Have you ever wondered what the life of Jesus really looked like? Reverend Phil Meulman from St Mark’s Forest Hill, Victoria did. When he began engaging with Church Movements in early 2018, he experienced Jesus’ life first hand. Bringing along his leadership team, they also experience the life of Jesus Christ through our rigorous study.

To experience this study, Phil joined us on the SHIFTm2M Israel Study Tour. This twelve-day journey takes participants through the life of Jesus from his birth to resurrection on location. “The difference between going or not going on a trip like this is like a Maths student who knows the theories but not the application. You get it!” Phil exclaimed.

The tour builds upon what is learnt at the SHIFT Day Workshop, alongside a fifty-day podcast and video study through the life of Jesus. The head knowledge is step one, the tour is step two, and finally personalising the application of the Bible through first-hand experience and taking the anthropological and archaeological details of Biblical stories and contextualising it. Phil explained it like this:

“When He said to His disciples to ‘come and see and follow Me’, He intentionally took them from the Jewish side of the lake to the pagan side. That was a powerful image for me; His strategy and intentional mission is to the world.”

Phil was able to sail from Capernaum in Galilee to other side of the lake and see what the disciples saw as Jesus taught them.

This tour not only affected Phil but his church as well. Phil saw afresh the significance of prayer in his own life and strove to transform the focus of his church towards prayer. Taking the SHIFTm2M framework to his church, he modelled a simple strategy of disciplemaking from being a leadership goal to a congregation goal. Together they were able to build a life-changing discipleship movement.

“SHIFTm2M has given us a common language and got us onto the same page with our purpose and disciplemaking strategy. The church has endorsed our plan to develop a pathway for people to go from being out of relationship with God to becoming a multiplying disciple. We are still working on the principles and strategies to be rolled out.”

In the past, churches had a surplus of Bible college graduates to recruit into the clergy and missional activities. Now, leadership development and transforming the culture must come from the congregation.

Phil has stayed connected with Bill Hodgson for regular coaching. “Every pastor needs a coach to keep him focused on the main task - making disciples and the next steps. It is too easy for pastors to get distracted by administration.”

The shift in thinking from ministry to movement is essential to the development and growth of a church. Phil is now able to coach other church leaders to develop movements growing the kingdom of God.

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