Westfield grants ministry aid

Archie Poulos

Westfield gives aid to churches?

Well, not just Westfield… Stockland, AMP Capital; in fact all the shopping centre owners have provided a great boost for ministry.

Ministry is best conducted face to face but we have such a short time with each other on Sundays when we congregate together.

Thanks to shopping centres we have another place to congregate. I think we need to examine how best to use the times we bump into each other at shopping centres to grow the Kingdom of God. Here are some quick thoughts.

1. Dropping-out

When someone is moving away from faith, their attendance at church becomes less regular. By the time we notice their absence, we may not ever see them in church again. But we do see each other in our local shopping centre. If we notice someone is not regularly at church let's pray that we will bump into them shopping. That gives us the opportunity to keep conversation and relationship going. In fact it is often the best place to do it, as the neutrality of the place and number of people around takes some of the intimidation factor away. It provides the "soft touch" chance to find out how they are going, to remind them of the mercy of God and assure them of our relationship with them.

2. Maturing

I also notice that people make more progress as we deal with things little by little, rather than in one go. That means that conversations: fleeting, short, passing in shopping centres can reinforce and buttress right thinking on big issues.

3. Pastors

Pastors need to think about where and when they shop. They need to be intentional and pray that they will meet people. They need to prepare time in their shopping diary to have conversations. They should think about the content of the potential conversations. It also means that we will spend less time doing work (such as sermon preparation) in our office or study, and more time working on a laptop in coffee shops.

4. Congregations

It also means that we should all be talking with each other about how to use the times when we bump into each other shopping. I am not advocating a program here, but just making the most of every opportunity. We should be considering how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. In doing this everyone will learn how to use more profitably the "bump into another" time, which is not accidental, but given by God.