What is regeneration ministry?
In 2013, the Presbytery of Port Phillip West adopted the strategy ‘Regenerating the Church’. Its vision is of a Presbytery culture that embraces and nurtures new models ways of being missional Church. Regeneration Ministry refers to ministry placements with a focus on supporting congregations or faith communities to develop new ways of being missional Church (or fresh expressions of Church).
What are the requirements for regeneration ministry?
Because Regeneration Ministry is a new concept, as are fresh expressions of Church, it is unlikely that many ministers will have specific experience in this, although there may be ministers with significant skills and experience in mission. Therefore in seeking ministers for these placements the Presbytery is more interested in the sense of calling and the commitment that individuals may have to leading or developing missional Church, particularly a sense of call to pioneering. The Presbytery is also keen to look for particular character traits that would be relevant to this work. For example, an ability to discern God’s leading in mission, creativity in imagining new ways of being Church that relates to a particular context, courage in risk taking, perseverance in hard times, a willingness to learn from failure, an ability to work in a team with a missional community and so on.
A Regeneration Minister may – develop a new model of Church beyond any existing congregation, for example, plant a church – maintain a congregation AND develop a new model of Church – develop a new model within an existing congregation – help an existing congregation to become a new model of Church
What does a Regeneration minister do?
A Regeneration Minister may develop a new model of Church beyond any existing congregation, for example, plant a church maintain a congregation AND develop a new model of Church develop a new model within an existing congregation help an existing congregation to become a new model of Church.
What does a new model or way of being Church look like?
A new model of Church may be a church plant in a different location to an established congregation, for example developing a church in a cafe, wine bar, op shop, shop front etc. It may be another way of being Church within an existing congregation or place of ministry, for example Messy Church. It may be that an existing congregation becomes a new model of Church, for example by selling its ecclesiastical buildings and purchasing a large house that worships informally, offer space to the wider community, and invites the community to share in a weekly meal. It may be that an existing congregation uses an current activity to build on, changing its focus from a church activity to one of discipleship. For example a congregational knitting group that already exists was changed in this way, so that people invited others to join, experiences of life are shared, music plays as people enjoy the knitting, there are stations in the room for prayer (a half knitted scarf that people are invited to knit another row whilst praying for someone in need, or a sand tray is set up for prayer candles to be lit etc) and at a point in proceedings, a prayerful time may occur. New models of Church don’t need to be complicated or big projects.
The important thing to understand in all this ……..
is that this is a move away from the traditional approach where the Church hosts activities with the hope that they will attract people to an existing congregation. This is about valuing the existing congregation, but also developing other ways of being Church, so that there are more opportunities for people to find their way into communities of faith that they can relate to or find meaning in. An example. Melton Uniting Church is exists in an established growth corridor of Melbourne, Victoria. For 30 years, it has operated an Op Shop in Melton South, which is a very different area to Melton itself, and includes pockets of severe disadvantage. The Op Shop volunteers have developed numerous and quality relationships with many of the residents there over these years. Each Christmas and Easter times of services at Melton UC are advertised but few if any op shoppers come. This would be asking people to come into a foreign surrounding both in place, experience and culture and as such, is an intimidating idea. The vision then emerged of establishing a church within the op shop, that would grow up in partnership with the people of Melton South, and in surroundings that are comfortable, familiar and ‘safe’. So now Melton UC has two congregations, and as such has grown in a way it couldn’t have by offering only one way of being Church.
Download our ‘Regeneration Ministry’ information sheet
Read more about expectations of and support for Regeneration Ministers
Check out Regeneration Ministry placements currently available in Port Phillip West!
Resources for congregations/places of ministry considering Regeneration Ministry
In the Uniting Church in Australia, all congregations or places of ministry with a ministry vacancy undergo a process called a Mission Study. This is a process designed to help local communities think about their mission and ministry needs and plans for the 5+ years. This in turn helps people to make the decision about what kind of ministry is needed. Further to that, in the Port Phillip West Presbytery, another decision is to be made, that is, whether the new ministry would be a traditional or regeneration minister. The following resources have been designed to assist with these decisions.