What does love look like?
It is with expectation and joy that we prepare our hearts for Vision Offering 2022. This year it was pressed upon our hearts to explore love in action – as we ask the question: what does love look like?
There are many notions of love, many ideas, and many words have been spoken, sung and even prayed about love throughout history. We want to pause and consider what love might ‘do’ – how does love act?
This year, we have the opportunity to continue to support some amazing ministry partners both near and abroad, as well as to consider the needs of the facility in which we meet and serve our community. We want to invite you again to hear these stories, listen to these voices, and add your voice to the chorus as we reflect God’s love to a broken, fragile and uncertain world.
Vision Offering is a once a year, over and above, offering that goes to support our local and global mission partners, to help people find themselves in the bigger story. This June, we are inviting you to hear from our partners, to hear from God and to give as you are led and able.
Who are we supporting?
“Vision Offering funds enable us to walk alongside hundreds of people each year, allowing us to express God’s love close, at home, in a practical and caring way”.
Shereen Barker, Discovery Community Care
Discovery Community Care walks alongside people in the local community to see them experience belonging, express their gifts and effect change in their lives and communities.
Discovery Community Care connects with people from Lilydale and surrounding suburbs that are facing a temporary crisis or struggling to meet the day-to-day costs of living. People can connect with a range of programs, including COACH Mentoring, FoodStop Community Meal, and Community Support services such as food relief, support to manage finances and advocacy efforts. Each of these programs provide opportunities for relationship building, encouragement to work towards self-identified goals and where appropriate, sharing the hope of Jesus and the bigger story we are part of. At Christmas time, the Christmas project supports families to choose gifts for their children and offers Christmas hampers.
In exciting news this year, Discovery Community Care is moving their operations to the house on the corner of the Discovery Church property. This is a significant move that will create new opportunities and spaces for those in our local community to connect and form meaningful relationships with us, with others, and with God. The house itself is a blank canvas and there are dreams big and small to see this space utilised as a drop-in environment with various activities throughout the week that facilitate connection and opportunities for people to identify and utilise their God-given gifts. Our desire is to see people not merely accessing support, but engaging in a deeper journey where they are encouraged to belong, contribute, and even initiate new activities through this space.
Earlier this year we said farewell to one of our clients, Sam, who has been accessing support from Discovery Community Care for several years. Over these years, we have slowly seen incredible changes in his life. When he initially came to us, he had just gone through a relationship breakdown, was under severe financial stress, was suffering from social isolation and was depressed.
Thanks to the generosity of our supporters and the faithful work of our team of volunteers, we have been able to support Sam in numerous ways on top of the provision of food, including vouchers for his phone and material goods from our Treasure Corner Op Shop. We have worked hard to refer Sam to additional supports, including linking him into health services and from early 2020, he started allowing us to pray with him.
Sam mentioned that for all the help we have given him practically, it was the chats, prayers and encouragements, that made such a difference in his life. “You change lives every day” was his comment. Sam has now found full time employment and is moving to a different area, excited about the new season in his life.
*Name has been changed.
Southern Cross Kids’ Camps
“Discovery Church’s Vision Offering allows us to invest in and fulfil our God given mission. Furthermore, it allows us to dream of and invest in what is to come. Discovery Church is a hero in the SCKC story.”
Pete & Sandy Lusk, Southern Cross Kids Camps
Southern Cross Kids Camps run camps across Australia for primary-aged and now secondary-aged children from really hard places.
Children who have experienced abuse and neglect experience a week filled with fun and laughter and get to leave camp with a fresh perspective, new life skills and hope for the future. The camps set children up for success both on camp and into the future and help them make memories that shape their lives, all made possible by a team of amazing volunteers who demonstrate God’s unconditional love.
From right here in the local community of Mt Evelyn to the remote indigenous region of Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia, Southern Cross Kids Camps impact the lives of hundreds of children each year. Recently, Southern Cross Kids Camps have started camps for high school aged children and are working on pathways to help these children return to camps as apprentice leaders, creating opportunities for them to contribute and stay connected to the ministry.
Olivia came on camp for the first time a couple of months before her seventh birthday. A bright, lively girl from a hard family background. She attended six Southern Cross Kids Camps in her primary years.
Olivia has spent most of her life away from her biological family and in the care of a wonderful out of home care family.
For Olivia, the highlight of camp was having her own special Buddy who would care for her and support her over the course of the week on camp. She remembers all of her Buddies names and what they were like.
For Olivia, camp was a place where she didn’t have to worry about her family and life in general. It was a place where she made friends and felt safe, a place where she could just be a kid.
Being invited back year after year allowed Olivia to have something to look forward to, to reunite with friends, both young and old.
She loved the birthday parties, encouraging notes, presents, activities and pretty much everything that camp had to offer, including getting her first Bible.
Olivia was part of our first Wild Camp for junior youth and she has loved staying connected to SCKC.
And what does she hope for in the years to come… she wants to return to camp as a leader and help the kids who like her, needed some extra love and support.
Olivia is now 14 years old, still just as bright and lively, with a future to match her personality.
Hope has been delivered to Olivia…
Thanks Discovery Church!
*Name has been changed.
Roedie & Jeanette
LIFEKEYS TRAINING & UKRAINE RECOVERY EFFORTS
“The Vision Offering has been such a blessing in helping to provide healing and humanitarian aid to hundreds of church leaders across many countries. Healed leaders means better churches. Thanks Discovery Church!”
Roedie & Jeanette Rapp
Roedie and Jeanette equip church leaders to facilitate LifeKeys courses in countries in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
Roedie and Jeannette have ministered in the CIS for 25 years. They have contextualised, translated and developed a range of LifeKeys courses that support people to overcome various emotional and spiritual challenges. They regularly receive testimonies of transformation on a personal and church level as people engage in the courses. The courses currently run in thousands of churches, as well as prisons and rehabilitation centres. After investing in the training of local facilitators, Roedie and Jeanette now focus their efforts on overseeing training in four major centres and running LifeKeys Conferences.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February this year, Roedie & Jeanette have also been involved in a range of emergency relief efforts through their long standing connections in the Ukraine. They have supported a range of emergency relief efforts through their partner, the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary. Over the coming year, Vision Offering funds will be used to support recovery efforts, including repairs and rebuilding at the seminary following damage it sustained through bombing. Roedie and Jeanette have also been working with their contacts within Australia and beyond to support arriving Ukrainian refugees.
Galina* lives in Bucha, a suburb of Kiev in Ukraine, close to the Ukrainian Evangelical Theological Seminary (UETS).
“When the war started we were all afraid, we took shelter in the basements of our high rise buildings. We were too afraid to go outside for food and water. We were hungry and thirsty. We lacked medicines and other needs.
After two weeks, while the war was still raging, we were visited by a team of about ten people from the UETS. We had never heard of these people; they are protestants, we are Orthodox.
They gave us food, snacks, diapers, water and other drinks, and they asked what medicine we needed. They came with three vans full of supplies and they went from basement to basement. The next day they came back and dropped off our medicines.
When this war is over, I want to study at this seminary!”
Note that four of the people in this team are theology professors. They all wrote about the discovery of what Incarnational Theology really means!
*Name has been changed.
“Through the compassionate and effective work of the Unnati project, we are bridging the knowledge gap in the community regarding health services, leading to increased access to services and timely action to save the lives of mothers and young children in the remotest part of our operational villages.”
Prashant Missal, EFICOR Unnati Project Team
EFICOR works towards a just, responsible and compassionate society in India.
EFICOR’s Unnati Maternal & Child Health Project in Balangir, Odisha, seeks to improve the health, wellbeing and chance of survival for women and children in the region. The project works alongside women, children, and their families and communities to improve access to healthcare services and healthcare awareness across the region. The project also works closely with local health services and government to build their capacity and ensure long lasting change for generations to come.
Since 2017, Discovery Church has supported the Unnati project and the first project phase saw significant improvements in health outcomes across 149 remote villages. Previously in this region, almost 10 in 100 babies did not survive their first birthday but thanks to collaborative efforts cross the region and the work of the Unnati project, by 2020 this figure had significantly reduced to around 3.5 per 100 births. Based on these incredible successes, the second phase of the project is now working with 100 new villages in the region.
Amara is just one of many stories of women who have experienced transformation through the work of EFICOR in their communities.
Amara tragically lost her husband last year to typhoid. He was the sole income earner within the family and left her with a small child to raise alone. After his passing, Amara not only had to deal with grief, but was also under significant mental pressure and struggle to meet her families’ basic needs. When Amara lost her husband, she was also seven months pregnant and due to inadequate nutritious food intake, her haemoglobin level was very low.
Thankfully through door-to-door visits, EFICOR staff connected with Amara and provided her counselling on how to overcome trauma and take care of her and her family’s health. EFICOR staff explained what government supports were available and Amara was immediately referred the Integrated Child Development Scheme, which provides special support for pregnant women and young children. EFICOR staff were also able to help Amara to apply for a widow pension. With these government supports now in place, Amara is now able to support and her children. During a Covid-19 lockdown, EFICOR were also able to support her so that she could purchase additional food supplies for one month.
Despite difficulties and hardship, Amara completed her ante-natal check-ups. With the help of the health department, she was referred to the local community health centre for the delivery of her baby. Amara was able to deliver her beautiful baby safely in hospital and did not need to worry about paying any medical fees.
Amara is just one of the resilient women in her community working hard to raise healthy and thriving children.
*Name has been changed.
Glen & Jayne
Business for Transformation
Glen & Jayne seek Kingdom transformation through the marketplace overseas.
The nature of this work in the country they minister in is sensitive so more information can be found in our print materials or by contacting Discovery Church.
Discovery Church Facility
“Our Vision Offering allows us to dream about how God’s mission can be further extended by leveraging our land and location, all the while ensuring our mission today is underpinned.”
Stephen Tinsley, Chair of the Elders
Discovery Church’s facility releases ministry every week towards our vision of seeing every heart found in Jesus’ story.
On any given Sunday morning, our facility in Mt Evelyn currently hosts over 500 people – and when you consider One Heart gatherings, playgroups, staff, Lifegroups, weddings, funerals, and other events throughout the week – that number can easily exceed 1,000 people across the week. We are in the process of enquiring of the Lord and dreaming of ways we can steward our property to further increase our engagement with our community, so we invite you to consider partnering with us financially to invest in our facility and see these dreams realised for our next season.
WHAT IS THE VISION OFFERING?
Vision Offering is a once a year, over and above, offering that goes to support our local and global mission partners and our church facility, to help people find themselves in the bigger story. This June, we are inviting you to hear from our partners, to hear from God, and to give as you are led and financially able so that together we can see the Kingdom of God advance.
WHY ARE OUR LEADERS CALLING US TO THIS?
We believe Vision Offering is a very tangible expression and outworking of our overall vision to see “every heart found in Jesus’ story”. Vision Offering allows us to further release ministry and mission via our Vision Offering partners to this end.
I’M ONLY NEW TO DISCOVERY CHURCH, SHOULD I BE GIVING TO THIS OFFERING?
We encourage everyone to hear from God and give obediently in response to Him. If you are in a position where you have a conviction about your role here at Discovery Church, engage at the level the Lord directs you.
CAN THIS REPLACE MY TITHE?
Vision Offering is intended to be an avenue of giving over and above your tithe as it is a different form of giving that is for a different purpose. There is no compulsion for you to give, so if you cannot exceed your tithe at this time, please feel released from giving to this special offering.
IS MY OFFERING TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
You will have the option to select tax-deductible giving if you wish. Please note that tax-deductible giving is restricted to Discovery Community Care (DCC), Southern Cross Kids Camps (SCKC) and EFICOR, so if you don’t require tax deductibility then we ask that you don’t select this option. In order to issue you with a tax receipt for your tax return, we will need extra details such as your physical address and email address so please make sure you provide all of the details requested.
WHAT DOES TRUSTING GOD IN FAITH LOOK LIKE?
Trusting God in faith is always a stretch. It creates tension without breaking the spirit. It believes that no matter what, God will provide because it’s who He is. Maturity is always on the other side trust, especially in the context of giving. The heart of the leadership is that Vision Offering is a time gathering together with a spirit of joy and celebration, knowing that our individual commitments can add up to significant achievements. On the other side of our faith and generosity many lives will be impacted here in our church and in our local and global community.
HOW DO I HEAR FROM GOD TO PARTICIPATE?
The best way to engage in anything in church life is to move forward based on the conviction God has given you to be involved. The best thing you can do for yourself and the church is to take some time to simply and humbly ask God how He wants you to be involved. Listen to His answer and step out in faith. That is the place where we all learn to trust God. The Holy Spirit speaks in words, pictures and impressions. He will always point to Jesus. He will always promote maturity. He will never contradict Scripture and He will never violate community. Ask God to speak to you and use this framework to help discern what you are sensing.
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