Partners in Christian Mission

A Case Study - Luminous Festival

community engagement:

Supporting churches to follow their call

Do you want help with community engagement? Here's some ideas about where to start

By Michael Henderson

My role with Tasmanian Baptists can seem broad, but it really boils down to helping churches and leaders to be everything they are being called to be. Not what I think they should be, but me helping them to be what God is calling them to be. I support them to follow that call.

The sweet spot: Worship, Fellowship, Mission

Hobart Baptist Church and their Luminous Festival is a great case study. The Festival ran during June this year, and had very specific purposes. The leadership team wanted a mixture of events, targeting a range of ages and cultures, that could provide the three circles Tasmanian Baptists recently adopted in their strategic plan. The three circles represent worship, fellowship and mission.

Sweet spot between Worship, Fellowship and Mission

Some of the events focused more on worship and fellowship, like tLuminous Festivalhe "Christmas in Winter" Carols, and Sunday Services. The measures against these events were about bringing people together, worship, and how people inside and outside the church responded.

Other events were targeted at fellowship and mission, like the panel hosted one evening on the topic: "Does religion and spirituality have a part in Tasmania's future?" This was a conversation between Cassy O'Connor MP, Jacquie Petrusma MP, Paul Dare (as an indigenous Christian), Snr Pastor Stephen Baxter and hosted by Director of Citizen Tasmania, Grace Williams.

Another event brought people together to hear Ruth Burgess share her testimony, "From Hindu Guru to Follower of Jesus". Yet, another was my art installation, Breathe, Shine and Seek to Mend, connected to Dark Mofo. The measures here focused on the conversations we had with people during and after the events, the quality of the faith conversations, and on people who came to follow Jesus.

The Festival taken as a whole, brought together the three circles in a variety of ways over a two-week period, and helped to tell the story of Hobart Baptist Church.

Supporting by listening and amplifying

My role in the Luminous Festival, as it would be if I was supporting your church or leaders, was two things.

  1. I listen to what is on the heart of the leaders, where they think God is leading them in this moment, and what they want to get out of it. I help them clarify those thoughts.
  2. I help them to amplify what is on their heart, to work through what is involved in running the event, and what is needed to engage the community.

I am not the knower of all things, and I don't need to be. Most of the time, like with HBC, the church and its leaders know what they want to do and how to do it. They just want some support in thinking it through, discovering what it is, gaining some confidence to do it; and then some support to work through the best way to execute the plan.

Luminous Festival

Want some help?

If you would like to have a chat with me about how I can support your church and its leaders to connect with your community, then don't hesitate to be in contact with me via email.

MJ HendersonMichael Henderson
Leadership Development, Tasmanian Baptists

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