This is the vision document for our church (HTD). I'm posting this so that if I post some of the youth vision stuff up here on my blog, for comments later, it makes sense when it refers to this document. I think this paints a great picture of where the church is heading over the next 15 years.


This year, Vestry has been considering the shape of ministry at Holy Trinity in the next fifteen years. This is not a detailed plan of ministry but a broad-brush look at our future shape.

We remain committed to our long-standing three goals as a church. These are that for the glory of God we pray and work to be:

  • a church which learns and grows in faith and godliness through strong biblical preaching and teaching;

  • a welcoming, evangelistic, mission minded church;

  • a caring church.

Therefore we will continue to seek to have a strong preaching ministry, something for which HTD is known and which has helped grow this church. We will continue to have a commitment to ministry to Chinese people and supporting the gospel throughout the world and in our local area. We will continue to promote godly behaviour, character and relationships within the fellowship of HTD.

We remain committed to being a growing church. We want to see more people come to knowledge of Christ, faith in him and take up their place in God’s church here. Our commitment to growth derives from our commitment to the gospel, our knowledge that without Christ, lives are lost, and that the Great Commission urges us to pray for labourers into the harvest, to proclaim the gospel to our neighbours and beyond, and to welcome people into the life of God’s church.

We believe there are significant aspects and implications of where our future is heading.

Planting Congregations

One of the key ways we anticipate continuing to grow is in planting more congregations. In recent years we have planted a Chinese congregation and, in the last eighteen months, a bi-lingual youth and young adult congregation. The results of both of these new congregations are that many people have become Christians and are growing in Christian maturity.

Some potential future congregations include:

  • a midweek service for older folk who find Sunday mornings difficult. Ageing is a major social issue in Manningham and we ought to gear ourselves even more to an ageing community. I know that some older folk struggle with longer services and larger numbers of people on a Sunday morning. For some, mornings are not easy. A shorter, weekly service, perhaps incorporating Wednesdays at 2 once a month and a lunch once a month might be a useful step to growth.

  • a young families service, for example, Families at Five on Saturdays in the late afternoon. While I do not want to undermine the children’s ministry on a Sunday morning, some churches are finding a growth area in the little children’s ministry on a late afternoon.

  • a Chinese congregation at Doncaster Secondary College to connect with the Chinese school on Sundays there. David and Esther have been praying and investigating the strategic possibilities of ministry to parents while their children attend Chinese school on Sunday mornings.

  • a congregation at Doncaster Hill if that project develops. Doncaster Hill has the potential to bring many more hundreds of people into Manningham. While the sorts of people living in new apartments here would tend to be mobile and well off, we ought to be considering ways of reaching out to them.

  • a broader multi-cultural, multi-lingual congregation evolving out of ESL classes on Tuesdays.

At this stage, some of these are little more than ideas. But we are committed to investigating every possible way of reaching more people with the gospel and providing accessible ways for them to be part of a congregation at HTD.

Some Implications

The implications of further growth are important, in particular how further growth will impact the shape of HTD as a church.

  • Even more than now, we expect people who belong to HTD will not know all the things that happen here, will not know others and will not know even the staff.

  • Further growth will also change the role of the Vicar and the Vicar’s relationship to church members. Already I do not know everybody and cannot hope to visit everybody. At the moment, I am regularly in every congregation but that could not continue with more congregations. The implication of this is that members of HTD will identify more with other staff than with the Vicar.

  • Inevitably there are budgetary implications. Planting congregations and being a gospel-minded church is costly in finance. Current congregations will need to subsidise the starting up of new congregations. That is what we did with the Mandarin and bi-lingual congregations. It is a biblical principle.

  • Being committed to growing is costly also in terms of personal comfort. Apart from the change of dynamic in knowing staff, it is costly to be in a congregation that grows. We do not know people as well. It takes energy and commitment to get to befriend new people and help them integrate into the congregation.


Growth raises the issue of unity. Currently our unity at HTD is tied to perhaps two things: our property and the Vicar. However future growth will challenge at least the latter of those two things.

In a small church, unity is found in close personal relationships where everybody is known by everybody else. This model is of a community church. Such churches use the language of being a family implying close relationships, good fellowship and everybody knowing everybody else. One reason why many of these churches don’t grow and reach out is that they are comfortable with the relationships and size of their church.

Growth does threaten our comfort. However the gospel compels us beyond our comfort zones. As we grow, we will not know everyone. We will not be known by everyone. That has already been the case in the last decade.

Future growth at HTD in either or both of numbers and congregations will certainly mean that the Vicar will have less capability of knowing everybody and being known by everybody. One the frustrations I personally find is that I am unable to know everyone, call in socially or be a friend to every parishioner. With about 1000 people more or less regularly attending HTD, I have to be strategic in the use of my time.

We want to think through what it will mean to have unity as a church. Bigger churches in Melbourne, with more congregations than ours, also struggle with this issue. Our unity will not derive from knowing and being known by the Vicar. Our unity must derive from a common commitment to the gospel, an engagement with the overall ministry of HTD. Our unity, in the end, rightly derives from Jesus the head of the body.

So our unity will be expressed in a common mission and devotion to the gospel of Jesus. It is not a unity focused on a building or a minister. Occasional combined services, such as on Trinity Sunday, our church anniversary, will remain important as expressions of our unity.

A Channelling Church

In considering our future shape, we want HTD to be a channelling church. That is, we want to be a church which channels people into leadership and ministry even beyond HTD. This is an act of generosity that is motivated by both a commitment to the gospel as well as strategically thinking in kingdom terms beyond the walls of HTD.

We have expressed that in recent years already in being a church for helping train newly ordained ministers and for having theological students on placement. We have also ‘sent’ some of our own to ministry and mission service elsewhere.

Some implications of this include:

  • encouraging some people to head to ordination

  • encouraging some people to missionary service

  • encouraging some people to be involved in Christian ministry outside HTD

  • encouraging and supporting staff members, and others, in short term ministry and mission in other places

This is why this year, Megan, Wayne and I have been committed to our Growing Leaders course and invested time in it and mentoring within it. We plan to run the course next year, making it available also to people from other local churches. Also we want to do more next year in helping people identify and use their gifts in Christian service and ministry. It is also why we think offering a Ministry Training position, such as Sophie Parham and Amelia Lober have had in 2007, is a strategic venture.

It is in this area that we were committed to spending time on recruiting, equipping and sending a team for a week to Port Hedland. We hope that sort of venture will become a regular part of our ministry in future.

All of this is costly to HTD in terms of sending gifted people and leaders elsewhere. Such generosity ought to be cheerfully given out of a desire for the gospel to spread. In all of this, we seek to think and act strategically, trying to discern what is the most useful, beneficial ministry. The Missions Committee has been helped this year to think strategically about our Missions allocations and I plan next year to continue that thinking with the Trinity Lectures having a mission focus.

An Anglican Church

While everyone knows we are an Anglican church, our recent growth from other denominations raises the issue about the shape of our church life and ministry. We remain committed to being Anglican, recognising that all denominations have strengths and weaknesses. We believe that we can remain firmly biblical and evangelical within the Anglican Church.

Some of the implications of being Anglican are as follows:

  • we remain committed to being involved in the life of the Anglican church and diocese

  • we are governed by Anglican polity and synodical acts

  • our liturgy is Anglican, based on A Prayer Book for Australia. However we have a variety of liturgical styles in our services to cater for various people.

  • we want to encourage people from other denominations to embrace being Anglican as members of HTD

A Local Church

Members of HTD do not all live in Doncaster. To an extent we are a gathered church, even more so when we consider our Chinese congregations. This raises issues about how we relate to our local, Doncaster community. For many in our church, the only Doncaster connection is HTD.

We express our local commitment in teaching CRE, beginning involvement in Kids Hope, in distributing literature in our local area and involvement in Awakening and in Shoppingtown displays.

We have recognised a weakness in issues of social concern and a Vestry group has worked on this area this year. One contribution that group thought HTD was well placed to make is in the area of ethical thought, hence the film night for the climate change film and the ethical focus of the Trinity Lectures.

Shape of Leadership

Part of our Vision 2022 thinking this year has been occasioned by consideration of our future staffing, both in needs as well as in shape.

Our vision is that our staffing continues to do two things. One is to provide leadership and ministry within HTD in teaching, encouraging, equipping and pastoring its members. However we also want to maintain a staffing model that has influence beyond HTD, whether in teaching overseas, writing, lecturing, diocesan affairs, helping other churches, serving in youth conventions or wherever the gifts of our leaders and staff can be most strategically used.

This means that we cultivate a generous spirit within HTD. This also means that we cultivate a kingdom view of our place as a church in God’s greater kingdom.

It is recognised that we carry a cost in having a regular turnover in curates or assistant ministers every couple of years. That is part of our commitment to training and equipping for the sake of the curates and also for other churches who in future will benefit from their ministry.

However we also recognise the value of working towards having a Senior Associate minister at HTD who will provide some continuity in ministry and be a back up for the Vicar. Currently, with 25% of my time as an Archdeacon plus teaching overseas from time to time, I am persuaded that in the next couple of years we ought to find such a person.


Vestry has begun consideration of our property needs for future growth, ministry and stewardship. Already we are finding our current property limiting with a shortage of meeting spaces on Sundays and some weeknights. The bi-lingual service currently meets in the hall, not an ideal auditorium, involving significant setting up and packing up. We could well do with another worship space and some more meeting rooms.

We are also aware of the wonderful legacy of significant land, some of which is vastly under-utilised. We want to be good stewards of our property and will be investigating ways of better using these resources, possibly seeking how some development may help fund further ministry or capital works.

We are conscious of the need to promote giving that is sacrificial and generous. Though our budget year by year increases, the opportunities for ministry continue to abound. In the budget before us this year we have increased the hours for Ben and added a staff role for his wife Ivy so that they share one full-time position in heading up our bi-lingual ministry for Chinese youth and young adults. This is a very strategic area of ministry. We have also slightly expanded Matt’s hours as children’s minister.

We are also hoping next year to fill the Pastoral Care Coordinator’s role most recently held by Ainslee. Pastoral Care to older people will be a growing need at HTD.

As well, our budget has increased the percentage given to mission support. I believe our budget is responsible, challenging, ministry focused. I urge generosity and increased giving.

What is Expected of an HTD Member?

We want HTD members to be excited about the ministry and vision of HTD. We want members to be engaged in praying, giving, serving, growing, reaching out, and extending God’s kingdom through HTD. We want HTD members to take initiative in ministry and mission.

We want to encourage HTD members to use their gifts in promoting the gospel within the life of HTD but also in daily life, workplaces, schools and campuses, in family life and even in other places.

We want to encourage HTD members to be generous net-givers of ministry. That means that HTD members will receive ministry from HTD in sermons, Bible study groups and from fellowship here. However they will also be givers of ministry, bearing witness to the gospel, serving in various ways, promoting the gospel in appropriate ways.

Therefore we want to cultivate a selfless culture rather than a selfish culture at HTD. Not everyone will receive the attention they want but because of our commitment to the gospel, we will share in giving of ourselves, losing some comfort perhaps, for the sake of the lost world needing the gospel.

So we want to encourage HTD members to generosity in paying the cost of being in a church where we weeks to give beyond ourselves and grow, even beyond comfort levels, for the sake of the gospel and the glory of God.

This Vision 2022 process has highlighted a goal for HTD beyond those goals we have had for recent years. Our goals ought not simply be regarding ourselves as a church. Our goals need to recognise that our own congregations are not ends in themselves but are means to the end of growing the kingdom of God and serving the gospel beyond HTD.

Thus we want HTD to be excited participants in a kingdom ministry where HTD is used of God in his gospel purposes. In casting this vision, we are not seeking to be boastful of our own ministry nor claiming to be more than we are. However we see the danger of becoming inward-looking and we are excited about extending our ministry as much and as strategically as we can.

If HTD members are to be captivated by this vision, they will first and foremost be captivated by the Lord Jesus Christ. When our delight is firmly fixed in Jesus, then the cost of following him is willingly and joyfully borne. When our satisfaction and joy is found primarily in him, then the discomfort of serving him is willingly embraced.