Friday, October 5, 2012

An overlooked perspective?

One of the rhetorical strategies used by those who seek revision of the church's understanding of human sexuality is the need to 'listen to gay voices'. Generally they don't mean 'listen to people who experience same-sex attraction while upholding what the Bible has always been understood to say'.  A couple of those people have been making their voices heard recently and they are worth listening to.

You might want to read this article from Sean Doherty or this interview with Vaughan Roberts.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don Quixote rides again

Synod is on at the moment for Sydney Anglicans and as a synod we have just voted to turn 'the big bill we need to pay but don't want to pay' into 'the big bill that that the parishes need to pay from their parish budgets'. When I say 'we voted' to do that, I do not mean your's truly.

I'm on an apparently Quixotic quest to suggest this was a bad idea in the comments at the SydAng website here. I think it is important that we really think hard about this stuff and where we get the most bang for our buck in terms of gospel effectiveness and you might have insights that are helpful, so I encourage you to get involved in the discussion, and any broader discussions that arise about funding principles.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Helpful words from a wiser brother

A brother took the time to encourage me to reflect on my ‘Should I be on Oxygen in 2011’ post. Specifically he suggested it could sound like I was critical of those who found pastoral ministry hard and who are in situations where, by all objective standards it is hard.

He’s right, it could sound like that. And I absolutely would not want to be in any way critical of those who are labouring faithfully for the Lord in difficult circumstances, who visited the Oxygen website and went, ‘that is exactly what I need at the moment – praise God’, especially if they’ve been faithfully putting in the hard yards, quietly for a long time. If anybody can preach in a way that refreshes and renews John Piper can.

If Oxygen is scratching right where they’re itching then praise the Lord, and I hope that I can attain their measure of faithfulness in adversity. I pray that God enables all of us to retain or to recapture the joy of gospel ministry - and then just get on with doing it.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Should I be on Oxygen in 2011?

The KCC guys are bringing pastoral megastar John Piper out next year for a new conference called Oxygen, pitched at pastors.

I've read a little Piper and heard a talk or two and he seems like a gifted pastor and a good preacher.

So I'm trying to decide if I should go to the conference or not.

I checked out the website and it made me feel depressed!

It seems to assume that pastors find ministry a joyless drudge and need some oxygen to get them up and going again. The conference says it is a chance for me to 'rediscover the joy of gospel ministry'.

I still have the joy of gospel ministry!

Gospel ministry isn't all Tim Tams and ice cream; it has its ups and downs and its challenges and stresses. But it is still a joy and privilege and it still feels like a joy and privilege.

The list of electives makes me feel like patient lying in a hospital bed in need of attention:

1. resuscitate: helping you cope with the stresses of ministry
2. refresh: showing you ways to be revitalised
3. rediscover: helping you renew your passion for gospel ministry.

If you were launching a new conference designed to help pastors, what would you make your initial theme or focus?

What message do you think a bunch of pastor most need to hear?

Are you going to the conference?

Does it's focus resonate with you?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I’m worried about church planting.

I like church planting.

I think church planting is important.

I even did church planting, leading the team that planted Valley Heights Community Church.

But tonight the Sydney Synod is about to turn Evangelism Ministries into New Churches and focus it primarily, and it seems almost exclusively, on planting new churches in the Diocese of Sydney.

Here is my problem with that. The facts are:

  1. Over the period 2002 – 2008 where we were planting lots of churches (136 new congregations according to the website), we barely escaped going backwards in terms of overall Anglican numbers. Our church didn’t grow at all. We like church planting, but it isn’t clear that we’re very good at it, evangelistically speaking.
  2. In 2009, where our focus was all about evangelism in existing parishes and where those parishes were supported by a small team devoted to developing resources, facilitating idea sharing and flying the flag for ‘praying, connecting and expecting’ under the stellar work of Andrew Nixon, the Archbishop reckons we grew by up to 5% in that one year alone. All that suggests to me that with a little prodding from a bunch of evangelism obsessives our existing parishes are not so old and feeble when it comes to evangelism, as all the talk seems to suggest.
  3. The connect09 team came up with some great recommendations for maintaining momentum, but from what I can see that team is about to ride of into the sunset and without them there to do the stuff they’ve been doing for the last 2 years I can see momentum disappearing pretty darn quick. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a small, creative, enthusiastic team of evangelism obsessives to continue their prodding and encouraging and resourcing work? Who could do that and do it well? Hey, how about “Evangelism Ministries”. Opps no, they’re focused very much on church planting now.

What am I missing?

And I insist on slapping the first person who suggests the answer is "Mission Areas".


Friday, June 11, 2010

Read any good puritans lately?

For a MA subject that is coming up I need to write an essay on a major English puritan writer from 17th century who isn't John Bunyan or Richard Baxter.

The problem is I am deeply ignorant of the puritans, and so those are the only two I've heard of (please stop rolling your eyes now, I feel the crushing weight of my theological incompleteness already)

Can someone please recommend another major puritan whose work:

  • is written in a way that is going to make it relatively easy for me to get my head around what they are saying (so I do OK in the essay)
  • you have found edifying
  • is such that the heart of their theology can be discerned by reading a particular major work rather than a host of little things
Thanks in advance.


Monday, May 31, 2010

On the outlook for a new archbishop

Peter Bolt at the Australian Church Record (ACR) has joined the hushed conversation about who should be the next Archbishop of Sydney, when Peter Jensen retires. And he thinks I'm wrong.

The ACR article can be found here.

My previous comments are here.

Two names I floated, based on the criteria I suggested were both from England. In his article Peter insists it is imperative that he is someone already playing a role in the dioceses i.e. someone from Sydney who is still ministering in Sydney.

Why is this imperative? Peter says because they must be 'firmly on the trajectory the Diocese is already on' and 'it would be a vote of no confidence in our present direction to turn to someone outside'.

The article does not actually outline what 'trajectory the diocese is already on'. Presumably he does not mean the stagnating numerical growth that seems to be the emerging trend. More likely he means our reformed evangelical theology, the strong emphasise on church planting, the drive to make mission and community connection a stronger part of our DNA and the willingness to re-invent structures in support of those things.

But the Pommy guys whose names I raised are all on that trajectory too, in fact there might be an argument that they are further along it than we are; to the point where we seek their wisdom by inviting them out to speak at MT&D conferences and the like. I fail to see how considering someone with whom strong links already exist, who is on the same tradjectory and who might have something to teach us about the best way to pursue that trajectory entails a vote of no confidence in our present direction.

Am I missing something?

Disclaimer: Peter Bolt taught me New Testament at Moore College for which I am massively thankful. And he writes helpful books. And he is kind to small furry animals.


Friday, May 21, 2010

You know you've grown cynical when...

Ok, so the whole blogging thing has fallen in a heap.

But I came across a video today that made me laugh out loud. And I don't do that, except for Dilbert. This was it:


Friday, January 1, 2010

January project

It took 12 months to get the logo up and now it is time to put it to use getting proper brochures and welcome packs created.

But what absolutely must go in a welcome pack?

I'm think of a simple brochure that just suggests what they should do next, which is:

  1. accept an invitation to the next 'Pastor's info lunch',
  2. think about doing Jesus: An Introduction, or The basics of following Jesus, or joining a Growth Group, depending where they are at, and
  3. check out the website for anything else they want ot know.
Is there a better approach? What do other people do?


Monday, December 21, 2009

Breakfast TV does the Bible

When I wrote this post, the sort of media skills I was talking about are the sort of media skills that we see in something like this.


Friday, December 11, 2009

I love, I mean really love, effective communication

I kind of knew about the pyromaniacs blog, but had never really read more than a post here or there. I did tonight and it gave me that same buzz I used to get when I first read the Economist, way back when.

The sheer readability and clarity of it makes me go all warm and fuzzy.

And then I read a post that made me laugh out loud (in a good way). I can't claim to have done that reading theology before.


Monday, December 7, 2009

We're going to need some photoshop over here!

Steve over at Communicate Jesus has posted some Christmas ministry ideas, so I was inspired to arrange a little video inviting people to St Mark's for Christmas. You can view it here.

Now we just need some special, photoshop style software that we can use to make Pastor Craig look thinner, younger and less tired!