Project Reconnect assists congregations to develop and maintain a vibrant witness to Christ in their communities. In the planning stage of Project Reconnect the themes heard from the village worship groups were of memories of the “good old days” when their congregations where full and their communities where vibrant
Rather than small numbers being a liability there is greater opportunity for meaningful dialogue on matters of life and faith. The unique strength of small congregations is that they are effectively small groups. Small groups have time and again been part of the reformation of the people of God. Of the 2,000 Uniting Churches in Australia, 800 have less than 45 members.
Small groups were integral to the life of Israelites at the time of Moses. There are hundreds of congregations across Australia. The principles that drive Project Reconnect are simple and distribution is easy Australia wide. There is great potential for small churches to be a very real and hope-filled presence of the kingdom of heaven in their place.
Project Reconnect is about empowering small congregations to realise their full potential. The Project Reconnect resources include a weekly DVD and worship Information sheet. The DVD includes two messages, a short “all-age” and a longer main message, discussion questions, hymns and choruses. The theme of each DVD is built on the Lectionary and is specific for each Sunday. We use Seasons of Creation for five Sundays starting the first Sunday in September. The discussion time invites faith-sharing, helps people to be fully engaged in their worship, challenges set ideas and encourages th em to consider what they really believe.
A Bit of History The philosophy behind Project Reconnect came out of a chance experience after worship at one of the small village churches around 2001. A member of the congregation came up to Rev Tom Stuart after the service and said, "You are not going to close us down are you?" Tom's reply was
Participation One of the goals of Project Reconnect was to help small congregations gain independence. The local congregation conducting worship is a first step toward independence. However there is little point training up one person in a congregation so everyone is dependent on that one person