We believe that the church is ‘missional’, not by its sending out of missionary ventures but by its life as a community sent by God into its place in the world. The church's origin in the gospel of the reign of God that Jesus preached and established gives shape to the church's missional identity as representing the reign of God as its community (koinonia), its servant (diakonia) and its messenger (kerygma). As Emil Brunner said: "The Church exists by mission,just as fire exists by burning."
The churches of Australia face a particular challenge in that we live in a place and time in which the functional Christendom to which we have become so accustomed no longer provide us with our traditional role and place in society.
The context for recovering our missional identity here in Australia is one in which the modern world, shaped by the Enlightenment, is fast becoming a post-modern one in which truth, self, and society are differently conceived to even a generation ago.
Our Western world is rapidly losing the memory of the gospel – and the churches are in crises as we struggle to understand what missional engagement looks like in this new world.
There is a pressing need for missional transformation amongst our congregations. ‘Missional’ here is not just about innovative evangelistic or social programs – important though these be, but rather an ongoing, profound engagement with the question which the missiologist Lesslie Newbigin asked some thirty years ago in ‘Foolishness to the Greeks’: What would be involved in a missionary encounter between the gospel and this whole way of perceiving, thinking, and living that we call ‘modern Western culture?”
A most critical challenge for Western churches is to explore what God is doing at the intersection of culture; scripture and church community – how do we live distinctly as Kingdom people into a post-Christian world?
Out of these conversations will come the shape and form of future church and its ministry. Questions about vision or structure or program-mix are vital, but are consequent to answers about Kingdom and Mission.
Churches of Christ Victoria Community Disaster and Emergency Response in conjunction with the Victorian Council of Churches have set up a '5 Point Plan' for congregations during times of disaster and emergencies in Victoria.