Hi fellow Pastors!
I trust that you have a made a hopeful and enthusiastic start to the year. By nature I’m normally optimistic about things as even in tougher times I’m anticipating that God is at work in his world including in that little part in which I find myself. I hope that none of us loses the sense of awe and wonder of God’s creative engagement in all that we seek to do in his service.
Most of you would have received an email from me in mid-January regarding Revive and its future. You will receive a follow-up email in the next day or so. If Revive has a future it will very much depend on whether the churches are committed to supporting the event. The initiative came from a number of senior pastors a few years ago following dissatisfaction about the way we conducted our annual assembly meetings. It was felt that at such occasions when we gather as pastors and leaders from Baptist Churches around NSW and ACT they needed to be occasions of celebration, inspiration and equipping as well as times for listening to God and responding to his promptings in the decisions that we needed to make together.
Of course, any collective gathering of our diverse churches is not going to suit everyone but part of being an association of Baptist churches is to celebrate, affirm, encourage and inspire each other in our life and ministries, including fellow travelers who may have some variance in emphasis or focus. We share key beliefs and core values, though our approaches may vary. We have far more in common than those areas where we may differ.
As Revive has evolved under the leadership of some of our key pastors a couple of agencies and particular churches have been very supportive in their attendance, volunteer and financial support. However, the time has come when we need to decide whether this is something we are really committed to or not as a movement of churches. Each year when Pastors gather for the launch we all appear committed and enthusiastic but this isn’t retained by the time Revive is held. Yes, while we have been improving the way the event is organized and managed, there is still some way to go. We are reluctant, though, for some of our key pastors and staff to invest so much energy into something that maybe we aren’t really committed to.
The key to Revive is the commitment we pastors have to the concept. It is our enthusiasm, inspiration and leadership that will significantly impact whether our congregations want to be part of it or not. By the end of this month the Revive Board need to have a clear indication whether our churches want Revive to occur and whether they will support it by attending, recruiting volunteers and some financial backing. If you could get back to Kylie by the 24th February indicating your intentions, this would greatly assist the Board in determining whether we push ahead or move on. Unless Revive is a community event which our state-wide churches want to be part-of, then it won’t be good stewardship of time and money to persist with its ongoing development.
We are very pleased that one of our fellow pastors, Aaron Veart, has taken up the role of Communications Manager for the Ministry Centre here at Epping. Aaron will bring a wealth of experience and skill to what is a fairly big challenge. The intent of this position is to assist us to better provide resources for pastors and churches and to enable us to connect more effectively through a range of media. However, please be patient. He has been given a big portfolio and will spend some time consulting with pastors and churches on what ways he might best be able to assist you. He will then need to develop a strategy focusing on priorities. Pray for him in his new role.
BAPTIST CHURCHES AGM
Following the decisions arising from Directions 2012, much work has needed to be done to implement these decisions which have included the appointments of the Communications Manager and the Pastor to Pastors. Another area has been the writing of a new constitution. While constitutions are not an exciting concern for most of us, they do bring the prospect of either empowering or limiting our capacity to pursue and enact what it means to be an association together. I encourage you to make the sacrifice to be there for the AGM on March 31 at Pennant Hills Baptist Church to ensure that we are to take those steps with a constitution that will enable us to implement the decisions we so clearly made last year in regards to not only our governance structure but our direction as an association of churches.
PASTORAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOPS
MSD offers a range of workshops for pastors each year to support their ongoing personal, spiritual and professional development. A few such workshops that are coming up are:
Keeping Our Spiritual Life Alive as Pastors on April 26. (There are only 9 vacancies remaining);
Dealing with Difficult People on June 28, 9.00am – 12.30pm
Recruiting and Sustaining Teams of Volunteers on June 28, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
The Leadership and Management of Change on June 28, 2.00pm – 5.00pm
Self-care in the Pressure Cooker of Pastoral Ministry on November 6.
Details of these can be found on www.msd.org.au/resources.
FOUNDATIONS FOR COACHING and MENTORING TRAINING
A further Foundations seminar is being held at Gymea Baptist on March 3. About 150 persons have already attended this seminar with a number committing to the next level training. This is a free event as a refresher for those who have previously attended this seminar. It will also be half-price for those referred by a previous participant and for teams of 3 or more. These seminars are not only for pastors but are very useful for other ministry leaders. A flyer and registration form can be found at www.msd.org.au/resources.
Those wanting to register for the level 1 coaching training, this begins on April 30. The Foundations seminar is a pre-requisite for this training. A flyer and registration form can also be found at www.msd.org.au/resources.
UPDATING HOLIDAY and RETREAT VENUES for PASTORS
Some time ago MSD compiled a list of venues which offered pastors and paid Christian workers discounted accommodation for retreats and vacations. We are now wanting to update our list as some of these places are no longer available. If you know of any such places, could you please let Ros know on firstname.lastname@example.org. The purpose of such a list is for us to pass on details to those pastors who need places to go for a break and have limited resources.
THE USE OF POWER IN LEADERSHIP
One of the challenges for all of us in pastoral leadership roles is the level of our self-awareness about how we use or misuse the power and authority that often comes with the positions we hold. To what degree are we manipulative in contrast to being persuasive? A pastor recently forwarded me a brief article by John Maxwell which you may also like to reflect upon in regards to how you cast vision among your congregation. It can be found at www.johnmaxwell.com/products-resources/leadership-on-demand/articles/persuasive-or-manipulative/.
If you also have an article or link that you would like to share with your colleagues in ministry, please pass it on so that I can include it in further newsletters.
Director of MSD