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,

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.

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.
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.
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.

What is your home GIRT by?

During the recent spate of end of school year events I was again struck by the line “Our home is girt by sea” in our national anthem. As a young person it was the word “girt” that confused me and I remember a teacher explaining poetic meter and the difficulty of singing a word like “encircled”. I have loved girt ever since!! This time, I was struck by the word home.

So many people call Australia home now. And more all the time. In the little cul-de-sac I live in there are families with origins in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. In our church there are at least 18 nationalities represented. Air travel has made global migration simple but fear has made it contentious. The pursuit of national prosperity has clashed with an expectation of personal safety such that many people I know refuse to sing “We’ve boundless plains to share” – some because we are not sharing, others because we are!

Either way, people are cranky because their home is not perfect. The problem is of course, no earthly home will ever be perfect and nor will it survive the twists and turns of time. Those who invest all their energy in making their home their castle and thinking it can protect them from the wiles of the world will end up bitterly disappointed every time.

Christians take a different point of view on their home.

“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:20-21 

For the person who trusts in Jesus, their home is in heaven. While earthly homes spoil, heaven pours out continual blessings. While earthly homes fall down, heaven stands strong. While earthly homes have a lifespan, heaven is eternal. Knowing you have a home that can never perish, spoil or fade provides a shift in your perspective on life and things. Simply, they don’t matter so much. It is all temporary and we know it.  There is a wonderfully better home that awaits us.

That’s not to say Christians don’t care! We ought to care for and love our neighbours as we love ourselves. But when it comes to our homes, luxury and lifestyle matter little in a world where people have no hope without Jesus.

This Christmas, as you decorate your home and provide sumptuous delights for friends, ponder the temporary home you see but remember the eternal home Jesus offers to all who trust in Him.

Are we doing what we should do?

One of the hardest things a minister ever has to do is close down a ministry – particularly one that people love! But sometimes it’s the best thing to do because it has stopped working or is not actually something a church should do.

In a previous church I was involved in closing down a much loved and cherished church service. The process was long, arduous and heart-breaking. The people who went along loved being together and loved the style of service. It’s just that no new person had joined them in years and they were not really interested in what the church as a whole was doing in Mission or Maturity. They had become an island that neither allowed embassies nor sent ambassadors. The ministry team decided that serving the few compromised effective ministry to the many.

Closing it down was the right thing to do as that ministry was disabling the church from moving together to reach its community.

As we move forward embedding the 5Ms into our church, we may need to face up to heart-breaking realities. It is possible that some of our ministry activities are no longer effective. It is possible that some of our ministry activities exist as islands and need to be reconnected. It is possible that some of our ministry activities do not fit in with our vision and strategies.

We need to evaluate all our ministries to see how they fit and whether they are being effective as we seek to be a growing Christian community devoted to maturing in Jesus for the glory of God.

Let me illustrate using Krafty Kritters. On a Friday night once a month, a group of people meet to do craft together at the church. The group is coordinated by a highly motivated volunteer who makes sure gatherings are advertised and that the room is set up and ready with tables and supper before people arrive. The group is open to new people from both inside and outside church and members actively invite friends who don’t know Jesus so they can be engaged in Christian conversation while sharing a hobby. Doing craft has a large following in our culture and this group provides an avenue for those with a reclusive hobby to connect with Christians and prayerfully, with Jesus. The leader has enquired of staff as to how to make the most of the opportunity and some ideas and training have been made available.

I see in Krafty Kritters an effective ministry providing opportunities for Membership and Mission. I say, may the group continue on!

It would be great to see all our ministries and groups use the 5M framework to evaluate what they are doing and perhaps change, sharpen or focus their energies. It may even be that some groups take the courageous step to think “We could be using our energies more effectively in another way to achieve the plans God has for us!”