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About AG

an Aussie bloke with a concern for truth, an inquisitive mind and a sense of humor.

Pastor Fired by Church

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Re-posted from 2011: Charles Stone introduces his book, ‘Five Ministry Killers and How to Kill Them‘ with a story of how a Church fired their Pastor. As I started the first paragraph, I thought it was a fictional parable used to kick off the main topic of the book.

I read a little further and started to feel a little awkward. Some of the issues were a little too close to home for me. Then, the surprise (for me anyway!). The pastor is a real person and Stone is talking about real struggles that defeat many men and women who are in Christian Ministry.

The pastor in question, faced difficulties with power struggles, salary controversies and questions about his leadership style. His visitation policy was considered questionable and he was accused of “not loving the people.” Why? Because he made a decision to concentrate on his strengths and gifts in preaching and teaching instead of following a routine visiting program.

After some time, one particular man lead a bullying campaign that would eventually see the pastor fired from his job. The pastor made a decision to introduce changes in the Church policy about the expectations of the character of those that wanted to become Church members. He was called to question for this stance. He was threatened with losing his job. He stood his ground and they fired him.

Stone closes off this account of the pastor, “Jonathan”, as follows:

Ten years later, because Jonathan had so graciously responded to his critics and his dismissal, one of his main detractors admitted that pride, self-sufficiency, ambition, and vanity had caused the contention. The pastor’s handling of his ministry crisis left such and impression that eventually the church publicly repented of their actions, exactly 150 years after they sent him packing.

Who was Jonathan? Jonathan Edwards, arguably America’s greatest theologian.

Dear Pastor friend, if it happened to Edwards, chances are you will face similar challenges. Are you ready to meet them with a godly, gospel oriented approach?

Dear Church Member friend, if you have a Pastor that has different ideas about leadership style and ministry emphasis are you able to model gospel oriented flexibility and serve alongside him for God’s glory?

Related Articles:

Ed Stetzer – Church Leadership Book Interview: Charles Stone on 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them

Check out this recent post by Don – a supplement to the comment he made on the original post from 2011.
Firing Your Pastor

 
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Posted by on 27/06/2015 in church, ministry, leadership, Reading

 

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Our Fund Raising Update

After the sale of some furniture today, we have reached the goal amount.

 

saying goodbye to furniture and hello to a new opportunity

 


We have been able to make a deposit on removalists who, via a backload, are going to transport most of our personal belongings to Queensland. The remaining items, such as furniture we are not able to sell, will be stored in Sydney for a few months (the money raised covers storage for 3 months). We are hoping, once we’re settled and have some sort of regular income arranged, to use the same removals company to backload the stored materials later in the year. 

I am overwhelmingly grateful to those that gave to us and purchased things we sold.

In time, perhaps after July, I will be able to comment more freely about the circumstances that lead to some serious health concerns in our family and the move back to Townsville to stay with extended family. We have been able to speak with many friends personally and talk through the details with them privately.

I haven’t finalised any firm dates on movement yet. I will post an update once arranged.
I have removed the Paypal link from the earlier post as we have raised our goal amount. I have included a supporters link in the side margin of the website for anyone that may wish to continue supporting our family and ministry. As with any move, there will likely be unexpected things that will arise. However, we hope and expect that once arrived safely we will be able to arrange regular income through either work or other means.

Once again, thank you and God bless.

 
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Posted by on 01/06/2015 in General

 

Fund Raising Request

We are trying to raise $4500 (AUD) to cover expenses of our move from Sydney to Townsville. Due to health and family reasons we are attempting to be in Townsville by July. We’ve sold various things and have raised $140, which is well short of the required amount.

There is a PayPal Link below that can be used. Anyone who knows how to contact us privately may do so and we can give bank account information for a direct deposit.

[edit on 1 June – removed to the website margin after reaching the goal amount per update]

There’s no obligation or expectation to give. If, for any reason, you’re uncomfortable or disagree with me asking this way, please, just ignore this or delete email, message etc.

The funds will cover removalists carriage of essential personal effects, transit insurance for those effects, 3 months of storage for remaining items, cost of sending our pet dog to Townsville, and travel by car for our family (i.e. petrol & food for a 2260km trip).
I’ll give regular updates on amounts received up to the goal total.

Some of our items being sold via GumTree.

Updates
May 24 Update: $180 (cash from sale items) + $320 (gifts)
May 25: $320 (sales) + $280 (gifts)
May 26: $170 + $550
May 27: $100 +$120
May 28: $25 + $1000
May 29: – + $200
June 1: – +530
Sales of furniture and personal goods on Monday June 1 mean that we have reached the goal amount.
Total to date: $4500

Thank you to everyone that helped our family in this way.

 
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Posted by on 23/05/2015 in General

 

Ministry is

saving-friend-battle-of-verdunIn a recent discussion around the formation and shape of Christian ministry there was a reflection exercise. In-part, the reflection considered how, if at all, Biblical patterns informed present day ministry practice. The term, “Ministry” can be quite ambiguous and is not simple to define.

Bible passages that stand out to me, (along with many others you could probably mention) are Aaron’s act as described in Numbers 16:47-48. Paul’s description of himself to the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 4:7-12), Jesus summary commission recorded in the fourth gospel (John 20:21) and Paul’s commission from God in Acts 26:17-18.

My “reflection” on these is a free-verse composition.

I love you, he said.
Here is everything I have. It’s yours.
I hate you, I replied.
I don’t want what you have.
I will burn it, despise it and destroy all you are.
My pain is too great. I cannot bear it.
I want to die and end it all.
Let me, take it from you, he said.
But why? I replied
It’s worthless, broken and full of shame.
Let me take it from you and give mine instead.
And then he died.
In brokenness, shame and indignity.
I am still broken.
I am NOT destroyed.
I AM re-made.
I have a treasure now he gave me.
Yet. It’s not for me.
It’s for all the broken people I can see.
I can love them. With his love.
Though they hate me.
Their pain is too great and they cannot bear it too.
I can take it from them.
They can be remade.
Because I can die for them.
Death can work in me and life will work in them.
I stand. Between the living and the dead.
He stood for me.

 What is ministry? It’s not heroic. It’s not taken for granted. It is something to live up to … and then die for.

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in church, discipleship, Jesus, leadership, ministry

 

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Helmets save lives

Helmets save cyclists too

Mine saved me.

On my way home from a ride with my Sunday cycling group I came off my bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was the Sunday before Christmas Day. Were it not for my helmet. I would have likely have either suffered permanent and significant brain damage or I would have died. I have no memory of the accident, or the 36-48 hours afterwards and to be honest, the few weeks after during recovery and rehab are a bit fuzzy also.

 

 

10882293_10152961386548980_7183192554321424354_nThat’s one reason I haven’t maintained my blog. Recovering from the injury and making some adjustments to my schedule, personal life and family time have affected much in how I prioritize people, relationships, activities and things.

 

So for my first 2015 entry before re-entering the fray, here’s some photos of the accident.

 

The last is me standing at the site of the accident about between 2 and 3 weeks after the accident. The stain on the concrete is my blood from the head wounds. My daughter is standing in the background where it is estimated that I came off the bike.

Not all accidents can be anticipated or prevented. Some things happen without a known direct cause. But, gravity ensures that if a rider comes off their bike they will fall to the ground. If you’re wearing a helmet when it happens, your likelihood of survival increases enormously. Some people say they don’t like cycling helmets because it makes them feel like a dork. I’m more than happy to wear mine, now so even more. I’d rather look like a dork than a corpse. Although that photo of me at hospital isn’t too far off :)

And, yes. I have started riding again. With lots of support and encouragement from my team and a nice little Garmin kit as well. Stay safe, enjoy your ride. And always wear your helmet!

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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in Blokes, Just for fun

 

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on 31/12/2014 in General

 

Fair and unfair questions about the connection between religion and abuse

The Sydney siege has given rise to a lot of discussion in Australia about the role of the gunman’s religious beliefs in either inspiring or contributing to his actions which culminated in taking arming himself and taking hostages in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney this week. Precedents have been cited of others with allegedly similar professed beliefs committing heinous crimes throughout the world.

The overly simplified argument is that Islam was founded amidst violence and that many adherents believe they are justified and encouraged to pursue violence against those who disagree, reject or convert away from Islam. True enough, there are examples of this. Perhaps most notable are the recent actions of the Islam State cult and the Taliban or Al Qaeda. In other instances there are national governments lead by an Islamic ethos that display strong prejudice and discrimination against non-Islamic minorities in their countries.

Yet, making an inference, whether implied or explicit, that all adherents of Islam are on the same trajectory for the same reason as those that motivate the Taliban or the Lindt Cafe gunman is poor logic and hypocritical.

Questions ought to be asked about the contributing factors inspiring a decision to take hostages and murder two of them. What role, if any, did a perception or interpretation of religion play in that decision? But to assume that all other adherents of that religion, regardless of degree of traditional orthodoxy or intercultural expression, are no different to the gunman or the Taliban, creates some dangerous precedents.

Asking questions in general or debating the merits of an ideology or religion ought to be welcome in the public square. Such discussion ought to be able to take place without degenerating into ad hominem attacks and insults. These only serve to create animosity, fear, hatred and do nothing for the interests of truth and justice.

If, when considering Islam, you make a leap from one gunman or one criminal association or even the habitual practice of a particular government to extend to each individual without exception, then why don’t you do the same with other ideologies and intercultural religious expressions?

For instance, to cite the example made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday, when the IRA terrorists were bombing the UK and killing innocents, is every Roman Catholic a murderer?
Likewise, when an Atheist regime in North Korea oppresses an entire nation, is every non-theist an egomaniacal abusive dictator bent on destroying the world?
Or, when a Christian minister or Catholic priest abuses a child, is every Christian a pervert and a paedophile?

You can no more argue that Islam always attracts or inspires violence than you can that Christianity always attracts or inspires crimes against children. It goes beyond the absurd and becomes a deviance of it’s own.

Let’s ask the difficult questions, and lets make sure that all ideas and actions are held up to scrutiny. But let’s do it in fair play. I for one, am more than happy for my beliefs and practices to undergo the same. I’m confident you can do it and disagree passionately with my religious conclusions, regardless of how well I might make an argument, and still not malign me at the end. (If you do, well it’s no loss to me that you’re an incorrigible hard case.) Neither do you have to endorse or agree with me to ask those questions and seek understanding and clarification.

However, if, in the course of your examination you find some gross inconsistency in my character, I’m confident that you’ll attribute that to my personal flaws without condemning 2000 years of Christianity or every other professing Christian of being guilty of the same for the same reasons regardless of their background and context.

I hope my Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist and all other friends are equal to the task also. There’s no need for us to reach a consensus to have the discussion or to reap the benefits of civilised society.

 
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Posted by on 18/12/2014 in Culture, leadership

 

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