Here’s an excerpt from our interview with Auburn Anglican Church, whose leader Tim Cocks and his team, build their health and vitality through initiatives such as this.
Read the conversation below.
NCLS: What do you think has contributed to your church being healthy and vibrant?
TC: I’ll start with prayer because we are prayerful. I think God has answered prayer, and I don’t want to take that for granted. We’ve asked God to work, and He graciously has, so that needs to be said.
The Gospel is at the centre. That needs to be said. We are evangelical in that sense. We want to bring our leadership, our teaching, our lives, and our church practice under the authority of the scriptures. And we seek to do that humbly, prayerfully and joyfully. So I think people know that as they join this church, and that gives it a real health, I think.
People know that it’s a place where Christ is Lord, or at least that’s our aim to bow the need of Christ. I hope they see that it’s not my leadership that counts, so much as Jesus’ leadership. My job is to point people to Jesus and his leadership through the Gospel, so I think that’s really important. Then I guess, as that Christian life is lived out by the leaders, and others, so that we live lives of integrity and genuine love in real relationships, I think that’s contributed.
I think being committed to some of those basic principles. Keeping the main thing the main thing I think has been important in this ministry and that’s helped it to stay healthy. In a complex ministry like this there are so many things that we could be doing, so many needs that we could be trying to meet, and we do try to care where we can.
But our main role is to care by leading people in the Gospel, teaching the Bible, and pointing people to Christ in the Gospel, and I think we’ve kept that priority. So that’s kept us healthy; we haven’t gone off track.
We’ve kept as a priority communicating that message with people outside our church, and that’s led to new people becoming Christians. And I guess that’s been exciting and encouraging for people as well. There have not been floods of people coming to Christ, but there’s been a steady trickle of people that have, continually over the years, because we’ve kept that heart, that God-given heart for lost people in the culture of this ministry.
So we’ve kept evangelising, we’ve kept running small groups of people interested in finding out about Jesus. We’ve kept having a go. We’ve kept trying to run various events to connect with the community through English classes, playgroups, Carols and Easter events, and knocking on doors.
I think people have seen that we have a genuine heart for lost people. It’s been encouraging to see us connect with lost people, and to see some lost people connect with God; that’s kept us healthy as well. It stops the church I think becoming insular which can be very toxic for a church where it becomes focussed on its own internal squabbles. It’s a danger for any community, any organisation.
I think the Gospel prevents us from doing that though as we have a heart beyond ourselves, for lost people from a needy community in a needy world. And I think we get too busy to be caught up with our own line of problems; it helps. I think that’s kept a healthy culture. So there are a few things I think.