The first day of synod was one in which our evangelistic priority could not be missed.
In Archbishop Glenn Davies first Presidential address, he concisely articulated the challenges that we face in bringing the message of Jesus to Sydney, for the glory of God. With the foundation of our love being a magnet, he exhorted us to work even harder to reach a city that is increasing in its culture diversity lest we become Anglo outposts in a rapidly changing city. Furthermore, he encouraged us that our regular weekly activities, like the preaching of God’s Word, should always be shaped by the Gospel. In addition, the increased partnership via our relatively new Mission Area network must continue and develop even further. It was a fantastic foundation for both the Presidential address, but also the first day of synod 2013.
As a synod, we didn’t just listen to words exhorting us to reach this city for Jesus. We made decisions to support this end – decisions that would cost.
First, the synod enthusiastically endorsed the ‘Jesus Brings’ initiative planned for 2014 – an initiative that provides a framework and resources for local churches to be active in mission so that people in our local communities may be won for the Lord Jesus.
And second, and slightly more controversially, we agreed to continue a levy so that parcels of land can be purchased in newly developing areas. Part of self-centred human nature does not like giving without seeing some personal gain, but synod’s overwhelming vote to continue this levy is one way that shows we are serious about working in partnership to enable the planting of new churches in new areas. It is a significant advantage that our Diocese, as a network of churches, has over single independent churches: together, we can raise $2m annually to purchase land parcels in new estates. We have already learnt that if we fail to make purchases in the initial development phase, we will miss out.
Dr Mark Thompson’s address at the ACL dinner also focussed on the need to reach a lost city.
It was an encouraging first day of synod, and I pray that evangelistic priority and zeal will drive all that we do at synod, and that the same zeal would be infectious in our churches.
Feature photo: Shane Teee