Kith Bistro at Park Mall, Church Ministries
After sending bags to the cleaners, came upon Kith Bistro (facebook. Park Mall), sister to Kith Cafe (Watermark, 7 Robertson Quay. Facebook). It was taking up a tiny bit of Olio Dome’s former digs. A small interior and even smaller kitchen, with an alfresco area under mature trees. The presence of a dog bowl and a tub of toys for kids indicated that pets and children were welcome.
This outlet/branch dispensed with the distinct specially-manufactured wood furniture of the river-side one but retained that design shorthand to authenticity and sincerity – handwritten advertisements and menus in chalk on blackboards. The mismatched wooden panelling on the tables and also on wall containing the food pick-up (providing a framed view of the chef), the glass wall giving a good gob at the skeleton next door, and the brown and yellow beams protruding from the storefront were a nice touch. Didn’t ask if design was also by Hjgher.
There were familiar faces pulling familiar-tasting shots on the La Pavoni, though almost everyone else seemed trained so the standard of coffee varied with each barista – one constantly pulled what seemed (to me) to be overextracted shots, one really brought out the sweet complexity of the beans, the last just made a safe decent cup. A Brazilian-Columbian-Sumatran blend i think. They don’t serve cookies with their coffees so those used to a little nibble with their cuppa ordered some separately.
Big breakfast (buttery scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, spelt toast with homemade strawberry jam) and toasties (this one had scrambled eggs and bacon in it) until 3pm.
Also a changing blackboard menu featuring well-executed pasta and lamb shank by Prabath Gunatilake (previously executive chef at Da Paolo, lately also of a3 bistro) at a reasonable price.
While waiting for the storm to pass, we had time to sit around with the Pink Paper and also Colin Marshall and Tony Payne’s The Trellis and The Vine. Good points to think about, especially now that some church people are complaining that I’m not doing any work for their ministry. This is factually inaccurate and smacks of possible shit-stirring but that aside, I am naturally averse to any sort of peer pressure, have no interest in “acting busy” just to be commended, and will generally ignore such demands for commitment unless there is good reason (for example, commitment in the case of marriage, or commitment to ensure an event, whose purpose is eternal, runs well). But in the interests of doing what is right before God, had to examine these complaints and think through this.
The book was a useful place to start:
- the aim of Christian ministry is not to build attendance on Sunday, bolster the membership roll, get more people into small groups, or expand the budget. The fundamental goal is to make disciples who make other disciples, to the glory of God. We want to see people converted from being dead in their transgressions to being alive in Christ; and once converted, to be followed up and established as mature disciples of Jesus;
- churches inevitably drift towards institutionalism and secularisation. The focus shifts from seeing people grow as disciples to organising and maintaining activities and programmes. We come to think only in structural and corporate terms. We fret about getting people into grops, increasing numbers at various programmes, putting on events for people to come to, and so on. We stop thinking and praying about people and where each one is up to in gospel growth, and focus instead on driving a range of group activities – attendance at which (we assume) will equal growth in discipleship;
- we become disciples and grow as disciples by hearing and learning the word of Christ, the gospel, and having its truth applied to our hearts by the Spirit. The essence of Christian ministry is the prayerful, Spirit-backed speaking of the message of the Bible by one person to another (or to more than one). Various structures, activities, events and programmes can provide a context in which this prayerful speaking can take place, but without the speaking they are merely structures which will not foster growth;
- the goal of all ministry – not just one-to-one work, is to nurture disciples;
- an integral part of making disciples is nurturing and teaching people in their understanding and knowledge (their convictions), in their godliness and way of life (their character), and in their abilities and practical experience of ministering to others (their competence). This sort of training is more like parenthood than the classroom. It’s relational and personal, and involves modelling and imitation;
- in this sense, all Christians should be disciple-makers. So there is only one class of disciples, regardless of different roles or responsibilities (eg. pastors, elders, other leaders);
- The Great Commission, and its disciple-making imperative, needs to drive fresh thinking about our Sunday meetings and the place of other ministry activities during the rest of the week. This may mean starting new things, but very often it will mean closing down structures or programmes that no longer effectively serve the goal of disciple-making. It may mean clearing out some of the regular activities and events so that congregation members actually have time to do some disciple-making.