i.e. the story behind the all the ships!
St Matt’s is like a king’s fleet of ships travelling from a thriving seaport. They are guided in all their journeys by the King’s beacon (God’s love and hope). The port is a safe harbour nestled between big hills that remind people of the King’s character and visible presence (God’s sovereignty and holiness; and his kingdom). The seaport is rich with supplies and resources, equipped with every craft and skill to enable the growing fleet on many missions (one body, many gifts).
The King’s lighthouse on the prominent headland (Sunday services) is the primary navigation source for the fleet. It also transmits signals of the King’s power and knowledge across our whole region (God’s word). Every ship in the fleet is commissioned for active service and follows the King’s direction (Holy Spirit prompting), as his beacon pulses with messages of love and hope for every person (salvation for all). Far more time is spent at sea than in port (we are our King’s ambassadors in our daily occupation, not just at church gatherings!).
There are many types of ships (ministries) in our King’s fleet, each designed and crewed for different tasks ( e.g. engaging others, caring, teaching, discipling). Each ship’s crew has a range of skills and levels of ability (gifts and stage in their spiritual journey) so that everyone contributes to the mission. Each ship’s master (ministry leader) has at least one apprentice (leader in training), and every crew member has a desire to learn and grow (discipleship). The King’s ships are powered by wind and fuel (Holy Spirit and prayer), and time is allocated each day for the crew to share their stories and experience with each other (ministry team = small group).
The fleet’s trade routes are Pathways to people and places where the King’s ships visit and trade with others (i.i engage target groups in our Pathways model). Each Pathway is grown through intentional and frequent trade and interaction (intentional relationships).
Their “trade” is an exchange of great value, showing respect and empathising with each person they meet, regardless of condition or circumstance (being authentic, honouring to all). This often leads to giving practical help to meet a specific need (out of our King’s abundance), and as relationships develop they can offer the invaluable treasure of the Kingdom (evangelism).
Some of the King’s ships are on strategic missions to the places where people find themselves bound up (poor social policies and systemic injustice). On these missions (social change and thought leadership), they use careful strategies and inspired actions and words as catalysts for change (applying God’s wisdom and power). They aim to break down the strongholds of the enemy (spiritual and systemic) to release people from bondage, by directly influencing the structures that bind them (social transformation, e.g. church members involved in school committees, local council, community groups).
Other missions involve establishing new seaports (church planting and workplace ministry) where the King’s people can build new ships and train more crews to extend his kingdom.
The port includes a breakwater (prayer and intercession), channel markers (leadership structures), a repair yard (transformation, healing and counselling), a banquet hall (community events, Pathways activities), a market place for exchange and supplies (coordination of giving of time, skills and resources to meet practical needs), and a school for training and equipping the many people involved in the wider community (training programs).
The whole fleet and port joins in a regular cycle of celebration together, learning and planning as the King’s people (we are his family) maintain authentic and honouring relationships across all their activities. Every person is included with a clear sense of belonging and contribution,a s they all pursue deeper relationship with the great King (our Lord Jesus). Come Lord Jesus!