Mirrors 27th November 2015

1. So apparently it is now 5 years between graduating from uni and landing landing full-time, permanent work. That doesn’t sound so fun. 

2. At least after 5 years uni students are getting work. What about in the future when almost everything will be done by robots? How will we make sure that the rest of us are properly provided for? How accurate is this video do you think?

3. I’m a Christian but I’m not… went viral a few months back. There’s lots of stuff here I’d want to agree with. Until I begin to wonder whether I really do agree at all.  But worst of all is the almost total lack of Jesus in this entire thing. 

4. When did Steve McAlpine’s blog become so wonderful? He is the ‘it’ Aussie blogger at the moment I reckon. This post on helping prepare Christian teenagers to interact in a society that is hostile to Christian sexual ethics is terrific. 

5. A bunch of helpful training videos from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission 

6. Is it a big deal whether or not Christians choose to sometimes refer to God as ‘she’? 

7. Ten things you should know about the gender pay gap. 

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/21ixeKC (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)

Passive sabotage: doing a task with alligator arms

We watched this video of Patrick Lencioni summarising the 5 disfunctions of a team in our staff retreat today. It was a fruitful time of training and discussion.

The bit that I really fell in love with was when he was describing the kind of behaviours people engage in when they are not really committed to a team.

Rarely do people actively sabotage a team they are not committed to, Lencioni argues. Rather we passively sabotage. He vividly describes it as ‘doing a task with alligator arms’ (ie small and fiddly and ineffective). See the video below at 23 minutes:

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1MPZnPo (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)

God didn’t choose a random nation he created one

In question time at this year's Tasmanian MYC, my colleague Sam Green gave a great answer to a question about Israel. 

Often we ask 'Why did God choose one nation among many? Why did he choose only one nation?" and so on.

It is true that God speaks of Israel as 'a chosen nation'. And there are many answers to this question of why he chose this nation and only this nation. The LORD clearly says it's not becasue they were great or wise, but simply because he chose to show his favour to them.

But Sam pointed out that in the first place, God didn't choose a nation at random among many existing nations. Rather, he CREATED a new nation out of his promise to the one man (and him nearly dead): Abraham.

So it's not that God chose a nation, God made a new nation of his very own. He created something new.

And in this way his election of Israel is much closer to the New Testament doctrine of new birth. And in this way, as Romans 4 points out, the creating of Israel actually gives hope to all other nations.

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1QNBFIB (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)

Chronic illness and serving God - Charlotte Elliot

At church last night, our pastor told the story of Charlotte Elliott, author of 'Just As I Am'. She became sick at the age of 30 and remained ill the rest of her life. And yet from her sick bed she wrote many hymns for the Invalid's Hymnbook (!) including the Billy Graham Crusade classic 'Just As I Am'. She wrote:

My Heavenly Father knows, and He alone, what it is, day after day, and hour after hour, to fight against bodily feelings of almost overpowering weakness and languor and exhaustion, to resolve, as He enables me to do, not to yield to the slothfulness, the depression, the irritability, such as a body causes me to long to indulge, but to rise every morning determined on taking this for my motto, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me.

And her brother, a Christian minister wrote of her:

In the course of a long ministry I hope I have been permitted to see some fruit for my labours; but I feel far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister's

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1MgzWIS (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)

How a former pastor (or ministry team leader) can stay at their church after a transition

It's received wisdom in my ministry circles for the pastor to change churches when they step down. I've heard plenty of sad stories about former pastors sticking around and there being all sorts of difficulties, until the former pastor eventually leaves.

The same is true with other ministry teams for parachurch ministries and ministry organisations - it is very difficult to make this transition.

And yet it's not impossible for the former leader to stick around and everything to go fine. It happens in non-church contexts all the time, it has no doubt happened historically in traditional churches and it seems to happen a bit in Pentecostal churches.

My personal experience

I have had a positive experience of this change this twice:

  1. I helped plant Crossroads Presbyterian Church. Dan Shepheard join our staff in 2008 with a view to taking over leadership. He worked in 2008 under my leadership. In 2009 he took over senior leadership but I remained on the staff team. In 2010 stopped serving as a staff member and as an elder, began working for AFES, but remained a member of the church.
  2. In 2010 I became Campus Director of AFES Hobart. Samuel Green, who was formerly both Campus Director and leader of the Uni Fellowship ('local'/English first language group), handed these roles to me, but remained the Tasmanian Regional Director.

Both transitions were challenging, but but 'worked'. We went into the change with lots of thought, lots of prayer, lots of communication. And by God's kindness they went great.

For the leader stepping down

Nothing is so serious in the future of this ministry that it justified the former pastor interfering. The former pastoring interfering will always be the worst of two evils.

For the person taking over

Honour and respect the previous leader, rather than seek to conform them to the new way of doing things. Be willing to 'grandfather in' all sorts of exceptions to honour the place of the former leader - especially if they stay on the staff team.

Thom Rainer's advice

This post was sparked by reading Thom Rainer's blog post on the subject. I think we pretty much did everything on this list:

  1. Don't expect former pastor to sever all relationships.
  2. If the relationship is healthy the advantages of keeping the former leader are many.
  3. The former pastor should take an extended break from attending the church.
  4. The longer the tenure, the longer the break should be.
  5. The former pastor should not keep trying to be the pastor of members.
  6. The former pastor should not be perceived to be second-guessing the new pastor.
  7. The new pastor should not denigrate the ministry of the former pastor.

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1NbBtgK (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)

Ideas for making contacts and following up from ‘Cru’ (Campus Crusade for Christ)

I've enjoyed reading and listening to some material on how American uni ministries have made the most of new contacts in the first few weeks of the uni year - it comes from the blog of a guy named Tim Casteel:

Some things that stood out to me because they differend in various ways from how we've done things here:

  1. Involve lots of local church people to volunteer to help increase your O Week workforce
  2. Have LIVE data entry - so that some people are plugging in details at the same moment that others are making contacts.
  3. Chase a new contact SEVEN times, over the course of a week before giving up.
  4. Hold social nights on campus each night you do contacting during the day - so there is something to invite people to straight away - with free pizza, brief explanation about the Christian group, a testimony etc.
  5. Invite people BACK to the place where you held the social night the following week - and run first year small groups in that context for the first few weeks of semester.
  6. Aim to meet with every new contact face to face in the first few weeks of semester.
  7. Have multiple contact tables all over the campus.
  8. Create a really festive 'party' fun vibe for students and staff who are doing the immediate phone/SMS/email follow up of new contacts.
  9. The role of the staff is especially to go between all the teams and boost morale - reminding them why it's worth it.
  10. Use a brief, simple survey of people's 'Spiritual interest' so that you get Christians, non-Christians, interested and non-interested to fill them out.
  11. Ask 'Would you like to join a group?' and give options Yes, No and Maybe so students don't have to commit then and there.
  12. Have little incentives for people to fill out the surveys - something decently attractive and free!
  13. Ask those who fill out each form to write their name on it afterwards, too.
  14. Provide free snacks and drinks for all those doing the work, during the day.

via Blog - Christian Reflections http://ift.tt/1RpR7sL (NB: to comment go to http://ift.tt/1FyvdLS)