! Turn up at the AGM and you are in!

At TNE, we have started a ‘membership’ course called ‘God, Church and Me’. It doubles as a introduction to who we are as a church and aims to give people a chance to ask all their questions as well as hear about our core values and beliefs. We run through 4 main sessions on ‘Our vision’, ‘Evangelism’, ‘Community’, and ‘Serving’. We also have a couple of ‘hot topics’ – ‘Scripture’ and ‘Leadership’ – issues that are worth getting on the table early on. We also introduce people to our ministry leaders.

Last term we ran it over 3 Thursday nights. Today we will run it from 9-3 on a Saturday… will be interesting to see how it all goes.

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Wow! Wow! Wow!

First post in a while, but starting a new church hasn’t been a picnic! Here is a brief wrap up of first term. We have just crashed over the line after a big first term and are extremely thankful for God’s goodness in so many ways.
* The highlight of the term was ‘Nick’ becoming a Christian 3 weeks ago. We started a new church so that people could find out about Jesus and become disciples, so this has been a great answer to prayer.
* In terms of Sunday ministry, we have been getting about 140 people along each week to church. This peaked recently on Good Friday with about 160 people – something I couldn’t have dreamed about ten weeks ago.
* We have a constant stream of new people coming to ‘check us out’. It is too early to see how many of them will ‘stick’, but we are doing our best to welcome them into our new community.
* We have had the first of our ‘God, Church and Me’ membership course over three Thursday nights. It is how we aim to help people work out who we are and what makes us ‘tick’. About 30 people came along, and we have an all day Saturday course on 17 April with about 60 people signed up.

It doesn’t feel like that long ago that we were heading off from Trinity city as a bunch of mates to start a new church. Now things are very different… when I get up to preach and look around – there are just so many people I don’t know yet. Of course as exciting as this is, it has put stress on just about all of our ministry areas, and has highlighted the need for a small group network, due to start up in term 2.

Thanks for all your prayers and interest. The website will have more info on the happenings!

Trinity North East launch was HUGE!

Have a look here

Getting kicked out of church can be a good thing!

Sometimes getting kicked out of church can be a great thing! Yesterday was the official ‘Commissioning and Sending’ of the members of Trinity North East from Trinity City. At each of the 5 gatherings, the members of TNE from that gathering were interviewed, prayed for, experienced the ‘laying on of hands’ and were encouraged to go for the sake of Jesus mission in the world.

As we anticipated it was a day of mixed emotions. Some of our ‘starter group’ have been at Trinity all of their lives, or 47 years in one case. Others have had significant involvement across different ministry areas, so saying goodbye to the regular contact at the city and to relationships was painful. And yet… we weren’t saying good-bye. On the one hand, as someone said – it is great when you can leave church and take 50 friends with you! But more than that to be part of the Trinity network of churches means that there is great encouragement of being just one part of something much bigger than ourselves. While there will be some loss of contact each week, our lives and paths will inevitably cross from time to time.

For me the most encouraging part of the day was hearing the members of TNE talking about why they are ‘being sent’ – it wasn’t because they were looking for a shorter drive to church but because they have local friends who they are hoping will be able to come to church and hear more about Jesus. Please pray this would indeed happen!

Trial #1 a great success… but will anyone turn up next week!?!

We have started! After a sleepless night, much prayer and fasting (through nerves rather than godliness!), it was great to actually get started with our first ‘trial’ service. A huge team of people came in to the set up at 8am. By 8.30am the musicians we up and rehearsing and the kids programs were just about set up with various bits and pieces around the place. We plan to ‘down tools’ at 9.30am and get everyone involved in the different ministries to stop and spend some time in prayer together. It meant that by 9.40am we are all ready to welcome people as they come in.

All in all, it was a great time. People have commented to me all week on how relaxed it all was and the terrific encouragement that came from finally all being together ‘revving’ up for our mission together. We looked at the ‘methods of mission’ from 2 Corinthians 4, and tomorrow we will look at the ‘motivations for mission’ from 2 Corinthians 5.

We had 81 adults and 30 children along. This included about 20 visitors – not bad for a ‘secret’ service!

We will have our 2nd and final trial tomorrow morning, before our Commissioning and Sending Service in the City on 14th February.

Many thanks to all of you who have been praying – I’m excited!

Lashings of Ginger Beer!

We had a great picnic on Saturday at Thorndon Park. It was our third attempt, previously stifled by bad weather and a competing event. But it was great to get people together and continue to build on relationships – many of which were the result of the weekend away last October.

One of the key aims for us is to be a welcoming community of people that encourage one another to maturity in Christ. This involves stepping out of our comfort zones and catching up with people who are different to us in age and stage of life. It was great to see this happening on Saturday.

The only problem was that there wasn’t lashings of ginger beer … which I remember from my childhood books by Enid Blyton… is a critical element of a good picnic!

An International Australia Day!

Today we marked Australia Day by having a lunch with the International Students connected with Holy Trinity. Many of them live in the North East or have friends out this way, so it was a great time to chat to them about the new church starting soon and introduce them to some of the pioneer members of Trinity North East.

Unfortunately I wasn’t just there for promotional purposes! At the last minute, I also got the role of ‘Australia Day Man’, so had to explain what Australia Day meant. I was thankful that I had taught Year 9 history some time ago! After lunch we finished the afternoon with a cricket coaching session down at the park – something I also wasn’t prepared for, but always happy to do!

It was a great time to spend with people who are relatively new to this country. Many of them are lonely with husbands, wives children and extended families back in their home country. It was great to hear my colleague Geoff remind them of the great news of dual citizenship that comes with faith in Jesus. As great as Australian citizenship is – to have citizenship in heaven is so much better!