On a Mission
Q&A with Andy and Kellie Utley
How do you intentionally connect with people?
We find ways of ‘being where people are at’. This has meant Andy enrolling at uni as a student and participating in sporting, social and educational clubs to create common ground and a starting point for friendships. Beyond campus, we are involved in many communities where we take the same approach. We pray for opportunities to share the Gospel in all our contexts, asking God to raise up men and women who love Jesus and others. It’s no different to what many do in their own communities!
How do you build relationships?
It’s one thing to casually know people and another to move these friendships to a place where lives are shared and the Gospel is shown to be central. Prayer is #1 as we plead for the Holy Spirit to move in people’s hearts. We aim to be intentional in building relationships; listening, caring and praying. We ask questions that help them identify how the character of Christ is developing in their lives. This includes visiting people in their work place or uni, doing socials together, and being there for significant events. In this context, discipleship can occur. We are intentional with time together, transparent and available, equipping others for growth. We want to encourage and support those who are developing a heart for sharing Jesus with those around them, by praying, teaching and modeling it.
How do you build community and bring the Gospel into those contexts?
Each week we gather a group of mature believers, new believers and sometimes those who don’t yet know Jesus into our home. We share a meal, pray for each other, and study God’s Word. Having an open home has always been important to us; seeing how you live, interact – even argue – adds a new level to a friendship. The group develops a sense of ownership and excitement by taking them along the journey to identify our joint purpose and vision. We also aim to cross-over in our lives as much as possible. I’m so thankful for the ways in which each person is an encouragement and support to another and for the unique gifts that each bring. We are interdependent on our brothers and sisters, who can compensate for where we lack, as a functioning body of Christ.