At its meeting last Monday the Leadership Team spent some of its time reviewing ‘Ministry Beyond Ourselves’ (MBO), that is our fund that supports gospel activities in regard to those who are not part of the membership of CrossRoads Christian Community. This includes support of organizations such as the overseas work of the Church Missionary Society and the Overseas Council Australia; the Australia-wide ministry of the Bush Church Aid Society; our local Anglicare agency as well as the ministry training organization Anglican Youthworks. Importantly, and with increasing relevance, MBO has for some time included our ministry to local schools.
In the Leadership Teams’s discussions one point was particularly highlighted, and this was that MBO must include support of gospel ministry to the local non-Christian community in which we live. Once it was assumed that ‘Mission’ referred solely to the support of gospel ministries overseas, in ‘Pagan lands’. However, there is no more pagan land than the one in which we live, really right here in Australia. This has been recognized for quite a time at CrossRoads but I think that the Leadership Team the other night established in an ‘official’ way for the first time that those for whom ‘MBO’ activities are established are as much local as global.
The main reason CrossRoads (any Christian community) exists is to proclaim Christ, not primarily to get people into ‘church’ but so that people may enter the Kingdom of God. Fundamentally, this is why CrossNet has been established, as an alternative form of ‘church’ parallel to and connected with, but operating separately from, the main CrossRoads activity. This brings me to my main point, which is that CrossNet is our attempt to create
“a church as we haven’t known it for a society as we haven’t known it”,
a network of diverse kingdom units spread throughout the ‘pagan’ community to provide ‘doorways’ into the kingdom of God, a task in which the organized church in Australia has increasingly failed to be effective.
As was mentioned last week, and will again be this week, CrossNet ministries attract no income to CrossRoads. In fact they incur significant expenditure to run, with no financial return, yet they are the most effective ministries we have in engaging the non-Christian community. The average attendance at CrossNet groups and ministries is 90—100 people per week (not including ‘OASIS’ in schools) over half of whom are non-church people in the traditional sense. Indirectly also, through our CrossNet cells in the community, a significant but unknown number of people are exposed to a varying extent to a kingdom witness, to which they would not have otherwise been. This is ‘mission’ at the cutting edge.
CrossNet in all it’s forms is not small now and is becoming larger, it is indeed a reason for Thanksgiving, which is of course our theme for this month. Yet its only funding is from the generosity of the main CrossRoads membership i.e. out of ‘General Offertory’. In the light of our discussions the Leadership Team thought it appropriate in the context of evolving missional realities, that we set up a new giving option for ‘The Hub’.
The ‘Hub’ is our Friday night CrossNet ‘alternative church’ complex of activities that God has been truly blessing in recent times and which is arguably our most effective missional activity. As with all CrossNet ministries ’The Hub’ provides no income yet has identifiable costs in the order of $400 per week of staff input alone plus the associated running costs of the building. Our proposal is that a new fund be established to which members are encouraged to give, to enable the running and expansion of ‘The Hub’. This fund would also be a wonderful opportunity for ‘Thank Offerings’ to be made during our ‘Thanksgiving’ month.
In parallel with this, it is proposed to cease two long-established funding appeals, namely ‘Foundation For The Future’, and the ‘Next Level Fund’. FFTF was originally established about 15 years ago to fund the construction of our building facility which of course is now complete. Specific giving to this may be redirected to the Building Fund from which we are still paying the mortgage or to the new ‘Hub’ Fund. The ‘Next Level’ fund was set up some time ago to fund an increase in our staffing resource. Members who have been giving to ‘Next Level’ are encouraged to redirect their giving to either the ‘Hub’ Fund or the tax deductible Ministry in Schools Fund, the giving to both of these funds goes towards staff costs and so fulfils the same function as ‘Next Level’ was originally set up to do.
We have so much to give thanks to God for in the way He is blessing us as we have stepped out in faith to establish CrossNet. It is time to express our Thanksgiving by supporting the work He is clearly making fruitful. The new ‘Hub’ fund is an appropriate and ’mission effective’ option for our ‘Thank Offerings’ as we continue to expand our Mission locally as well as continuing to support gospel ministry overseas.