Prompts for Reflection: the Bonny Downs Story

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Use these questions to guide your response as you dwell in this story, and reflect on your own story. We’d love to hear about your thoughts and experience and if possible to share your discoveries with others. We would like to publish some responses in full in the journal, widening and deepening our learning community. Check the Submission Guidelines.


  • Imagination: In what ways does the Bonny Downs story reflect an attempt to cultivate a shared imagination for God’s mission in that particular context?
  • Context and culture: In what ways does this story suggest how a theological imagination for God’s mission is formed among a people who live inside a particular view of themselves and of their context? In your own context how do you wrestle with this critical issue of formation?
  • Changing the conversation: A challenge for any leader involves how to effectively ‘change the conversation’ from ‘church’ questions (how do we do outreach, how to meet needs, how to make the church grow or be more effective) to ‘God’ questions (In what ways are we discerning God out ahead of us in our communities and how do we join with God there?). In this story in what ways have the leaders of Bonny Downs Baptist Church and community sought to engage this challenge? What do you perceive as the key leadership challenges this story presents in terms of changing the conversation?
  • Becoming and welcoming the stranger: We now live in places of multiple narratives and perspectives where no single story is dominant. It is a ‘new commons’, but it’s common to view our own particular narrative or location as the center out of which we see the world. The challenge lies in how we discern and discover how to be God’s people in our relationships with the other. How do we live in this ‘commons’ hearing the story of the other in ways that invite our own discernment and conversion? What issues does it raise for you about cultivating God’s life in a congregation?
  • Leading: How does this story assist you in your own leadership practice?