Monday, April 27, 2009

Scientists and churches have stars in their eyes

Blatant promo alert:
Macquarie Anglican Churches is hosting a free evening of star-gazing in Yamble Reserve, Ryde, on Saturday, May 2, as part of the International Year of Astronomy celebrations.

See the Northern Disctrict Times article here,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Do you acknowledge other Churches exist?

Our vision is to see people, Embracing living hope… in diverse communities, gathering, growing and delighting in Christ. A while ago we decided that this vision included publicly acknowledging that God was at work in other churches in our area. In other words to realise this vision, other churches will need to grow as well.

Once a month we have decided to pray for another local church. This means we write to senior minsters asking how we might pray for their church. The prayer points are then included in our newsletter and people are encouraged to use these points in times of private and public prayer.

Just wondering what you think?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Being leaders in our community -through prayer

I am committed to our church showing leadership in the wider community. As a suburban church in an area with no central gathering point this is a challenge. So strategically we have started with prayer.

On one Sunday a month, in our network of 7 congregations, we pray publicly for local people and organisations. We write to them first asking how we might pray for them. This often involves personal contact, but not always. Some of the people/organisations we have prayed for include:
  • The Eastwood Police Station
  • The Fire Brigade x2
  • The Ambulance Service
  • The primary schools x3
  • The local high schools (Public &Private)
  • Ryde Council
  • Ryde Hospital
  • State Government politicians
  • Federal politicians ( John Howard our local member at the time did respond)
  • Macquarie University
  • Small business people
Just wondering who else we should include on the list?

Friday, April 17, 2009

If you knew God would answer what would you ask?

My church has just launched a campain that will see postcards delivered to over 12,000 homes. On the postcard is the question: If you knew God would answer what would you ask?

People are being asked to text message (0424 695 943),email, ask online or deliver their questions to us by hand . The idea is that once we have collated the questions we will develop a 6 week sermon series. The series will then be advertised on our website and on the promotional boards outside each of our church centres.

I will keep you posted on what questions people come up with. Just wondering:
  1. What you think the main questions will be?
  2. What questions you might ask?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The resurrection: What opened their minds?

In the four gospel accounts we have of Jesus resurrection everyone who first hears the news that Jesus has risen from the dead does not really believe it.

On one hand this disbelief brings plausibility to the accounts of Jesus resurrection. These are realistic reactions from the ordinary people it is hard to image people fabricating these accounts. It is difficult to see these accounts as fables, or made up stories with such embarrassingly honest accounts of disbelief and close mindedness.

On the other hand is raises a real question. What opened their minds to the truth that Jesus did rise from the dead? Well God did, but how?

It is natural to want to point to passages that speak of Jesus appearing to individuals and groups but in contrast to this Luke’s account of the women coming to the tomb does not include Jesus appearing. Instead the women are asked to believe that Jesus is alive based on what Jesus has said previously:

Remember how he told you while he was still in Galilee,
‘The Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful people and be crucified, and on the third day be raised up’.Luke 24:6-7

In other words if you believe Jesus spoke the truth when he walked this earth then you will believe that Jesus was physically resurrected and is alive now.

Simple yet profound.

Perhaps we have given to much ground to scientific rationalism by always wanting to prove the resurrection on their terms. Maybe sometimes we should just ask: Do you believe that Jesus spoke the truth prior to his death?

Just wondering what you think?

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dealing with Resistance

One of the challenges of being a senior minister is dealing with resistance. Sometimes there is a good reason for resistance (you have it wrong) and other times it appears that the resistance is because people are just plain obscurant.

So it was interesting to come across an article in the Harvard Business Review (way to expensive to buy regularly) which addresses the issue of resistance. The article is entitled Decoding Resistance to Change.

The authors identify resistance as feedback and therefore as a resource which may be used to increase your effectivness. Resistance understood as feedback:

1. boosts you awareness of how change impacts those who may not have had time to internalise the latest change. If you take the time to listen and engage in discussion people may actually be won over.
2. reminds you that explaining why, to those have not been involved in the planning process, is important and needs to be communicated again and again.
3. can lead to better results –perhaps a new way forward that has more people on- board
4. helps identify worries that people have and gives you a chance to address them and in turn people may be more content.
5. may be historical and nothing to do with the current change so it gives you the opportunity to address past misunderstandings and begin at a new point.

One of the things I like about this veiw of resistance is that it is reframes resistance as an opportunity and requires humility and grace from the leader.