Monday, July 25, 2011


REVEAL started with a church doing a congregational survey. The initial results provided exceptional insights into individuals’ spiritual growth and development. It’s now available for other churches—of all shapes and sizes—to work together to help people grow in their love of God and others.
REVEAL is more than just a book or survey—it’s a discipleship framework validated through a growing international database of 280,000 congregants in more than 1,200 churches combined with a disciplined, continuous system to measure it, understand it, take action and monitor your progress over time.

Interested in an Australian Pastor's opinion of REVEAL? Pastor Mark Conner from Melbourne's CityLife Church has blogged some in-depth reviews and thoughts...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

101 Outreach Ideas for Small Churches

A great post by Chuck Warnock - Confessions of a Small Church Pastor

101 Outreach Ideas for Small Churches

  1. Sponsor a school or classroom
  2. Angel Food Ministry
  3. Family movie night
  4. Super Bowl party
  5. Resource center for senior programs, etc
  6. Host a music concert
  7. Block party
  8. Community festival
  9. Halloween alternative
  10. Community heroes

    read more.....

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Harvest Is In The Pain

I have recently asked God in quiet desperation; 'what would it take for Australian people to come to know Jesus as Saviour and Lord?”

This question has been partly prompted by my almost daily contact with discouraged Christian leaders who tell me that reaching Australian people with the good news does not seem to be working today with the same effectiveness as in previous decades. 

I am also aware of the research regarding the metropolitan area of Melbourne entitled “All Melbourne Matters” which shows that although many of the 1700 plus Melbourne churches have a strong emphasis on evangelism an average of just over 2 persons per church per year are coming to faith.  The compilers summarise that “there are no patterns of evangelism which are clearly emerging as successful patterns for the future.”

I have been impressed with the strong link in Jesus' ministry between 'compassion' and 'harvest'; When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke.  So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd.   “What a huge harvest” he said to his disciples.  “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands” (Matt 9:36-38, The Message); and in John 4 when after Jesus gave dignity and showed compassion to the outsider Samaritan woman, a Samaritan village experienced revival.

Perhaps as Christians we have let the hurt, disappointments and lack of grace in our society construct walls around our hearts and bring a crustiness and judgementalism which is the opposite of the qualities grown in us through the Spirit of God as indicated in passages such as Col. 3:12-14.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you!
Compassion, humility, quiet strength.....”  (The Message)

I believe God is softening our hearts today so that we feel the pain of the world the way he does.

Australian people generally have become very sophisticated at taking what they want from our 'events' and 'outreach programmes' and leaving the rest.  Compassion received when it is unusual and not expected has the capacity to get under people's guard and have them open up to the source of our compassion – a loving and gracious God.

After I had shared these convictions with a group of Christian leaders a young lady who ministers to young teenage girls who have been abused, several of whom have recently become Christians, shared with me her belief that 'the harvest is in the pain'.

The challenge is to become open hearted and givers of compassion, grace, mercy and justice.

Keith Farmer
Keith Farmer Mentoring

Friday, July 15, 2011

10 Symptoms of Emotionally Unhealthy Spirituality

Sometimes we need a reminder. This post by Stirred Up Leadership, blog of the US Willow Creek Association, was one of their most popular posts so we thought it was worth re-posting as a reminder for those of you in ministry.  Please make sure you’re taking time to care for yourself.

Angela, in explaining why she had not attended church for over five years, asked me privately, “Why is it that so many Christians make such lousy human beings?”

Jay, one of our church members, recently shared with me: “I was a Christian for twenty-two years. But instead of being a twenty-two year-old Christian, I was a one-year-old Christian twenty-two times! I just kept doing the same things over and over and over again.”

Ron, the brother of a member of the small group that meets in our home, upon hearing the title of this book, laughed: “Emotionally healthy spirituality? Isn’t that a contradiction?”

Our problem revolves around misapplied biblical truths that not only damage our closest relationships but also obstruct God’s work of profoundly transforming us deep beneath the iceberg of our lives.


The pathway for your spiritual life I describe in the book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality is radical. That is, it very likely cuts to the root of your entire approach to following Jesus. Trimming a few branches by, for example, attending a prayer retreat or adding two new spiritual disciplines to an already crowded life will not be enough. The enormousness of the problem is such that only a revolution in our following of Jesus will bring about the lasting, profound change we long for in our lives.

Before I prescribe this pathway, it is essential for us to clearly identify the primary symptoms of emotionally unhealthy spirituality that continue to wreak havoc in our personal lives and our churches. The following are the top ten symptoms indicating if someone is suffering from a bad case of emotionally unhealthy spirituality:

1. Using God to run from God
2. Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear
3. Dying to the wrong things
4. Denying the past’s impact on the present
5. Dividing our lives into “secular” and “sacred” compartments
6. Doing for God instead of being with God
7. Spiritualizing away conflict
8. Covering over brokenness, weakness, and failure
9. Living without limits
10. Judging other people’s spiritual journey

Download entire chapter to read detailed descriptions of each symptom.

Pete Scazzero (@petescazzero)
Senior Pastor of New Life Fellowship Church in New York and author of Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raising Great Leaders

Leadership development is not a destination; it’s a journey requiring intentionality and time. “Throwing someone in the deep end” is desperation, not strategy.

When we view volunteers as leaders who are influencers of our children we see more than what they do, we see who they are and who they are becoming. It’s not just about our team getting things done, it’s about us growing in love for God and the children and developing our skills so that we better communicate His life changing message.

I believe that every volunteer should be growing as they serve and it is our responsibility to help make that happen by offering opportunity, responsibility and support to those we lead. Some will grow as great followers while others will emerge as leaders of leaders. These are the very people who will take the ministry to new levels of creatively and impact as we morph and change to connect with children and families in a relevant way.

If you want to raise great leaders:

Build them: Be willing to invest in relationships. Who is on the team? You can’t be on the same page if you are never in the same room. I find out more about people through “playing together”. Time is precious so we don’t want to waste it. Invest in your team to spend some time together relationally. Discover who are the great followers and who are the emerging ministry leaders. The more you know one another the more you will appreciate and trust each other.

When did you last do something fun together?

Empower them: Different volunteers have different capacities for leadership. Your role as the leader is to discover how you can increase the capacity of each volunteer without “bursting” them. It’s like filling a balloon: not enough air and it’s no fun, too much and… well, you know what happens then.

Are your leaders feeling challenged or burdened, released or restricted? Ask them!

Include them: Everyone perceives things differently so when a group of people come together and share you get a more complete picture of any situation. You also get more ideas to relevantly connect with our kids and their families. Don’t be restricted by what you are teaching; listen to others and be willing to adapt. This does not mean changing direction totally, it means listening and moving with the rhythm of children and their families.

People grow through painful experiences so ask where are they hurting now? What is it that they need? How can we most effectively bring the truth of God to collide with the realities of life? Jesus took people from their current mindset and moved them to a new way of thinking. By adapting and responding, we can connect with our kids and their families where they are, then lead them into a new experience.

What aspects of your ministry have changed this year?

Lead them: As a leader we have to see far enough out from the present to know where we want to go. It is easy to assess our current situation... it is much harder to navigate into the unknown, to push through in a new direction. Even small changes that we make along the way have to be communicated with clarity and purpose in order to lead others. Frustration creeps in when volunteers do not know clearly where they are going and what is expected.

A great leader will not only want to lead well but they will want others to succeed too. It is not all about one central leader doing everything. Sustainable ministries are built with leaders who are willing to lift one other up; to support them and sustain them for the long haul.

As you lead in your ministry, who are you raising up?

Margaret Spicer
Children and Families Pastor
Crossway Baptist Church, Melbourne

Friday, July 1, 2011

What Are We Making?

George’s car pulled into the large car park of the factory and found a nice space just close enough to the front entrance of the imposing building. As he stepped out of the car, he craned his neck to the sky in an attempt to take in the awesome sight. Marco had really done well for himself, George thought as his eyes swept over the expansive glass windows and rich red brick walls of his friend’s factory. Really well.

The short stroll to the entrance was made pleasant by the sweetly scented garden beds that lined the path, winding its way towards the grand atrium. The glass doors silently parted to allow George through, and he caught his breath as he entered a mesmerizing mix of tall glass walls, fine art, and exotic plants.

“George!” He spun to find Marco striding towards him in a pinstripe suite and shiny leather shoes. “Welcome. Come, you’ve got to see this place!”

Marco turned to two large oak doors that automatically swung open as he approached, and taking the hint, George set off after him. They entered a vast, enormous room lined with high glass windows and row upon row of conveyor belts and more flashing lights than Las Vegas.

“This is where the magic happens George. Everything is state of the art. The latest in technology. No expense spared.” Marco marched along the rows of conveyor belts, pointing to complex looking drilling machines and futuristic robotic arms.

“Through here is our conference room,” Marco said proudly as he strode into a large, oval room, dark from the lack of windows, but cozy from the subtle warm lighting and rich wood panels lining the walls. “As you can see George, what better place to be when making all the important decisions?”

The tour continued throughout the entire factory, no room was spared. With each room, George was informed of every possible usage, technological advantage, and level of comfort.

George was relieved to find that the next door they entered lead them back into the entrance atrium.

“Well, George, what do you think? Pretty amazing isn’t it?” George looked around the impressive room, quietly taking everything in. “Lost for words hey?” Marco smiled. “Sometimes I find myself awestruck by the place as well.”

George finally turned to Marco, a look of slight confusion on his face. “It’s incredible Marco,” George said. “But what are you making?”

What has the Church been commissioned to make? Grand buildings? Renowned programs? Great preachers? Impressive music? While these are all perfectly acceptable products of our endeavors, they are not the primary purpose of the Church.  

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations Matthew 28:19. The Church has been charged with the job of making disciples. Anything more than that is a luxury. Anything less than that is a failure.

The latest trends, techniques, technology, programs, comforts, and courses are all pointless and fruitless if the end result is not a disciple. A church that fails to make disciples is like the latest and greatest factory that makes nothing.

Creative Director
Bill Newman Ministries