Monday, September 17, 2007

Keeping it Simple

At Newlife long before I arrived as the second Pastor the Leadership had decided that we would be a church that did a few things well. Our purpose statement is simple and powerful, we aim to be a community of Christians who, "Live for God, Love one another & Lead others to Jesus Christ."
More later...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Next Sunday - full throttle living

Was inspired by the drags for the title for our new three week series - Full throttle living. I'm praying that as we look at the book of ACTS together we will once again be encouraged as a church to pursue Jesus with a faith that is fully committed, fully foot to the floor, unwavering. Full throttle. MMMMM yeah. I can smell the methanol in my sinuses again!!!

Combined service @ Graceville Wrap up

well it was absolutely amazing to come together as a one congregation today at Graceville. The music team did a knock down job, the lunch was fantastic and I reckon everyone has blessed by the time spent celebrating Jesus together. Great to get the feedback from a few guests who were blown away by the way they were welcomed and made to feel comfortable today. Great to hear, we do it simply so people who're far from God can come close to Jesus and have their lives changed forever.

Drags and Church planting

Was blown away by the sheer adrenaline rush of the drags. Spent an afternoon there and actually was hugely impressed. Man those boys and girls push it to the limit. got me thinking about what I do as a pastor... sometimes things just go wrong, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's just part of the ride. Sorry if thia makes no sense to you - I just had to get that off my chest so to speak. Oh and it was awesome to be there to witness this crash and hear that the driver got up and gets to drive another day - yeahhh!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Your money and your heart

Been reading a new book out by Aubrey Malphurs and Steve Stroope - "Money Matters in Church." It's a great book with alot of really good biblical wisdom. Alot of it good reminders, other things I just hadn't considered in terms of management and vision casting. But one of the things I've been most impacted by in the past little while is Tim Steven's thoughts on giving:
Remember, it's not about money. It's about people's hearts. One of the only tangible pictures that Jesus left us to figure out the condition of someone's heart is to look at where they invest their money.

Vince Antonucci - worth listening to

Here's a blogger who resonates with my heart. Check him out here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Dr Ellice Hammond - A real HERO

I was deeply moved to real of Ellice's commitment to her daughter, even to the point of death. I pray that God will use her testimony of love, faithfulness and sacrifice to encourage others that true love costs. Ellice, you are one of my heros. Here is her story as told on ninemsn:
A GP who refused high-level chemotherapy, ultimately sacrificing her life to save her unborn daughter, was farewelled by family and friends in Melbourne this afternoon.
Dr Ellice Hammond, 37, lost her battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma on Sunday, three weeks after daughter Mia Ellice was born nine weeks prematurely at the Monash Medical Centre, where she remains in neonatal intensive care, The Herald Sun said.
Dr Hammond was diagnosed in the 22nd week of pregnancy and refused high-level chemotherapy that could have saved her but might have killed Mia, whose induced birth took place on August 20.
At her funeral at the Uniting Church in East Malvern, Dr Hammond's husband, Peter Wojcik, told mourners he would "do everything in my power to be the best father for our lovely daughter Mia. Rest in peace."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Vision starts in the carpark

I've been reading the book "Simple Church" and have been impacted heavily by the emphasis on "Keeping church simple stupid." I'm committed to growing in this, a commitment to keeping the vision of my life simple, uncluttered. I simply want to be involved in a church that all about "changing lives forever as we lead people who're far from God to Jesus!"
I want to keep a record of this post by Larry Brey, Assimilation Pastor at Elevation Church. It's an absolute cracker!!!
To see how well a church believes in the their vision don’t start with the Pastor or the staff, start with the guy in parking lot or the lady changing diapers in the baby room. Go and ask them, “why do you park cars?” and see what kind of response you get. That’s where you’ll learn how powerful the vision is in a church; how deep does it permeate through the organization. Is the parking guy just as passionate about his role and opportunity as the Lead Pastor? If he is, now you’re onto something, because everyone in the organization is moving in the same spirit with a singular focus. That’s called unity; as a house divided against itself cannot stand.
At Elevation Church, we’re becoming even more passionate about moving forward with a singular vision and here are a few practical things that have been guiding us along the way.
Check the flow – Ask the guy in the parking lot “why do you park cars?” What do you hope to hear from him? At Elevation we want to hear two things: 1) People are coming here today who are far from God and need to be filled with Jesus Christ and 2) My role as a parking guy is a vital link in the chain of people coming to faith in Christ; they connect what they do to the vision with passion and excitement.
Be slow to appoint – The key to having your vision permeate through the organization is directly linked to who you put in your leadership roles. You need to be slow and put in place only those who believe in the vision of your church. Learning the vision is a process and takes time, here’s a simple filter I am beginning to use in communicating the concept:
A. Understanding the vision – Do they clearly understand the guiding
principles behind the vision?
B. Embrace the vision – Do their actions show they understand
the vision?
C. Communicate the vision – Will they speak it to those around them?
D. Defend – Will they correct someone who is speaking contradictorily of
the vision?
Only appoint leaders who have gone through the filter and will defend the vision. Time on the front end will save a mess at best or a mutiny at worse on the backend.
How are you training – Look at your training systems for every area and evaluate how much time you spend teaching the x’s and o’s of how to perform their role and how much time is spent on vision casting? How often do you do retraining? How frequently will they hear the vision? Is the vision communicated as pieces of information or as a compelling call to action that connects people’s hearts with what they do and the vision of the church?
The biggest commodity you have in your church is vision. It needs to be constantly communicated, demonstrated in the leaders, and always defended. The influential capacity of your church will be determined by how deep the vision permeates your organization.

Monday, September 10, 2007

New Series Presses Buttons - God Love Sex - Song of Songs

Well so far our new series at Newlife - God, Love, Sex - Song of Solomon has been off the HOOK!! With so much positive feedback I'm a little shocked, in fact overwhelmed with the encouragement. Singles, marrieds heaps of people coming up after the service to comment that God spoke to them clearly and directly through the Bible Talk.
In fact I'm already getting people asking for a similar series again next year that they can invite friends and family members along to. They reckon it will change their lives forever!!
That's GOLD to a preacher!!!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Relationships the core of the gospel

It was great to have Rev Michael Bennett, author of "Christianity Explained" share at our Newlife Mens Breakfast today.
Bennett says, "We need today to move away from confrontational evangelism to didactic evangelism. That is, (away) from the 'quick one-off' approach culminating in a prayer of commitment, which often does not last, to a more teaching (didactic) approach where we seek to teach the saving Gospel to enquirers over a period of time."
Even more simply, stop trying to share Jesus like you would deliver a grenade. Instead, empowered with the love of God for you, invest in the lives of others, loving them, and in this environment share your story, share the gospel.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Steve Erwin, I remember you mate

Steve - "If there is one thing that I Steve Irwin would want to be remembered for is to be remembered for passion and enthusiasm. Conservation is my job, my life, my whole persona."
This week we all stopped and remembered our mate Steve who sadly passed on last year. What can I say but that when it comes to leadership Steve taught me alot. Here's just a few things off the top of my head.
Real leaders have a life mission - "I am a wildlife warrior and I will fight to the death for wildlife."
Real leaders polarise. Some will love you, some hate but you can't be a fence sitter with a real leader, they demand you make a decision.
Real leaders are larger than life, because they aren't content to take the easy traveled road that everyone else is taking
Real leaders are passionate about their mission.
Real leaders connect at the heart level.
Real leaders have their struggles.
Real leaders are all about giving to others not taking.
Real leaders are remembered and missed even when they're moved on.
Real leaders live on in their family. They always do, cause that's the mark of a real leader, fakes can't fake it to people that close.
Steve I take my hat of to you, I miss you, we miss you.

Leading through change

When it comes to leadership I’m kinda like a blue heeler pup. I’m not a Doberman… just your plain standard Aussie working class variety. But like the pups I had when I grew up I’m intensely interested in learning and growing so I can be in the game.
So here’s a great post about leading volunteers through change from the LifeChurch blog.
1) He decides what the goals/vision/changes, etc. are going to be in advance.
2) He starts a series of meetings with groups of people involved. He asks/directs specific questions to the team which are set on a track to lead them to the vision that he has already decided on
3) He confirms what he heard them say (which 95% of the time already aligns with what he has concluded) and then says, let me go and put this together and we will meet again
4) He meets again and reveals to them the plan
Usually he gets 100% team buy-in and ownership because they were all in on the talks. He knows where they need to go, but human nature doesn’t necessarily like to be told.
By the way I reckon like a blue heeler, my bites worse than my bark, I’m intensely loyal and when I latch onto something I don't know when to let go... just ask my wife Nerida she didn't have a hope of not marrying me ;)

Things I've learnt lately...

Had the privilege of attending a training time over the past couple of days. One of the highlights was having Steve Cree come and share "wisdom for ministry." Here are a couple of the things that I learnt (or was reminded of) and want to remember and intentionally apply in my life and leadership.
1. Have one or two close mates who I trust who can speak into my life on a personal level for encouragement and loving accountability. I thank God that I have two great mates who do this. I don't want to burn out, flame out or fade out. I want to finish the fight and go the whole 15 rounds, I want to be in the fight to the end. I want to be there for them too.
2. The need to have someone who is further down the road in church leadership who can speak into my life on the level of leadership. I really need this and it's still something I'm asking God for.
3. The need to be intentional about sharing my life in terms of leadership with other men, peers and those starting out in church leadership.
Gotta go for now, I need to look after my boys for a few minutes. I'll finish these thoughts off later.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sunday Feedback

Fathers Day at Newlife was huge!
Not only did we have a great time of fellowship but our new series "God, Love, Sex" (Song of Songs) seems to be delivering the message that a whole heap of people (both marrieds and singles) needed to hear from God. To be honest I really wasn't expecting the passionate feedback and response that I got from so many. Married people were enthusiastic and heaps of the single young adults feedback that they'd learnt so much. I was especially encouraged by the comment of one young bloke who said, "I really appreciated Will how you gave us a Jesus framework for relationships without giving us a heap of rules that we somehow think must apply to everyone in every situation."
Can't wait till next week. Bring a friend Newlifers!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Here's some posts worth reading

A week or so back I commented that "everyone needs a coach."
Well I've gotta admit that I have some great coaches, some Pastors who you'd never think of. And every day I get their input, their encouragement and thoughts about ministry and reaching the lost.
Here's a just a couple of the more inspiring and or challenging input that's been running through my mind lately. Check out my coaches here...
Gary Lamb - Be Secure in Your Calling
Vince Antonucci - "From Edward E Nigma to You (with Love)"
Shawn Lovejoy - "Communicating Vision"