How can we make disciples of all nations from our own local setting?
That was one of the bright and colourful threads running through Interserve’s Australian Team Conference. It was brilliant to see everyone face-to-face again in our first national conference in 10 years! It kicked off with a fun-filled evening celebrating 170 years of Interserve with cake and conversations, cross-cultural experiences and stories from Asia and the Arab world.
In a weekend of inspirational speeches and up-skilling partners, International Director Bijoy Koshy gave the keynote address on how Interserve can see lives and communities transformed through encounter with Jesus—in the local/global mission dynamic. More and more we realise how we do not face a go/send divide in God’s mission of making disciples and extending his love. Rather, we engage in the frontline wherever we are in our local context, and wherever we go in our global context. So following Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19, as you go on your journey, “make disciples” among the people of the nations who come to your neighbourhood, just as when you go out to them.
Matthew Kuruvilla spoke on growing a multi-ethnic church through the story of his time as Senior Pastor at Sydney’s Parkside Church. The author of ‘Church without Borders’ demonstrated theologically and practically the beautiful reality of how we no longer gather according to ethnicity, but that people of all ethnicities gather around Christ.
Lisa Bateup, Community and Partnerships Director, addressed how Interserve can support the church in Australia in intercultural mission. She emphasised listening to church leaders, supporting churches in their ministry goals, customising our support, and investing in ongoing relationships.
A highlight of the workshops showed how mentoring men and women brings wonderful growth in godliness, courage and ability to serve in the community:
Mentoring is walking alongside someone in their journey in an intentional relationship whereby one person empowers, challenges and enables another to develop in areas of character and competence, thus increasing the impact in their life and service for the glory of God.
It is especially vital for Gen Z that we convey a wholistic, integrated vision of how we may live as followers of Jesus in our local and global environment.
So as we asked in our national conference, let’s ask ourselves as we go: how can we as individuals and churches respond to the call to build a multicultural church—in our neighbourhood and in the world?