Kingdom Come in Banksia Grove
Recently we took stock of Cheers, our Neighborhood Outreach here in Banksia Grove. It’s a faith-based community development network. And the list of actions was pretty long and impressive, ranging from obvious actions (like camps, computers, & celebrations actions) to more behind-the-scenes activity (like intentional conversations that help people make decisions about their lives.)
What I really love about the list is the way each item reflects something about God’s Kingdom here in Banksia Grove.
* Rubbish Clean-up Days, because care for our environment is a Kingdom value.
* Sorry Day Flowers for the Stolen Generation, because compassion, justice, and solidarity are also part of God’s Kingdom (not blame).
* Shared and emergency meals, because enough food is part of the Kingdom.
* Parenting and family courses, because right relationships are of the Kingdom.
* The Round Table with reps from all the local networks, because co-operation, dignity, and empowering each other are also Kingdom values.
* The “Cheers 1,3” meeting to reflect, pray, and plan our community-oriented action, because that’s us participating consciously and strategically in God’s mission.
* Special meetings to explain the faith, because knowing Jesus Spirit in us is part of it too.
(For a fuller list, you could email me for “Forthosewhocameinlate.pdf”)
Furthermore, we can report that residents are seeing God’s Kingdom expressed in culturally meaningful ways.
They encounter fellowship around BBQ’s; start to recognize God in their lives at work, sport, and family life; they pray around dining tables, and back patios, and a burning balga tree; they learn Bible through chinwags, and activities with the kids; they befriend deeply over beers & cups of tea; they serve Jesus by serving the neighborhood, and passing the hat around for a Sudanese orphanage; they start to explain Jesus to each other in anecdotes that illustrate God’s Dream in their lives.
Sally and I were encouraged by a special Cheers participant who, after reading the list, wrote:
“it’s you that ought to be congratulated coz you guys are the bestest role models I know for how to be a great friend, great person and great follower of Jesus. You just accept everyone where they are and help them grow from where they’re at. You are the Mummy and Daddy of Cheers and I thank you very very much for all that you do and I’m glad to be part of it.”
Just imagine what could happen if a few more of us could follow Jesus with this kind of neighborhood outreach orientation, living according to God’s Kingdom here and now all around us, wherever we live.
Cheers 13 – excellent. Will tell you about some of those stories later.
Cheers 24 – solid. We have a committed group of people growing in their faith AND PRACTICE in BG. Still using the SUPPER outline.