Four years ago, Papatoetoe Bible Chapel was at a crossroads. They had
an ageing eldership, and a growing younger body of their church--but no
clear path for transition.
One Sunday, a sermon A Vision for Our Church was preached that asked all of those who were aged over 65 to stand up. The preacher explained that these people are 'Yesterday's People'. The preacher then asked those aged 25-60 to stand up. The preacher explained that these people are 'Tomorrow's People'. He then asked everyone to stand--we are 'Today's People', he said.
The challenge was laid: How can we make sure that 'Tomorrow' is involved in leading 'Today'?
The leaders were in agreeance, this change needed to happen. A range of
activities were put in place to engage with 'Tomorrow' and get them into
leadership. A group of the 'Tomorrow' leaders took part in a year-long
study, exploring J. I. Packer’s Knowing God, run at the home of one of the elders.
Many of this group were selected and began training into the roles of
deacons. Some specific tasks were set, including renovating the church
building, welcoming newcomers and arranging/participating in weekly
communion time. They did a fantastic job!
Now, the elders and deacons are meeting together, to work out the final transition.
It’s been a tough journey, and taken four years of training and
conversations. One of the keys--the elders have been opening their
homes, and welcoming 'Tomorrow' leaders into their world.
The elders and deacons are regularly wrestling through theological
issues, pastoral concerns, and working together to pass over leadership
Thanks to the team at Papatoetoe Bible Chapel for giving us permission to share their journey.