Hi fellow Pastors!
I often find in the busyness and demands of ministry that there is a risk of not taking time to read and reflect as part of my ongoing personal and professional development. Though this is an area in which I sometimes struggle to set aside enough time, it is an area in which I seek to remain disciplined alongside of my time and space to engage God. Over the past month I have been particularly keen to catch up on some reading and I have found that this has given me some fresh insights while also some old reminders. In this newsletter issue I have provided numerous links to a variety of short articles that I hope may interest many of you. I encourage you to check some of them out.
BEING an EFFECTIVE PASTORAL LEADER when WE FEEL OVERWHELMED
At times we find ourselves in situations where we feel ‘in over our heads’. On such occasions it is easy to feel so alone, yet we don’t need to be. There are many support networks available to us through mentors, spiritual directors, coaches, retreat groups, etc. Peer groups can be a particular means of support when one is feeling lonely though at times we might not utilize these as best we may. In an article by Barbara Blodgett, Overcoming Loneliness in Ministry (Alban Weekly Issue 348) she challenges us to set up supportive peer groups so that we feel less isolated when things get tough. This article can be found on http://www.alban.org/conversation.aspx?id=9520
In ministry we are also familiar with the emotional toll that our roles sometime cost us. Dealing with personal conflict also appears part and parcel of ministry. In one short article by Susan Nienaber and Mark Sundry that I read recently they ask several questions:
- Are pastors emotionally healthy and effective in ministry?
- Do pastors over time become worn down? Do they become more conflict avoidant?
- How can pastors improve their skills at managing their emotions in the midst of conflict?
You can read their conclusion in the article, Myth-Busting: Emotional Intelligence, Conflict Competence, and the Clergy (Alban Weekly Issue 349) on http://www.alban.org/conversation.aspx?id=9577 .
LEADERSHIP QUALITIES and SKILLS
In their book, Grace to Lead: Practicing Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition, authors Kenneth L. Carder and Laceye C. Warner examine the telos, or goal, of Christian discipleship and leadership; the significance of divine grace for understanding and practicing leadership in the Wesleyan tradition; the central place of Christian practices for leadership formation in the early Methodist movement; and the challenges and opportunities of leadership in the contemporary context. Part of their book discusses the ‘qualities and skills needed to address challenges and opportunities’. It speaks of our need as pastoral leaders today to have good reconciliation and conflict resolution skills. See http://www.faithandleadership.com/features/articles/leadership-the-wesleyan-tradition.
Leighton Ford argues that ‘some of the best leadership takes place out of sight — almost underground — and then it springs up to let others grow and shine.’ Read and view more at http://www.faithandleadership.com/multimedia/leighton-ford-leadership-the-aspen-tree.
A talk given by Stuart Murray at the Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, entitled Mission Proceeds Maintenance provides some very helpful material for reflection on our focus as pastoral leaders. It can be found at http://bit.ly/iXioEd.
REVIVE 2011 – HOPE
Planning is well under way for Revive 2011 and beyond. The venue for the next four years will be at the Sydney Showground (Homebush) which will meet our needs more than the State Sports Centre did in the past.
This year’s dates are August 26-27 with the theme of HOPE. Our keynote speaker for the weekend will be Mark Wilson who is currently the Director of Ministry with the Baptist Union of WA. Mark previously pastored quite a large Church of Christ. Friday’s afternoon workshops will particularly focus on encouraging and equipping pastors while the focus on Saturday afternoon will be on equipping ministry teams. The Goodtimes at Playtime programs for pre-schoolers on Friday and the C’mon Kids children and family ministries on Saturday have been organized for our broader church families. It is important to alert and encourage your ministry and program leaders to begin planning to be involved.
A dinner for pastors and spouses will again be held at the Bel Parco Restaurant, Bicentennial Park, on the Friday evening of the 26th. Secure this date in your diary as there will be limited seats available. More details are to follow.
RETREAT for PASTORS and for PASTOR’S SPOUSES
Planning is well under way for a retreat for pastors and for pastor’s spouses to be held at Collaroy Plateau on October 16-18. Our keynote speakers for the few days will be Murray and Marj Robertson from New Zealand. There will also be elective options for pastors, for spouses and for couples.
It was encouraging to see at the mini-assembly a couple of weeks ago how the delegates embraced the Directions 2012 recommendations regarding the focus for us as a denomination as we move into the future. Some of these decisions acknowledged that this can only be achieved as we submit ourselves to the leading and empowering of God in our lives and in our ministries together. However, these decisions will only remain aspirational unless we implement appropriate strategies and instigate an action plan in response to God’s leading. We also need to support this vision by ensuring that our operational structures (governance), policies and resources enable and enhance this direction.
This means that our decisions on part 2 of Directions 2012 on July 23 regarding governance are significant in that such structures have the capacity to either enhance or inhibit the vision we believe God is taking us as a movement. May we not lose sight of the bigger vision we have committed to. Governance structures are there to serve the vision, not rule it.
OPPORTUNITIES for TRAINING and TEACHING in an OVERSEAS CONTEXT (short term)
How would you like an exciting, rewarding experience of teaching and preaching in an overseas context among Global Interaction’s international partners?
A number of opportunities exist for Australian Baptist pastors to provide training and pastoral encouragement to leaders and pastors of Global Interaction’s partner Baptist Associations in Africa and Asia over a two or three week period in 2011 & 2012. Preferably, pastors will travel in teams, and such visits will be coordinated with the relevant local association to best meet their needs. To register your interest, please contact Dr Roger Kemp, Global Interaction’s Global Consultant for Leadership Training, at email@example.com or Chris Barnden, Director of Ministries for Global Interaction, at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details can be found in a letter from Global Interaction on www.msd.org.au/resources.
Here is a promotion of a new film being released in Australia:
Five Loaves Media is very excited to be bringing The Grace Card to cinemas throughout Australia. This is a movie with a message demonstrating hope and reconciliation. Focus on the Family’s publication Plugged In Online reviews The Grace Card as ‘touching and inspiring… hearts’. The Grace Card has already impacted movie-goers in the US with its ‘powerful spiritual message of redemption and forgiveness’, and it our hope that once Australian audiences have viewed the movie they will likewise be touched by its message: every day, we have the opportunity to rebuild relationships and heal deep wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace. Never underestimate the power of God’s love”. THE GRACE CARD
- Further information about the movie can be found at:
- Movie trailer: http://www.fiveloavesmedia.com/index.php/title/view/the_grace_card
- US website: http://www.thegracecard.com/
- Focus on the Family review: http://www.pluggedin.com/movies/intheaters/gracecard.aspx
- Aust Facebook: <http://www.facebook.com/thegracecardanz>
- Cinema and session details available at: http://www.fiveloavesmedia.com/index.php/title/events/gracecard
NATIONAL DAY of PRAYER and FASTING
Sunday 24th July 2011 has been set aside as a National Day of Prayer and Fasting to pray for marriage, family and for Australia to turn back to God. The organizers have invited Christian leaders and prayer warriors to meet in the Great Hall of Parliament House, Canberra from 10am to 4pm to pray. They call on the churches of Australia, of all denominations, to send representatives to the Great Hall of the Parliament of Australia to pray on their behalf. As you are able, you may like to join with them. See further details on www.msd.org.au/resources.
If you 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