We're doing DiSC profiles with AFES Hobart Staff

I'm a Di = Dominant major, influence minor.

I like results, action and enthusiasm. If you get in my way I will run you down.

Reformed University Fellowship

I've linked to their useful website from the Uni Fellowship of Christian newsfeed.

H/T Mark Dever interview with Aaron Messner on campus ministry.

Paddy Benn's blog

Is here. I've just subscribed. Paddy Benn could be a swashbuckler if he weren't an evangelist.

Stu on church, and why it does not mean gathering

A controversial post from Stu.

In general, I think the Knox-Robinson view of church is right, and builds on a pretty standard Protestant theology of the Universal and Local Church. It adds greater biblical and theological and in fact biblical-theological clarity to these earlier formulations.

But I agree that the church-as-gathering theology needs some qualifiers. For one, I reckon 'a local church is not A church but THE church' is one of the most unclear ways of making a point in the universe.

Whenever we make too big a fuss about 'using words properly', it's important to acknowledge, as Stu does, that different languages have different ranges of meanings... and so English 'church' can mean building and so forth.... Although he seems to make the opposite point in this post!

Also, saying 'church doesn't have a mission, it is the end goal' is not very clear. An end goal can also have subsidiary functions. In the case of the church, God doesn't gather to himself a people who get cryogenically frozen. He gathers to himself a people who are active in loving him and one another. Part of being the end goal is being active in serving God, his people and purposes.

Some reflections on different types of small groups

Rick guest blogs on Ed Stetzer's blog.

I want the 'fellowship groups' to be a key part of the Uni Fellowship's mission, even though I'm not super excited about small groups personally, so I'm learning a lot and hoping to find the right people to hand the ministry to... and then get out of the way!

I've been wondering about whether or not to unsubscribe from Stetzer's blog for a few months. As the number of links I've given him over the last few weeks shows, he's back in the game. Well done Ed!

Take an inventory

Have you ever taken a full inventory of your church property?

Take a full inventory. Then give yourself permission to:

  • Chuck things out (I know of more than one minister who has to find sneaky ways of throwing things out so parishoners don't find out!)
  • Buy new things that'll look nice
  • Buy new things that'll make things go smoother
  • Store everything neatly so you can actually find them when you need them
  • Pass things on to those who would use them better
  • What else?
Check out jml's Meditations on the Garbage Bin for more wisdom.

Ed Stetzer is starting Wayne's World

Or rather The Exchange, (are definite articles back in? Are we saying goodbye to vague one-word titles like 'Connect' and 'Engage'?). He writes:

Doing a "web show" feels a bit like I should be broadcasting from a basement in Aurora, IL, but I have hopes that we can be some encouragement to pastors and leaders... My main agenda is simple: to help pastors and church leaders in a setting that includes questions and dialogue. If I had my way, I would personally coach and encourage every pastor or leader. But, since they actaully want me to lead a research team here at LifeWay, I am somewhat limited in my capacity. with this new show, I can talk through some common themes and interact with Christian leaders as we "provoke one another to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24).


Great value of hospitality

RD has a nice post.

H/T Craig.

Google Reader will now give you updates to any website

Jason writes "Google is eating the internet!"

Here's the article.

Once again, if you haven't already, you really should use Google Reader or some equivalent to help you read your blogs. Rather than having to open up a bunch of windows to check each blog one by one, Google Reader just collates all the latest updates of the blogs you tell it to subscribe to.

Can anyone pin this down for me?

Someone, I thought it was Packer, did a breakdown of the doctrine of revelation that runs kind of like the famous song:

  1. God has spoken
  2. It is written
  3. God still speaks
Or something. Can anyone tell me who did it? And where I can find it?

Listening = being affected by what others say

A nice definition from What's Best Next:

Listening is not simply, or mainly, hearing what the other person is saying. It is thinking about what they are saying, and doing so from their point of view.

Implication: This includes a willingness to be influenced by others. If you are generally unaffected by what other people say, you aren't listening.

H/T Bron for sharing this on Google Reader!

Trying to define 'missional' once for all

Ed Stetzer shares plans for draft a manifesto, I kid you not.

Hmm. Personally I think 'missional' is an extremely ugly, silly word. The idea behind it is good, but not especially amazingly revolutionary. Not sure if it's worth the effort to nail down in a manifesto.

And 'missional' is one of those concepts that you're not allowed to criticise without people accusing you that you haven't understood it, which is  a bit annoying.

Why your church plant should plan to buy a building

Andrew Heard's mammoth article on the Geneva website.

Plenty of food for thought here, and plenty of sacred cows turned into hamburgers. Delicious.

When is it ok to stop signing off in a message thread?

Seems like people stop signing off much quicker with Facebook messages (btw if you have my email address I would much much much much much prefer you to email me please. Why choose to use the crappier messaging system?). Sometimes FB messages don't get a sign off at all.

When do you stop signing off? I'd probably only stop if the thread become 'document attached' or 'see you then'. Even then, a lot of people would go for the initial, right?

No phone number on websites


Contact forms on websites.


Naughty TUU.com.au

Otherwise a nice, trendy Quicksilver Triple J sort of website.

Some random hints and tips about fundraising

I've been very thankful to God for the success of the fundraising success in preparation for Uni Fellowship this year. In the process I've learned stacks of stuff and I thought I'd share some odds and ends:

  1. Don't see it as an interference in your ministry. As if if you could just get it out of the way you could get on with the real ministry. You won't do a very good job if you try to just get it out of the way. But more importantly, fundraising is pretty closely related to the rest of your ministry. In some ways standard pastors miss out by not needing to fundraise (in fact the best pastors do 'fundraise' in the way they manage their church budget). Fundraising involves setting vision, building a team of supporters, prayerful dependence on God. The skills involved in fundraising are very similar to the skills involved in evangelism.
  2. Work the phones. There's a place for nice brochures and visiting churches and face to face meetings. But the bread and butter of fundraising is phonecalls. Learn to love it. Buy a really nice phone if that'll help you do it. I've actually found that fundraising has helped me embrace phonecalls. I never really liked them in ministry before. I understood their importance in fundraising and somehow feel more energised to use them in the rest of my minsitry. Real estate sales trainers advise sales staff to spend 45 minutes every day on the phone. Fundraisers and evangelists should do similar, I think.
  3. Learn as much as you can from wherever you can. Don't just attend the obligatory training seminar. Much less rely on your own intuition. Read the books (two I've been suggested are Friend Raising and People Raising), ask others, talk to business people.
  4. Ask big. I heard a story about a guy who asked a potential supporter for backing. The potential patron asked 'How much would you like?' 'Five thousand dollars,' the missio replied. And patron said yes. Later, as the missio was walking out the door, the patron said 'By the way, I would've given you ten, if you'd asked'. Ouch! The lesson is dare to ask big. The worst that can happen is that people will say no. Aim for fewer big donors, rather than millions of $500pa or $1 000pa donors. Those donors are very precious too, but seek big donations as well.
  5. Get good at writing grant applications. I suggest you find the most pedantic and detailed organisation and apply to them. They will force you to write a great application. Then you can re use that for less demanding trusts and impress with your thoughtfulness.
  6. Keep in touch in really good ways. I'm not super persuaded about relying merely on prayer letters and 6 monthly newsletters. If you are going to do them, do them really well. But more important is giving them gestalt: give them some of the fliers and badges and things you are actually using in your ministry. And also, give them relationship. The bigger the sponsor (if they are an individual), the more invested they are in what you are doing. Seek their advice in other ways.
  7. Have a diverse strategy. In addition to seeking regular supporters, here are some other things you can do:
  • Ask some supportive churches to do a once-off mission offering each year.
  • Get one patron to match dollar for dollar donations. Then invite people to give once-off donations.
  • Do a fundraising dinner or party or concert.
  • Sell muffins.
  • Apply to local businesses with Christians owners for grants.
  • Think of appropriate ways to seek donations in-kind (food, office equipment, etc).

Our MTS apprentice is all grown up and left the nest

Give Alan advice on being a good housemate here.

Totally uncontextualised

I feel like a Southern Baptist missionary in Canada, or something.

Jolly has just explained to me that there's really two O Weeks. To confuse the two is to make the 'Fresher Error', which is what they'd call it at the residential college where we worked.

  1. The first O Week (week of the 15th this year) is the official, UTAS O Week. It's seminars.
  2. The second O Week (week of 22nd this year) is the social, TUU O Week. It's beer barrells and Societies Day.
Until just this moment, I have been making the Fresher Error. I repent. I need to contextualise. (Puts on Mumford & Sons and begins to figure out how to use Twitter).

Dissing John Harrower, 'the happy clapper'

An example of pretty lame reporting from local Hobart newspaper, The Mercury.

One may not like everything John Harrower has done, but I think he has been a great blessing to the Tasmania Diocese, and the dissing he's received is, I think, sometimes a sign that he is doing the right thing!

Who's gonna donate us hundreds of drinks and pastries?

I'm gonna ask some businesses to donate us a 200 drinks and 200 pastries for Societies Day for O Week as Uni Fellowship of Christians begins for the year. Who do you reckon will do it?

Who do you reckon is the ideal? Who else should I ask?

Charlie's Juice - Problem with them is they're a New Zealand company.
Nudie Juice - Problem with them is they don't seem to have a distributor in Tassie anymore.
Cascade - Tassie company, but maybe they've already exhausted their sponsorships with alcoholic stuff.

Zum - Established business, perhaps keen to contribute to the community?
Jackman and McRoss - Don't know much about the business. But similar to Zum.
Jean-Pascal - one of their pastry chefs is a Christian, but the owner is French ;-)
La Torta 310 - New business, maybe can't afford it, maybe trying to make their mark?
Golden Tulip - Christian owners, but they are Dutch ;-)

The New Media Frontier (Eds. Reynolds and Overton)

'Blogging, vlogging and podcasting for Christ'. Looks like an interesting read.

Summer of 69: Col Marshall on history of MTS

From NSW's Spur 09 MTS Conference:

Summer of '69 from Colin Marshall on Vimeo.

Briefing Lounge interview with Al re: Geneva

Listen here

Read here

Ground rules for staff meeting

Here are some I'm thinking of for our Uni Fellowship of Christians staff meetings:

  1. Arrive to start at decided time. If you need to make coffees or toasties, arrive earlier.
  2. Mobiles off. Landline answering machine on. Laptops closed. If you need to write TODOs in your phone, write them down on paper and plug them in later.
  3. Listen attentively to others at all times. Never conduct secondary conversations.
  4. If you want to raise additional issues or ideas, send them to the team leader before the meeting begins.
  5. Be supportive of the team leader making decisions and understanding his vision, rather than correcting his decisions.
Can you suggest others? I don't want efficiency or organisational advice. I'm more after courtesy advice.

O Week advice?

I've been asking people for O Week advice. What works? Waht doesn't? What's the best way to make contacts that actually stick? What's the waste of time?

A lot of people are still working hard with the cold-contact business of wandering around the campus and the queues of the Christian Union free BBQs and getting contact details for people interested in stuff.

But some other campuses seem to be a little less focussed on getting a mass of contact details, and more on advertising smart - with postcards sent to uni housing, nice looking fliers and a good public presence.

What's your advice?

We're gonna get bulk SMS this year

It would be too expensive and annoying to do lots, but, judging how much students use their phones (and how lame they can be at using email) it would be foolish not to use it.

So we're going to send out SMSs to advertise big events - our monthly Citywide Gathering, our missions, our MYC. We're going with Global SMS, I think. Ask Alan.

Two notes from a Driscoll sermon

Nikki has a Mars Hill podcast on her iPod. I often listen to Driscoll while I go for a bike ride in the morning. This morning it was Jesus is Man (Luke 3).

A couple of notes:

  1. Driscoll talked about Jesus not starting his ministry until 30 and then said that this is a good, normal time to expect to start church planting. 'I started at 25 but I was ridiculous.'
  2. Throughout this series, it's pretty clear that Driscoll hasn't nailed the main biblical meaning of 'Son of God', he reads 'God the Son' into it each time. Most of the time, in the Bible, 'Son of God' means something different to 'God the Son'; often it is close in meaning to 'Messiah'.

History of EV Church

This a really fun interview from In The Chute, with Al Stewart asking Andrew Heard all about the history of Central Coast-EV Church.

When people ask 'Why get involved in Geneva?' one of the big reasons I give is - 'Because of Al and Andrew'. I think this interview demonstrates something of the immense value of these guys and their warm, complementary, respectful relationship.

Quick daily staff meetings

I'm going to be doing this with my staff from now until after O Week. We've got the office to set up, databases to clean up and the start of the year to prepare for.

I've never done this before. But I reckon brief, 1/2 hour touch-base, re-focus, answer-any-questions staff meetings will be really rewarding.

I think I may have them up my sleeve as something to use at particular seasons. Anyone else testify to their value?

Please make your full feed available on RSS

It's annoying not being about to read the whole thing in Google Reader or equivalent.

That means Crux, From the Dean and maybe one or two others out there...

Redeemer's approach to multi site

Keller spells out the differences in Redeemer's strategy.

Must admit it sounds much nicer than the video venue thing. I really don't like that.

Fourteen years of Mars Hill

 Driscoll talks about some of the problems with the way it started and shares some very funny old photos.

Plantinga's beef with evidentialism

If the Holy Spirit overcomes the blinding power of sin, surely we can be persuaded to believe on the basis of evidence, like Josh McDowell or Richard Swinburne offers? Big Al says:

I don't think so. Even discounting the effects of sin on our apprehension of the historical case, that case isn't strong enough to produce warranted belief that the main lines of Christian teaching are true - at most, it could produce the warranted belief that the main lines of Christian teaching aren't particularly improbable.
Warranted Christian Belief (p. 271)

Celebrate reason


Just processed my projects in preparation for starting back to work

Have gone from 5 to 30.

But it's nice to it all nailed down. Far better than a bunch of Notes To Self in a manila folder.

Text files on your desktop

Simple way to keep lists, TODOs, movies to watch, RSVPs other things that simply don't require software that's any more powerful.

In fact the brute simplicity of a text editer is that it actually frees you up to not have to think about formatting and filing and complicating. It's the computer version of scribbling a note-to-self.

Do you use text files on your desktop? What for?

Social conservatism in Pixar films

So this post argues:

There is something conservative about much of Pixar's output, but when I say conservative, I mean a small "c" conservative that sees the world along the same lines as Edmund Burke: "A disposition to preserve." I'm going to call this "social conservatism," by which I don't mean the religious or moral conservatism of modern political discourse, but a conservatism that is interested in preserving traditional social features - in particular, the idea of "family" - but which sees such preservation as ultimately futile. The family will dissolve, eventually, and so we must do what we can to keep it going as long as possible. It is a worldview based not on progression but on loss.

New building for Hunter Bible Church?

In this video we get a glimpse at a possible building for Hunter Bible Church, Newscastle, and hear Greg Lee unpack some of the reasons owning a building can be good for a church.

A possible HBC building? from David Moore on Vimeo.

Man I hate that 'Greater Things' song.

Con is starting to like preaching without notes

He explains here.

I thing it can work well both ways, but I agree that there are some great benefits to going notes-free, or more-or-less notes-free.

How do you do it? I think you need to move away from thinking a sermon needs every sentence mapped out, and instead think in bigger blocks. If you know your material well, you could speak impromptu on this or that element. So why not thw whole thing? I think that's the best way to approach it.

'Fundamentalist' is not really much of a charge

Alvin Plantinga writes:

The full meaning of the term, therefore, (in this use), can be given by something like 'stupid sumbitch whose theological opinions are considerably to the right of mine'.
 It is therefore hard to take seriously... as a charge. The alleged charge means only that these views are rather more conservative than those of the objector, together with the expression of a certain distaste for the views or those who hold them. But how is that an objection to anything, and why should it warrant the contempt and contumely that goes with the term?
(Warranted Christian Belief, p. 245)

Fun with Malachi 2:15

You Hebrew nerds out there might have a stab at this one some time. So far my Hebrew skills extend to the alphabet, the rule of the shewa and a growing exasperation with the Masoretes...

  • God made Adam and Eve one. Even thought he had a surfeit of the creative Spirit and could have made more wives if he had wanted to. Marriage is created to perpetuate godly children [so Calvin].
  • God made Adam and Eve one in flesh ['residue' read as 'flesh'] and spirit. Marriage is created to perpetuate godly children [so NIV].
  • God made the nation one people and keeps them as his spiritual remnant. He intended the nation to produce godly children.
  • God made the people one, even though he had a residue of Spirit available for the nations. He intended the nation to produce godly children.
  • When Abraham was the one, alone, he had multiple wives. But if you had any residue of sense you'd see he did that with the goal of securing the child of the promise.
Oh dear...

Thinking more about God's glory and purposes

For those who are interesting in infuriating theological details in blog comments, my previous post has a decent discussion going.

How central is Christ to God's plans? Did God decide to gather all things up in Christ before he planned for the fall? Should we see God's love for the world as a central motivation for his actions?

Keller audio from Global Cities conference


Arminian in the pulpit?

PDJ says no way:

Sometimes, however, the 'boring' verdict tells more about the hearer's willingness to listen to God's word than the preacher's ability to teach it.  It is important not only for ministers but also for congregation members to understand the aims and goals of preaching and preachers.

Calvinists must never be seduced into Arminian style preaching in response to the 'boring' criticism.  For the style of preaching expresses the theology that lies behind it and Arminian theology is significantly different to Calvinist theology.  The Arminian concentration on human responsibility has an immediacy and relevance to the hearer.  It is always interesting to hear a sermon about yourself.  There is no topic more interesting to the human heart than 'me'.

However, in an attempt to be relevant, lively, challenging, interesting and exciting, Calvinists must not ignore the profound weaknesses in Arminian preaching.  For the difference has deep pastoral consequences – even deeper and more important than boredom.

Advance: Melbourne leadership training

City on a Hill's leadership training plans have just been unveiled.

Giving feedback to hackers

We plan to regularly publish resources for Univeristy Fellowship of Christians Alumni on our Alumni Resources Feed.

This article is about the best way to conduct computer code reviews. I hope you enjoy it.

Looking for $10 000 from personal supporters

To be able to start the year with office space and staff. This would be a massive boost to the the ministry, by allowing staff to focus on the important work of evangelism and working with students. It would also be a great morale boost to everyone involved.

Thankfully one alumnus donated $10 000 towards this, which is very awesome and, I hope, inspiring!

So I'm still looking for $10 000 from personal supporters - either once off donations or ongoing partnership. Let's break that down:

1x $100/wk ($5 000) + 2 x $50/wk ($2 500)


2 x $50/wk ($2 500) + 5 x $20/wk ($1 000).

Please be praying and contributing.

Challies is writing a book about technology

I was thinking a book like that needs writing.

I hope this is it, or close to it.

Os Guinness' defence of Francis Schaeffer

Against the criticisms of his son, Franky Schaeffer.

It's a fascinating and sad story, the story of Franky Schaeffer. It was interesting and helpful to read Guinness' response.

God's glory as the primary thing?

Michael Bird has this to say in his review of Tom Schreiner's New Testament Theology (Themelios 34:1, emphasis mine):

The only major criticism I have of the volume is Schreiner's theological centre of God working out his salvation plan so that he would be magnified in Christ. First.... Schreiner's centre is a synthetic interpretation and an inference drawn from the texts, but does not directly manifest itself in the NT. Something akin to God's salvation revealed through Jesus Christ would have a better claim to being the centre in my reckoning.

Second... I think it is important to add that God's self-magnification relates intimately to God's love as well. For instance, in Ps 115:1... God's glory is something placed in service of his covenant love. God's love and glory are complementary aspects of his character and actions, so we can properly say that God's glory and God's love are different sides of the same coin... Thus, while God's self-magnification is a genuine biblical theme, we should stress also the inter-permeation of God's self-giving loving with Gd's concern for his own glory, and so disarm suspicions that God's self-magnification is a form od divine self-interest.
I think this is a helpful correction to the welcome emphasis on God's glory in John Piper's writing, for example.

Driscoll quote for the New Year

It's not a sin. But neither's eating a lawnmower. It's just dumb.