Activists

doesn't matter the size

Church – It’s not the size that counts, but what you do with it.

By | Blog | No Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what the right metrics are for determining if Church or faith is “successful”.

As one of my friends reminded me the other day “I don’t think we should be applying KPI’s and business metrics to the Church!” And he’s right, but the reality is we do.

I was reminded of this on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering as he interviewed the former Australian Disability Commissioner Graeme Innes. He commented on the need for targets (as opposed to quotas) for employment of women and disabled workers, stating “If we don’t count things, then they simply don’t count”.

So what is it that we should be counting, to honestly reflect whether church and faith is doing what it’s intended for? What are the things that truly “count” when it comes to counting how successful our faith is? Read More

joseph and family

Pit, Potiphar, Prison, Palace – working your way out of adversity for God’s sake

By | Blog | No Comments

I had the great privilege to teach a grade 2 Religious Instruction class this week on the story of Joseph (Gen 37-47).

  • How Joseph, as the favourite of his father, and the despised of his brothers, was thrown into a dried up well while his brothers decided whether to kill or sell him.
  • How following his sale to traders, Joseph was taken to Egypt (37:1-28) where he became the slave of a man named Potiphar.How in Potiphar’s service he worked so diligently that he was promoted to master of the house, before malicious lies (cue question from super intelligent grade 2: “What lies were they Mr Paul?” Reply: “Adult lies”. Question “What type of adult lies?” Reply: “Google it when you get home kids!”) resulted in his return to prison (39:1-21).
  • How despite these circumstances, Joseph took the decision to continue to serve and as the result of his heart, attitude and God’s favour, ended up in charge of the prison (39:22).
  • How in this context, he came into contact with Pharaoh’s former baker and cup bearer who were imprisoned and both had dreams which they couldn’t understand.
  • How, because of Joseph’s connectedness to God and his willingness to serve, he was able to interpret their dreams and ask them to remember him if they got out of prison. While this didn’t happen immediately, another 2 years passed with Joseph in jail, he was eventually remembered when the Pharaoh had an uninterpretable dream (41:1-36) and the cup bearer remembered Joseph.
  • How Joseph was able to explain, through God’s provision, what the dream meant to Pharaoh and outline a potential plan to deal with it’s consequences.
  • How at Joseph’s proposed plan, the Pharaoh recognised Joseph’s continued willingness to seek the common good and appointed him to this position.
  • How this enabled him to reconnect with and ultimately save his family as they came to Egypt in search of food in the midst of a famine.

Read More

presence

Listening for loves sake

By | Blog | No Comments

Following on from my exploration into the state of the Church in Australia, I found some further, very current research, commissioned by World Vision Australia looking at the perception of the Church in the Australian community. This research took a series of questions to 104 Churches and just over 1,000 representative Aussies to see what they thought about the exact same issues facing our country.

While there were some very interesting findings about social issues and engagement with social policy, there were two areas that stood out to me. Read More

health check 2

A spiritual health check for Australia

By | Blog | No Comments

I recently attended a lecture by Alan Hirsch where he was outlining the work that he is doing in the USA, helping Churches shift towards becoming missional movements.

As part of his presentation he outlined that in the USA they have what he terms the 60-40 Window. What he means by this is that within the American population, 60% have no interest in connecting with the current expression of Church that is represented by 95% of Christian Churches. Consequently, while Churches strive to reach out to the 40% who might be interested, 60% of the population has been abandoned.  Read More

work life balance

Surviving the rebellion

By | Blog | No Comments

Some of my work colleagues were this week discussing the challenges of undertaking “knowledge work” and how to survive it.

Knowledge work is an idea coined by Peter Drucker which means work that consists primarily of creating, using and communicating knowledge, as opposed to manual labour. Any work whose focus consists of generating ideas, communicating and leading is knowledge work.

This means that essentially, it’s work that can follow you everywhere you go. It’s not limited to set times, locations or activities. It can be anywhere, everywhere and all the time.

As I followed the thread of the conversation I recalled a sermon that I’d heard that argued that there shouldn’t actually be a thing called work-life balance. We shouldn’t be compartmentalising our lives so as to distinguish one part as work from the other but should actually work towards integrating our work into the rest of our lives to ensure that we remain whole. Read More

6794671672_d90c3800b7_b

Embracing love, releasing fear

By | Blog | No Comments
I found myself in a conversation with an older lady yesterday at work. After we’d discussed why she’d ended up in hospital, she moved the conversation onto all of the bad news, doom and gloom that is in the media at the moment. Young children accidentally run over, terrorist attacks in Sydney and now France, airplanes disappearing, being blown up or crashed by bad weather.
She expressed her fear at what was happening in the world and seeming lack of any way that these things could be combated.
I also recalled a conversation that I had with a friend of my wife’s towards the end of last year. She was travelling overseas without her family and, in light of all of the goings on around the globe had a very real sense of fear and dread about making the journey as she may never see her family again.
In a world constantly bombarded by news of the next horror or catastrophe, how are we to navigate the fear that sometimes rises within us that the next person to die could be us or our family? That our next journey might be our last?

Read More

6279129844_41abd73421_z

Time to go to school…

By | Blog | No Comments

On Friday I visited the open day of Holland Park Mosque as part of a big year challenge.  It was quite interesting and the people there were friendly, accommodating and articulate. In fact the leader of the Mosque (not the Imam) would have communicated as well as Michael Frost and was very passionate in his main message which was,  ‘we are completely love, peace and security. The rest of it is all geopolitical tensions’.

I would like to ask you all a quick question.

If I asked you right now to spend 3mins telling me what you know about what Muslims believe, practice and what motivates them, what would you say? Read More

Dave and Nora

Opening our hearts & minds to loving our Muslim neighbours

By | Blog | No Comments

In light of the struggle and tension that is surrounding us at the moment with regard to asylum seekers, war in the Middle East and the place of Islam in our community, we have compiled some resources to help those who are interested gain a broader insight into Islam, our shared beliefs and ways forward to a better future together.

On being: Vali Nasr — The Sunni-Shia Divide and the Future of Islam

Mosaic Podcast: The Truth Between Us – Islam

Dave Andrews: Here I stand, 10 steps to nurturing change

John Dickson: A letter to my church

Relevant Magazine: Why you need more Muslim friends

summer

Bringing in the Summer

By | Blog, The Well | No Comments
Much of the time when Jesus was on his preaching circuit he was telling people about “The Kingdom of Heaven.” A world of peace, love, joy, compassion, generosity, justice and so on. A world so priceless that people would sell everything to be a part of it. A world as powerful and transformational as a pinch of yeast in a pound of dough. And the good news Jesus preached was that this incredible kingdom – God’s Kingdom – is near, just around the corner, even making it’s presence known in subtle ways right now.

Read More

women

Women and the Church

By | Blog, The Well | No Comments

I recently had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at another church, and in conversation with one of the elders afterwards (while sipping the usual Nescafé Blend 43 and eating an iced vovo) I discovered that they don’t allow women to preach. Now before I go any further, it’s worth making a very strong note that I am not going to lay out what I think on the matter in this very short article, nor give a theological treatise on the topic, nor is anything I say necessarily the perspective of PostcardRadio. My intention is just to open up the topic, so that you our intelligent readers can have the conversations, because I believe it’s an important conversation to have.

Now a few observations. First, without going into any of the details, it needs to be said that the culture in first century Palestine where the church first started is not the same as the culture of 21st Century Australia. With that in mind, the answers the New Testament church came up with to various questions (including this one) may not always fit as snugly in our world today. Whatever answers we come up with today (to any of the “how to” questions) need to reflect both the way of Jesus and the needs of our own culture. I’ll leave you to nut that one out.

Read More