leadership

Leading God’s church together

Pastoral Ministry

When Scott and I planted a church as co-equal pastors in 2005, we sat down with pastors from various denominations, of various ages, and with various ministry experiences. Amidst all this diversity, there was one question that every pastor asked us: “You’re two guys planting a church… but who’s really in charge?” (more…)

photo | Kris Krug on flickr

Off to the pub to pray

Thought

You’ve had this experience too, haven’t you? It’s a warm Sunday morning and you’ve managed to arrive at St Churchins early enough to be there for the start of the service. You’ve enjoyed seeing fellow Christians, and you got to sing something other than In Christ Alone. (Great song, but it’s had a nice decade-long run.) (more…)

manifesto

A ministry manifesto

Thought

We had a talkfest here in Sydney recently called ‘The Festival of Dangerous Ideas’, at which participants could experience the frisson of discussing daring and explosive concepts with a soy latte in hand. Most of the ideas were in fact rather conventionally dangerous in a green-left sort of way, although gay activist Dan Savage received special marks for his dangerous idea that abortion should be made mandatory for 30 years to make a dent in the worldwide population problem. (The audience, having escaped the womb safely themselves, felt confident to clap.) (more…)

kids

Children’s ministry: Overcoming obstacles

Everyday Ministry

In this occasional series, Bruce Linton and I (Gordon) look at some principles of leading children’s ministry. Bruce has been a children’s ministry leader for nearly 20 years. For some of that time, I have followed him around with a camera, a sound recorder, a laptop and three daughters, in an attempt to document and imitate some fine gospel ideas. (more…)

cross

Paul and leadership

Pastoral Ministry

If the number of conferences and books addressing an issue is any indication of the level of interest or importance of a matter, then ‘leadership’ is the flavour of the moment, both in the secular world and in Christian circles. This interest is, of course, not just theoretical. Many people share a deep desire to improve, shape, strengthen, critique or replace the leadership we have—whether it be secular, sporting, political, Christian or whatever. (more…)

bored
work

Work, value, and the gospel

Thought

As we come to this third article in our series on work, we need to remember again the question that we’re seeking to answer: what place does our work have as we seek to follow Jesus in God’s world? What I have been arguing up until this point is that this question is actually not quite right. A better question, in light of the gospel, is “What works should we do as followers of Jesus in God’s world?” (more…)

growthgroups

Mentoring growth group leaders

Pastoral Ministry

Everyone needs encouragement. It’s pretty tough doing a job on your own without the support of others spurring you along. Growth group leaders are no different. They require training and resources, but they also depend on encouragement. In a church with many leaders, no one person can be relied upon to provide all the encouragement. (more…)

centerchurch
photo | Joe Lanman via flickr

A fresh agenda

Everyday Ministry

I have never migrated from one country to another. The farthest I have ever moved was 500 miles from our family farm to go to university in Sydney. It was more than 30 years ago, but I can still remember the swirling sense of excitement, anxiety and disorientation of those early months in the Big Smoke. New streets, new transport, new housemates, new church… new everything. (more…)

photo | Martin Lopatka via flickr

50 shades of white

Life

A couple of days ago I had a moment. Okay, it wasn’t just a moment. It was a few hours. I could tell you how it wasn’t really my fault. How I just followed a link from someone, read about her passion for fiction and clicked on a book in a series that she’s into. (more…)

cross

An unavoidable truth: the doctrine of sin today

Thought

The heart and wellspring of all evangelical theology is the cross of the Christ. It is in the light of the cross that we truly understand God and truly understand ourselves.

It demonstrates God’s deep and determined love and it demonstrates God’s deep and determined love for sinners (Rom 5:8). I cannot avoid the reality and seriousness of my sin when I attend to the awful glory of what happened outside the walls of Jerusalem 2000 years ago. I cannot avoid the determined and loving purpose of God when I consider who it was who died there. The innocent Christ of God, the Word made flesh, the glorious Son who took to himself in the fullest way possible the form of a servant, was butchered as an insurrectionist by those who denied the Father who sent him. Since God was certainly not powerless to prevent it, nor does he take some kind of perverse pleasure in such acts of gross injustice and cruelty, especially when directed towards his Son, we are forced to ask what made it necessary. What was so serious that such a grim remedy was needed? What turns this divine and human tragedy into an act of love? (more…)

Jerusalem

What has Jim Collins to do with Jerusalem?

Pastoral Ministry

I remember when I was first introduced to the work of Jim Collins, in the form of his bestseller Good to Great. Essentially it is the result of a massive research project (more than 15,000 people-hours) seeking to identify common characteristics in companies that have experienced long-term success. (more…)

Depression

Suffering service

Life

Life is pretty good at the moment. I have three great kids. My marriage is going well. We planted a church a few years ago, and we are starting to get some traction. The problems we have are because of growth. All in all, this is one of those seasons people dream about. Life is good. (more…)

photo | babasteve on flickr

Vocation? What’s that?

Thought

In the last issue of the Briefing, we began a little quest to understand what God has to say about work. And, perhaps strangely, we ended up spending a whole article speaking about the creation mandate (God’s command to humanity to multiply, fill the earth and subdue it). Whether you found this helpful or frustrating will probably depend on two things. (1) Are you a big picture person or a details person? and (2) What were you expecting to hear? (more…)