launch team meeting 01 discussion paper

God is saving, keeping, maturing, equipping and deploying his people. He does that, to our good and for his glory, as his gospel is prayerfully spoken.

Keep it simple

We are missionaries who long to stand forgiven on the last day with one another and with as many from our city and beyond as our gracious God is pleased to call. We want to honour our Father and the Lord Jesus while we wait, both in our words and activities. With that desire in our hearts, there are a huge array of programs and events that we could pursue.

As we begin we will be pushed towards simplicity by virtue of numbers, but numbers are not the only reason to push towards simplicity. By focusing on a few things in which we pursue core priorities we can be careful to maximise the impact of what we do and maximise time available to do life with gospel intentionality–both with one another and with unbelievers.

With church, small group and doing life on our agenda, maintaining gospel intentionality at each level will be key.

View church and small groups as a package

Church and small groups offer distinct advantages. The model we are pursuing seeks to use them as a package with both elements serving evangelism, discipleship, training and service.

I’ve touched on the advantages of linking small groups to the sermon series previously. I envisage us following the sermon rather than preempting it. There are a number of advantages:

  • we get to pursue clear understanding and focused application in the small group context.
  • a feedback loop of mutually strengthening the impact of each context will develop.
  • the small group effectively becomes a context for weighing what is said in the public proclamation and emphasising the final authority of the Scriptures.
  • the preacher and other leaders can help each other with preparation of studies.
  • the whole church pursuing discussion of the same book of the Bible will help work it into our DNA.
  • leaders get a good feel for whether the preaching is communicating and connecting.
  • new people more quickly get up to speed as they are invited and join in the middle of a series. (The contribution by the newcomer, ‘the preacher said…’ can easily be made and followed by the standard response to the whole group ‘where do you see that in the passage?’.)

A similar set of implications apply in terms of having the children’s and youth ministries following the same series–something that I’m keen to work towards. There are further advantages in increased opportunities for conversations in families.

Form small groups as expressions of mission

Small groups are a great context for evangelism. As unbelievers come, they get to hear and see what a Christian is more intimately than in most other contexts.

Over coming months I’d like us to deliberately form small groups with mission on view. That is, to work out who we will gather with, where and when we will gather with mission opportunities in mind. Groups or some members of a group may:

  • meet in a cafe or pub where friends will more easily join them.
  • partner with one another in involvement in the same social project.
  • provide creche on a weekday morning to more easily include stay at home mums.
  • meet early before work in the city so as to consistently meet and meet at a time when colleagues can come.
  • take particular interest in helping with marriage, parenting, adjusting to uni.
  • meet late on a Saturday arvo so as to be able to go on to social things later and invite friends along.

Part of forming a group with mission on view is having a conscious trajectory towards growth and planting. We do not meet in order to establish a stable group but an inviting and welcoming group which as people join will reach a point where it is possible to plant a new group. (This is the same principle we have in mind as a church.)

Do life together with gospel intentionality

Our relationships extend beyond the formal meetings of church and small church–there is an informal social dimension to our life.

Our relationships have an end… that is a goal. They are a pleasure in and of themselves and as we await the return of the Lord Jesus they are for our mutual encouragement and partnership in making him known. By doing life together we have opportunity to disciple one another and partner in evangelism in the back yard and the local cafe.

I suspect this will be done best at a level that is aware of small groups but also crosses their boundaries.

Even at this stage, it would be great to deliberately catch up between meetings and invite others into those relationships.

I think it would be a good investment to use one of the November meetings as an opportunity to get together at a park or the like and invite friends along to be part of it.



launch team meeting on 30th August 2008

The first meeting as a developing launch team is planned for Saturday 30th August. In terms of deciding whether to come to the launch team meetings, you’re welcome if you’re planning to be part of the plant (or if you’ll most likely join us in February but still haven’t made the final decision).

The format will be similar to the interest meetings in that we will meet ‘formally’ at 4pm and then take the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and chew the fat over dinner. We might try something other than a barbecue this time round—I’ll email suggested contributions when numbers are clear. Please try to rsvp by Wednesday 27th August.

I’ll also circulate an agenda and short discussion paper prior to the meeting in order to maximise the value of our time together.

Looking forward to meeting together again! If you can’t make it but are keen to be part of the launch team, it would be helpful to know that as well. Let me know if you’d like to have a yarn.


4pm-dinner. RSVP wez -at-

interest meeting 02 notes

These are the notes I worked from at the second interest meeting (26 July) with a few amendments to reflect the content of our conversation along the way.

In this meeting we moved from why plant a church to what the church will look like.


We read Ephesians 3:14-4:16 & touched on God’s work by his Spirit enabling us to grasp more and more the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ; Christ’s giving of the word gifts that all may be equipped to speak the word in love and so mature together and see God save many.

Launch team

everyone (& leadership)

We explored what it will mean to be on the launch team…

In my mind the launch team is everyone who will be part of the congregation kicking off next year. That is, everyone who is planning to be part of the group who will begin meeting then is welcome.

I’m keen for it to be the larger group rather than a few from among us because the reality is that, as we begin and as we continue, southside will be an exercise in partnership. It is not something that I am doing and you are helping with. It is a venture initiated by Roy and the elders & board at unichurch which I have been asked to lead… and am keen to lead. But It is something for which we are forming a partnership in order that we might do it together.

I want to avoid the feeling that the church plant is something that I am doing… or that I am doing with a select few… and that you are invited to attend.

There will inevitably be some who take on more concrete responsibilities and roles that require more effort or are more to the fore. But it is very much a group activity, both as we move towards starting and as we continue.

In relation to that, I should say that running the launch team in this way does not mean that we are abandoning the idea of leadership. It is part of the New Testament description of church to have leaders. At the moment it’s me, but we will develop formal leadership with elders and small group leaders etc down the track.

I’ve been stressing that it will be hard work because I don’t want you to be surprised when you are asked to invest your time and effort serving in the church and in the community.

To be honest, it may not feel very much like hard work. I expect there will be much to rejoice in and that the partnership of doing things together will make the load feel lighter. Our family loved being part of the group who planted a church down in Sydney in 2000.

But please don’t be surprised when you’re asked to serve and when your name comes up more frequently on the roster and it’s not the roster you would have chosen to be on and when there aren’t three or four other people who could offer assistance to the regular or newcomer who needs it.

From February 2009

From February next year, there will be core ways to serve that really I’d expect everyone to do. Namely, being at big church and little church every week with the mindset, ‘How can I contribute?’; and seeing all of life as an opportunity to speak the truth in love.

As we seek to be a church through and among whom God is saving, keeping, maturing, equipping and deploying his people, the programs we will run are big church and little church.

We touched on some of the advantages of running small groups which follow the sermon series both in relation to our mutual encouragement and loving unbelievers among us.

There will be a range of ways to serve which arise out of that.

…until then

But we’re not there yet. You want to know what the next 6 months look like. How will each of us serve in that time?

A key contribution everyone will make is simply being part of the conversation as we reflect on how best to shape our lives as individuals, small groups and a congregation—as Christ honouring expressions of love for the believers and everyone else.

That may sound minor, but as we begin in another location it will be helpful if we are all on the same page and know not only what we are doing but why we are doing it and how it fits into the bigger picture .

The launch team meetings will be held at a time when it is possible for us to share a meal together to facilitate that. Over the meal we can continue to discuss and dream and plan and organise. Hopefully another product of our spending time together will be working out small groups and ministry teams who can partner with each other in 2009.

We’ll manage if you can’t make all the meetings. In fact, I’d be pleasantly surprised if everyone could make it every time. But the benefits of being around will be reaped next year and beyond.

In terms of specific tasks to get on with now, there are a whole range of things that each of us can be doing.

  • praying
  • venue ideas
  • securing a venue
  • identifying equipment required
  • purchasing equipment
  • promoting among non-Christian friends
  • forming groups who will serve in particular ways in our fellowship and in the wider community:
  • small groups
  • setup & pack-up
  • welcoming
  • morning tea
  • book stall
  • music
  • powerpoint
  • web site
  • admin
  • social involvement


The first meeting as a launch team will be on 30th August and we’ll meet every few weeks after that. Please chat with me about whether you’re planning to join the launch team over the next month.


I’ve spoken about the impact that being ‘on mission’ together will have on our churching together. A buzz word at the moment in the wider church scene is the word missional. It has been used to excuse all sorts of things but I think it is a useful word to adopt as we describe our posture as a church, as small groups and as individuals. At each level, we are missionaries.

The question to ask as we consider the various facets of our life together is, ‘How does the fact that we want to be glorifying God in mission and ministry come to bear?’ There are some things that we will do and others which while good in themselves won’t be part of our corporate activity.

That’s the approach I’ve sought to take in the discussions we’ve had and the posts regarding name and meeting time.

Some issues to discuss/ open today, all of which require the missional thought process:


We discussed the name and consensus was that a simple name avoiding too much jargon would be best.

‘southside’ and ‘church’ are most likely in there because that is what we have been calling the plant. We discussed the jargon factor associated with ‘evangelical’ (see next actions below and the name post .)

Core ‘programs’

The core aspects of our fellowship will be active participation in big church and little churches (small groups) and various ways to serve. We’ll also seek to deliberately do life together (informal social aspect).

Mission will be woven through all of that.


While Sunday morning is the default, we should keep the conversation open and of course we may need to be flexible when we find a venue.

There’s a post to help with the discussion.

We’ll pursue small group timing down the track.


As people from a church that meets in a school, the default is to meet in a school if one is available. (Primary schools are good for kids’ chairs and tables etc but it can be difficult to gain access to rooms.)

It’s worth thinking about what other venues could be good options in terms of being welcoming to friends: a cafe or restaurant or pub.

We basically need a venue in which we can grow to a group of 60 or so and preferably includes access to a room where we can do crèche and kidschurch. Keep your eyes open and if you know of any possibilities, let me know!

Target demographic

We’re not so much aiming to reach the people in the immediate area around the location where we end up meeting as seeking to love those who we meet as we live with gospel intentionality (Family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, retail contacts… anyone we come across really!).


There will be some kids around the place and our desire as a church will be to help their parents pastor them. That will have a range of implications.

One aspect is that we want parents to be great theologians and great examples of godliness for their children–both of which are the products of the Spirit’s work as the Scriptures are read and taught and discussed and applied.

A secondary element of our caring for kids in our congregation will most likely be providing church designed for kids during part or all of our main meeting. (To facilitate the parent-child pastoring, I’m keen for us to work at coordinating the kids’ teaching material with the preaching program.)

We may be able to recruit a few people from evening church in St Lucia to help with kidschurch during our meeting. That would, however, be a temporary arrangement and we should consider the implications of beginning in that way. That is, in order to sustain a similar program later, we would need to have a meeting at another time which kidschurch teachers could attend.

Integral to pastoring our kids will be helping them grow as ministers and missionaries:

  • as we meet in their attitude of welcome and consideration of new children and speaking the truth in love to one another.
  • among their peers in school and social settings.


There are a similar range of issues to discuss regarding youth who will be among us.

Next Actions

Join the launch team?

It’s decision time! Plans can change, but if you are planning to be part of the church as we kick off next year, please come and be part of the launch team. Keep talking to me!

The first meeting of the launch team will be on 30th August.


Talk to some friends and ask them what they associate with ‘evangelical church’ and ‘Bible church’ ( this has already been happening ). (As we discussed, we want to be helpful to our friends!)


Keep your eyes open and let me know if you see any good possibilities.