Exactly two months to the day from our 2011 AGM (held on 31 March), the St Paul's leadership were ready to 'Report to the People' on the future of St Paul's. Held last night in the Crypt, around 150 members of St Paul's church family, representative of all four church services, enjoyed wine, nibbles, conversation and a relaxed atmosphere. Andy Campbell and his team led a great time of worship together before handing over to our Vicar, Mike Norris and co-hosts, Vicar's Warden, Bridget O'Malley and People's Warden Dizz Bundy. Seats were filled to overflowing and the anticipation in the room was palpable.

Mike opened the evening in prayer and then began the formal section by highlighting key topics from the March AGM, particularly the exponential rate of growth in the size of the St Paul's congregation over the last few years. He invited comments from the floor on how people are feeling about this time of change, the response of which was generally positive. Mike then shared enlightening stories about the history of St Paul's church since 1841 (refer to the podcast if you are interested) and explained that historically, our church has been healthy and accomplished amazing things in both our immediate community and nationwide.
Consistent with the strategic plan of the last few months (as outlined in the AGM review), the main aims of the leadership and of our church in 2011 are as follows:
1) Narrow our Focus Mike explained that our church was streamlined and functioning from 2004-7, but has been 'floundering' in strategic areas through the recent stages of intense growth (ie 2008-now). The aim of this strategic review was to narrow our focus to two primary areas, being Evangelism and Mission, as follows:
Evangelism is 'speaking' about the love of God to those who don't know him.
- we want to be more intentional/clear about articulating our faith
- evangelism should be easy, fun and natural - it's just talking about God with others.
Mission is the 'doing' of practical acts that speak of God's love
- examples include caring, hospitality, working with the poor and underprivileged
- again this should be simple and uncomplicated - it's the small things that matter the most.
- can you make a bowl of soup? can you give a plaster to someone with blister? can you sit with a retiree and play 500? if so, you can 'do mission', which in essence, is kindness and thoughtfulness.

The outworking of these key goals would be shaped by refocusing on the Life Course as an evangelism tool and relaunching Clusters/Missional Communities. Note: pastoral care, teaching, worship and other key areas are still vital to the life of church but not the primary focus for this year.
Mike then shared his personal dream for the church which was incredibly inspiring, engaging (and we think, God-breathed), prompting a round of applause. Think Martin Luther King's 'I have a dream' and you're not far off. Read it here.
2) Address Organisational Issues The plan is to improve communication, devolve church leadership (by releasing more authority to others), raise the profile of the church wardens as the 'go-to' people (Dizz Bundy and Bridget O'Malley) and refine the key organisational structure of both the staff and church departments. This involves the redelegation of core duties among key church leaders as per the St Paul's Phase 2 Organisational Chart (pdf).
Key church leaders then spoke to the five new portfolios (primary areas of church function) as per the report summaries below:
Worship - Mike Norris
Mike will be focusing more intentionally on the development of Sunday services to improve the areas of teaching, worship and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
If you have any feedback or ideas on this area, please email Mike and if you would like to volunteer in areas of serving, welcoming, hosting, leading or reading, please fill out our helping form.
Apostolic - Mike Norris
Mike will be pioneering the ministry of the church around the congregation, the immediate neighbourhood and beyond and also improving communication of the church vision more articulately, creatively and effectively.
Equipping - Mathew Newton
The biggest impact that St Paul's has made on the world has not come from the staff but from the congregation. The St Paul's staff are called to equip the church to the do the task of The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Plans in 2011 include starting an entry-level theology course and providing resources and workshops for marriage, premarriage and parenting. Instrumental to this is the appointment of the new Family Ministries Coordinator, Jennie Milne who spoke briefly on her vision for families (watch this space). If you would like to help with resourcing and/or organising events in these areas, please fill out our helping form.

Mission & Evangelism - Paul Ashman
Who wants to play a part in the redemption of humanity? How hard is it to be friendly, open and love the community you are in? Can we cause havoc and stir up life and energy in our city?
The answer to everything in the areas of mission and evangelism has to be based on prayer - initiatives will be taken to develop all of these areas signficantly in 2011.
In the interim, please consider getting involved in existing Mission, Evangelism and Prayer groups including Angelfood, Treasure Hunts, Baby Prayer, Marriage Prayer, Clusters, Life Course, Prayer for Women, Prayer for the Church and more. Email us for more info.

Pastoral Care - Philip Halstead (presented by Mike)
The church's aims are to extend pastoral care to every person (in a timely fashion) in order to help restore people to wholeness; to develop the pastoral care and exploring prayer workshops and to run key events on various topics including ministry of the holy spirit, prayer ministry, parenting and more. Please email Phil if you have any questions, to join the prayer line or pastoral care team, or if you want to help organise these events.
  What do YOU think? What do YOU want to know?  
We encourage you to email St Paul's wardens or our Church Manager David Goulstone with your feedback, queries, encouragement and concerns regarding the future of St Paul's and they will endeavour to respond.

Mike closed the meeting by encouraging all those present to "paint the canvas, cause some havoc and take some risks."
Special thanks to Evan Williams for all his input into the strategic rework of St Paul's focus and future and thanks also to all those who attended, served, sung and shared at the State of the Nation event - you are all legends. Let's do this thing!