Engaging with your community

by John and Corrina Sheed, pastors, MountainView Vineyard, Stratford

Vineyard founder John Wimber said, “The meat is in the street”. That’s our community!

Early on in our church planting in Stratford, God spoke to us from Nehemiah, who saw Jerusalem was in ruins and the walls were broken down. He rose to the challenge to rebuild the walls.

The Stratford community is our part of the wall and we need to diligently and intentionally go about restoring and building our part of the kingdom.

Our goals:

  • Community transformation.
  • To see the kingdom here in our community one relationship at a time.
  • To be relevant, have a face and a voice. This means having outreaches that equate to people knowing who we are, where we are and what we do.
  • Getting our people into places of influence – community boards, school boards etc.

And we outwork those goals through the church, the community and the church and community together:

Church

We prayerfully seek God about His heart for Stratford and look for ways to make the Gospel relevant to the worldview and culture of the people of Taranaki. Seeking his heart and finding the key to the doors for this season.

  • Hearing from God – the call.
  • Making the choice to commit – for the long haul.             
  • Praying through – casting the vision – forming a team.
  • Turning ideas into reality – mobilising.

Community

God passionately loves Stratford - our community – and we have to love it too. We want to be deliberate to work in and engage with our community., identifying our needs such as after-school care, Christian-based childcare. We have also been involved in:

  • Random acts of kindness – trolleys at the supermarket, morning teas for businesses, police, fire department, WINZ etc, gardening, firewood, food parcels.
  • Ways  to touch base with families – Music4Kidz, Light Party, Airsoft.
  • See a need, fill a need – some of our congregation help at individual schools, youth at school camps and we have recently been approached to provide “playground mentors” in our largest primary school.
  • Meals when we hear of a need – bereavement, new baby, sickness etc.

Church and community

Church is the centre of everything we do and our worship service is the most important gathering of the week.

What is God calling you to in your part of the wall?

We come together to implement projects that benefit all; it’s not “them” and “us” but “we”.

Our OSCAR programme and Gr8Kidz have been an effective bridge into our community.

Conclusion

We have sought God’s heart, have an amazing family who are on board and we go about our part of the kingdom.

We aim to keep the main thing the main thing and there is a lot that we can do. We remain prayerful and continue to look for the “right” way for us to go. We look for what the Father is doing and get on board. The kingdom is an adventure and each of us has a story to tell from our investment in it.

So what is God calling you to in your part of the wall?