Exploring Mission

Explore and learn about mission in North East Victoria

Two weeks of learning, reflection and workshops on Zoom  Saturday 27 Aug to 10 Sept

The Gifts of the Spirit in Certain Times 

Watch the video recording of the Bible Study

John Flett is Professor of Missiology and Intercultural Theology at Pilgrim Theological College. He is interested in intercultural difference and its significance for the Christian faith and the formation of community.

Of all the rhetoric swirling around the church and its current state, we seem sure that it has something to do with decline. We may not feel that way about the spirit within our own congregations. Indeed, these are living communities of faith. But, budgets, infrastructure, buildings, viability, leadership, these issues seem always to hover in the background. One of the most important elements when thinking about mission is thinking about our own contexts and what already exists within those contexts. Through a study of John 20:19-29, let us do just that: think about the nature of the peace breathed upon us and the reality of where we stand.

Lost Sheep, Sown Seeds, Lit Lamps – Andrew McDonough

Why the North East Country Churches are doing such a crackingly good job!

Jesus kicks off each of these three familiar stories with ‘Listen! If you have ears, Listen!’. Andrew will tell the stories, we’ll reflect together and maybe we’ll hear, see & own what Jesus is doing through us, our churches and in our communities.

Watch the video recording of the Keynote Presentation


Andrew McDonough is the creator, writer and illustrator of the Lost Sheep booklets and resources. Andrew’s only talent is that he can draw a sheep marginally better than your average 7 year old. Somehow he has turned this into a vocation creating the Lost Sheep stories that are read by kids & parents and pop up in schools & churches throughout Australia and around the world. Trained as a Baptist pastor, Andrew belongs to the WestCare community, an Adelaide inner city mission working amongst the homeless, supporting people struggling with addictions and advocating for refugees. He is most comfortable in churches with under 15 people and no data projector. Originally a country boy, Andrew hopes to one day escape out the kitchen window and go rural.
Hobbies: bumbling in garden, reading, hanging out in the scrub.
Hobby horses: carpet in churches, laminators, pictures with Bible verses on them.


Here is a video of Andrew telling the story of Cecil the Lost Sheep.

Watch on YouTube


1 Hour Workshops

Tuesday 30th Aug 7.30pm I was naked – Op-shop Outreach (Click here to see detail)

Wednesday 31st Aug 7.30pm – “I should have said something”  (Click here to see detail)

Thursday 1st Sept –7.30pm –  I was homeless –Winter Night Shelter (Click here to see detail)

Tuesday 6th Sept 7.30pm – Hospitality to strangers – Café outreach (Click here to see detail)

Thursday 8th Sept 7.30pm – Christmas in the community – Messy Nativity (Click here to see detail)

“I was naked…” – Op Shop Outreach – 1 Hour Workshop

Led by Rhonda Kissick

Op Shops raise necessary revenue to fund the mission and ministry of the church!

But can Op Shops BE the mission and ministry of the church?

This workshop explores:

  • the relationship between “church” and Op Shop
  • Op Shop stake holders
  • Change in Op Shops
  • Op Shop efficiency
  • and more importantly Op Shop effectiveness

Participants will share stories, air problems, sound out possibilities

    (……and hear about a United Church “goat”, in Darwin, 53 years ago!)

Back to Program Overview

“I should have said something” – 1 Hour Workshop

Practising for those times when you should speak up.

Led by Brian Spencer – Waranga Cluster

Have you ever had a “damn, I should have said something” moment?

It happens to all of us.

Maybe we are standing in line at the supermarket check out and the person in front says something racist to the cashier.

Maybe we are having dinner with friends and someone decides it’s time to deliver on the problems facing first-nations people.

Or maybe someone actually asks us what we think about a matter of social concern or even faith and we freeze!

There are times when we just walk by and pretend we never heard them speak.

Then there are nights of restless sleep where we chastise ourselves for our failure to speak.

Jesus told his disciples: “When they drag you into their meeting places, or into police courts and before judges, don’t worry about defending yourselves—what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there. The Holy Spirit will give you the right words when the time comes.”  (Luke 12:12  The Message)

If only it was that easy!

It takes practice to speak the truth in love.

If you are in the CFA, you don’t just wish to put out fires; you practice, you train.

If you want to play a sport, you don’t just go out onto the court or field and play. You practice, you practice the skills again and again.

Why do we think that we can find the right words, the right tone, the right time to speak if we have never anticipated the situation and practiced a suitable response.

In this coming year I can almost guarantee that you will wish that you had a good response to an ill-informed comment. To be able to say a word to defend the right, heal the hurt, advance the truth.

There are situations where reaching out to a stranger could truly change the person’s day if not their life. As clichéd as it may sound, humans depend on one another.

As Australia moves towards a referendum on including an First Nations “Voice to Parliament” in the constitution, this is an opportunity for us to give substance to our regular “Acknowledgement of Country”, which many of us say at the start of our church services and meetings. Let’s give our pledge to work for healing and reconciliation the planning and practice it deserves.

In this session we will look at the Statement from the Heart (https://ulurustatement.org/the-statement/ ) and consider situations where we might be called on/or feel compelled to speak/speak-up.

And we will practice speaking up!

“Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an account of the hope that is in you. (1 Peter 3:15)

Back to Program Overview

Winter Night Shelter – 1 Hour Workshop

Led by Di Duursma – Wangaratta, Joan McRae – Shepparton

This workshop showcases the work of two Winter Night Shelter programs running in Wangaratta and in Shepparton. Each program offers variations on the “Stable One” model as they respond to the differing needs of their communities and with the differing resources and skills available to them.

Winter Shelters partner with local churches and the community to provide food and temporary shelter during the winter months utilising church venues and a contingent of volunteers. Responding to the clear Gospel injunction of caring for others in need, Winter Shelters target people experiencing homelessness in their local area. The Winter Shelters help to fill a critical gap for those in housing crisis whilst at the same time offering connection, inclusion, support and advocacy for those on the margins of the community.

Back to Program Overview

Hospitality  – Cafe Ministry – 1 Hour Workshop

Led by Brian Spencer – Tatura, Leigh Giffard, Kaye Bernhardt  – Nathalia, Karen Speedy, Dinah Reeves – Mooroopna

This workshop will showcase the work of three cafes operating at Nathalia, Mooroopna and Tatura. Each café operates quite differently and tries to respond to the needs of their community using the different resources and skills available to them. Each café is at a different stage of its development.

Although we often think of hospitality as a tame and pleasant practice, Christian hospitality has always had a subversive countercultural dimension. So many gospel stories feature Jesus and food and controversy. Eating with sinners and outsiders. Feeding the crowds. Telling us to invite the lowly to parties and to welcome strangers. Preparing breakfast for His wayward disciples. And at the heart of our weekly worship is the sharing of a sacred meal to which all are invited.

“Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it.”  Hebrews 13:2

Back to Program Overview

Messy Nativity – 1 Hour Workshop

Led by Anne Turnbull from Wangaratta

In August of 2020, in her new role as the Youth Children and Families Outreach Worker, Anne Turnbull began to wonder how Wangaratta could celebrate Christmas and also support the local businesses who had been doing it tough through many lockdowns, over the previous months. The answer for Anne was a Messy Nativity. An opportunity for children to go on an adventure, to find some lost knitted sheep in shops in Wangaratta, while shopping for Christmas with their families and learning about the true meaning of Christmas. The planning needed to happen immediately, so join Anne and discover all that was involved and hear about the experiences for her and for the local families and shop owners.

Back to Program Overview