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

POP UP KIDS CLUB!

Come along for an afternoon of giant inflatables, games, construction and  more… There will be coffee for adults and a sausage sizzle before you head home. Cost $5 per child including dinner.

Register below:

How is My Heart?

illustrations_160802_090544
Coffee with Jesus

Jesus didn’t have a very good relationship with religious people. In fact, they hated him because he heavily critiqued their religiosity and arrogance. At one point he said to some super religious leaders:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matt 23:15)

It’s hardly the Jesus of the Christmas carol – gentle, meek and mild, cooing quietly in a manger. But it is the Jesus of the Bible.

I have often been surprised by Jesus as I read about him. Sometimes he is passionate and urgent, at others relaxed and in no rush. One day he is sleeping in the back of a sinking boat and on what feels like the next, he is ripping his way through a marketplace overturning tables and chasing animals and people all over the place. One morning he is a firebrand preacher and the next he is kneeling on the ground next to a woman caught in adultery gently encouraging her to turn from her ways and seek forgiveness.

People often try to pigeonhole Jesus. He is a good teacher! He is a moral guide! He is a miraculous spiritual identity! But when you read the biographies of Jesus, you very quickly discover he cannot be pigeon holed. This is probably because of who he really is.

Jesus was more than just a man. His miracles, his insight into people, his capacity to read and understand what people are thinking and what they have done in their lives all point to Jesus being more than human (but not metahuman – he is no Flash)!

The Jesus we read about in the Bible is both God and man. You may not agree with what the Bible teaches about Jesus yet, but you will probably have sung about it. Immanuel means “God with us” and at Christmas when we sing carols we recognise that in Jesus, God arrived on earth to be our King and Saviour.

I know it’s hard to get your head around, but it is impossible to summarise the evidence about Jesus without actually concluding that he is both God and man.

That being the case, he is worth listening to, not just trying to please through religious activity. In the cartoon above Carl finds Jesus critiquing his non-religious arrogance. Jesus is no fan of the arrogant – religious or not. He wants more than your efforts – he wants you to know him and he wants to know you.

Email me if you want to think more about this stuff, or even if you just have a question about Jesus. I’d love to connect with you and help you connect with Jesus.

Nigel Fortescue

nigel@campbelltownanglican.org

Getting Mission Going!

 Dear Friends,

 Our 2016 Mission Week is upon us. I find Mission Week super super exciting as we all have an easy opportunity to have our friends hear the good news about Jesus and be saved. We are reminded in Acts 4:12 that Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.

 Can I encourage you to GET MISSION GOING by doing four things.

 1. Pray. Mission is an act of God as he transforms hearts and enables people to hear the gospel and be saved. That any of us have faith and life is a work of God. So please pray expectantly for your friends who do not yet know Jesus and for all the people who will be invited to come to the various events and mission opportunities in the week. Pray that God would grant them life!

 2. Invite. Mission is a free-kick opportunity for you to invite friends and family to hear about Jesus and find salvation. There is no other name by which people may be saved and we have the privilege of being involved in this by inviting them to hear about Jesus. It can be scary but all the research shows that when people are invited to church 4/5 times they say yes! So be courageous, pray and invite. We all know people who don’t know Jesus. Who will you invite?

 3. Come. It is really discouraging to invite a friend to a mission event and to find very few people there. All our services and events will work at their best when everyone comes whether they are bringing a friend or not. But don’t just come. Come early! New people come early. Visitors come early. Friends come early. Please come early …. and then make it a habit!

 4. Be hospitable. When you see people in church who you don’t know or you see a church member with a friend, please don’t treat them like a virus! Go up. Say hello. Start a conversation. Make them feel welcome and invite them back next week.

 God does great things among his people when the Gospel is preached. Let us be expectant that He will again be at work among us in the week ahead.

 In Christ,

Nigel

Conversations with Jesus

‘Conversations with Jesus’

There was a wealthy, lowlife, tax-man named Zac, whose life changed when he climbed up a tree to see a teacher from Nazareth. This teacher saw him and honoured him by coming to his house for dinner. As he engaged in conversation with the teacher, Zac was transformed. He decided to follow this man – giving up his previous life of corruption with the promise to pay back all those who he had swindled. That day, Zac was saved – becoming a follower of Jesus. (Luke 19:1-10)

Conversation is a powerful tool. Through conversation people can sway people towards good or wrong; it can persuade people to change their thinking; it can influence people to radically adjust their lives. We see this in our politicians and journalists, the memes of our social media and in the banter and conversation of the school, university or workplace. And there is no more powerful a moment, than when people begin engaging in conversation with Jesus, as Zac did in 33AD. Conversations with Jesus tipped people’s lives upside-down back then and they have the same effect today.

Several months ago, one of our 10am congregation members, Ian, began a conversation with Jesus as he began reading the gospel of Luke. Ian began with some cynicism – demanding that sound evidences were needed in order to back up the claims of Jesus. He was amazed that this guy Luke, who interviewed many eyewitnesses, could verify these stories as facts. The more he read of Jesus – the more he came to understand that Jesus was not just a magician and wise man of that age, but that he was God and that he really came to save. We praise God that Jesus has had such an impact on Ian’s life.

As we enter into a time of heightened evangelistic activity here at church it is worth us stopping to reflect on what we are hoping to encourage our not-yet Christian family, friends and neighbours to do. We aren’t trying to dazzle them with fine sounding arguments or convince them with philosophical rhetoric – they don’t want this anyway. Instead, we hope to engage people in a conversation with Jesus, the creator of all things and the one who came to save them.

Who might you help to engage in a conversation with Jesus?

Mick Bullen

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!”