More than 50 people re-considered their local neighbourhoods as mission fields during last weekend’s 2023 LCANZ Cross-Cultural Ministry conference in Melbourne.
Based on The Message translation of John 1:14, which says, ‘The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood’, the theme for the 5–6 May event was ‘Moving into the neighbourhood’.
Dr Tania Nelson, the LCANZ’s Executive Officer – Local Mission, said participants ‘dwelt in the word, worshipped, heard stories of neighbourhood ministry events and missional attitudes and were inspired by speakers from within the LCA and from other faith traditions’.
‘We heard Maha, a new convert from Hinduism to Christianity, pray in Tamil while we prayed for her growing community in our heart languages’, Tania said. ‘We viewed a Partners in Ministry video entitled “Welcoming” and were challenged to view our website, and the 10 minutes before and after worship, from the viewpoint of a visitor.
‘We were inspired to walk in the shoes of our neighbours and heard of the difficult journeys to Australia from our Congolese and South Sudanese friends. And we heard from Meewon Yang, who shared with us her master’s degree research on “Ways of Being a Multicultural Church”. May we all see ourselves as God’s hands and feet in God’s mission in the local neighbourhood.’
LCANZ Cross-Cultural Ministry Facilitator Craig Heidenreich also presented a draft vision for a missional church at the conference. This included:
We believe that:
- The Lord is stretching out his hands to the people of Australia and New Zealand and wants a relationship with each one.
- God is watching over the movement of people who are coming from afar and is choosing to bless them.
- God is inviting us to join him in this great endeavour and he will help us as we seek to express his love to those we live among.
- We are all different and each of us has something meaningful to offer.
- Love comes to life when God’s people grow in his grace and go out into their world with his love.
We see a Lutheran body of believers who:
- Bless the people around them because God blesses us.
- Start conversations with strangers, remembering their names.
- Listen without agenda and bring their concerns to the Lord in prayer.
- Live out the wisdom and kindness of God in the civic world in which each of us is placed.
Photo 1: Pastor James Ruei, left, from St Johns Geelong Victoria, at the LCANZ Cross-Cultural Ministry Conference with SA-NT District lay worker Joanne Chamberlain and Maha Thirugnanasambanda, from Geelong’s Tamil Christian Fellowship, who was one of the speakers at the gathering.
Photo 2: More than 50 people attended last weekend’s LCANZ Cross-Cultural Ministry Conference in Melbourne and were ‘inspired and challenged’ by the presentations.
Photo 3: Conference-goers Graeme Tscharke from Good Shepherd Para Vista SA, Pastor Nich Kitchen from Mountainside Auckland NZ and Liz Wieland from Good Shepherd Ringwood Vic
Photo 4: Pastor James Ruei, left, from St Johns Geelong Victoria, with LCANZ Cross-Cultural Ministry Facilitator Craig Heidenreich and Pastor Brett Kennett, Victoria-Tasmania District Pastor for Congregational Support at the Cross-Cultural Ministry Conference.
Photo 5: Queensland District Assistant Director, Ministry & Mission Kathy Matuschka gives a presentation at the conference.
Photo 6: Participants at this month’s Cross-Cultural Ministry conference were inspired and challenged by speakers from within the LCA and other faith traditions.