EFAC Australia

Church Leadership

Elizabeth Culhane reports on the recent EFAC Emerging Leaders Conference

So began EFAC Australia’s Emerging Leaders Conference, held in Melbourne from 21-23 September 2014. Twenty-seven young leaders from around the country met to discuss the opportunities and challenges of being Christian leaders and Anglicans in twenty-first century Australia.

In the morning Bible studies, Tim Johnson helped us to consider the gifts and limitations of the two emerging leaders on view in 1 Samuel 9: Saul and Samuel. Our attention was drawn to the fact that it was a servant, not Saul, who consults and relies upon God for wisdom (1Samuel  9:6), foreshadowing the later issues in Saul’s leadership. Saul’s CV would have looked good, Tim remarked, but did he display the godly character required for leadership? Accordingly, do we choose leaders on the latter basis? Tim reminded us that godliness is essential for spiritual leadership (cf. 1 Tim 3:1-13).

The Conference was an excellent mixture of formal content, informal learning, and networking. We visited local churches and glimpsed the many different forms of Anglican ministry within Melbourne.

Andrew Katay spoke on how to think biblically about leadership, challenging us to consider it as broader than preaching and praying alone. Leadership has to move beyond just completing tasks, argued Katay. Instead, we need to consider our theology of church and discipleship, and how best to bring this vision to fruition with God’s help. He highlighted the necessity, for leaders, of reading  books such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, and encouraged us to refrain from referring to the church where we work as “my church”, but rather as “Jesus' church”.

In Adam Lowe’s workshop we listed our views of the opportunities, challenges and sources of encouragement in our local churches and the Anglican Communion as a whole. Adam artfully categorised and graphed the results before we met in groups to discuss the most frequently nominated challenges.

The delegates’ chief local challenges were making and maturing disciples and healthy church communities, whereas our primary sources of encouragement were seeing faith in action, evangelism and mission, and encouraging co-workers. In regards to the Anglican Communion, delegates’ chief concerns were theological heterodoxy and uncertainty about Anglican identity.

Stephen Hale then gave an excellent address on  how to live as an Anglican in the Church’s ‘Cross-Over Era’ from institutional and societal prominence to a more marginal position. [See page 2]

Delegates’ learning was also greatly enriched by evangelist Lindsay Brown’s lecture on the current status of world mission, and by Julie-Anne Laird who encouraged ministers to lead by example in evangelism. In addition, we spent time praying for our churches, Australia, the world, and each other.

The Conference was superbly organised by Adam Cetrangolo, along with Adam Lowe and Stephen Hale. EFAC’s 2014 Emerging Leaders Conference was a resounding success, and I would highly recommend anyone nominated to take up the opportunity to attend next time.

Elizabeth Culhane studies theology at Ridley Melbourne, and enjoys reading, writing and cake-eating.
She tweets at twitter.com/e_culhane

Planting a Church
Peter Carolane has led a team in planting a new congregation in Melbourne's inner-north. Essentials asked him how they have gone about it.
1. Please tell us when and how this church plant started.
1.1 Initial Research for the Plant
Throughout 2012, Revd. Peter Carolane, Bishop Stephen Hale (with assistance from Archdeacon Condie and Bishop Huggins) investigated the viability of a church plant in the inner-north.
In December 2012, Peter Carolane held the first meeting for people interested in the plant.
1.2 Planning, Prayer and Vision Meetings
In February 2013, Peter formed a steering team of nine St Hilary’s people who started meeting weekly to plan the launch of the church plant
Midway through the year, two extra people joined the leadership team from St Jude’s Carlton.
In March 2013, a vision development day was held at Northcote Town Hall including about 25 people who inputed into the formation of the vision statement. The results from this day were further refined by the steering team and Peter (see below).

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.

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.

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.