Making it work in the parish

Gordon Killow,  Graeme Middlewick and Matt Harding form the paid ministry team at Kallaroo Anglican Church in Perth WA. Essentials asked them about how they are getting on.

Who is in your ministry team?

Three full-time, paid workers: Senior minister – Gordon; Assistant minister – Graeme; and Assistant minister (Young adults) – Matt. Many who work through the week, leading Bible studies, ministry groups, parish council & wardens, newsletter & web-page, flower roster etc

What are the main activities of the church?

Preaching and teaching the Bible in Sunday services, home groups, Bible studies, children and youth groups, Simply Christianity courses and occasional training courses for things like Welcoming and evangelism.

How do you get the money for the paid workers? Has this been a difficulty?

The generosity of the saints. We believe that God gives us what we need, to do what he wants us to do, including the finances. So Christians often need good things to give their money to (otherwise we just end up spending it on ourselves). Therefore we don’t do ‘fundraising’ for ministry costs. When we wanted to expand our team to a third full-time worker, which would be a stretch for us, we asked the parish as a whole and some individual members with a capacity to give larger amounts, to consider the opportunity to grow and their ability to give to it, then make pledges. Based on this we went ahead and appointed the third worker. This is still a stretch, but we keep the need before the congregations, as well as the potential for growth in new areas.

What kind of a team have you gathered and what is the underlying theory/rationale for your team's composition and operation?

The second worker is a general pastor teacher, like the senior minister, which allows the load to be spread out. Graeme, our second worker, has also been overseeing the children’s ministries for a couple of years as this is a growth area and needs special attention and we don’t have anyone in the congregation at present who would be suited to this oversight role. Matt, our third worker, has been appointed to pioneer a work among young adults. This is an area we have had little contact with, but have great opportunity to work in. While children’s work is the pressing need, we reasoned that young adults work is a more long term goal. If a work is established, this will provide us with workers for children and youth ministries, and other possibilities. We are able to maintain a children’s work as we are, but to begin and grow a young adults work we will need to free up someone to work full time on it.

What kind of aims, goals do you have as a parish? Where are you heading, or what are you trying to build, or fix, or expand? How do you use the team to pursue these aims?

Our church mission statement / logo is “Equip, build up, build out, for God’s glory.” We teach the Bible so that God equips us for ministry. Our aim is to build the people of God here in maturity and works of service (build up) and to work for the conversion of those outside of God’s kingdom (build out). And our desire is to do this all in order to glorify God. Our local context is quite mixed, with many churches struggling to stay viable and a synod that has shown a desire to approve of a more secular than biblical agenda, specifically in the area of human sexuality. So we aim to let the gospel speak for itself, producing church health and church growth, so that we provide a positive alternative.

What have you learnt about working together: being the boss with assistants, being the assistant with a boss. How do you deal with style cramping and conflicts of aspirations?

Gordon – I’ve learned that in team ministries, while abilities, theology, godliness are all non-negotiables whether in your boss or in staff you appoint, it’s also critical that you ‘get along’ – that you can work side by side, genuinely appreciate each other (without having to be exactly the same in everything). This allows you to accept each other’s differences much more easily, and allows for a longer term in working together. I’ve also learned that if someone is given responsibility in one area, they need to have the authority too – making decisions, dealing with problems etc. If everything has to keep coming back to the senior minister, there will be a raft of problems that develop, including the frustration of the co-workers.

Matt – Having only begun a formal ministry position this year, I am most thankful to be working alongside godly, like-minded and gospel-focused colleagues. Like Gordon said, being friends is a really helpful aspect of working together. It is also essential that I know that Gordon and Graeme will support me in what I do – even when I make mistakes and they need to be sorted out. They have been great at allowing me the space to try things out and ‘give it a go’ while also giving feedback, acting as sounding boards, and genuinely being excited about what we are trying to do. Ministry as a team seems easier when we are communicating well and making time to share our joys and struggles of ministry.

Graeme – Having spent time in solo ministry and team ministry I really value the benefits of working as part of a team. Working as a team, it is crucial to have the same core belief structure and idea of what it means to reach, teach and build people in their relationship with Christ. However, I also appreciate the differences in ideas, experience and abilities that come in a team structure. Having someone to bounce ideas off in areas like pastoral care, programs, etc is very helpful when considering what to do. As Gordon and Matt have said, getting along in the team goes a long way towards the team working well for a good length of time. Having a person who cares about you and your ministry, and who gives you feedback and encouragement, helps keep you growing and going in ministry.

What are the main difficulties in ministry where you are? And what are the key elements in effective ministry where you are?

Getting an audience for the gospel among people whose lifestyles suggest ‘heaven on earth’, ie home near beach, money, holidays, sport and leisure – who needs God when you have all that? This means we ourselves will need constant reminding of our true treasure, since we live in this same ‘heaven on earth’ with the constant pressure to believe the lie and so be ineffective disciples of Jesus. Only the gospel changes hearts, so we keep preaching it and reminding one another of its truth. We’ve found no special techniques or programs that break through the veneer of wealth and material satisfaction. But we want to keep our services as ‘unchurchy’ and legible for any outsider who joins us, as well as keep encouraging and equipping our people to pray for their unbelieving family and friends and share their faith with them, as well as offering evangelistic courses and using events like Easter and Christmas to proclaim Christ to those who don’t yet know him. Some other ‘key elements’ here would include continually looking to give people ministries that they are suited to (or prepared to have a go at), so that almost every person who we would consider ‘core’ is involved in some way and not just an ‘attender’; an after school kids club has been a wonderful introduction for the gospel into the households of many outsiders, a playgroup run by our members has also opened up many opportunities for relationships within our community, and home groups have been key in helping many people connect with others and grow in maturity as believers and ministers of God’s word.