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EFAC Australia

Church Leadership

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.

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.

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.

 

Knowing that everything rises or falls depending on the quality of leadership in the parish, the work of the incumbency committee is therefore vital in selecting the best possible leader. In the previous article we looked at developing a ministry or job description for the vicar or rector. Here we will consider ways to present the vacant parish through the parish profile and the interviewing process.

1. How to prepare a parish profile

The parish profile needs to be prepared with clergy in mind. Most profiles are internal documents and often are confusing to the outsider. For example, one major parish asked me to look at their profile which had no information about the local community and no indication as to the size of the church membership or budget. It is wise to ask a sympathetic clergy person to read through the profile and make suggestions for improvement. Remember to be honest and as objective as possible. The profile should include concise information under these headings:

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.

Reprinted from the August 1994 edition of Essentials

In the previous articles I have considered how to develop a ministry description for the vicar or rector, how to prepare a parish profile, how to write a philosophy of ministry, and how to interview candidates. In this article we will look at how to form a short list of potential candidates, and how to make the most of the interregnum.

Theology is everything
A leader's theology will make or break a church's spirituality and effectiveness. The basic issue is authority: we all resort to some ultimate authority. There are four possibilities for the Christian: rely on the teaching of the church and its councils over the centuries, rely on his/her own ability to understand the truth, rely on his/her own spiritual experiences as a form of direct revelation, or rely on the scriptures as God's authoritative word.

The wise committee seeking a new leader will discern the candidate's attitude to the Bible and to the priority of Bible teaching. This attitude will influence other commitments; for example, which training college was chosen, which missionary societies are given allegiance, the passion for evangelism and so on.

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