Children or Youth Minister? or both?

Dear Friends,

We want to be a Growing Christian Community Devoted to Maturing in Jesus for the Glory of God. This vision guides our decision making as we continually shape our ministry. We have expanded our Growth Group program to provide more opportunities for spiritual growth and more effective pastoral care. We have started new ministries to reach parts of our community we have neglected. We are being creative in the area of mission with the Mark Drama coming up. But as I said on Vision Sunday, we need to provide some fresh focus in the area of children. Or should it be youth? Or should it be children and youth?

Mark Schroder became the Broughton Anglican College Chaplain at the end of 2015 and we have an exceptional team of people who lead our Youth and Children’s ministries – many of whom are home grown and have done or are doing some theological study! It is great to see. But even the best of volunteers need oversight and support to ensure that the ministry they are involved in continues to be effective and grow.

Over the last ten years there has been a lot of research around how churches keep growing. The four key strategy areas identified have been:

  1. Recapture focus on growing transformed disciple making disciples
  2. Strategic integration of newcomers into the church community
  3. Addressing the transition, retention and relocation of Christians
  4. Building effective children and youth ministries

As we analyse our church, we see that we have an effective integrated ministry for children and youth focussed on reaching and growing them in their faith and transitioning them to adult life. But we could be doing more to grow disciples.

For further insight into the way we think about Children’s and Youth Ministry you may wish to have a read of this paper that captures much of my thinking helpfully.

The youth minister who had the greatest influence on my ministry thinking often said, if you get your Creche and Kids Ministry right, you will have an awesome youth group and if you get youth group right you will have a growing church. The research and evidence indicate that he was right.

But what do you think?

We would love to hear feedback from church members about where you perceive our focus should be for our next staff member. Children? Youth? Children and youth? Something else. I’d love to hear your thoughts; please pass them on by clicking here.

Thanks for your partnership in Christ

Nigel

How to Vote

Dear friends,

The first election I ever voted in was for a Parish Council in an Anglican Church about a month after I turned 18 and it was super exciting. A friend who had just turned 22 was elected. Since then I have voted in all sorts of elections and I believe it is an important part of having my say on the use of our common resources and the direction of our organisations and country. I know some people take a contrary view and yet the beauty of Christian fellowship is that we can hold and discuss opposing views without assuming we hate each other. This is not often the case in the world! We need to model something different and knowing when to open your mouth and when to keep it closed is often the biggest challenge.

More than anything, the Scriptures urge us to pray regularly for those in power over us (1 Timothy 2:1-4). They need our prayers but we should also pray for ourselves and our responsibility for electing them. No one should ever tell you how you must vote, but I want to urge you to think carefully about how to vote.

We must recognise that each party has various standpoints on different issues and some proposed policies may make it more difficult to be Christian in the future or to hold to and teach a Christian worldview. Some policies may also adversely affect the vulnerable among us. So think carefully. Don’t assume that voting for a Christian party is best and don’t assume that voting for the party or person who will most advantage you is best. Don’t assume that voting for the party you voted for last time is best!

With this in mind, here are some issues to consider from a Christian perspective as you go to vote.

  1. Freedom of Religion – what are the party’s policies on what we can say, do, teach and uphold as Christians? This is particularly important when it comes to SRE in schools and choosing teachers in Christian schools. It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  2. Life, Death and Medicine – what are the party’s policies on euthanasia and abortion? Will medical professionals be able to conscientiously object to the state policy or will they be compelled to toe the line? What philosophy does each party uphold when thinking about freedom and life? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  3. Environmental Theology – what are the party’s policies on the environment and what impact will their decisions have on us? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  4. Vulnerable People – what are the party’s policies on caring for the weak and vulnerable in our community? Are they concerned about indigenous welfare and people with disabilities? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.

These are just four of the issues worth considering both in March and May this year. No doubt there will be others close to your heart. I encourage you to think, ask, pray and decide – not voting the way you feel you should or the way you’ve been told to, but in order to pursue what is good for our society.

In Christ
Nigel

GAFCON 2018 – Part 1

Dear Friends,

It is no secret that the Anglican Church is in crisis. As a Global Church we are shrinking, we have abandoned our historical and theological moorings and we have little vision for what we should be doing in the world. In many ways, everyone appears to be doing what is right in their own eyes. This is an enormous problem. It is almost like the reality and authority of God has been methodologically excluded from many Anglican churches and leaders’ theology, thought and life. Churches have left God and his Word out in the cold.

It is for this reason that in the second half of June, I will be heading to Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). GAFCON is an opportunity for like-minded Anglicans from across the world who believe in the authority of Scripture, the evangelistic mission of the church and the resurrection of and uniqueness of Jesus to gather, to pray, and to strategise. The GAFCON movement is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.

Our mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.

GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.

The GAFCON journey began in 2008 when moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth. A crowd of more than one thousand witnesses, including Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and lay leaders gathered in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

The second conference, GAFCON 2013, was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, at which over 1,300 delegates from 38 nations and 27 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were present. The gathering gave the Primates a mandate, through the Nairobi Communiqué and Commitment, to take forward the work of the GAFCON movement.

This year, almost 2000 will gather to encourage each other and pray for the work of authentic Anglicans around the world.

Over the next few weeks I want to share some stories about the faith and faithlessness of Anglicans from around the globe so you might be able to see the crisis clearly and pray. If you have any questions about GAFCON, please feel free to ask.

In Christ,
Nigel

Is it well with thee?

This article was previously published on sydneyanglicans.net

There is one religious inscription on an Australian headstone in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France that I often recall because of it contains both a statement and a question:

REDEEMED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS

IS IT WELL WITH THEE?

The inscription is on the headstone of Private William Leonard Walker, aged 18, who was killed in action on August 8, 1918. The first line of the inscription is taken from 1 Peter 1:18-19a and it is slightly altered but not significantly: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ”.

I know very little about Private William Walker apart from what can be deduced from his service record. His headstone states that he was 18. He may have been younger. He joined the army in November 1916 when he was 17. Perhaps this is the reason he spent all of 1917 and the first half of 1918 in Australia: he was too young for overseas service. He did eventually go to the Western Front where he joined the 19th Battalion (AIF) in July 1918. He was killed in action 19 days later.

What must it have been like for William’s parents to have learnt of his death: the loss of expectation they would have felt, the pain of having a child predecease them, the immense sadness of not being there with him as he died? And, yet, when they came to choose the personal inscription for his headstone they chose something that spoke of hope and life rather than hopelessness and death.

For that is how Christians respond to death: grief, yes, but hope built on the certainty of Jesus’ death and resurrection that transcends the grief and pain. And so, they chose REDEEMED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS. For the grave and headstone was not the end, is never the end, for those who have been redeemed by Jesus.

And note the second part of the inscription: IS IT WELL WITH THEE? This could be a question directed at William himself or a more general question directed at the reader. Most people I spoke to who have read his inscription have opted for the latter reading: Is this how it is for you? That is what it is asking.

William’s epitaph speaks of the assurance of those who have trusted themselves to the Lord Jesus. And yet it does more because it challenges all who read to consider where they stand with regard to the Lord Jesus. A thoughtfully chosen epitaph can certainly engage and challenge the reader. William’s thoroughly Christian inscription certainly does that for me.

The Rev Dr Colin R. Bale is the vice principal and academic dean of Moore College as well as head of the department of Church History.

Senior’s Retreat

It is on again! Our bi-annual Seniors’ Retreat will be taking in the sights and sounds of Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains in 2018.

From Sunday November 25 to Friday November 30 we will be heading to stay at Lake Jindabyne Hotel and from there your accommodation, meals and day tours are all covered.

We will be visiting a variety of locations and attractions throughout the week that are all detailed belbow – though subject to change!

We have created a waiting list for those who are interested but cannot commit at the moment. Please register below by ‘purchasing’ a ‘Waiting List’ ticket. There is no charge for this.

More information below the form.

 

Our trips to Bright and Merimbula have been brilliant and this one is shaping to be equally good – if not better. We, with Leanne, have loved these special times with our church members!

Now is the time to register your intention to come. Just pay $50 now to secure your spot with full payment due later in the year.

If you have any specific questions at this stage, please speak to Judith Taylor or I at church.

I hope you are able to come and spend the week away with us.
Nigel Fortescue & Judith Taylor

Itinerary (subject to change)

Day One: Travel to Jindabyne with a lunch stop in Canberra. Enjoy a three-course meal at dinner and relax in the evening in preparation for a great time away!

Day Two: We head for the mountains with stops at Thredbo for a chairlift ride to the top of Crackenback, Bullocks Flat and Charlotte’s Pass where you can see Mt Kosciuszko.

Day Three: A visit to the Snowy-Hydro System will begin the day as we take in Adaminiby and Eucumbene Dam.

Day Four: We will take in some of the local attractions such as the Gaden Trout Hatchery and Wildbrumby Distillery before an afternoon to rest or explore Jindabyne at your own pace.

Day Five: A day for the history buffs as we step back to 1890 in Dalgety, Bombala, Burnima Homestead, Nimmitabel and Cooma Gaol.

Day Six: All good things must come to an end as we depart Jindabyne and wind our way back to Campbelltown.

 

Summer Ministry Training Week

 

Register here.

Summer Ministry Training Week 2018

As the year starts, we are inviting you to kick start your year serving Jesus with some input and training to spur you on. As a growing Christian community, we need to keep working at developing the gifts we have, further devoting ourselves to maturing in Jesus and promoting the Glory of God. This is what Summer Ministry Training Week is all about.

Feel free to come to one workshop; feel free to come to them all! The program is plentiful and diverse and gives you the opportunity to pick and choose the areas you need help and encouragement in or the ways in which you can help and serve others.

Register here.

WORKSHOP INFORMATION
How to Deepen your Faith in 2018 – Simon Twist

Learn how to engage with God so you can deepen your trust in God and consider the opportunities available to you in 2018.

How to Make Church Awesome – Nigel Fortescue
Learn how to come to church ready to have an awesome time engaging with God and helping others to do the same.

Sharing Jesus – A 3 part workshop – Mick Bullen
Learn how to bring Jesus into the lives of friends a family through creative, gracious, calm Christian thinking. This three part series must be taken in order but you can do just Part 1 or Part 1&2.

How to read the Bible with kids – Simon Twist
Nurturing the faith of the little ones in your life is both an opportunity and a responsibility. Learn how to do it effectively and thoughtfully.

Pastoral Care with the Bible open – Leanne Burns
Learn how to lovingly engage in caring for others using the Bible. An opportunity to learn more about how to listen, think quickly, answer calmly & bring God’s love to those in need.

How to Read the Bible Aloud – Simon Twist
An opportunity for our church Bible readers and those thinking about joining the team to learn or refresh your skills in bringing God’s word alive to the congregation.

Song Writing (2 hours) – Rob Smith
Rob Smith is a well known Australian writer, singer and song writer who has collaborated with the EMU Team and many others over 3 decades. He will lead a 2 hour workshop on song writing basics.

Pastoral Care – Praying with others – Leanne Burns
Learn how to pray in the most difficult of situations, calling upon God for healing and help. An opportunity to learn more about how to listen, think quickly, answer calmly & bring God’s love to those in need.

How to Unlock the Old Testament – Nigel Fortescue
For many it’s a mystery, to others it’s just history but to the Christian it ought to be a place of refreshment and delight that leads you closer to Jesus. Come and learn how to understand and learn afresh from the Old Testament.

Why Porn Kills and How to Avoid it – Nigel Fortescue
We are surrounded by pornography and it is killing your brain, your relationships and your future. Come and hear some of the latest research and learn how to protect yourself and your children.

How to Minister to People with Addictions – Jason Moss
Everyone needs Jesus – including the complicated people in our lives. Come and hear Jason reflect on his ministry thus far and learn some practical skills for engaging with addicts.

Sound Desk Basics – Chris Bailey
Learn the basics to be able to run the sound desk at church or school. A must do for those interested in serving in production ministry.

Sound Desk – Upgrade your skills – Chris Bailey
Now you know how to turn it on and move some sliders, it’s time to understand the capability of the desk before you. A must do for those serving in production already or those who complete the basics workshop.

Science, Philosophy and Jesus: making sense of it all – Mick Bullen
How do you make sense of and share Jesus with a world that seems to move further and further away from him as it places new foundations on science and rational thought.

Insights into Aboriginal Culture and Ministry – Michael Duckett
Learn from Michael’s wealth of wisdom on Aboriginal Culture and Ministry and hear his challenge to engage more fully with the first Australians in our church and community.

Understanding Dementia (90 mins) – Cheryl Atkins
Learn what dementia is and how to engage with loved ones with dementia. A practical component on meaningful communication and connection with people with dementia will be included.

Register here.
DINNER WITH THEOLOGY SESSIONS
Each night we have the opportunity to share dinner together while being theologically stretched. The dinner sessions provide an opportunity for conversation around tables, a stretching talk and time for questions. Registration will be out soon and you can pay your $10 and we will do the rest.
GROWTH GROUP LAUNCH NIGHT
A night for all the members of our church – those in a Growth Group, those curious about joining one and those not yet in one but keen to stay in touch with a group so they can be connected with our Christian Community. Hear about plans for the year and be encouraged to make your Group great.