Church Leadership

I Love LIsts

Three tips for growing through reading from Tim Johnson.

How can you tell when a minister graduated from theological college? Just check his or her book collection and find the latest one published.
An old joke that is only funny because it is too often true in spirit if not in fact. A mere few years of theological study at its best equips people with the right tools and stimulates a passion for a lifetime of ongoing learning. There is a need to read and keep on reading to deepen in our thinking and ministry.
So how can we ensure that we are growing through ongoing reading? Ministry places serious demands on our time and it is easy for reading and thinking to be pushed aside by the sermon that needs writing, the parishioner who needs visiting or the mounting administration. I’ve found the following three disciplines helpful in ensuring that I keep growing through reading.

1. Book reading time

In my second year of ministry my supervisor helpfully challenged me about how much wider reading I was actually doing. He pointed out that I’d soon become shallow and trite in my preaching if I wasn’t growing through reading.

Life of Brian

The Revd Dr Brian Rosner, Principal of Ridley Melbourne, speaks to EFAC.
EFAC: Brian, why did you apply for and accept the role of Principal at Ridley?
Brian: I knew of Ridley’s fine reputation as an evangelical college committed to effective training for a range of gospel ministries under the leadership of Peter Adam. To be honest, I wasn’t looking for such a role myself, but was encouraged to apply by a couple of friends whose opinion I respect. So it was a matter of exploring the possibility with the Ridley Board and praying for God’s guidance, and eventually a new measure of faith and courage.
EFAC: A year into the job as principal of Ridley Melbourne, what have been your highlights?
Brian: The biggest highlight has been the people. I am happy to report that Ridley has delightful students, a strong faculty with diverse gifts, warm and able administrative staff, passionate stakeholders, and a competent and supportive board, not to mention excellent food! There is a genuine team spirit around the college, springing from our common commitment to Jesus Christ. The warmth of the gospel is evident everywhere you look.
It’s been a busy year, with three faculty appointments, the Marketplace Institute and Ridley Certificate getting up and running, and the development of a strategic plan for the next five years in the mix. We have a slew of visiting speakers this year, including Paul Barnett, Tom Wright and Mark Dever. And we are exploring some partnerships with organisations like the Centre for Public Christianity and Gordon-Conwell Seminary in the USA.
The job comes with an abundance of exciting opportunities and also significant challenges.

Lenten Studies

LENTEN STUDIES: a useful tool for a local Church.


For the uninitiated, “Lenten Studies” sound like Studies which have been borrowed rather than purchased! For the initiated, “Lenten Studies” may never have been a feature in our Christian life or Ministry. We may even think of them as belonging to a by-gone 'Churchy' era.

For many years, some Anglican Churches have made a great deal of the six weeks leading up to Easter, as a time of personal reflection and preparation for the celebration of Easter. “Lenten Studies” have been prepared by all sorts of people to be used during this period.

“Lenten Studies” have been produced by the Media Department (now YouthWorks) of the Diocese of Sydney for many years, always written by a Bishop of the Australian Church. In recent years, contributors have been Evangelical Bishops including Stephen Hale, Harry Goodhew, Tony Nichols, Peter Brain, Ray Smith and yours truly. The books usually consist of forty daily Studies for personal use and sets of discussion questions for use by small groups. Sometimes, Parish Ministers base their sermons for the six weeks on the theme or book of Scripture being studied.

In 1993, I became the Senior Minister of Penrith Anglican Church at the foot of the Blue Mountains. Never having done it before, I decided to experiment with the introduction of “Lenten Studies”. About 100 Church members bought copies and began to use them through the week. Then on each Wednesday evening, they came together for an 'overview' of the week and a time for questions on the material they'd been looking at privately.

Four by Four

Wei-Han Kuan explains why evangelicalism has survived in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

 

I remember being completely astounded when I was first told that the Diocese of Melbourne was originally the most vigorously evangelical of all the Australian Anglican dioceses. This piece of information was passed on to me some time in the 1990s, when I was actively considering signing up to the said Diocese as a candidate for ordination. To my historically naïve mind, nothing could seem further from the truth! I was weighing up the pros and cons of committing to a lifetime of ministry in a diocese whose true character—it seemed patently obvious to me at the time—was mixed and even majority Anglo-Catholic in ritual and probably liberal in theological emphasis. Evangelicals, it seemed to me, were a minority either concentrated in a few flagship parishes such as St Jude’s Carlton, St Hilary’s Kew and St Mark’s Emerald—the domain of the three Peters: Peter Adam, Peter Corney and Peter Crawford—or huddled in outposts such as St Paul’s Glen Waverley, where I lived; or St Matthias’ North Richmond, where I attended.

 

What should you look for in a minister?

Reprinted from the Autumn 1993 Edition of Essentials

This is the first in a series of practical articles designed to help parishes, incumbency committees and pastors to become more effective in extending God's kingdom. The other articles will cover topics including:

how to develop a parish profile
how to best interview a potential rector
how to form a short list and how to discern the right person
how to conduct a ministry review

In this article we will look at developing a job description or profile for your pastor.