7 WAYS LEADERS CAN
quarterly publication for acc leaders
FLOURISH IN THIS SEASON
OF OUR YOUTH
RESILIENT LEADERSHIP 1
RESILIENT LEADERSHIP Pastors and leaders have stood at the frontline of bringing faith and hope to people as the world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. This edition champions leaders who are navigating the way forward.
Cover photo: Marcus Oostenbroek Wayne & Lyn Alcorn at ACC21 National Conference
RESILIENT LEADERSHIP by Wayne Alcorn
RESEARCH ON FUTURE OF THE AUSTRALIAN CHURCH
OAM FOR GRAHAM CORNEY
THE JOY OF BEING SENT
INSIGHTS TO AUSTRALIAN TEENS
1 IN 4 YOUNG PEOPLE STRUGGLE IN PANDEMIC Mission Australia
LAUNCHING 1800CHAPLAIN Q&A with Ralph Estherby
WHY BECOME A CHAPLAIN? with Alison Sherwood, Stephen Bell & Glenn Berry
7 WAYS LEADERS CAN FLOURISH IN THIS SEASON by Mark Varughese
CHURCH IN EXILE? by Kartina Yassi
HEALING THE LAND with Wayne Alcorn, Will Dumas, Paul Bartlett and John Hunt
HOW CHURCHES PRESENT A WELCOME TO COUNTRY by Clayton Anderson
RE-THINK IT by Paul Bartlett
OUR LEADERSHIP SCORECARD by Jacqueline Grey
ENTREPRENEURSHIP Q&A with Michael Lui
SAFER CHURCHES HOTLINE TRENDS by Allyson Parker
© 2021 Australian Christian Churches. The ACC EMag is published quarterly by the ACC. Editor: Daryl-Anne Le Roux Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Design & Editorial Assistant: Amelia Dales
RESILIENT LEADERSHIP by Wayne Alcorn
I want to honour every local church and state leader who has been leading God’s people as we navigate this Covid pandemic. They’ve been standing on the frontline for months, bringing hope and faith in such stressful times. As pastors, managing our own emotional and mental stress is so important as we lead through this season. In August, I had a live Zoom conversation with Dr Robi Sonderegger about Leadership Resilience in Turbulent Times. We spoke about managing anxiety, helping pastors manage difficult people, and things we can do to care for our own wellbeing. Everyone has a Covid story. I am aware of the toll on people in this heavy season with so many things adding stress and anxiety – health, employment, vaccinations, restrictions. As ministers, we have to keep leading and loving and serving our people, when these issues affect us personally as well. Think back when you last flew on a plane (for many this was possibly in preCovid times). The inflight safety instructions state in the midst of turbulence, when the cabin air pressure changes dramatically, oxygen masks will be released from above. The directive is to put your own mask on first, before you help others. The health and wellbeing of leaders is so important at this time, as we try to help others navigate these times. I encourage every pastor to honestly assess yourself, and put your hand up if you need help. Have those conversations with mentors or friends that you trust. You are not meant to stand alone. We are in this together.
Wayne Alcorn is the ACC National President, and together with his wife, Lyn, pastors Hope Centre in Brisbane.
WATCH THE LEADERSHIP RESILENCE CONVERSATION 3
@ACCSNAPSHOT – CELEBRATING ACC PASTORS AND CHURCHES
COMMUNION – Enjoy Church continuing to share communion even during lockdown in Victoria.
CREDENTIALS – We honour and celebrate all our new ACC credential holders across the nation. Congratulations from the ACC family.
GATHERING – ACC Tasmania gathered for their annual State Conference.
FATHERS – Influencers Church celebrating dads on Father’s Day.
COMMUNITY – HopeUC provided food relief for those in their community.
WORSHIP – Fervent praise and worship at the ACC South Australian State Conference. 4
INDIGENOUS – This July, ACC churches across the nation celebrated NAIDOC week. MISSIONS – ACCI partners, Russell & Jenny Barton arrived safely back in Uganda.
ENGAGEMENT – Centrepoint Church honoured their local community leaders, including local Councillors, State/Federal Politicians and School Principals.
WOMEN – Desert Life Church hosted their women’s conference in Alice Springs, NT.
CONNECTING – Hundreds of ACC women from across the country gathered for a National Zoom Connect hosted by Julia A’Bell.
YOUTH – Churches and youth ministries across Perth came together for Youth Alive gathering in Western Australia.
FOLLOW @accsnapshot for more ACC church life 5
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA FOR GRAHAM CORNEY The ACC congratulates Graham Corney, founding partner of Corney & Lind, on being awarded the medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). The OAM recognises Australians who have demonstrated outstanding service or exceptional achievement. Graham is a recipient for service to education governance. The ACC is grateful for Graham’s continued wisdom and counsel over the years in the area of church governance.
RESEARCH ON FUTURE OF THE AUSTRALIAN CHURCH The 2021 National Church Life Survey (NCLS) has invited hundreds of thousands of church attenders invited to take part through their local churches. This is a clear indication that churches are focused on the future and what it holds. The largest, longest running survey of local churches in the world, the NCLS has tracked the life of the Australian Christian Church and its attenders for over 30 years. The ACC movement has been part of the NCLS since the first wave in 1991. In 2021 NCLS researchers are calling on every local Christian church in Australia to take part. “The Christian community is constantly interacting with social trends, cultural diversity and other challenges and opportunities. To grow and thrive, it is imperative churches engage the changing context. The Church Life Survey is an important tool that enables us to listen to what churchgoers are saying, and provide an informed response,” says NCLS Research Director, Dr Ruth Powell.
know that there are divergent views across church communities.” Dr Powell says understanding church attender and leader attitudes towards current issues are crucial for an informed contemporary ministry.
“We are pleased to support the ACC leadership understand church trends each year via the ACC Census. This year the ACC Census will be combined with the National Church Life Survey”, noted Dr Powell.
The NCLS Research team works across all Christian churches and aims to provide accurate and informative data for churches to use to connect with their community. It is also a valuable tool for various interest groups and more broadly, provides a springboard for further academic research.
The 2021 NCLS seeks to understand the views of church attenders on a broad range of issues including church health, leadership, inclusion, wellbeing, spiritual beliefs and practices, especially during a time of crises.
Results of the 2021 NCLS will be released from March 2022 onward. More info: ncls.org.au
“The 2021 survey doesn’t shy away from difficult subjects. We
HOW WE CAN PRAY Provided by our ACCI partners in the area
GENEROUS SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN As we have watched the horrific scenes in Afghanistan unfold in August, we have been moved with great sorrow and compassion for the Afghan people. ACCI launched the Afghanistan Appeal in August, soon after the Taliban took control of much of Kabul. So far, (as at end of September 2021) the Appeal has raised over $300,000. We are incredibly thankful to everyone who has given so generously, which is enabling us to launch a significant response to this unfolding humanitarian crisis. The finances raised through this Appeal have already begun to be disbursed. We are working alongside two ACCI Field Worker couples and their partners in the region, who are working closely with groups of refugees – both those who have made it out of Afghanistan and those who are still trying to leave. We are so grateful to these ACCI Field Workers, who have served faithfully for many years in this region and are now in a great position to work together with ACCI to ensure these funds are spent wisely and effectively. Funds will be used to cover expenses like travel costs and documentation, emergency food and other basic supplies, temporary safe housing and other resettlement costs for refugees. Whilst we are eager to respond to the needs now, we also know that this is an unfolding crisis, and we are passionate about coming along side and supporting these refugees for many months to come.
No one can precisely predict what will happen next in Afghanistan however, the situation is incredibly stressful for many. Those we are in contact with are fearful for the future. There is a pervading hopelessness with the memory of the last time the Taliban were in control of the country. We are calling out on behalf of a nation to a Father God who knows (Psalm 139), who cares (Psalm 103), and who provides even in the most difficult of times (Psalm 84).
PRAY FOR: Afghan Believers – Pray that God will protect them and their families, and keep them safe as they face great persecution for their faith. Afghan Refugees – Pray for those desperately trying to flee the country, at a time when there are no commercial flights. Pray for routes to open up and nations to welcome them. Christian workers – Pray for those who are called to minister to the Afghan people, to bring a message of hope, based on God’s Word. Afghanistan – Pray for the future of Afghanistan and for the members of the Taliban The Church – Pray that the worldwide body of Christ unites together to pray, and support those who find refuge in other countries through aid and resources.
HELPING AFGHAN REFUGEES IN AUSTRALIA
Image courtesy of Deseret News
Report by John Hunt, Director ACCI 7
Our heart is to come alongside and assist those Afghan refugees who have fled their homes and need help to re-settle in safety and build a new life. The ACC joined ‘Christians United For Afghanistan’ who have lobbied for a greater intake of Afghan refugees into our nation. We can be part of welcoming and supporting them to resettle in Australia. More info: unitedforafghanistan.com
THE JOY OF BEING SENT
Renee said there were many things people could do now to prepare, even while borders remained closed, like: • enrolling in ACCI’s Intercultural Ministry Competence course or undertaking other relevant training
One of the highlights of the virtual PanAsia Conference this year was a session focused on helping new missionaries prepare for the field.
• working with an ACCI field coach to make a strategic plan • engaging supporters “As of mid-2021 we have more ACCI field workers back on the field than still in Australia. We are hoping and praying by 2022 to see more borders open and more opportunities for new field workers to go out onto the field.”
ACCI Missions Manager and Field Coach Renee Quilty, talked to participants about the steps involved and encouraged those who were interested to contact ACCI straight away. “If you are feeling like this is God’s calling for you, please call us,” Renee said. “You don’t have to have all your plans laid out. The sooner we connect, the sooner we can help you in the process.”
Ready to start your missions journey? Visit acci.org.au/go or email email@example.com
For the second year running, ACCI hosted a virtual version of the annual PanAsia Conference. Using three social media platforms, the conference featured a number of online discussions with field workers, video messages from ACCI leaders and live question and answer sessions. The content has so far been viewed more than 14,300 times (and counting)! “The virtual format allowed us to penetrate places and gain the interest of people who otherwise would not have been familiar with the mission,” ACCI Director John Hunt said. As always, the conference provided opportunities for field workers to gather and encourage each other, while inspiring the many churches and individuals around the world who support them. “I think people know that others care but there is nothing like being reminded of that – particularly when you are on a distant shore and living in a time like this,” John said. “I believe the message that came through the loudest from everyone who shared their story was one of resilience and hope. Despite the challenges, our field workers continue to work hard and look for new and creative ways to help the people they serve because they know this is what God has called them to do.”
Want to see PanAsia for yourself? Head to ACCI Missions and Relief ’s Facebook, YouTube or Instagram accounts to view all the content from the 2021 conference. 8
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AUSTRALIAN TEENS • Relationships: Gender and sexuality are complex topics, with teens saying they most often go online or to social media for advice. Overall, just 6% of teens in Australia have a biblical view of marriage, believing it should be both a lifelong commitment between a man and a woman and that sex should be saved for the context of marriage.
A comprehensive study conducted by Global Youth Culture surveyed teens from 20 countries, examining the faith of this generation and the values they share, the struggles they face and what their hopes and dreams are. The Australian Report estimated that there are around 2 million teenagers aged 13-19 across the nation. The research asked 420 Australian teenagers over 70 questions about their beliefs and behaviours in the middle of the Covid lockdown in 2020. This data provides insights into the mindsets and behaviour of teens living in uncertain times.
• Digital Connectedness: Teens in Australia spend around 7.5 hours online daily. Teens who spend more time online daily are less likely to go to family for guidance. • Influences: 3 in 4 teens say they talk to their parents about important issues at least sometimes. A personal experience, such as an answer to prayer, is the top reason a teen would change their mind about a religious belief.
• Religious Beliefs: Teenagers in Australia are overwhelmingly non-religious with only 32% identifying as Christian. 2 in 3 teens said they would consider going to church if they were invited • Personal Struggles: Almost 3 in 4 teens reported loneliness and more than half admitted to experiencing high anxiety or depression. 34% of teens reported suicidal ideation in the three month period. Christian teens who say they read the Bible on their own at least weekly are significantly less likely to be experiencing mental health struggles.
ACCKids National leader, Andy Kirk, has unpacked the Global Youth Culture research on the ACC Kids podcasts. Follow @acckids on Instagram or click here to listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify
BRINGING KIDS MINISTRY TO THE FOREFRONT Influencers Church, have always seen themselves as a kids and family church. Until recently, to get to their kids program families had to brave the elements for a five-minute walk around the back of their church building. In 2020, Influencers Church decided to not only say that they are a kids and family church, but to show it. They moved their kid’s ministry to the front of their church; installing new playgrounds, kids’ toilets, parents’ rooms and two new kids rooms. JOSH GREENWOOD, Lead Pastor at Influencers Church shared, “When you prioritise your kids at the front of the church, it makes a huge difference!” Since moving to the front of their church, Influencers Church’s kid’s ministry has grown by 30%. 10
BORN TO HONOUR
The ‘family atmosphere’ of Kingdomcity is a hallmark of the church and its leadership team. A new Kids curriculam, written and produced by Pastor Jemima Varughese and the Kingdomcity team, teaches children biblical truths in an interactive, fun and memorable way. The brand new series, ‘Born to Honour’, was launched in September, featuring Pastors Mark & Jemima as part of the fun program. Through tales of an honour, inspired by bible stories, with characters hailing from all over the world coming to honour the King, this curriculum will be sure to keep children entertained while teaching them to honour God and those around us. For full episodes of the Born to Honour series, as well as past series, Kingdomcity Kids music, masterclasses and other resources, check out Greenroom! The kids curriculum packages at the start of 2022 complete with music, printables, media and curriculum guides.
1 IN 4
YOUNG PEOPLE STRUGGLE IN PANDEMIC A joint report by Mission Australia and Black Dog Institute reveals that substantially more young people in Australia are experiencing psychological distress. The report also reveals that young people had higher odds of experiencing psychological distress if they identified as female, non-binary, Indigenous or living with disability. One in four young people in 2020 said they are experiencing mental health challenges; a significant increase since 2012 when one in five young people were facing similar concerns. The Psychological distress in young people in Australia fifth biennial youth mental health report: 2012-2020 is conducted by Mission Australia and co-authored with Black Dog Institute experts – to better understand the prevalence and experiences of psychological distress faced by 15-19 year-olds in Australia. The report looked at the responses of 25,103 young people who answered the question measuring psychological distress in 2020. It also looked at their help-seeking behaviours – pinpointing the important role that friends, parents, services, schools and the internet and apps play as sources of support for young people who are experiencing psychological distress. The findings prompted the call for more action from governments, schools, families, businesses and others to prioritise tailored, timely and accessible mental health support, in an effort to reduce the prevalence of mental ill-health among young people in Australia. In response to the report’s findings, Mission Australia’s CEO James Toomey said: “Undoubtedly, COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on many young people’s mental health. Youth mental health is an important national challenge that must be addressed. Black Dog Institute’s Director of Research, Professor Jennie Hudson said: “Global research tells us that over 75% of mental health issues develop before the age of 25, and these can have lifelong consequences. “We are still in the dark as to why mental health and suicide risk has increased in our current cohort of youth, a finding that is not unique to Australia. “Early intervention in adolescence and childhood is imperative to help reduce these figures. This report shows that young people in distress will seek help directly from friends, parents and the internet. As such, we need to continue to build gatekeeper support training and provide online and app-based tools that may be a key part of the solution - something we are invested in doing at the Black Dog Institute.”
Source: Report by Mission Australia & Black Dog Institute released on 8 September 2021. For more info: missionaustralia.com.au and blackdog.org.au 12
- More than one in four young people met the criteria for experiencing psychological distress – an increase of 8% since 2012 (18.6% in 2012 vs. 26.6% in 2020). - Since 2012, females were twice as likely as males to experience psychological distress. The increase in psychological distress has also been far more marked among females (22.4% in 2012 to 34.1% in 2020 for females, while males went from 12.6% in 2012 to 15.3% in 2020). - In 2020, more than half (55.7%) of non-binary young people experienced psychological distress, more than two in five (43.0%) young people with disability faced psychological distress and more than one in three (34.0%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people met the criteria for psychological distress. - Scared/anxious to get help, feeling embarrassed and/or feeling I can deal with it myself were the three most commonly cited barriers that prevent young people from seeking help. - Commonly cited barriers that prevent young people getting help: - Scared/anxious to get help - feeling embarrassed - feeling I can deal with it myself. - Top 3 sources for help: • friend/s, • parent/s or guardian/s • the internet Young people with psychological distress were more likely to use mobile apps or go to social media for support than their nonpsychologically distressed peers. - Top issues of personal concern were: Coping with stress, mental health and body image. Also higher levels of concern about other issues including school or study problems, family conflict, bullying/emotional abuse, physical health, personal safety and suicide. - Concerns about suicide: More than five times the proportion of young people with psychological distress reported concerns about suicide (31.1% - compared with 6.0% of respondents without psychological distress).
Photo by Arif Riyanto on Unsplash
- Unfair treatment reported by those with psychological distress. The top reasons for unfair treatment being gender, mental health and sexuality. - Less sleep and exercise: Young people with psychological distress were almost three times as likely to report they were getting six hours or less of sleep per night and two times as likely to report they were doing no exercise.
TOGETHER, LET’S GIFT 1800CHAPLAIN TO YOUR COMMUNITY. Launching 15 November 2021
LAUNCHING 1800CHAPLAIN National Director of Chaplaincy Australia, RALPH ESTHERBY, shares the vision and purpose of the 1800Chaplain helpline, launching on 15 November 2021.
Q: How is 1800Chaplain different to LifeLine? Ralph: We celebrate and appreciate the work of Lifeline. The goal is not to replace, compete with, or even to mirror services such as LifeLine. 1800Chaplain offers earlier intervention, preventative pastoral care before the person experiences suicidal ideation. We want to provide a Pastoral Care Line that provides ‘lower level’ care than would be normally escalated to life saving counselling lines. We anticipate that we may be able to ease the burden currently faced by crisis lines by providing care prior to this level of escalation. Where they need not shy away from deeper questions about their life, their relationships, their faith or their sense of purpose.
Q: Can you tell us what 1800Chaplain is? Ralph: 1800Chaplain is a new toll-free service which aims to accommodate the needs of people seeking Chaplaincy support. To be clear, Chaplaincy Care is not counselling and at no point will our call team be providing counselling services – they will be offering all the services that a Chaplain provides in their normal roles: pastoral care: a listening ear; an opportunity to talk about life issues; an opportunity to talk about grief and loss; care in the midst of loneliness and despair; conversations regarding meaning and purpose and; issues of faith and understanding (when raised by the caller). They will be offering connection with another human who is able to help the caller find support, comfort, reassurance and, where needed, referral to other services.
Q: How are Chaplains qualified to crisis calls? Ralph: All Chaplaincy Australia’s fully accredited chaplains have achieved at least a Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care or progressed to a Higher Education Diploma of Chaplaincy with 100 hours of a supervised placement This training, coupled with specific 1800Chaplain training, prepares the call-team to connect with the person for a friendly chat to discuss life’s everyday challenges. This after-hours and on-call service will fill a growing hunger for preventative pastoral care. By providing this point of difference, these resources will take pressure off the lifesaving crisis help lines.
Q: Why is there a need for another helpline? Ralph: Long before the COVID-19 spike in demand for various Helplines, Chaplaincy Australia identified the escalating need for quality chaplaincy to be available oncall and after hours. This has been repeatedly relayed to the organisation by its national network of chaplains and over 1,000 churches. Crisis services, such as Lifeline, have been fast-tracking volunteers and shortening their training program from 14 to 4 weeks. 1800Chaplain can alleviate this by offering earlier intervention, before the person experiences suicidal ideation.
Q: How is 1800Chaplain going to operate? Ralph: On 15 November 2021, 1800Chaplain will launch an 8 hour per day service with over 100 trained Chaplains ready to take calls. In the following 12-months, the service will increase to 16 hours per day and then to 24/7. When the need increases, the 1800Chaplain platform is designed to take as many calls as we have Chaplains available. Our call-team are ready, with highly developed skills, to help everyone who calls. 1800Chaplain training includes a refresher of all basic chaplaincy concepts, specific skills training for work on the telephone, clear reinforcement of the limits of care to be provided, crisis response techniques, and extensive referral skills training.
Q: Who is 1800Chaplain for? Ralph: 1800Chaplain is available to anyone in the Australian community. 1800Chaplain is a safe and confidential forum that takes a holistic view of the person’s emotions, stressors, challenges and moral dilemmas. It is staffed by full qualified Chaplains, who hold accreditation with Chaplaincy Australia. Chaplains are well trained, caring professionals who are accredited for the task. They are called into ministry due to a great passion to care for and reach out to people who are experiencing pain, distress and suffering in their lives. They stand with people on their worst days and offer caring non-judgemental support. Trained to provide referral to mental health services and other professionals / support agencies they complement the welfare strategy of the organisation in which they are embedded.
More info: firstname.lastname@example.org Follow @chaplaincyaustralia on Instagram 15
WHY BECOME A CHAPLAIN? ACC EMAG spoke to three chaplains who work as qualified chaplains after completing the Chaplaincy Certificate IV.
ALISON SHERWOOD Q: Why did you decide to study to become a Chaplain? ALISON: If I was to truly impact my community, I required the knowledge, the education and tools to validate my words and actions. I quickly discovered that my own experience and knowledge was only able to take me so far. The education and qualifications were the door openings and gave me a professional seat at the table. Q: What aspects of the Chaplaincy Cert IV course did you find especially valuable that equips you for your job now? ALISON: The course provided knowledge, understanding and structure to function as a professional Chaplain. For me personally, the areas that have provided the greatest benefit are boundary setting (without them, it is challenging for longevity) and personal protection – knowing when to step in and when step away. Q: What do you love about your current Chaplain role? ALISON: I love living in a community knowing that the most vulnerable have a soft place to land. It’s an absolute honour when someone allows you to hear their whispers and stories and expose their hearts to you. At the end of the day, being a conduit for an encounter with our heavenly Father and bringing the opportunity for healing and wholeness is me being a small part of Christ’s body.
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Higher education 8-subject course delivered over a minimum of one-year.
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Find out more at chaplaincy.ac or call 1300 228 355 17
STEPHEN BELL Q: What prompted you to study to become a Chaplain? STEPHEN: I felt God place on my heart the need to help those in a workplace environment, for someone whom they could trust to talk to and walk with them, and provide a holistic approach while showing Jesus’s Love in action. That’s why I chose to become a Chaplain. Q: What aspects of the Chaplaincy Cert IV course did you find especially valuable that equips you for your job now? STEPHEN: All subjects provided the practical skills for the Chaplain’s roles. Personally, “I’m not there to FIX IT”, and setting boundaries was valuable. The lecturers shared their chaplaincy experiences, which helped bring it to life and the exceptions of being a Chaplain for others. Q: What do you love about your current Chaplain role? STEPHEN: I’m currently employed as the Team Chaplain for ChaplainWatch Inc. to provide care and support for service users experiencing distress, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts at the weekends. I also volunteer to support workplaces, providing holistic care and mental health (first responder), plus on call as a Community Crisis Chaplain for ChaplainWatch and Disaster Recovery. What I Love about what I do is working with people with the same DNA of Chaplaincy and being able to bring the presence of God by showing Jesus’s love for me to them, in action to meet their needs. Bringing the present of God into whatever the situation.
GLENN BERRY Q: What prompted you to study to become a Chaplain? GLENN: In 2011, I participated in a 40-hour, introductory course for hospital chaplaincy; and then volunteered at the district hospital and church youth support home. Soon after this, a visiting pastor gave me a word that I would be a prison chaplain. In 2014, I heard about the Certificate !V in Chaplaincy at Alphacrucis. Prayerfully, I felt that this was the direction the Lord was guiding me into. Q: What aspects of the Chaplaincy Cert IV course did you find especially valuable that equips you for your job now? GLENN: There are many valuable skills that I apply in my daily role. The skills of attentive and reflective listening are especially crucial, as well as understanding empathy. You can be at risk of being affected by vicarious trauma so it is vital to learn about and apply self-care. Learning how to “know your role, know your limits and know when to refer” are essential to my everyday experience in the gaol. Q: What do you love about your current Chaplain role? GLENN: I am a full-time Prison Chaplain at the South Coast Correctional Centre. There are currently 190 male inmates and around 40 staff that I support at the Centre. I am privileged to be on this journey to assist them through their many difficult challenges, such as personal family concerns, grief and loss, relationship fractures and, most important, their spiritual and personal development and growth. I gain a great deal of satisfaction in seeing the transformation through the love of Christ upon their lives. 18
Are you in ministry looking to get qualified as a counsellor, or a counsellor looking to upskill? Find out how AC can train and equip you for a career of helping others. Come join our Zoom Info Session 3 November to learn more.
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Alphacrusis Research Project
CRISIS MANAGEMENT IN CHURCHES
Research is being undertaken in the area of Crisis Management in Pentecostal Churches. The focus of the research is on the management by Pastors and Governing Board Members on complex issues such as governance, staff and volunteer management and legal obligations of the church. Where churches manage these issues appropriately, they can often prevent decline or closure of a church. You are invited to participate in a research project entitled: Crisis Management in Pentecostal Churches in Australia: Managing crises in the local Pentecostal church with a view to developing guiding prevention and recovery principles. David Chehade is completing a Doctor of Philosophy Thesis and is in search of Australian Christian Churches credentialed ministers and governing board members who may be willing to participate in this research. Your involvement, should you be willing to participate, will involve a semi-structured interview with David Chehade via zoom or an online questionnaire and will be recorded and transcribed and later analysed to develop theory regarding this research. Your responses will be kept totally confidential and your anonymity will be totally protected. The Australian Christian Churches National Executive have approved this study. If you wish to participate in this research, please email David Chehade at email@example.com to register your interest to undertake either an online questionnaire or a Semi-structured interview. 19
7 LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES TO
FLOURISH IN THIS SEASON by Mark Varughese
The unpredictability caused by this season has brought unprecedented challenge to church leadership. Here are 7 principles I shared with my staff that may help you.
5. Decrease demand, increase supply. As leaders, we need to take into account the situations that our teams are in, and decrease the demand on them. Don’t lower your standards, but lead with grace and flexibility. Celebrate the wins and be the leader who is known as a person of grace and patience. Remember! The law demands but grace supplies, so especially in this season, let’s focus on the supply of God’s grace that is available to us all.
1. Think long term, plan short term. In a season full of the unknown and uncertainties, planning for the long term is daunting and futile, but if we don’t think long term, we will not create a road map of hope during a time of crisis because things are literally changing day by day. In this time, it is key to think and prepare for the long term, but to plan and act in the immediate.
6. Reach globally, connect locally. We can’t make the mistake of thinking that when our online services reach someone, they become connected to our church. As churches reach into every corner of the world through the online sphere, we need to be intentional and continue to reach out locally. Nothing can replace the power of connection, and that must happen locally.
2. Plan for worst case, pray for best case. If you plan solely with the best case in mind, you’re only ever one change away from your plans falling through. But planning for the worst case does not mean that we stop living with faith and boldness! That is why it’s so important that whilst planning, you continually pray for the best case, making sure that your spirit doesn’t get caught up and weighed down.
7. Sacrifice your role, celebrate the whole. This is not the season to ask where your career path is going, or to map out your ministry future. Uncertainty bonds us because of a common enemy, which means that team success is the only goal. Clarity about my role matters less than clarity of the whole. Celebrate the whole, because everyone is playing a part in what is being achieved right now.
3. Acknowledge facts, but speak faith. In this season, some people are all facts and no faith; others are almost hyper-faith and don’t want to acknowledge reality. It’s important to pastor people on both extremes with empathy, and to speak life and faith in the midst of pragmatic realities. Great leaders are in touch with reality whilst holding hope and imparting faith for the future. Read the news and meditate on God’s word. Not the other way around.
God can use all things together for good, including this season. Believing that every victory will build faith, every struggle will build perseverance, and we will come out of this stronger in Jesus’ name.
4. Less physical touch, more personal touch. The request to socially distance has made people almost averse to physical touch. Rather than mourn its demise, double down on what you’re missing out on by multiplying the personal touch. Be intentional with your world. Buy someone a gift, send it to them online, write a letter. We may be limited in proximity, but we are not limited in thoughtfulness.
Mark Varughese is the senior pastor of KingdomCity and elected member of the ACC National Executive. 20
CHURCH IN EXILE? by Katrina Yassi
“How does your work day start? In the Victorian Parliament nothing gets done until the reading of the Lord’s Prayer.”
serious conviction concerning the public claims of the gospel, and it becomes promptly evident that we are outsiders to the flow of power” .
These words are from a recent article in The Age, as the Victorian State Government considered a motion to remove the Lord’s Prayer from their proceedings. The online article included a helpful link entitled: “What is The Lord’s Prayer?”
This sobering evaluation is cause for concern and perhaps, grief. But it isn’t all bad news. In fact, this is the very environment in which the early Church was birthed, grew in, and flourished.
It wasn’t so long ago that debating the necessity of the Lord’s Prayer in parliament was unimaginable; still less the notion that someone living in Australia would need to google “What is the Lord’s Prayer?”
The biblical experience of exile offers us encouragement and inspiration. 1 Peter 2:11 reminds us that the Christian faith calls us to be “foreigners and exiles” in a broken world. In other words, we were never really supposed to belong in this world; our true home is in eternity with Jesus.
Yet this is the Australia that we as church leaders find ourselves in. Most likely we will increasingly see the Church’s role in western society shift from the centre of public life to the sidelines. So how should the Church respond to this change?
Australian pastor Mike Frost asks, “Is there some way of embracing a Christcentred faith and lifestyle that are lived tenaciously and confidently right out in the open where such a faith is not normally valued?”
Understanding Exile A helpful framework for church leaders is found in the motif of exile. Exile evokes tragic images of displacement from homes, loss, war, and violence. Yet exile can also speak to the spiritual and social reality Christians find themselves in this post-modern world. Edward Saïd defines exile simply as “the perilous territory of not belonging” .
Understanding Exile The answer, of course, is yes there is. Jeremiah 29:4-7 paints a vivid picture of authentic faith in exile.
Walter Brueggemann notes, “Christians only need to act and speak out of any
• Build and Plant In Jeremiah 29:5, the prophet calls the people of God to build and plant in exile, away from their previous home and the life they longed for. They were called to leave behind the old context and adapt to the new. We too, as church leaders, have a calling to build and to 22
plant in this new, strange land. The mandate is upon the church to build where we see brokenness – in families, in schools, in a digital age that sees more relational disconnectedness than we have ever witnessed before. And as we build, we need to plant. Plant seeds of hope, plant churches, send more field workers out and equip our young generation to be the next leaders in our nation. • Do Not Decrease We may not be able to turn back the wheels that are already in motion of a post-Christian society, but we do not need to hide our heads in the sand either. Verse 6 says, “Increase in number there; do not decrease”. Our mandate to “increase in number” continues to be urgent. We need to keep evangelism at the forefront of our ministry. We also need to encourage the next generation to engage with their community and not hide from it. • Seek Peace In verse 7, God commands the people to seek the peace of Babylon; not Jerusalem where they were comfortable and at home, but Babylon where they were ridiculed and outcasts. It is our mandate to seek the peace and prosperity of our cities and nation, regardless of their stance towards us. Yet the mandate doesn’t change with the popularity of the Church. I’m so often inspired and challenged by our
faithful ACCI field workers who continue with their mandate, even in hostile environments. • Remember God’s Faithfulness The people of God have seen this before – In Babylon, in Persia and in the Roman Empire, to name a few. Time and time again, God has shown His people that there is no power on earth that can thwart the purposes of God. He has used Daniel, Esther, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Let us pray to see more leaders like them – leaders such as you and I – who will wisely navigate this season and boldly declare that the only hope for our lost world is found in an authentic relationship with Jesus.
Will you choose to be a leader who flourishes in exile?
Katrina Yassi is a Campus Pastor at Faith Christian Church in Melbourne. She is a board member for ACCI Missions and Relief.
Ducan Fine, “Parliament’s Paradox: Does your work day begin by reciting the Lord’s Prayer?”, The Age (July 28,2021)
2 Said, Edward, Reflections on Exile: and other Literary and Cultural Essays (London: Granata Books, 2001), 177
Walter Brueggemann, Cadences of Home: Preaching Among Exiles (Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997), 2
4 Michael Frost, Exiles: Living Missionally in a Post-Christian Culture (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group) Kindle, location 3
HEALING THE LAND
STARTING THE CONVERSATION
When the annual ACC Indigenous Conference was postponed for the second year due to Covid restrictions, WILL & SANDRA DUMAS decided to start the conversation on Healing The Land online. The Zoom meeting enabled over 200 participants to connect across Australia in September to lean in, listen and begin to consider how we can all play a part in healing and reconciliation.
WAYNE ALCORN ACC National President
We are all Australians, yet beyond that, we’re Christians and of the Kingdom of God. We’re all in this together, and as followers of Jesus, we respond with a different spirit. It is time to get started with important conversations. What we need is to see is a healing of our land and a spiritual awakening across our nation and the globe. Paul wrote about us being a new creation, and how as we were reconciled to God through Christ, we have been commissioned with a ministry of reconciliation. In this we see life through a different lens, and look through the lens of forgiveness and healing. It is when we start talking and have respectful conversations, with open ears and open hearts, then the Holy Spirit is able to begin to work. Our nation needs healing – so many issues that exist, that go back a long way. They are real, but we cannot hope that Canberra has all the answers to fix this, but as followers of Christ, we become agents of change and agents of healing. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-19
ACC Indigenous National Leader One of the first things about healing the land is starting to have dialogue and a conversations – looking at ways at how we can do better and make some changes. Here are a few thoughts how we as pastors and leaders can start to do this: Aware & Engage: We have great diversity within our congregations. Have an awareness of who is in your church, and who is Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander. Then begin to engage and start by asking if they would be interested in having a conversation. Educate yourself: You start by asking yourself, how can I bring healing to the land? Educate yourself about your community, by finding out the history, positive and negative. Training: Ephesians 4 talks about the five-fold ministry and that “their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ” (verse 12). Let’s be looking at those in our circle and identify who we can help to equip by bringing training into your church on cultural awareness. Respect: It is important to be respectful when we start to engage in conversations and yarns. A respectful approach enables a relationship to grow over time and builds trust. Listen: Proverbs 12:5 says “Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” (NLT). We gain great wisdom by listening to each other. Support: We can show support by encouraging people, especially for Indigenous people. Let’s find ways to encourage others. Pray: Let us continue to pray that God will use us to bring healing to our land. 25
PAUL BARTLETT NSW State President
I’ve been looking at the concept of un-learning and re-thinking, particularly as a middle aged white man and what we need to do to heal our land. In the Sermon of the Mount, Jesus was teaching His disciples about unlearning generations of thinking, to relearn something new. For example, they had been taught “an eye for an eye’ and Jesus taught them “turn the other cheek” and “bless those who are your enemies”. The idea of unlearning is crucial, because is it really possible to grow as a person, if all you do is add knowledge upon knowledge? Romans 12:2 tells us to be transformed by renewing of our mind. We want to be part of the solution and to make a difference in context to Indigenous healing, I know have to unlearn decade of tradition, thinking and methodology. I’ve realised that it goes beyond politics. The reason why we ought to say sorry is because it helps Indigenous people to heal. Understanding this has changed the way I lead as I see how saying sorry changes the temperature of the room and takes out all the sting of situations. As preachers, we are all talkers, but we need to be listeners and together find the solutions on how to heal the land. We have to be willing to do it differently.
JOHN HUNT ACCI Director
Philippians 2:1-2 says: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. When you read these verses in context, clearly there was a fraction in the church, that Paul was addressing. He counsel followed in verse 3: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit”. In the original Greek, the word kinosis doxa means ‘empty glory”. What comes apparent is that people were functioning from a place of seeking affirmation or personal glory. There is emptiness on the inside, but if you read on, there is a pouring out of who you are and an infilling of who God is. How do you approach the table when it comes to the conversation about healing the land? Paul encourages us not to come to the table empty of God’s glory and full of our own importance or own ideas. Rather we should come fully committed to the glory of God as the first step in bringing reconciliation and healing. It is important when we approach discussions that we keep focus on Jesus. May the agenda and objective be the glorification of Jesus Christ.
To see full clips from the Zoom and more follow @acc.indigenous on Instagram.
How can churches do an appropriate and respectful Welcome To Country? This was one of the questions asked at the Healing The Land Zoom conversation in September. CLAYTON ANDERSON, the Western Australian ACC Indigenous Rep, responded: The whole theme of our conversation is healing the land is relationship. A Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgment of Country is a great starting point to the healing process. Like any relationship, it will take work, and we have to continue to keep building and work it out as we go forward. There is a correct format and protocol to follow to be respectful to the Indigenous First National people. You can find this on the website Australians Together. “As we make ourselves vulnerable, the Spirit of God is able to work and bring healing and respect within our nation.”
There are also key words to be used and acknowledge – some of these are ‘First National people’; ‘Traditional Owners’ and let’s not forget to include the Torres Strait Islanders as part of this. As we make ourselves vulnerable, the Spirit of God is able to work and bring healing and respect within our nation.
What is a Welcome To Country? A Welcome to Country is a ceremony performed by Indigenous Traditional Custodians to welcome visitors to their traditional land. If no Traditional Custodian is available, an Aboriginal person from a different nation, or a non-Indigenous person, may do an Acknowledgement of Country instead.
“An Acknowledgement of Country shows awareness of and respect for the Traditional Custodians of the land you are on and their long and continuing relationship with the land.”
An Acknowledgement of Country is a statement that shows awareness of and respect for the Traditional Custodians of the land you are on and their long and continuing relationship with the land. They can take place at the beginning of events and be included in publications, websites and on signs, for example near the entrance of your site. An Acknowledgement of Country commonly involves saying something along the following lines: “I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the [appropriate group] people of the [name of Aboriginal nation] nation, and pay my respect to Elders both past, present and future.”
Source: Australians Together
‘Giving God permission to transform us into the people we need to become, requires us to lay some old ways of thinking down.’ Paul Bartlett
In this extract from PAUL BARTLETT’S new book Re-Think It he asks if the challenges of Covid-19 offer an opportunity to grow our capacity by embracing bewilderment.
Wanting clarity is what you always desire and getting answers is what you’ve always done. But God took away Paul’s clarity; he was blinded, without sight.
I have personally been through seasons in which God had to teach me to let go of reason because I needed to grow in my capacity. Have you ever felt like you’ve run out of capacity and you don’t have what it takes to do what God has called you to do? Whether you’re leading a church, overseeing a ministry or at home with the kids – whatever it is that currently fills your days – you will regularly feel like your capacity has run out.
I wonder if God was saying: “Saul, right now in order for you to go from Saul to Paul, in order for you not to go back, but to live your future, what you need to do is embrace bewilderment. It’s your best friend right now. And when you can’t see with your own natural eyes, you’ll start to see me and realise you don’t need your eyes for that.”
Here’s what happens: The moment my capacity gets to the end of itself, I start wanting to quit the wrong things – the God-given things. In my own logic, according to my own reasoning, I think I should pull back on everything because I’ve run out of capacity. However, I’ve found in those moments that I should let go and let God!
And so, Paul, the high-level teacher of Jewish law, becomes the student of unlearning. Little did he know that as a result, he would become the biggest advocate for the people of the Way. That everything would change in and around his life. I believe that you can find God in the midst of your bewilderment. I believe that you can find God in the midst of your confusion.
It seems reasonable and logical to reduce our lives when under pressure. But giving God permission to transform us into the people we need to become – people of higher capacity, greater leadership and increased wisdom – requires us to lay some old ways of thinking down.
As a pastor, I watch so many Christians diving into the “perfect will” – scrambling for what it is, trying to find it – not knowing that they’ve missed the “Let God” step. Bewilderment is God’s gift to you. It seems blurry, it seems messy, it seems chaotic, but be encouraged: He is in the middle of it all, and He is more than capable of moving you onto the next thing. After all, He has our lives and future in His hands.
BEWILDERMENT IS GOD’S GIFT TO US Perhaps you are reading this and find yourself in a situation where, like the apostle Paul, you have been brought to your knees. Bewildered, dazed and confused. You’re trying to do what you’ve always done, but it’s no longer working. Your current reasoning is blocking your way to the future. You feel like you’ve lost control and are vulnerable. The year 2020, 2021 and the ongoing ramifications of the global COVID-19 pandemic have definitely proven that we are not in control at all.
For the future church to succeed like Paul we must have the courage to re-think long held traditions, methods and ways of thinking and so give the next generation permission to lead a new breed of church with discipleship at his core.
When I find myself in these situations, I try to search the Bible for clarity. But here’s what I’ve come to realise throughout my unlearning journey: What if clarity is not what God’s trying to bring? What if He’s trying to bring bewilderment? What if the way forward is confusion and bewilderment because you’ve trusted yourself for far too long?
Paul Bartlett is the ACC NSW State President and senior pastor of Lighthouse. Re-Think It by Paul Bartlett is now available. Purchase at re-thinkit.com.au
OUR LEADERSHIP SCORECARD by Jacqueline Grey
The responses of Old Testament kings, Saul and David, are great leadership lessons for 21st century pastors. Rev Prof JACQUELINE GREY compares the desire for power and popularity with the humble heart to please God.
In 1 Samuel 15, the prophet Samuel boldly confronted King Saul. Saul had disobeyed God’s instructions by keeping alive King Agag as a prized war trophy. Saul’s continual rejection of God’s ways resulted in the kingship being taken from him and given to another (1 Samuel 15:28). Saul’s response? He said, “I have sinned. But please honour me before the elders of my people and before Israel” (15:30). Saul craved public honour. He had already built a monument to himself at Carmel (15:2). Saul was desperate to maintain his prestige and position, even without God’s favour. The test of a leader We now fast-forward to David, who had been anointed to be king to replace Saul. In 1 Samuel 25, David was hiding from Saul in the wilderness near Carmel. It was at Carmel that a man named Nabal and his wife, Abigail, lived. Nabal was a rich land-holder so he was part of the powerful ‘in crowd’ and supporter of the current king, Saul. David and his men served Nabal while in the wilderness, by protecting Nabal’s shepherds and livestock. Under ancient hospitality protocols, David had every expectation he and his men should 30
receive a reward for their service at harvest time. Nabal not only refused to give this reward but also belittled David, saying: “Who is this David? Who is this son of Jesse?” (v.10). Nabal used his speech to exclude and undercut David. He tried to put David in his place. David responded to Nabal in defense of his own honour. He rashly vowed revenge in the form of bloodshed and violence. We can see David was more concerned for his reputation than practicing godliness. In fact, David acted just like Saul. If this was a test of leadership, David was headed for failure. But then something happens. Abigail, Nabal’s wife, intervened to break the cycle of violence (25: 23-31). Abigail boldly confronted David while he was marching to kill Nabal. Abigail reminds David of his calling to be a godly king, not one who achieves power by destroying others. Then something amazing happened: David listens to the words of Abigail. David turned from this path of revenge (25: 32-35). He would not become another King Saul. He would not prioritise his own personal prestige. Instead, he chose the path of humility. Indeed, God vindicated David. David passed the test. His scorecard was clean.
How is our scorecard? O Have we used our words to undercut someone else so we look good? O Have we jostled and excluded others so we can be honoured before the elders? O Have we disregarded the voice of the Abigails in our world? It’s these little tests of character - how we respond in smaller situations – that point to how we will respond in bigger, more pressurised situations. We have an amazing fellowship of pastors with a passion for God and a heart to serve Him with our whole beings. May we encourage each other to build a culture that prioritises humility, and not a culture that prioritises personal prestige. May we call each other out if we slip into Saul-like behaviour of selfish ambition. May we be like Abigail in this way.
Rev Prof Jacqueline Grey is the Dean of Theology and Professor of Biblical Studies at Alphacrucis College. 31
ALPHACRUCIS LAUNCHES NEW ENTREPRENEUR PROGRAM The world is changing. If you want to thrive, then you need to change too. Q & A with AC’s Marketing/Future Students Director, MICHAEL LU.
Q: What are some of the objectives of the program? Michael: Entrepreneurship is about exploring the unknown, identifying opportunities and creating valuable solutions that create real-world impact. This is the mindset and skillset the future workforce needs and our new program trains them in this.
Q: Why do you personally endorse the new Entrepreneur program? Michael: When I look back on my 25 year career in business in Australia, China and the UK, I can see how my undergraduate commerce degree didn’t quite prepare me for the practical realities of work. I learnt mostly through mistakes and the blessings God has afforded me.
Also, we will also work with each student to help them explore who they are and what they have been created for. In these times of uncertainty, it is even more important to know what you can be certain about and how you fit into this world.
Most university graduates today are still in the same position when it comes to being job-ready and employable. Experts go as far as estimating that 80% of jobs in 2030 don’t exist today. Since the future of work is going to look very different than today, what university students need is to be able to thrive and continually develop in an uncertain environment.
Our ultimate goal is to foster and grow the community of ambitious Jesus-focused founders and their high impact, highvalue startups.
I am really excited we are equipping the next generation of Christian leaders to impact the world through this program.
Q: How will AC run the program? Michael: We learn best when we are practising actions in their context – “Learning by doing”. This is the heart of our entrepreneurship program, every person in the program will be working in or on startups.
Q: Is this for me if I don’t want to start a business? Michael: Even if you don’t have a startup idea, you need to train to be entrepreneurial. Australia is catching up in how we use technology and innovative thinking to solve real-world problems in sectors as diverse as medicine, agriculture and design.
Students will also be mentored throughout the course by experienced Christian entrepreneurs, and embedded within the wider entrepreneurship community.
In NSW alone from 181 startups recently analysed, 2,668 jobs were created between 2018 and the beginning of 2021 (14.7 jobs per startup). This means for every successful entrepreneur we have in the program we will need ~15 startup ready employees. The OECD estimates that half of all new jobs come from startups (OECD, 2020). Even big companies are looking for people to prepare their businesses for disruption and change.
Lastly, we will have a venture capital fund and incubator to fund and commercialise the best ideas. So we are serious about backing the next generation of leaders and ideas - more will be revealed next year. Stay tuned!
STARTUP BOOTCAMP IS A FREE 5 DAY ONLINE PROGRAM IN JAN 2022. 32
Whether you’re an established entrepreneur, have an idea or are just curious, come join us. There are no age or experience limits, just the right mindset and attitude. GO TO STUDY.AC.EDU/STARTUP
Free + Online
Start building the future. S TA R T U P B O O T C A M P
Whether you’re an established entrepreneur, have an idea or are just curious, come join us in Jan 2022.
LEARN MORE 33
TAKING KINDNESS TO THE PEOPLE In January 2020, bushfires tore through the valleys surrounding Pastor DEBBIE GADD’S home in Tumbarumba. Along with others, she found refuge in Wagga. This story picks up as they return to Tumbarumba and the COVID-19 pandemic begins.
When COVID closed down the Council Fire Recovery Centres, Debbie and fellow chaplain Phillis were given an official letter from Chaplaincy Australia to continue their work in the community. In the ensuing months, they visited 224 properties.
you’re just going and visiting and listening – and as they tell their story it’s releasing. Instead of it all being bottled up, it’s bringing it out. And when it’s out, you can look at it and process it. Every time we tell a story, we’re processing it,” said Debbie.
“Right through COVID we were allowed to go to doorsteps, not into homes, but to doorsteps, farm gates, fence lines, wherever you find the people. We’ve ventured out onto country roads that we’d never been on before and we’ve been lost a few times, but it was worth it. And we were the only ones able to do that in this community for those first few months of COVID shutdown,” Debbie explains.
“I fully believe the power of the story is that when we’re willing to share, other people will be willing to share. That then creates connection, trust, vulnerability, relationships and caring, and having people around you who care really changes everything.”
“The community has been majorly affected by the fires and continues to be. Initially, the remedy we were all striving to achieve was community, community, community. The minute COVID hit, all that community had to stop, and that’s why it was such a blessing to be able to continue the chaplaincy, because we were still able to connect with people, which was vital.” “The thing is, when people talk it out, they usually work it out. With chaplaincy, 34
Debbie says everyone in the community can make a difference for someone. “I recommend just going to visit people – just drop in, talk to them while they’re fencing along the road, go and have a coffee or ask them out to lunch or dinner. Just connect in those little ways,” she encourages. “Just keep that connection going because there’s power in that and power in sharing our stories.”
This story and image were originally published by Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network
THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR Now is the time to start planning how you and your church can bring the love of Jesus and some Christmas cheer to your local community. Here are four ideas to bless your community.
Get your whole congregation involved. Ask them to donate gifts and Christmas food items to bless families doing it tough in your community. Extend the joy of giving by hosting a day for volunteers to come and help pack hampers or gift bags.Tip: Provide a list of specific items to make it easy for everyone.
Spread the Christmas joy through music. Arrange to visit a local hospital or old age home with volunteers from your creative team to sing Christmas carols. Some festive costumes and bags of treats will add to the fun. Tip: Make sure to play some well known favourites and get everyone singing along.
Host a Christmas lunch or morning tea for those who are alone in your community. Send out the invites, set up the tables and chairs, and prepare a wonderful feast with all the Christmas trimmings. Tip: Plan a few fun ice breakers to get everyone talking.
Rally the bakers in your congregation to make and donate delicious Christmas treats. You can package these as gifts to leave on the doorstep of local houses, along with an encouraging note or card. Or you can sell them at a special Christmas stall, to raise funds for a designated charitable cause. Tip: Wrap the baked items in cellophane with ingredients listed.
Follow @acccommunityengagement on Instagram 35
HELPLINE TRENDS by Allyson Parker
The 1800 070 511 National Helpline was launched at the end of 2015 as part of the ACC Safer Churches Strategy to enable reporting on concerns about any form of child abuse in ACC churches.
THE REVIEW SEPARATED THE INFORMATION INTO THE FOLLOWING CATEGORIES. 1. Reports about Child Sexual Abuse: (Total reports 217) Including: child on child (85), adult on child (88), adult leaders on child (44), Online (39), Grooming (11), Failure to report abuse (2 calls).
In August 2021, ACC undertook a comprehensive review of the trends of all calls to the Safer Churches Helpline in the five years between 2016 to June 2021.
2. Reports about other forms of Child abuse: (Total reports 92) Including: physical (31), emotional (10), neglect (20) & selfharm (31).
There were both positive and concerning trends that were clearly identified, allowing us to work towards strategies to address the trends that were of concern.
3. Domestic and family Violence: (Total reports 66) Including: against church leaders (6), within church families (55) and community families (5).
The review found that there have been 1214 calls to the Helpline in the 5 ½ years. • 679 calls (55.9%) were related to relevant ‘response’ maters i.e. child protection or domestic/family violence.
4. Alleged perpetrators: (Total 462, note figure includes historical matters) Including: Credential Holders (43), Church staff/volunteers (95), Church members (146) and community connections (178).
• 535 calls (44.1%) were related to Safer Churches Implementation.
5. Source of the information reported to local church: (Total 420) Including: Disclosure from child (133), Disclosure from secondary source e.g. parent (105), Disclosure from perpetrator (39), Report based on observations by leaders (27) and Disclosure from an adult about current concern for themselves or about historical child abuse (116). 6. Role of the caller to the Helpline (Total calls 1214) Including: State Safer Churches Officer (68), Church worker i.e. pastors/ leaders (570), Church member (16), Family or community (6), Child with a concern (0), Adult with concern about themselves (12), and Caller role not recorded – implementation related (531). 7. Implementation support (Total 557) Including policy, training and known offender issues. 37
known offenders in the church with churches not understanding their insurance exclusion, or attempting to manage a ‘known offender’, but encountering problems due the church Board’s lack of information around such risk management. - The insurance clause is very broad and includes child and child offending. - When considered in combination with the number of allegations against children and young leaders as evidenced in the review, this creates real pastoral and risk management issues.
SIGNIFICANT TRENDS IDENTIFIED IN HELPLINE CALLS: 1. Child on Child Sexual Abuse: (39% of all Child Sexual Abuse related calls) - Of all 217 reports of child sexual abuse, there were 85 in relation to child on child abuse. This is compared to 92 reports of all other types of child abuse & self-harm. A significant proportion of these was in families (siblings) and included a range of ages from teen offending on teens to young (under 10yrs) offending on young (under 10yrs).
8. Child disclosure to church leaders: - The review revealed that the most common source of information about child protection and domestic violence concerns came from direct disclosures from the children and young people experiencing the harm i.e. 113 reports from 304 reports in total (43.7%). Children, particularly teens, have felt safe enough to speak to a leader about their safety concerns. This is a very positive result and is significant when compared to the national figures of reports to child protection agencies.
2. Trends in Church Families: - Of the 66 calls relating to Domestic Violence, 55 calls related to families in the church. - Of the 173 child sexual abuse matters that did not relate to a leader, the majority was in relation to incest. - Of the 92 reports in relation to other forms of child abuse, the large majority related to church members. 3. Self-harm in teenagers: - Off the 92 reports of other forms of child abuse 31 (33.6%) of calls were related to self-harm. The majority of these calls were about teens disclosing self-harm to their leader.
WHERE TO FROM HERE? 1) ACC to develop/identify suitable programs to educate parents and young people and their leaders regarding child sexual abuse, online offending, self-harm and domestic violence. This will be done in conjunction with ACC Kids and Youth Alive.
4. Online offending: - This was reported about children, young leaders and adults. - ‘Sexting’ or requests by adults or teens for ‘nudes’ was a reoccurring issue in all states across all 5 ½ years.
2) ACC to develop/identify suitable training and guidelines for church leaders and church boards to appropriately manage known offenders.
5. Low numbers of Domestic Violence reporting: - There was a low rate of reported Domestic Violence, especially in relation to allegations against leaders, when compared to reports from the broader community, and the newly released Anglican Report 2021 into Domestic Violence.
3) ACC to develop /identify suitable training material to assist church leaders in the conduct of investigations of Reportable Matters particularly where the police or another regulatory body is also involved.
6. Allegations against leaders: - Reports about staff and volunteers at church (95) has consistently been higher than reports about credential holders (43). Of the 95 volunteers or staff, the majority are younger leaders engaging in sexualised behaviours with teens.
Allyson Parker is the national co-ordinator of the ACC Safer Churches Strategy
7. Known offenders: - Every year has seen multiple calls about the management of 38
THE GENIUS OF JESUS: THE MAN WHO CHANGED EVERYTHING
CHRISTIANS: THE URGENT CASE FOR JESUS IN OUR WORLD
By Erwin Raphael McManus
Beginning with the historical Jesus and His disciples through to the present day, Greg Sheridan has written an impassioned, informed and utterly compelling case for the truth and importance of Christianity in our lives.
A ground-breaking manifesto on the countless ways Jesus of Nazareth transformed our world--and empowers us to live lives of courage, purpose, and grace today. In every realm of our existence we are captivated by stories of genius. Geniuses violate the status quo, destabilise old ways of thinking, and ultimately disrupt history by making us see the world differently. We see this effect when we consider the canon of history’s great geniuses, from Leonardo da Vinci to Steve Jobs. But when we look for the genius who left the most lasting impact on human life, we inevitably encounter Jesus. Despite having lived in obscurity for most his life, Jesus is undeniably one of the most influential people to have ever walked the face of the earth. What would happen if we studied and emulated Jesus, not only through the lens of his divinity, but as a genius who showed us what it means to live fully human? Drawing on scripture, history, and stories from his own ministry, McManus dives into the nuances of Jesus’s words and actions, showing how they can not only inspire us, but transform how we think about humility, freedom, and the purpose that makes our lives worth living.
by Greg Sheridan
He presents a strong argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament, meets the living Jesus there, explores the extraordinary personality of St Paul, celebrates Jesus’ Mother Mary’s and examines the magnificent richness of St John’s Gospel. Filled with insights, intelligence, warmth and humour, Greg also introduces us to a range of fascinating Christians today, among them political leaders and young activists offering the radical Christian interpretation of love to their generation. His book explores the journey of those who have been guided by faith, such as Gemma Sisia, whose school in Tanzania has transformed the lives of thousands of children, and the dynamic Chinese Christians holding to their beliefs under harsh restrictions. He examines where Jesus can be found in popular culture and talks to Christian leaders - Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical and others - in Australia, the U.S. and Britain.
For Christians who want to better know and understand their faith, or for readers who want to create their most powerful future, The Genius of Jesus is a thoughtprovoking study of the most important person who ever lived.
At a time when the chasm of understanding between secularism and faith has never seemed wider, Christians is timely, relevant and persuasive. It features interviews with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, former Labor leader Bill Hayden, former Defence chief and governor-general Peter Cosgrove and former Nationals leader and deputy prime minister John Anderson.
To order: koorong.com
To order: koorong.com
RE-THINK IT: UNLEARNING HOW WE THINK, TO REACH A CHANGING WORLD THAT’S THINKING LESS ABOUT CHURCH by Paul Bartlett How many things are you doing simply because you have done it for so long without ever re-thinking it? This is the question that pastors and church leaders need to ask and answer in order to lead churches through the COVID-19 global pandemic aftermath – and to reach those who are thinking less about the church’s relevance. Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus didn’t teach the way we may understand teaching to be: He focused on the unlearning process. Jesus knew that lasting change – a change that would impact others – meant that old, entrenched thinking had to be exposed and confronted before new thinking could be taught and applied. Re-think It: Unlearning how we think, to reach a changing world that’s thinking less about church reveals what happens when you let God transform your thinking – by discovering how your culture has infiltrated your thinking, dealing with it, bringing it into the light, removing it and relearning according to God’s Word. Sharing from his own unexpected journey that has deeply impacted and changed his life, Paul Bartlett will encourage, equip and inspire you to embark upon a significantly challenging yet highly rewarding inner journey that will also bring lasting change to those around you. Extract on page 29 To order: re-thinkit.com.au