This is our current IBPC Mission Plan. This is a fluid document that we review and edit each year as the situation changes, and as we feel the Spirit of God calling us into mission and discipleship. It was last updated at our 2021 AGM.
IBPC Mission Plan 2021:
IBPC’s mission statement reads: “Connecting people with God and each other.”
1) This seeks to express our belief that God has a mission in the world – to redeem it and re-create human beings so that they live in harmony with God and one another. We dream of a world in which people are reconciled with God (2 Cor 5) and with each other (Eph 2:16) – in which we love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind, and we love our neighbour as ourselves (Mat 22:37-39).
2) We understand that the mission of reconciliation includes both the big and the small picture. Intentional acts of justice and speaking truth on a global and national level, as well as small acts of hospitality, generosity, and service. Sharing a meal with others, befriending our neighbours, showing kindness to those in need, witnessing to the love of God etc., are all valued as part of following Jesus in today’s world.
3) As part of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa NZ, we are also guided in our understanding of our mission by our denominations’ Five Faces of Mission:
- Teaching and nurturing people in Christian faith
- Loving service responding to human need
- Proclaiming the gospel
- Seeking to transform society
- Caring for God’s creation
In weaving these themes together we have been drawn to the image of a mamaku or tree fern. New branches slowly unfurl and open up, on maturity taking their place in the canopy of the tree. Sometimes a branch will reach the end of its life, but there is always space for other branches to grow up and take that place, and the tree (which is the community of believers, sharing their lives together in faith) endures.
Currently we feel that the Spirit has nurtured the growth of three branches which represents three overlapping ministries for our faith community, while we still await new and future ministries to unfurl. All three branches are heavily dependent on volunteer time, donations, prayers and commitment.
- A) Our wider faith community living out their faith day by day. We are joined in prayer, pastoral care, and by sharing our lives and life transitions with each other. People engage with this community at different levels, but this community hinges on the regular spiritual discipline of weekly Sunday worship as well as other gatherings during the week.
- B) The children, youth and young families living in our local area. In 2010, we committed to be present and journey with these families from preschool to university.
- C) Our Tēpu Mō Tātou project which focuses on ‘doing life’ with those resident in and around the Council and HNZ flat complexes in Berhampore. This is a work that overlaps with many other partner groups, and includes the fortnightly Nourish house church gathering.
A) Our faith community
Our faith community is a small to medium sized, intergenerational congregation. It is made up of individuals living out their faith at work and at home, as well as a collection of communities of service that come together in various ways on different days of the week. We have a fluid boundary as to who ‘belongs’ to the church as we are all at different points in our journey of faith, and what we do together is also open to those outside the congregation.
We run many ministries which are supported by a mixture of paid staff and volunteers. Our faith community also supports them through prayer, baking, soup, baby-sitting, monetary and other resource donations.
We seek to be non-judgmental and welcoming to all. We make our services accessible to those of differing abilities; we make space for babies and young families; we pride ourselves on quality children’s and youth programmes; and we try to stay connected with those who are house-bound.
Sunday is the day when we gather together to worship and be discipled, and to re-connect with each other in fellowship over a cuppa after the service. We put a high value on life-giving worship which is rooted in our place and culture, congregational participation, preaching, and diverse styles of music and liturgy.
We hope that people leave Sunday services changed in some way, and through our communities of service we have many ways in which people can foster the process of discipleship they are undergoing through action – actions that combine the Five Faces of Mission in different ways, and that foster further discipleship. We aspire to provide ‘signposts’ as to what these ministries are, how people can become involved, and how God’s mission can be worked out in their home lives.
We seek to resource and support our community to be disciples of Christ in the home, school, workplace, and street.
- To be intentional in providing opportunities for fellowship outside Sunday, to support and uphold one another on the journey of faith, and to provide safe ways for others to taste our community life.
- Ensure we signpost our mid-week ministries to our faith community, and to include stories on what is happening in Sunday services.
- Affirm and celebrate everyday acts of hospitality and service as foundational to a life of discipleship.
- To prioritise invitations to prayer and to normalize praying for others as part of a life of faith.
B) The children and young families living in our local suburbs
In 2009, we became a Kids’ Friendly congregation and employed Mel as our Children and Families (ChiFam) worker to serve the families of our local suburbs, and to foster connections between them and our congregation. Lead by our ChiFam worker we rapidly connected with many families, especially through the Kiddiccino play group which is still highly regarded. Our vision then became to journey with these young people and their families, being a presence in their lives until they reached university age.
This vision brought a renewed emphasis on our Brigade groups as a plank for staying connected after they left playgroup and leading up to youth group age. This has also led us into relationship with parents, and attempts to foster community among families through tramps, fundraisers, meals, mum’s pamper nights, times together at the pub etc. These different gatherings provide great opportunities for fellowship and community-bridging by bringing people together from different backgrounds who would otherwise not connect.
To continue the journey with the kids as they matured, and to help equip us to offer discipleship to our youth, in 2019 we added the position of a youth pastor to support our youth group volunteers. This position was re-established at the beginning of 2021.
- We will watch out for opportunities to foster an awareness of worship or prayer that is natural and spiritually nourishing for families in connection with our congregation that may have no church background. We will also look for opportunities to host gatherings that explore spiritual themes or questions for those who may be seeking, or who are open to hearing more about matters of faith.
- We will stay available to befriend and support new families in their times of need. To stay open and outward looking.
- Signpost opportunities for service and hospitality to these families as well.
- To become sustainable in leadership across the child and youth groups.
C) Tēpu Mō Tātou and our Berhampore outreach
In 2014 we were allocated money from the sale of St James Newtown by the then Wellington Presbytery, to extend our outreach with a view of looking to the suburb of Berhampore. We had different ideas on how to allocate this until we heard of a man passing away in the Granville flats a 10 minute walk away from our church, and it taking 2 months until his death was noticed. This opened our eyes to the needs of the Council and HNZ flat complexes in Berhampore, and we developed the vision for a Community Minister; to minister to the streets of Berhampore, with a specific focus on Granville and these flat complexes. This position was expected to create points of connection for our congregation to join in this ministry as well, not to just do the work on our behalf.
This work has evolved and expanded and has a big volunteer team of IBPC members, flat residents, and other enthusiastic members of the wider community. Under the Community Minister, Tēpu Mō Tātou runs a community lunch, a vege co-op, Kaibosh deliveries, pastoral times, community days, financial support, addiction support, liaison with Council and other agencies, and friendship.
After a request from flat residents, in 2019 we secured secular funding for a youth position with 10 hours a week allocated for work in Berhampore. This position runs Rintoul St youth group as well as getting alongside and mentoring the youth, as well as organizing outings and events in combination with the IBPC youth group.
Alongside Tēpu Mō Tātou, the Nourish worshipping community has also been established, meeting every second Sunday in the evening over dinner. Urban Vision team members, IBPC Tēpu Mō Tātou volunteers, and flat residents meet together to ‘do church’ in a different and more accessible format, in their local community.
- We desire fellowship opportunities that bridge communities and bring diverse people together to ‘do life together’ in natural ways. We especially want to keep our faith community connected with this project and with those involved in Tēpu Mō Tātou ministries.
- Support and encourage the growth and development of Nourish and the Berhampore Youth Group.
- Share good news stories of Tēpu Mō Tātou in discreet and appropriate ways, to encourage greater support and a greater sense of community.
- To continue to support and resource social, spiritual and practical initiatives that arise from the social housing residents of Berhampore.