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PublicationAn Awakening of the Spirit: Base Ecclesial Communities and the Common Good2020 Menzies, Andrew ; Green, Beatrice ; Kanongata'a, Keiti AnnAcross the region there are signs of a growing alternative movement that reflects the liberating essence of the Gospel and seeks the Common Good. This paper explores the wisdom offered by Leonardo Boff amongst poor Brazilian communities and searches for modern, contextual examples of these communities that are working for the Common Good. Base Ecclesial Communities have existed under the title for over seventy years. The idea of an empowered community offers insight for those concerned with local mission and takes us beyond structural problems of the church. This paper identifies Boff’s context and formational pathway and then reflects on some of the significant lessons that are applicable for our contexts, for example: giving ministry back to ‘ordinary’ people; freeing the work of the Spirit from organisational structures; the formation of disciples through regular formational practices combined with deep, local engagement; openness to new structures for ministry; and, identification of the limitation of current ecclesial models for mission. It explores the points of connection that Base Ecclesial Communities offer to those seeking the Common Good. Some case studies and references to the Association of Practical Theology Conference held in Suva, Fiji in November 2018 are included.
PublicationForming God’s people in the local church: A case study(Australian Journal of Mission Studies; 5 (2) ) 2011-12 Menzies, AndrewThe formation of people in the local church is a source of great challenge for the west in the twenty-first century. This article develops Alasdair MacIntyre’s Aristotelian practices and Alan’s Kreider’s research on the early Church’s catechetical methods. It then records a project conducted at Camberwell Baptist Church in Melbourne that attempted to apply them in a local suburban Australian context. This was done through the development of nodes that were to practice four practices: Regular table fellowship and the breaking of bread; deep listening; hospitality to the stranger; and discernment. The three nodes referred to in this project had very different outcomes: one node never actually started; one attempted a practice with mixed success; and one embraced the practices after a long lead time and embarked on a transformative journey towards Christian formation.
PublicationKingdom Communities: Shining the light of Christ through Faith, Hope and Love.2018-10-07 Phelan, Dean ; Menzies, AndrewAn inspirational and compelling exploration of a spreading phenomenon that is breaking out in the most unlikely of places. As attendance in churches is in plateau or freefall, small and growing numbers of people are turning to creative and relationally connected communities that shine the light of Christ with great effect and generosity. Kingdom Communities: Shining the light of Christ through faith, hope and love examines the rise of this diverse and organic movement that is popping up in neighbourhoods, regional towns, urban slums, brothels, aged care villages, schools, churches ... indeed anywhere! Using multiple case studies from across the region, Kingdom Communities explores this growing movement historically, biblically and theologically and uncovers the power of distributed networks for holistic Christian mission. In our age of disruption and rapid discontinuous change that has shaken religious institutions to their core, this book is both a challenge and major injection of hope for those who are passionate about the kingdom of God, Christian leadership, the future of ministry and the relational communities that the world desperately needs.
PublicationMemories, Hopes and Conversations: Appreciative Inquiry, Missional Engagement, and Congregational Change at Camberwell Baptist Church.2016 Menzies, Andrew ; Branson, MarkChapter outlying the use and outcomes of Appreciative Inquiry (AI) at Camberwell Baptist Church (CBC) during 2005-2006. This chapter describes the use of AI and how it was employed at CBC over a two year period. It explores the context at CBC before the use of AI, how AI was employed, and the results of this process with particular attention to how AI helped unify CBC and guide it toward the generation of a healthy, missional imagination and experimentation.
PublicationKingdom Communities: Shining the light of Christ through faith, hope and love2018-09-15 Phelan, Dean ; Menzies, AndrewThe book is concerned with the integral mission of the church in the West through empowered local nodes. It has ample case-studies and includes two chapters on the story of Churches of Christ in Queensland from 2010-2017 which integrated the Care and Congregational areas under one model of ministry that resulted in significant growth both in terms of integration, quality and quantity. It develops a new model and understanding of Christian community based on a New Testament understanding of ekklesia that validates and integrates various areas of mission. Today many Western denominations are plagued with falling attendances while often the care services are growing yet held separately (both areas are silos). We present a model that has worked across an entire denomination and we also point this expression is popping up in many curious places.
PublicationAn Awakening of the Spirit: Rediscovering Base Ecclesial Communities(Australian Journal of Mission Studies; 12 (2) ) 2018-12 Menzies, AndrewIn an age of corporate leadership, mega churches, individualism and alienation, this paper explores the wisdom offered by Leonardo Boff amongst poor Brazilian communities. Boff is one of the most significant theologians and proponents of the grassroots phenomenon popularly known as Base Ecclesial Communities often associated within the broader field of Liberation Theology. Going back for approximately seventy years, Base Ecclesial Communities has withstood the test of time and offers mature lessons for those concerned with local mission as well as the clergy/laity duality. This paper identifies Boff’s context and formational pathway and then identifies five significant lessons that are applicable for our contexts: giving ministry back to ‘ordinary’ people; freeing the work of the Spirit from organisational structures; the formation of disciples through regular formational practices combined with deep, local engagement; openness to new structures for ministry; and, identification of the limitation of current ecclesial models for mission.
PublicationA model for the development of catechetical practices within the life of Camberwell Baptist Church2008-10 Menzies, AndrewThe goal of this project was to develop, test and benchmark through a praxis- theory-praxis model, four catechetical practices within the life of local nodes of Camberwell Baptist Church. These practices were created so that the church could develop ways of intentional formation of the whole person in order that, as a body, it would mature towards a greater and more effective missional transformation. Through an examination of Camberwell Baptist Church’s particular context, both church and local community, this project examines how adult Christian education has been attempted previously. The results of the study then lead to analysis of the effects of modernity, theological reflection, and context. Each must be considered in the development of appropriate models for catechesis. This project also specifically considers the roles of geography, pedagogy, and praxis for modern catechetical methods. This project develops a basic theological and theoretical framework for the nature of mission and the church’s participation in it. The framework centers around creation, Christology, Trinity and ecclesiology, especially in light of current understandings of the missio Dei. Most importantly, it gives place to the nature of transition within an established church through models of innovation and change. The project documents how two specific local nodes were successfully created for the purpose of catechetical formation of the participants. Formation was attempted through four catechetical practices being employed in local geographic localities within the life of the nodes. These included: regular table fellowship and breaking of bread, deep listening, hospitality to the stranger, and discernment. The participants found these practices very hard to follow because they required applied behaviour rather than abstract discussion. This research found the node that was most willing to participate initially ended up disbanding while the node that started most cautiously ended up as the sign of greatest hope for future catechesis at Camberwell Baptist Church.
PublicationBringing the generations together: The role of Appreciative Inquiry in a local church’s transformation for mission(Australian Journal of Mission Studies; 6 (1) ) 2012-06 Menzies, Andrew ; ,Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is gaining in popularity and used as a tool for researchers to gain insight into the narratives that fuel a system. It is also becoming known as a methodology that allows holistic, system wide transformation. This paper documents the use of AI in a local church as a key tool used in the rediscovery of its missional imagination. The church was heavily conflicted and AI was employed to encourage various parties to begin to listen to each other and find areas and dreams that were held in common. The background and context of the church is explored and shown to be in need of adaptive (rather than technical) change. The AI questions used and the format of discussion groups is outlined and evaluated. Initial missional endeavours that arose out of this process are recorded. Concluding remarks are made about AI and its effectiveness in guiding a conflicted local church towards health, a positive outlook for its future, a stirring of a missional imagination and examples of how this began to lead to engagement in local mission.
PublicationThe State of Play: Current demographic, market and social analysis of Church attendance in Australia(Australian Journal of Mission Studies; 11 (1) ) 2017-06 Menzies, AndrewThis paper draws upon current market and social research as well as the 2011 Australian Census to examine trends in Australian church attendance. It finds that all churches are in plateau or decline unless connected to first generation migration. It also finds that there is a marked trend among Australians under the age of 35 away from any religious practice or acknowledgement. Social and market research from Hugh Mackay, Mark McCrindle and Roy Morgan gives qualitative reasons for this movement. The paper then uses Alan Roxburgh and Phyllis Tickle’s analysis of unraveling and recalibrating as metaphors to translate what is going on inside the data. The paper ends with hope, noting that the first step to recovery is acknowledgement of present condition.
PublicationRecruit, Equip and Sustain Christina Leaders in a New Urban World2014-03 Leach, Lynette ; Bessenecker, Scott ; Menzies, Andrew ; Cronshaw, DarrenThe last decade has seen a significant response in the number of practitioners involved in urban missional around the world. Today the need is urgent for the broader church to take collective action to motivate and mobilise a strong contingent of Christian leaders who will commit to living incarnationally in poor urban communities. To respond to the challenges brought about by the massive rise or urbanisation in the world, recruiting people to follow Jesus into tough urban contexts cannot be ignored.