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ARE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR CHURCH
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ONE A new year. A new decade. Looking beyond 2020 with faith and fresh vision, with a spirit of unity as the body of Christ.
ONE by Wayne Alcorn NEWS ACCI Leadership Transition: Alun Davies & John Hunt
David Perry appointed to Higher Education Panel
Kerrie Frizzell awarded 2020 Chaplain of the Year
Highest Honour: Ralph Estherby
Running for a Vision: Alphacrucis Univeristy
Ministering across cutures: Q & A with Robert & Rhonda
ACCI Bushfire Relief Report
NCLS 2020 Community Survey on Spirituality
1Day: Hope for a desperate world
Transforming Leadership: Stephen Fogarty
What to do with a weary soul? Ruth Limkin interviews Dr Robi Sonderegger INSPIRATION
Behind the Veil by Alun Davies INSIGHTS Boards & their responsibilities
Letâ€™s talk about Gender, Race and Offences
by Lily Arasaratnam-Smith 3 things Millennials are looking for in your church
by Benjamin Windell
RESOURCES New Releases
Back @ Church With State borders opening and restrictions lifting on large gatherings, there has been great joy as congregations returned to worship in person after 2020 Covid restrictions.
FOLLOW @accsnapshot for more ACC church life 3
BY WAYNE ALCORN
e learned a lot of lessons in 2020. One of the most important of those lessons: we all need each other. The care, kindness and support shown across the Church has been a source of strength to so many; especially when we were isolated from one another. Thankfully that has all changed, and we can come together again as one big family again.
world would know about Jesus’. In fact, it is the only constructive thing we can do this side of heaven. Our biennial National Conference gives us an opportunity to not only worship our King, but to encourage our family. Some of you may be arriving at conference a little battle weary; others of you may be in the strongest season of your life. What an incredible opportunity it will be for us to minister to one another, uphold each other in prayer and simply love one another.
As we prepare to gather for ACC21 National Conference, I cannot shake the importance of being ONE. That we are one in Christ and one with each other. John chapter 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in the whole Bible. In it, Jesus prayed for us.
God is doing something new in His Church. We are being refined, refreshed and repositioned for a fresh pouring out of the Holy Spirit - so these are exciting times. His Church is poised for even greater days ahead, as we focus on things that matter to the heart of God.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity.Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” [John 17:20–23. NIV]
I am excited to announce ONE is our theme for our 2021 National Conference. It will be an amazing time on the Gold Coast in April 2021, as we experience the reality of the promise of Psalm 133: Where we live in unity – He commands a blessing. We cannot wait to gather with you at National Conference. Be blessed as, together, we move into the exciting season when we face a new year with faith and hope.
The fruit produced by committing to this level of unity is the very reason the Church exists...’that the
Wayne Alcorn is the ACC National President. He pastors the multi-campus Hope Centre in Brisbane together with his wife, Lyn.
ACCI Leadership Transition Alun Davies to hand the baton to John Hunt in 2021
The ACC National Executive have endorsed Pastor John Hunt as the nominee of the ACCI Board for the new Director of our Missions & Relief arm, when Pastor Alun Davies retires from the leadership position in May 2021. Alun Davies has led ACCI since 2009 and over the past 12 years, he has done an outstanding job in fine-tuning the ACC Missions focus to be an effective and professional organisation that is having a mighty impact across the globe. Alun has made the decision to retire from this leadership position in 2021, and he leaves a strong foundation for missions in our movement. Consequently, the ACCI Board nominated Pastor John Hunt as the new Director, as he is considered to be a perfect fit for the next season of ACCI Missions & Relief. John has been an avid supporter of ACCI Missions and Relief for many years, having served as a Regional Director and on the ACCI Board of Directors for over ten years. With three decades of local church leadership, with a strong and active emphasis on missions in his congregation, John’s experience over two decades of leadership in our movement includes State and National Executive roles. The transition of leadership will happen in mid 2021 and there are exciting days ahead that will see the next generation step into the call of Jesus to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations.
David Perry appointed to Higher Education Panel Congratulations to Dr David Perry, VicePresident Academic at Alphacrucis who was appointed as a part-time member of the Higher Education Standards Panel by the Hon. Dan Tehan, Minister of Education. This is a three year appointment to the panel, advising on the development and implementation of higher education policy for Australia. Dr Perry holds a number of leadership roles within the higher Education sector, including a board member for Independent Higher Education Australia. 6
Kerrie Frizzell awarded 2020 Chaplain of the Year Each year the Australian Army Chaplain’s Department awards one Chaplain with the ‘414 Award’. This award represents an individual who has provided outstanding chaplaincy and demonstrated a notable contribution to the culture of care. The 414 Award is named in honour of the four hundred and fourteen courageous religious practitioners who served with the Australian Forces during the First World War. They ministered, cared for the dying, buried the dead – it was truly intense and sacrificial ministry. Today’s Army Chaplains continue this long-standing service of providing Religious, Spiritual and Pastoral care to the women and men of the Australian Army and Defence Force. They do it humbly. They do it proudly. They are ‘Positioned to Serve’. ACC Pastor Kerrie Frizzell has demonstrated the highest skills, commitment and passion to her role. She is a self-less and hardworking individual who has represented the Lord and the ACC so well. We congratulate and honour her and thank her for her service!
Highest Honour Ralph Estherby receives highest ranking Chaplaincy role in the Australian Defence Force.
The heads of six Protestant Church Denominations and Senior Officers from the Australian Defence Force gathered in Canberra on 4 December 2020 at Duntroon Chapel for a special Induction Service for Pastor Ralph Estherby. He became the first ACC Pastor to be appointed to the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS). In this new role Pastor Ralph will be representing the ACC (and all Pentecostal Churches), Baptist, Churches of Christ, Lutheran, Salvation Army and Seventh-day Adventist Churches to the Minister for Defence Personnel and to the Chief of the Defence Force. He is responsible for the pastoral care and support of the 100 ADF Chaplains across these groups. This is the highest-ranking Chaplaincy role within the ADF, afforded 2 Star Rank status. Ralph was appointed as the first ACC Chaplain to the ADF in 2010 following a sixyear process to allow Pentecostal Chaplains to serve in the Australian military. Over the last 10 years he has served as a Chaplain in various postings and has become part of the leadership team of Army Chaplaincy. He has deployed several times, including twice to the Middle East. In 2018 Ralph received his CSM and in 2019 he was promoted to LTCOL overseeing all Reserve Army Chaplains across the 2nd Division. His most recent role was coordinating Chaplaincy support to Operation COVID19 ASSIST where up to 5,000 ADF personnel were deployed across the country. During his ten years in Defence, Ralph has been responsible for presenting new ACC Chaplains for recruitment and we now have 22 Chaplains appointed across the Navy, Army and Airforce. His new role further expands this influence to include six denominations. The ACC congratulates Ralph on his faithfulness and tenacity in leading and advocating for ADF chaplaincy and for his continued leadership of Chaplaincy Australia which now has 500 Chaplains nationwide. It is exciting to see the opportunities and recognition of the ACC at the highest level. 7
Are you interested in the possibility of Ministry within the ADF? There are a number of Part-time and Full-Time opportunities available. You need to be ordained, have a degree in Theology or Ministry, be physically fit and have solid ministry experience to be considered â€“ but perhaps this is for you? For more details, contact ADF-Recruiting@chaplaincyaustralia.com
Running for a Vision #RunWithMe goal for AC University Vision
All over the world, marathons may have been cancelled, but over 100 students and staff Australia-wide of Alphacrucis College, ran, walked or cycled in a solidarity social-distanced ‘fun-run’ with President, Stephen Fogarty at the helm. Stephen has been fundraising and dedicating all proceeds of each of his triumphant marathons for the past 20 years to the Alphacrucis College ‘University Vision.’ Typically, he competes each year at the Boston or New York City marathons, but as they were cancelled in 2020, he chose to run the full 42+kms from the Sydney Opera House and where possible, include college staff and students, AC partners, and Alumni in his mission and call to action with the hashtag: #RUNWITHME. At the Sydney campus, Steve and the other front runners crossed the finishing line with about 70 cheering staff. AC gathered quite a following on the day, including representatives from the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, Senator Amanda Stoker – Liberal QLD, and Luke Gosling MP – Solomon, NT, joining in via their run in Canberra. As a result of the run, AC has managed to raise close to $50,000, and hopes to receive more over the coming days and weeks. “Becoming a University requires an enormous amount of funding...and faith! This is an absolutely brilliant effort from everybody,” said Stephen Fogarty. AC submitted their application for University College early in 2020 and have been informed that reviews and assessments by the regulator will happen in mid to late 2021. Please continue to pray and to make a donation: https://stephenfogarty.com/run-with-me
THREE STUDENTS WITH THREE CALLINGS ANSWER: “WHAT ARE YOU CREATED FOR?”
It was 2015, in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, when a massive prayer meeting laid hands on Kha Nguyen. In that moment, he knew he was called to ministry. He jumped on a plane and landed (figuratively, not literally) at Alphacrucis College (AC) in Australia. We had a quick chat with Kha between music, work and study and asked him: “What are you created for?” Kha’s face lit up when he exclaimed: “Music is my passion. And AC has a Bachelor of Ministry with a worship major, so I knew that was where I was meant to be.” While he was studying, Kha worked in IT. He was bringing his faith to work while learning more about his faith, and he realised there’s more to his calling. “There’s more to ministry than justwithin the church setting, and AC really helped me understand that and shift my worldview.” As a result, Kha is now studying a Bachelor of Business with AC and hopes to be an entrepreneur after his studies. Abigail Comafay also recognises the importance of a Christian worldview. When we asked Abigail “What are you created for?” we got the sense that she is wise beyond her years. Exactly the kind of person you want training to be a counsellor. Abigail answered: “I know I’m created to help people. I was studying the same degree at another university when the lecturer said that our worldview affects everything we do,
Kha Nguyen, Abigail Comafay and Ethan Entz – students at Alphacrucis.
especially in this job. At that moment, I realised I needed to find a new place to learn that aligns with my worldview. After asking around, I found Alphacrucis and I’ve never looked back.” Abigail is thriving as AC helps integrate a Christian worldview into her counselling training and looks forward to graduating soon. Which brings us to Ethan Entz, whose freelance videography business is thriving! A Canadian who now calls Australia home, Ethan says studying business at AC Brisbane had a profoundly positive impact on his life. “The course on entrepreneurship was of particular importance for me because it reframed my thinking around what it takes to start a business, develop ideas, to scale
and grow, and to innovate. This was all relevant to me because I work as a freelance business owner. I walked out of the course with my perspective expanded, my confidence boosted, and my mind far more well-attuned to the market and for the good ideas that can exist today. As a result, my business has grown both financially and in influence, and I have a clear idea of what steps I want to take in the future. AC helped me to apply my faith to freelancing and encouraged me the whole way.” What are you created for? At AC, our mission is to help you discover and be equipped for your calling. Head over to ac.edu.au to find out more or give us a call on 1300 228 355. We’d love to hear your story.
Q&A MINISTERING ACROSS CULTURES: ROBERT AND RHONDA, INDONESIA
Robert and Rhonda have been living in Indonesia for almost 30 years, sharing the Gospel with unreached people groups and training up a new generation of leaders. Robert is also Director of Equal Access International, which seeks to establish strategic education partnerships throughout Indonesia, and is Director of the Centre for Intercultural Research and Engagement with Alphacrucis College.
Q: How did your ministry in Indonesia begin? ROBERT: I had a short time in Indonesia as a single in the early 1990s, which was a time when I was immersed in language and culture – living for a year with a Muslim policeman and his family. I was treated like one of his sons, tagging along with his family to places and events; sometimes not knowing what on earth I was eating! After returning to Australia where Rhonda and I got married, we left for Indonesia in 1993 with ACCI, to the same region that I was in previously. We had a dream of seeing the Gospel planted amongst this unreached community. Q: Tell us about the work you do and why it is so important. ROBERT: Early on, a good friend said to us, “unless you are investing into nationals, you are spinning your wheels in mud.” We also understood the tight extended family units that exist within Muslim communities and believed that God’s plan was for the Gospel to be a blessing to families and communities; not for isolated individuals to join a church that would cause anger and resentment within the Muslim community.
In partnership with our co-workers, we have developed a wonderful team of nationals over the last couple of decades. Each disciples the type of family I lived with many years ago, who are then sent to other Muslim regions throughout Indonesia. In fact, 50 families have now been sent inter-province and have pioneered over 1,000 house fellowships of disciples. During this time, Rhonda has also started the women’s empowerment program, Flourish, for groups of rural Muslim women who are teachers and workers from farming communities. The Flourish program has also been run for young women from local universities. In the city where we live now, Rhonda has begun visiting women in prison, especially those who don’t get any visitors at all. Q: How did COVID-19 affectyour plans for 2020? ROBERT: Fortunately, we were scheduled to have home leave in Australia in June, which we brought forward, returning to Australia in early April 2020. This was after we received requests from the embassy and also due to the fact the final two months of our son’s Year 12 was put online at his 10
international school in Indonesia. (During our time in Indonesia, we have had three wonderful children and all have graduated from Year 12 there.) COVID for us has been a season to bring our family together and support each other. We have also been very connected to people back in Indonesia during this time. We have been trying to share the burden with the 50 pioneer families sent throughout the country; many who are struggling financially during COVID. We have facilitated student sponsorship for 50 children of these pioneer workers and we have also been able to send funds to some of the women in prison, as well as a single mum who recently got out of prison. Q: What’s next for you? ROBERT: With Australian state borders starting to open, we plan to do itinerate ministry in Australia between JanuaryMarch 2021. We will then have our daughter’s wedding, before returning to Indonesia in May 2021. During our time back in Australia, we have established the Centre for Intercultural Research and Engagement (CIRE www.ac.edu.au/research/researchcentres/cire/), which I coordinate at Alphacrucis College, as a hub for intercultural projects. We look forward to some exciting research projects and intercultural community engagement events developing through this initiative.
INTERVIEW If there was ever a year that the world was weary, it is was 2020. So what do we do with a weary soul? ACC Pastor, RUTH LIMKIN spoke to DR ROBI SONDEREGGER for the She Stands For Justice conference and shares part of this interview to give pastors and leaders some helpful frameworks.
What to do with a
Q&A RUTH LIMKIN interviews DR ROBI SONDEREGGER
If we’re going to tell somebody else in making a valuable contribution to the to dust themselves life of somebody else, because hey, let’s off and reconcile just face it, value is the same as worth, their past in order and self-worth is the pathway to selfto get on with their confidence. So, by helping others, I actually help future, then we myself in the same process or the same would do well to do breath. But it should be noted that the same. we don’t all want to just be wounded healers. We’ve got to also maintain our own mental and emotional wellbeing or be strong because otherwise, our helping capacity will be limited. Look, it might be a great motivation to get us into the helping game, but we’ve actually got to be the change that we want to see. So, we need to be able to, actually, like the old saying goes, ‘Practice what we preach’. So, if we’re going to tell somebody else to dust themselves off and reconcile their past in order to get on with their future, then we would do well to do the same. >
Ruth Limkin: It can be soul wearying sometimes to be in difficult situations and caring for people in pain. I thought it would be great to hear from you in terms of building resilience and learning how to thrive and flourish while we continue to advocate for justice. For those of us who work with people who are in pain and in trauma, what are some really important things to remember to make sure we process that well? Dr Robi Sonderegger: It’s a good question because all too often, we are lured into working with others who are in pain because we ourselves might be wrestling with some kind of pain. Of course, one of the easiest ways to not have to face what we’re going through is to place our attention on somebody else. Actually, that can be really therapeutic and beneficial, that I’m no longer always nursing, cursing, and rehearsing what’s going on for me, but rather I can reverse it or disperse it by focusing on helping somebody else. There is great treasure to be found 13
Ruth: So, that is an excellent idea, but how do we translate that into practice day-to-day? It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon so how do we stay strong for the marathon?
out of that office, all of their problems go out with them. Don’t leave your baggage with me because otherwise, at the end of the day, I’ll be overwhelmed and buried in baggage.
Dr Robi: It’s not just a good question; it’s the hard question because it actually involves personal discipline, but therein lie the fruit of the Spirit to have that sense of personal control, to be able to recognise, “I need to make sure that my own foundations are stable so that I can build upon this rock”. so to speak. The foundations for mental health, we kind of all know what they are. You don’t need a psychologist to tell you. It’s making sure that you get good sleep, eat right and exercise right, and have good, healthy thinking. So, making sure that we’re
We actually call it ‘minding the gap’. So, think of it like this. You’re at home, and you go to work in the morning, but there’s a big chasm, like a cliff, and you have to jump over the chasm in order to go to work. But if you pick up people’s baggage at work, when you come home, you’ll jump over the chasm to go back home. But because you’re so weighed down, you won’t make the gap, and so you’ll fall down. So you have to let go of all of the baggage that you’re dealing with at work in order to
not just hygienic with our hands but also have mental hygiene! Socialise really well, and go out in the sunshine and get some good rays. Understand your purpose in life. All of these things.
come home because otherwise, it’s not fair. Otherwise, you’ll bring the baggage into your home and into your spouse, and it’ll spill over on to your kids, and you’ll dream about it all night long. And then it’s affecting your own mental health, and you’re no good to anybody. So, mind the gap.
Ruth: That’s a great practical list. Dr Robi: It says in Proverbs 18:32 (to paraphrase it) “Hey, a person who can discipline themselves is actually better than a warrior who can conquer a city.” We say it’s both a positive and a negative because, “Hey, if we can learn how to discipline ourselves in these areas, we can become stronger than a warrior.” But also potentially discouraging because it’s as though the scripture is saying, “Yeah. Easier for you to conquer a city than it is for you to conquer yourself.” And so it takes great discipline to keep on going, doing what we know that we need to do.
Ruth:That’s very good. So, how do we leave that baggage behind? Dr Robi: :Well, there’s a few different things that we can do practically in that space. The first is... people have rituals, but the idea is compartmentalise. So, when I am at work, I am at work, and I’m fully focused at work. But if I happen to recognise that at home, I’ve brought something with me, I have to recognise, “Look, these questions that my mind is pondering, “But what if this happens? And what if that...” There is a time and a place to answer these questions, but that time is not all the time, and it’s not home time. So, let me compartmentalise it and choose a specific time where I’ll be able to process it. Maybe it’s on my way to work, or maybe I’m debriefing on my way home from work. To have those disciplines around debrief or about processing, getting these thoughts solved so that when I walk into the door of my home, I’ve dealt with that stuff. I’ve put it to bed, and I can be present for my family.
Ruth: Indeed. Are there some areas that you think people, particularly who perhaps have a real mercy or compassion gift, tend to neglect more than others? Dr Robi: Look, there’s a certain stereotype around the helping of people that we have. Of course, when you look at the stats in our profession, in the helping profession, psychology and psychiatry especially, has one of the highest burnout rates. And not just burnout, but also suicide rates. In terms of that, we take on the problems of the world on our shoulders. But we forget that’s what Jesus did. He already did that. We don’t need to do that. We can help people, but when somebody comes into the office, I want to be 110% there for them. But when they walk
Ruth: That’s fantastic because sometimes we talk about compartmentalising almost as a negative thing. We want to be integrated beings, and we want to be the same wherever we are. But in fact, that could be a sabotaging idea if we don’t 14
realize how to be fully present in the context that we’re in. I remember, a few weeks ago, I made the mistake of checking my work email not long before I went to bed, and there was one email in there. And I knew if I didn’t process it right there in the moment, I would not sleep well that night. So I wrote the email – I didn’t send it, but just wrote it. So it was out of my head. What are some practical tips you have for people?
there’s misunderstanding or confusion about especially, emotional resilience. We think it means to be emotionally strong or stoic, or I can weather the storm or grit my teeth and get through it. But in actual fact, it would be better describe emotional resiliency as emotional flexibility. So, “When the storm comes,” as the saying goes, “that which does not bend will break.” So we have to not just be strong. No, we have to be flexible so that we bend with the wind. And when the storm is over, resiliency is being able to return to our original position. So think of it like this, if you’re happily traveling along in your life and then some adverse incident traumatic event, unfortunate, unforeseen loss, whatever it might be.
Dr Robi: I think a mindset is really important. And what we don’t understand as carers all too often is that people’s problems are not our problems. And it sounds harsh, and it sounds cold. It sounds almost unloving to say, “Actually, your problem is your problem.” But actually, it’s a really healthy thing
COVID, whether it be sickness or loss of finances of business, it knocks you back into minus. Well, the role and the goal of any psychologist or social worker or mental health worker or psychiatrist or medical doctor is to help that individual make a recovery, to be rehabilitated, to return to their original starting position of zero. That’s basically what it means to be resilient.
to embrace so that when I’m helping somebody, I’m helping them with their problem, but I’m not owning the solution. It’s not my responsibility to solve their issue. No, that’s their responsibility. My responsibility is to help them resolve their particular issue. Ruth:That’s good. And I think that distinguishing whose responsibility it is actually a really helpful idea.
Ruth: Well, zero is good, and it’s better than negative 10, but it’s not very inspiring in some ways. How could we get to 10 or a hundred? Or how could we get into the positive territory? What’s beyond resilience?
Dr Robi: Oftentimes, people come into the psychology clinic, and they say, ‘You’re my last hope. I’ve tried this one, and that doctor and this one, and people have recommended here.’ What pressure! I don’t want to accept that pressure for a second to bear and say, ‘Actually, I’m not your last hope. I’m not even your best hope. In fact, don’t place your hope in me. There’s one who is a much better one to place your hope in’. But here’s the deal –I can be your satellite navigation system.”
Dr Robi: What if we could go beyond zero into plus? The good news is, is there’s a whole brand new body of research now called post-traumatic growth. Recognizing that, that age, old statement, “That which doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” actually has some merit. But it’s not true for everyone, only true for a select small group of people that possess certain characteristics and qualities. Even storms can make us stronger. When the rain falls if the rain falls during a thunderstorm or a lightning storm, it actually helps plants grow better because the lightning activates the neutrons in the raindrops. And when it falls to the ground and fuses with the dead, it turns into fertilizer. So actually, we’re better off by being watered in a storm. It actually fosters greater growth, and we’ve got access to that as well.
Ruth: Oh, very good description. Dr Robi: “And say in 300 meters turn left”, but you have to do the driving. So let’s make sure that we have the understanding right from the get-go.” Ruth: That’s very good. So we’ve talked a little bit about maintaining wellbeing. And one of the concepts that we hear a lot about these days is resilience - emotional resilience and mental resilience. So, could you tell us what actually is resilience?
Ruth: So is it that everybody can grow sort of through trauma or is this something that just a few people will be able to, and >
Dr Robi: I’m glad you asked that question because often 15
Research shows that people who are more grateful actually attract more good things into their life to be grateful for.
spotlight on somebody else to ask, how can I serve? What can I do to be kind? So kindness is the next characteristic. Asking what resources, gifts, abilities, opportunities do I have that I could make an effective or valuable contribution to the life of somebody else? And then the final characteristic is called courage because if I’ve been hurt, betrayed, abandoned, abused it takes great courage to forgive. That’s the only way that I can get on with my future, those five characteristics. And you’ll not just make a recovery, but you have the capacity to grow through your tragedy and end up better off in the end than when you were before the tragedy took place.
the rest of us have to throw our hands up in despair? Dr Robi: Professor Martin Seligman did a series of studies together with his colleagues that identified people who do grow through trauma, possess certain characteristics and qualities. So what we then did with our research in Iraq and various different places around the world, working with people who have survived great atrocities and especially as it relates to war. We were asking the question - can somebody learn these characteristics or adopt them and also experience the same benefits? And the answer is yes. Ruth: What are these characteristics, Dr Robi?
Ruth: That is so encouraging. And I think so inspiring because it reminds us that no matter what we waiting through, no matter what situation we’ve been through, we can get not just back to zero, but beyond that. Often we resile from pressure, but pressure and heat turns coal into diamonds. There can be something amazing that comes out of difficulty. And as we lean into that, I think we can start to write a better story, not just for ourselves, but those around about us.
Dr Robi: Well, there are probably about 15 different characteristics. And on a factor analysis, five load most strongly. So the top five characteristics lo and behold, number one is a belief in a God who actually cares. Ruth: Wow. Dr Robi: Not just believing in God and not just participating in some kind of religious activity or going to church, reading the Bible, or praying, although all those are great. The differentiating factor is believing in a God who actually cares. So when I’m going through great difficulty, so long as I hold on to that belief, if my heart is breaking well, God’s heart must be breaking also because he cares for me, which gives me the second characteristic, which is hope. Hope is not just wishful thinking, just like faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and if I believe in a God who actually cares, hey, that gives me something to hold on to, which allows me to engage the next characteristic, which is gratitude. Being thankful, not just in the good times, but in all times. And that too is a discipline. A daily discipline of counting our blessings one by one, despite whatever might be going on, there is still something to be thankful for. Research shows that people who are more grateful actually attract more good things into their life to be grateful for, which gives us the capacity for the next characteristic to take the spotlight off ourselves and do what we said at the very beginning of this interview to put the
Ruth Limkin is a credentialed pastor with the ACC, and is the founding CEO of The Banyans Health & Wellness, a multimodel residential health retreat. Dr Robi Sonderegger is an internationally recognised Clinical Psychologist, known for taking psychology from the frontline to the home front™. Dr Robi has worked with corporations, governments, churches, universities/schools and humanitarian agencies in more than 25 countries.
THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW
Community Survey on spirituality in Australia
Life changed significantly for Australians in 2020, with bushfires, floods and then the COVID-19 pandemic. Many church services went online, people stayed home and Zoom meetings became commonplace. In this context, NCLS conducted a Community Survey among Australians, asking about their experiences of stress, wellbeing, spirituality and church, in the 2020 Australian Community Survey reveals... Nearly seven in 10 Australians say that spirituality is important in personal wellbeing, in the context of events including bushfires and COVID-19. The greatest stressors listed are family relationships and social isolation. Just under half of Australians reported personally drawing on spiritual practices during the year, with 15% of those people increasing the level of their practice in 2020. • Stressors, isolation and support amongst Australians in 2020 When Australians were asked about the greatest stressors they experienced in 2020, top of the list were: family relationships; the impacts of social isolation; and the safety of self, family or friends due to COVID-19. In terms of personal support, most Australians reported having family, friends and colleagues to turn to for support and help. However just over one in ten persons (12%) said they had no one to turn to as a personal support. • Did Australians draw on spiritual practices more or less during this year of crisis? After living through a year of crises, NCLS Research surveyed Australians on their views and experiences of spiritual practice, and their involvement with churches. Did they engage in spiritual practices more or less in 2020? Findings reveal that nearly seven in 10 Australians say that spirituality is important in personal wellbeing, in the current context. Just under half of Australians report personally drawing on spiritual practices during the year, with 15% of those people increasing the level of their spiritual practice in 2020. In the 2020 Australian Community Survey, Australians were asked what their preferred style of spiritual activity is, whether they participate in them or not. Results showed preference for spending time in nature and the outdoors; listening to music that lifts one’s spirits; and prayer, meditation and mindfulness practices. In 2020, nearly seven in 10 Australians say that spirituality is important to support one’s personal wellbeing, in the context of crises such as bushfires and COVID-19. • Around four in ten Australians say they are open to being invited to church Many churchgoers invite their friends and family along to church, so what would Australians say to such an invitation? What factors influence their decision? Using results from the 2020 ACS, we see that around four in ten Australians are open to being invited to church. Other recent findings also show that the importance of the person inviting them is a crucial factor; and that scandals are the biggest barrier to them attending church. Source: National Church Life Survey Research finding from 2020 17
PASTOR ALUN DAVIES encourages pastors and leaders to go behind the veil and discover all they need for ministry in front of the altar.
VEIL BY ALUN DAVIES
‘Therefore you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for everything at the altar and behind the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood to you as a gift for service, but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death’ Numbers 18:7 (NKJV)
BEHIND THE VEIL ARE THREE THINGS 1. First there is the Candlestick that has to be tended, trimmed and fuelled with oil. Behind the veil we stand in the light of Gods presence to be judged by the light. All is opened are exposed to the light. This is the most difficult and challenging part of our experience behind the veil and why many avoid it! But we need it. By being alone with God in the light of his presence things are put right in the light. Motives are challenged, attitudes are changed, desires are redirected, darkness is exposed. We are cleansed, realigned with God and his purpose. We are refreshed in our relationship with Him. We are challenged and changed. The priest must deliberately kindle the light, trim and fuel the light. Cultivate the light do not avoid it. Bring the light. Ask for the light. we need to submit ourselves to the scrutiny of the lord. Don’t hid from it. Be open to the light. Seek the light . Be challenged and changed by the light of the presence of God.
he priest was given a gift of service that had two different functions. The King James describes these as “of the altar” and “within the veil” or as the New King James says, “at the altar” and “behind the veil.” I’m sure we are very familiar with the ministry of the priest “at the altar” as we see priests frequently in scriptures offering sacrifices, performing rituals, leading worship etc. Yet we do not see the behind the veil ministry mentioned very often as it is a hidden ministry not open to the public. In this we see the two dimensions of ministry that are part of our ministry gifts today. We have in fact been given a ministry gift that has two dimensions. There is our ministry gift before the altar i.e. our public ministry before the world consisting of our preaching, teaching, leading, worshiping and much more. However we have also be given an equally necessary and vital ministry behind the veil – away from the sight of people; hidden from view – a ministry before God in the presence of God. It is this ministry that can be forgotten in the pressures and demands of our ministry before the altar. Yet our behind the veil ministry is just as important, or even more important, that our ministry before the altar. The Veil The veil is a separation from the demands, expectations, needs of the world and of the troubles we face. It is a shelter from everything except the presence of God. The veil leaves out everything, leaving us alone with God! Behind the veil is a place of secrecy – a place of intimacy; a private place; an exclusive place – a separated place away from everything but God. It is a place sanctified and dedicated to be a place where we come alone with God. An absolute requirement of ministry before the altar is to practice our ministry behind the veil. Ministry before the altar may bring us the praise of people but ministry behind the veil brings us the praise of God. Ministry behind the veil is the hidden secret of ministry before the altar. Time spent behind the veil is empowering, transformative, refreshing, directive and healing. It endears us to God. It is the place of our submission, the place of our adoration and the place of our intercession. Ministry behind the veil will be manifest before the altar! We bring to the altar what we have found behind the veil. What we have received behind the veil is all we have to give before the altar. What we have become behind the veil enables us to be who we’re need to be before the altar. The ministry behind the Veil. We have been given the gift, the privilege and honour of a ministry behind the veil. It is ministry as real and and necessary as our ministry before the altar.
2. Secondly there is the altar upon which the priest placed fresh bread daily. Bringing fresh bread every day behind the veil is a reminder to the priest that it was from the presence of God that Israel were fed in the wilderness and that there deliverance and help comes from God. Bringing the bread of the word fresh everyday behind the veil into the presence of God reminds us that our success comes from God and all we have is given to us by God. Freshly open the Word in the presence of the Lord behind the veil. Remember again as you read his word in his presence that it is from his presence and by his word that we minster today. We need to open the word fresh daily behind the veil in the presence of God and let the lord speak to us from his word so that when we minister before the altar we will have a word fresh from behind the veil. 3. There is a third item behind the veil - the altar of incense. The priest brought incense into the presence of the Lord behind the veil and burnt the incense on a small altar. Behind the veil we bring the incense of worship and praise, adoration and thanks. We bring ourselves as a living sacrifice “a sweet smell “ before > God! We are the sacrifice that is a sweet incense behind the
MINISTRY BEFORE THE ALTAR MAY BRING US THE PRAISE OF PEOPLE BUT MINISTRY BEHIND THE VEIL BRINGS US THE PRAISE OF GOD. 19
HOPE FOR A DESPERATE WORLD
BEHIND THE VEIL IS A TIME TO PUT ASIDE EVERYTHING ABOUT OURSELVES AND FOCUS ON GOD ALONE
For more than ten years, 1Day funds have contributed to life-giving projects and programs around the world and enabled ACCI field workers to reach more people with the love of Jesus.
veil. This is the submission of ourselves to God. The yielding of our will to Gods will. It is the laying aside our own self, our plans, our wants, our desire. Give yourself freely, totally, wholly to the Lord as His servants to do His will. It is from that position of humility and submission to God that our real ministry before the altar flows. Enter behind the veil When we enter behind the veil, we enter prepared to minister to God. We enter prepared to worship. We enter prepared for God to speak to us - we come to listen. We enter prepared to be judged by the light, corrected, challenged, and changed! We enter prepared to encounter God, minister to God, focus on God, and submit to God. It’s a place and time focused on God Himself. Behind the veil is a time to put aside everything about ourselves and focus on God alone! It is a place of seeking God. Abiding in the presence of the Lord. Allowing Him to do His work in us. When we enter the behind the veil and minster there, we will emerge from our ministry there changed. We will emerge refreshed, realigned with Gods purpose, inspired with fresh revelation. We need to go behind the veil. If we don’t, we are ministering at a disadvantage! Behind the veil is where we will find refreshing, direction, correction, realignment, inspiration, empowerment. It is what is missing. It is what is needed most, and it is what our Spirt craves and our soul needs! We have a hidden ministry behind the veil hidden from the eyes and intrusions of this world. It is a forgotten and often unappreciated ministry. Yet it is our greatest secret source of refreshing, strength, wisdom and lasting fruitfulness in ministry. The ministry that flow from behind the veil makes powerful the ministry before the altar.
To promote the campaign, we recently ran a ‘Discover 1Day’ online event; asking our field workers to reflect on what your sacrificial 1Day giving makes possible. Here are just a few highlights of past, present and future work funded by 1Day.
WHAT IS 1DAY? It’s a simple idea that continues to change the lives of people all around the world. Give one day’s salary to help ACCI reach families and communities in need. As our world faces an unprecedented crisis, it is vital we stand as one and help those who are most vulnerable. Register your church today at www.acci.org.au/1day/ Be inspired. Hear from our field workers on Facebook and Instagram
Pastor Alun Davies is the director of ACCI and Vice President of the Australian Christian Churches. 20
1DAY – SUPPORT FOR LIFE-CHANGING RELIEF PROJECTS • VIETNAM – COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT “Through 1Day support over the years, we’ve been able to help children get the heart surgeries they need to save their lives; we’ve been able to install water filtration systems in schools and health centres... We have been able to facilitate violence prevention training for children [and] safety awareness for children and for families... With 1Day funds this year, we are going to be able to help with the needs caused by the recent flooding, landslides and the ongoing typhoons.” – Rebekah Windsor, Country Program Director
1DAY – HELP TO ADAPT DURING COVID • CAMBODIA – CHURCH PLANT “1Day has made such a big difference for us to be able to respond really quickly. Right at the start, we started livestreaming [our services] and we were able to get equipment and just do it, and do it well.” – Andrew Thomas, Pastor, The Together Co, Cambodia
“This region has many different challenges. One challenge our family was facing was being able to get in and out of communities safely, with a car that would be reliable... Last year, 1Day contributed to our vehicle fund and we were able to buy a vehicle... Since we bought that vehicle, we have been able to take medical teams into remote border communities [and] we’ve been able to do different relief distributions into communities that are really struggling.” – Alana (and Jeremy), Middle East
“We currently have some very exciting new 1Day projects on the boil. One is for the translation and printing of leadership development materials for leaders in North Asia. We also have a project for conducting leadership training programs in northern Thailand.” – Ross and Donna
1DAY – SUPPORT FOR VITAL OPERATIONAL EXPENSES • JAPAN - CHURCH PLANTS • MOZAMBIQUE – SUPPORT FOR CHURCHES The Living Word Ministries, Mozambique – support for churches (led by Katrina and Isac Condesse)
• MIDDLE EAST– MEDICAL SUPPORT
impoverished area of our city ... [so we can] demonstrate the love of God in very tangible ways.
“We don’t have the resources to do online church. One of the requirements of the government to re-open is a thermometer, which was a great obstacle for us, and another requirement is to have bathrooms... Praise the Lord, [with the support of 1Day] we have our two bathrooms... and we also have the thermometer.” – Manuel Gonsalves Fernando, Pastor of African Continent Mission Church
“Until a church is self-sustaining you need help, and doing something in a country like Japan is expensive. For us, 1Day has meantwe’ve been able to keep our doors open. Now that might not seem like a lot but as well as running our services, we do a lot of outreach activities here in the church itself – everything from Kids Fun Time through to English classes and preparing food for outreach programs. It has also helped us be able to get airconditioning.” – Eugene Gebert, Pastor Waku Waku Church, Japan
1DAY – HELP TO SHARE THE GOSPEL • NORTH ASIA – LEADERSHIP TRAINING, YOUTH CONCERTS, CHURCH PLANTING, COMMUNITY SUPPORT “1Day funds have enabled us to conduct a whole range of ministry projects that are making a huge difference in people’s lives in North Asia. We’ve been able to hold leadership development programs where hundreds of senior and emerging leaders have been trained. We’ve also been able to hold concerts throughout the region with young Aussie bands, with more than 30,000 people attending. 1Day funds have also enabled us to establish the Future Hope Community Centre in an 21
“1Day has been there from the very beginning when I was just starting out and I needed to purchase items to enable me to hold church services and conduct English classes. [It has] helped me purchase a table and chairs, a projector, an air conditioner... a car... This year, we’re able to have renovations done to the church building... With COVID-19, this has just been an incredible blessing because with social distancing, we’ve needed the extra space.” – Penny Nakanishi, rural Japan – church plant
BOARDS & THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES Being asked to become a board member for a church or a Not-For-Profit organisation can be a great honour and provides you with the opportunity to work collaboratively with a group of people to see the mission of your organisation succeed. The role of a board member carries great responsibility, and with responsibility comes risk .
THE PURPOSE OF THE BOARD
he role of the board is to act as the rudder of the organisation, directing the course of the ministry and navigating the often complex waters of finance, legislative compliance, workplace health and safety and employment practices to name a few. Boards will be responsible for: • Accountability - by ensuring that the church or charity they represent operates transparently, manages its finances well and meets all its legal obligations • Policy – by clearly setting out the purpose of your organisation, establishing the ministry’s long-term goals and how those goals will be pursued • Resourcing – ensuring that sufficient funds are secured to support and maintain the goals of the organisation • Advocacy – representing your organisation to the public, your members and other key stakeholders • Observing – that your organisation is being run within documented guidelines and the law The duties and responsibilities of a board member
It should be noted that other people who may be considered part of the “governing body” of an organisation even though they are not officially recognised as board members may also include: • Someone who is in position of influence within the organisation (e.g. Pastor) • Someone who participates in the key decisionmaking process for the operation of the organisation • Someone who has the capacity to significantly impact the organisation’s financial standing • Someone whose instructions or opinions board members are used to acting on EXAMPLE: Founding pastor of a church who remains heavily involved The founding pastor of a church, which was established some 20 years ago, has been on the board up until his retirement two years ago. Although no longer an official board member, he still regularly attends board meetings, and board members regularly seek his opinion prior to major decisions being made for the church. In this case, he still may be considered a member of the governing body of the organisation and because board members are used to acting on his instructions or opinions, and as such, he would be expected to comply with the above-mentioned legal duties.
Often there is a misconception that because a board member may be filling the role voluntarily, there is no obligation for them to comply with the legal duties of a board member. This is false. It does not matter how small or informal your organisation may be, how many members you have, how long you have been part of the organisation, or how much experience you may or may not have in the role, all members of the board must comply to the same legal standard. The law states that the relationship between a board member and the organisation they represent is one of trust and therefore the role must be carried out ensuring that you comply with the following four key legal duties: • Duty to act in good faith, and for a proper purpose • Duty to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence (including the duty to prevent insolvent trading) • Duty not to improperly use information or position, and • Duty to disclose and manage conflicts of interest
LEGAL DUTIES 1. Duty to act in good faith This requires you to make decisions that are based on what is best for your organisation. In doing so, you should ensure that you take into consideration what is best for the purpose of the organisation, it’s members, the finances and operations. You must not base your decisions on personal preference, goals or perhaps affiliations you may have with other organisations. In addition, you should not allow other people to dictate how you should vote on certain matters at board meetings. To ensure that you are making your decision based on the ‘right purpose’, your board should familiarise themselves with the mission statement. Are the decisions > being made with these statements or objectives in mind? 23
2. Duty to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence All committee members must take their role and responsibilities seriously and ensure that they carry out their duties diligently. This would include being prepared for meetings and ensuring that they have read and understood all relevant papers presented for discussion. If there are matters which they do not understand, they should seek independent or professional advice in order to aid the decision-making process. Board members are also legally responsible for ensuring that the finances of the organisation are properly managed, therefore it is essential that all committee members are acquainted with, and understand the financial reports presented for the organisation. Unfortunately, in this instance, ignorance is not bliss, and the defence of “the finances are the Treasurers responsibility”will not stand up in Court. Naturally the degree of detail required for financial reports will vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the organisation being represented. If necessary, engage the services of an accountant to provide advice on the state of accounts.
• An individual or organisation to whom money is owed by the organisation • An administrator or liquidator who has been appointed to investigate the finances or solvency of the organisation • The new committee of an organisation (e.g. against a former committee member) • The members of the organisation (collectively, not individually) • An employee of the organisation (for unfair dismissal)
3. Duty not to misuse information or position People who are elected to sit on a board must ensure that they do so out of loyalty to and for the benefit of the organisation. They must not use their position on the board for personal gain by way of favours or ‘kick backs’, nor use information that may be discussed in board meetings to bring personal gain, advantage to others, or in a way that may be of detriment to the organisation.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN CHOOSING BOARD MEMBERS
4. Duty to disclose and manage conflicts of interest This responsibility is very closely linked to your duty not to misuse information or position. It should be noted that a conflict of interest is not the same as a disagreement between board members. A conflict of interest arises where a member uses information obtained or their position on the board for personal gain. For example: influencing the decision to allocate the church building maintenance contract to the building firm you own without a proper tendering process. If you become aware of a matter which may result in a conflict of interest for you, you must disclose this to the board and then set about managing the conflict. This may mean excusing yourself from meetings where the matter is being discussed or not being present for the vote. The minutes of the meeting should clearly record that the conflict was declared and how it was managed.
When looking to establish a board for your organisation, or perhaps inducting a new member to the board it is important that you ask yourself the following questions: 1. Does this person meet our organisation’s requirements? Are we selecting the right person? • Do they have a good knowledge of your organisation and its mission? • Do they have a good knowledge of your organisation and its mission? • Will they have the time required to commit to the responsibility? • Do they have a general understanding of the role of a board member? • Will they work well with others on the committee? • Are they reliable, and do they have good organisational skills? are they able to communicate well? You should also consider conducting the following screening checks: • Police check • Reference check • Working With Children Check (where appropriate)
5. Consequences of not complying with duties and responsibilities If your organisation has employed good governance processes, the likelihood of any legal action being brought against your organisation may be rare. However, there are legal consequences if it is found that a member of your board has failed to comply with their legal duties. Penalties for breaches of duty are generally financial and may be imposed by way of a fine or paying compensation to the organisation. Organisations who may seek to bring legal action against a board member for breach of duty may include: • A regulator (for example ASIC)
2. Does this person meet the legal requirements for appointment to our board? Does your organisation have specific requirements in its rules around who can be appointed as a board member (e.g. they must be a member of your organisation, or they must be at least 18 years of age) 24
organisations who are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission (ACNC) will need to check that the appointed person meets their governance standards which precludes anyone who has been disqualified from managing a corporation under the Corporations Act, or has been disqualified by the ACNC in the past 12 months Depending on the legal structure of your organisation, certain roles on a board (e.g. secretary or public officer) may have certain legal requirements that they must comply with in relation to reporting responsibilities. You should seek specific legal advice or contact your regulator to ensure you are complying in this area.
comply with their OH&S obligations. Directors found to have failed in their duty to provide a safe workplace which results in the death of an employee or member of the public can be subject to fines of up to $16.5M (for corporations) whilst individuals can face up to 20 years in prison. This legislation can be applied to incidents where: • employees, subcontractors or clients have knowingly been exposed to COVID-19 resulting in death • an employee or subcontractor has been exposed to asbestos and subsequently develops a terminal asbestos related disease • an employee commits suicide as a result of the employer’s negligent conduct This new legislation applies to body corporate organisations, unincorporated bodies, unincorporated associations, incorporated associations and the trustees of trusts.
3. Does this person understand their legal obligations and responsibilities? Please refer to the four key duties of a board member. 4. Have we followed proper process for the appointment of this board member? • Have you referred to your organisation’s governance documents (or constitution) in relation to the appointment or removal of board members? • Are you required to notify any of the regulatory authorities of the appointment?
PROTECTING YOUR BOARD MEMBERS Due to the importance of the role, directors and officers can be sued as individuals and therefore have their personal assets at risk. If a board member commits a wrongful act in the course of their duties, a Management Liability or Associations Liability policy can respond in the defence of claims which may be brought against the individual or the organisation as a result. Examples of claims: • Claims of unfair dismissal by an employee • Claims of financial mismanagement • Breaches of OH&S legislation It should be noted however that these policies are not designed to respond to a criminal act.
Other considerations Anyone who is appointed to sit on a board should be able to understand how to read financial reports and be able to participate effectively in discussions around the financial position of your organisation. The board are collectively responsible for the financial management of the church or ministry, therefore understanding of its financial position cannot simply be left to the Treasurer.
STRATEGIES TO PROTECT YOUR ORGANISATION
RISKS OF BEING A BOARD MEMBER
Transferring risk by purchasing appropriate insurance products is only one strategy to protect your organisation and it’s Directors. It is important as an organisation that you consider carefully the appointment of your board. Ensure that: • those tasked with positions of authority have been chosen based on the skill set they bring • they understand the position they represent • they are dedicated to the review of existing policies and procedures and where applicable, the implementation of new processes • they seek to promote a culture of safety in your organisation Your board members should be trained in their role and seek to keep abreast of legislative changes which may impact their role.
The role of elders, board members or directors of the church is an important one that carries a significant degree of responsibility and risk. As already discussed, Directors and Officers of an organisation are expected to be aware of their obligations to comply with a range of general and specific laws such as Tax Law, Corporations Law and Employment Law. They have a duty to ensure that they are fully informed with respect to the financial position of the organisation they represent, and exercise diligence to ensure that the organisation remains solvent. Ignorance of the law or your responsibilities is not considered a defence in the event of a claim for a wrongful act. It is strongly recommended that before agreeing to take on the role of a Director or Board Member, you ensure that the organisation you have been asked to represent has insurance in place to protect you. This is generally by way of a Directors and Officers Liability policy, or perhaps Management Liability or Associations Liability Insurance. Recent changes to penalties which may be applied to NotFor-Profit board members Effective 1 July 2020, new industrial manslaughter laws have come into effect in Victoria. These new laws apply to not-forprofit organisations such as schools and charitable organisations. The new legislation seeks to prevent workplace deaths and provide harsher penalties against office holders who fail to
Click here to read the complete article by ACS Financial: ACS Financial have been providing Churches, Charities, Christian Schools and Not-For-Profits with access to comprehensive Insurance and Protection packages for over 25 years. These packages can include products that will protect those who are responsible for the oversight and governance of your organisation. If you would like further information about these products, please contact our office on 1800 531 465.
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Letâ€™s Talk About GENDER, RACE, AND OFFENSES by Lily Arasaratnam-Smith
dentity has become a contentious issue across the globe. Public debates on race, gender, faith, and other ‘identity’ variables have heightened our awareness not only of our own identity but also our orientation toward others who are ‘different.’ What labels are acceptable? What comments are offensive? What topics are taboo? Should someone have said what they did in social media? Should I have responded? These are questions with which we wrestle, publicly and privately.Yet, for all the present attention on identity variables, I wonder whether our debates are motivated by genuine desire to understand others, out of love for a fellow human being. My starting point for this reflection is the belief that all humans have inherent value and dignity as evidenced in God’s pervasive love for humanity, which is the foundation on which I base my own Christian faith.1 variable. Yet we feel their pain by association and the experiences of our ancestors often frame our current narratives. These invisible scars can create an atmosphere of tentativeness and hesitancy in our relationships. If we see someone with a broken arm, we know not to shake that arm vigorously in greeting. But how do we know not to poke an experiential or historic wound with our words? We do not. So, we skirt around issues we perceive might be ‘sensitive,’ we offer blanket apologies for any offenses we may inadvertently cause, and we use generalisable and innocuous descriptors to the point where sometimes it is no longer clear to what or whom we refer. But in the active avoidance of offense, have we also deprived ourselves of opportunities for genuine understanding and healing? To be clear, I do not deny the pain many of us carry due to historical and present-day injustices. My scars may not look like yours, but they are there, and they are real to me – as yours are to you. And when you and I are in relationship, it is inevitable that I may prod your scars and cause you pain. It is equally possible you could dismiss my scars or question their relevance in today’s enlightened society, causing me pain. What then is our recourse? Do we simply avoid pain by avoiding any real conversations? Do we walk on eggshells around each other for the rest of our lives? Do we limit our relationships to those who sport similar scars to our own, those who ‘understand’? I hope not!
Evidences and Embodied Identities We recognise a variety of evidences to build an argument or believe someone else’s argument. In a court of law, evidences could be eyewitness testimony, expert testimony, DNA, artefacts, and so on. In news stories, we look for verifiable facts. In scientific articles, we look for replicable facts. But when it comes to someone’s personal experience, evidence is challenging territory. Relationships are built between people, not labels or descriptors. To describe my physicality is to describe me as a petite, brown-skinned, dark haired, woman. Some have called me ‘black’ (much to my surprise), others have called me ‘Indian’ (not that much of a surprise), and yet others, to my delight, have simply seen me as ‘local.’ However, to be in relationship with me is to know me – my beliefs, values, passions, peeves and idiosyncrasies that make me a unique individual beyond the descriptors of my physicality, even though my physicality too is part of who I am. If my physicality keeps tripping someone up because s/he doesn’t want to say anything that might offend me as a woman, as a brown person, or a perceived ‘minority,’ then we may never get to have those deeper conversations that build genuine friendship. Similarly, if I hear offense in what others say, no matter how justified I feel in hearing that offense, I may never get to hear the person behind the perceived identity or the words that contribute to me taking offense (e.g. ‘how can a white man understand what it’s like to be me?’) My experiences are my own, just as yours are your own. Some painful experiences have no evidence, apart from the deep internal scars we carry with us. And some experiences were not even our own, but our ancestors’ or experiences of others with whom we identify by means of nationality, ethnicity, gender, or some other identity
Looking Ahead I have been a student of intercultural communication for most of my life. When people from different cultures interact, there is high probability for misunderstandings and potential ‘offenses’ because we carry with us layers of 29
IF WE ARE WILLING TO ENDURE THE DISCOMFORT OF SOMEONE TREADING ON OUR WOUNDS IN THEIR JOURNEY TO UNDERSTANDING US BETTER, IF WE ARE WILLING TO LISTEN AND BE HEARD, PERHAPS THEN WE CAN GET BEYOND THE CACOPHONY OF OUTRAGE AND PROGRESS cultural formation, the nuances of which are impossibly opaque to an ‘outsider.’ Yet, to form relationships across cultures, we must exercise grace and assume good intentions on the other person’s part, to nurture the friendship beyond initial ‘offenses.’ If we value the friendship, we challenge and encourage the other person to understand why what they said could be interpreted as an offense, and welcome similar honesty about our own behaviour in turn. In such instances, we begin to better understand our own cultural biases, we expand our frame of reference to include the other’s way of seeing things, and we enrich our lives with a friendship that will stretch and challenge us beyond our comfort zone. I think the same principles of extending grace, and engaging in ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ dialogue, also apply to conversations across different identities. Unless we are willing to truly dialogue with the ‘other,’ to understand him or her as a human with inherent value, unless we are willing to get past the initial pain of our scars being inadvertently prodded, we will limit our circle of genuine relationships to those who sport scars that match ours, and to conversations that revolve around the perceived perpetrators of those scars, keeping the pain alive, avoiding anyone who dares to presume there may be a way forward for mutual healing. As for me, I have been a ‘minority’ my entire life. I have been at the receiving end of painful words and acts of discrimination that were malicious, inadvertent, or indifferent. No doubt, I too have been the perpetrator of such acts toward others in my own flawed and ongoing
journey toward wholeness. However, being an educated woman living in a free country, I am privileged to have not only the tools, but also the agency, to self-reflect and make choices that either facilitate or hinder relationship with those whose identity is different to mine. I thus approach ‘identity’ conversations on the premise of the following broad principles: Firstly, I should be open to listening to another’s point of view, regardless of the extent to which I agree with it. Secondly, I should not dismiss someone else’s (identity) pain just because I do not understand it. Thirdly, I should not expect someone else to understand my own pain or perspective unless I am willing to open myself to genuine conversation and relationship. If we are willing to endure the discomfort of someone treading on our wounds in their journey to understanding us better, if we are willing to listen and be heard, perhaps then we can get beyond the cacophony of outrage and progress towards healing dialogues. Let’s talk about gender, race, and offenses, so that we can also talk about repentance, forgiveness, and restoration, and building a better legacy for the coming generations despite our scars – or perhaps, because of them. Prof Lily Arasaratnam-Smith is Deputy Vice President Student Affairs at Alphacrucis College. Her area of expertise is intercultural communication. 1.
John 3:16; Romans 5:7-8
Measuring Community Impact
e love to count things! We count how many people attend church (or used to), we count our connect groups and of course, we count our giving. The one thing that is hard to quantify however is our Community Engagement impact and reach, that is until Pastor Wayne Alcorn asked me to meet with an Englishman who came to Australia to pitch an idea that had so far been successful in 17 countries, and had gained the attention of Local, State and National Governments, not to mention the media (click here to read an article in the London Times). The idea although simple has powerful outcomes. Ever wondered what the social impact of churches and faithbased organisation are in your town or city? Through ACC’s partnership with Cinnamon Network Australia we have been able to do just that. The Cinnamon Faith Action Audit (CFAA) enables the faith community in a local region to measure their collective social impact. More specifically, the CFAA puts a monetary value on the time given by churches and other faith organisations to serve those experiencing vulnerability, isolation or injustice. This year the region of the Illawarra was able to complete the first ever CFAA in Australia. Over half (101 survey responses) of all faith based organisations in the Illawarra contributed to the survey. In November we presented the final report to local government representatives. The results were amazing and tell a story of churches actively supporting those most vulnerable in our community. It also confirms what we know, that the church is not a building it’s people. Over 140,000 people were served annually, more that half the population of Wollongong and Shellharbour combined. This community service represents nearly $10 million of volunteer hours per year while addressing the top 15 social needs of our community. The report also showed that faith based organisations contribute $2,405,261 worth of material assistance per year.
“I believe the Cinnamon Faith Action Audit is one of the most powerful tools through which churches and faith-based organisations can positively impact their communities. I thank all those across the Illawarra who participated in this inaugural Australian CFAA and commend your outstanding work to love and serve others.” – Rev. Tim Costello AO, Patron, Cinnamon Network Australia
The second phase of the Cinnamon is to create a menu of community engagement programs based on these 6 criteria: • Local church-led (rather than individual Christian-led). • Track record for changing lives (rather than a good idea). • Addresses a specific social need (rather than a generally good thing). • Core methodology that can be replicated (rather than a charismatic leader that cannot). • Average local church sized (rather than requiring a big & resourceful church). • Heart to give away & replicate through churches (rather than duplicate of valuable resources). These are proven reproducible programs that any Church can choose regardless of size. For example Circuit Breaker helps local churches enable ordinary people to stop domestic violence in their communities. It does this through a ten week course that meaningfully engages with perpetrators of domestic violence in a solution-focussed, shame-free way. If you are interested in measuring the combined impact of Faith based organisations then email australia@ cinnamonnetwork.com – Paul Bartlett ACC National Community Engagement Leader
Paul Bartlett and Major Phil Inglis presenting the report to Clr Moira Hamilton, Shellharbour City Council and Clr Ann Martin, Wollongong City Council From left to right: Paul, Ann, Moira and Phil
ARE LOOKING FOR IN YOUR CHURCH By Benjamin Windell
If you want to see the trends in MIillennials leaving churches change, don’t just do cooler versions of the same old church culture. Benjamin Windell suggests digging a little deeper and examining the ‘substance’ of who you. are.
illennials are image savvy, being raised purely in the digital era of Facebook advertising and Instagram influencers. They see style versus substance play out, first-hand, daily. They can spot bad marketing and counterfeit culture a mile away. They recognise and are drawn to authenticity in branding and marketing. They relate to stories and to people. They’re loyal, and they want to become part of a story that’s bigger than themselves. So beware of the ‘cool church’ trap. Changing just the thin veneer of stylistic elements will never make up for a deficient church culture. So don’t change your church logo, update your colour palette or upgrade your sound system just yet. These modernisations to your ‘style’ aren’t actually enough to stem the flow of emerging generations from the church. Millennials don’t want just a cool church, they want an authentic faith community. In a superficial culture, depth is attractive. The idea that to reach Millennials and Gen Z we need better branding or a new website is really a misread on what these generations actually want. They have been marketed and advertised to at an unprecedented rate their entire lives. So what do they want? Depth.
Remember: What you use for attraction, you must continue with for retention. All the short term tricks - the big event, the social media campaign, the guest speakers, the giveaways - may attract an initial crowd. And guess what that crowd will need to keep them happy - all the same things that you promoted to them to reach them in the first place. If you use gimmicks, fads, or hype—you better keep that up every week. If you build the story of your church (or organisation) on being the it church, the cool church, or the image church, be warned that you can’t be those things forever. Fads fade away, and trends evolve. So, here are some things that Millennials actually want more than a great event: 1: BIBLE TEACHING AND BASIC DOCTRINE It may seem overly simplistic, but to lead a generation with no biblical background or common knowledge, the church must assume just that: that there exists a fundamental need to provide Bible teaching and basic doctrine. We must lay the foundation. 2: PRACTICAL LIFE-HELP COURSES On top of this foundation—basic Bible teaching and doctrine—provide contentdriven courses and experiences to help Millennials learn and understand their place in life. With an attitude of questioning and an appetite to learn, Millennials and Gen Z can find answers to their questions within the church. With its contentdriven courses and lessons, the church can provide something concrete and solid in a fluid, shifting world. 3: AUTHENTIC COMMUNITY This doesn’t mean more small groups, more door greeters, or more social events. Those things may help, but authentic community needs to have an organic nature to it. A culture that fosters authentic community is less about programs, and more about an environment where people care for each other, engage beyond a Sunday, take on the responsibility to look after other’s needs, and is open to new people. • Ask, “Is the culture of this organisation relational? • Does it organically foster community? If someone never engaged in a single program, would they still see the values of relationships and community expressed intrinsically in everything we do?” A program cannot fix a cultural problem. If this helps please share and comment and go to www.millennialswhitepaper.com together my book. Benjamin Windle is the Pastor of Lifeplace Church in Brisbane, and his extensive resources on Millennials and Gen Z can be found at www.benjaminwindle.com
The Cultivators, the Motivators, the Changemakers TRANSFORMATIONAL TALKS
he Transforming Leadership program (TLp) was founded by President of Alphacrucis, Stephen Fogarty in 2019. “The Transforming Leadership program is really designed for the cultural architects of our time. The visionaries, entrepreneurs, church leaders, pastors, heads of ministries – those called to lead and transform spheres of society for the glory of God. It has been well-curated by our academic team, devised for those experiencing a significant turning point or transitioning into a new management role. 2020 has certainly been the year for many looking to upskill; to sharpen their leadership advantage and simply aspire to be better leaders,” said Prof. Stephen Fogarty. The TLp offers a suite of courses, and pathways, from Professional Credentials, to the Graduate Certificate of Leadership and the Master of Leadership. He added, “I have the privilege of speaking to Pastors and church planters around the world and across regional Australia who are just so thankful for taking the next steps in signing up for Master of Leadership. Many of them get to connect with each-other through our break-outs sessions, and our live stream discussions add tremendous value to the various topics. I understand for some, it
has taken-out the sense of isolation and connected them to a dynamic learning eco-system where many are thriving despite navigating such a turbulent and arduous year.” Part of the primary mission is to resource, equip, and educate leaders towards the pursuit of a Transforming Leadership framework. As such, AC launched a monthly VLOG called Transformational Talks where Stephen interviews various leaders in discussing their leadership insights, challenges and how they overcame, and some excellent advice for the 21st century leader. The first vlog launched in October with ACC National Director for Women, Pastor Julia A’Bell, as AC prepares to launch its first Women in Leadership Summit 2021. Stephen also spoke with Pastor Andrew Corson, who Pastors one of the largest growing churches in Colombia, South America and highlighted how their prayer meetings, streamed weekly to over 100k people on Youtube, has been a huge key to phenomenal growth. Stephen concluded, “Anyone in any leadership capacity fundamentally requires a continual leadership recalibration. Our congregations, our staff/ teams, our collaborators - all require us to bring consistent ingenuity to the table.”
Tune into AC’s ‘Transformational Talks’ as well as sign up for the next Transforming Leadership cohort scheduled for 23-25 February 2021 via: www.transforming-leadership.com
FORGIVING WHAT YOU CAN’T FORGET
BORN FOR SIGNIFICANCE By Bill Johnson Once you have discovered who God made you to be, you will never want to be anyone else. Every person on the planet was born for significance, created by God to make a difference in His kingdom. Fulfilling God’s purpose is a lifelong endeavour, but it comes with a cost. God is a perfect Father who looks for chances to pour blessings into the lives of His children. But He is also a Father who loves us and doesn’t want to increase our blessing beyond what we have the heart and maturity to carry well. What does it look like when significance is carried well? God is glorified, we are strengthened, and the people around us benefit. Senior Pastor of Bethel Church Bill Johnson invites you to discover God’s wonderful intention for the Church, His body, the literal dwelling place of the Holy Spirit on earth. You were designed by God to advance His kingdom on earth and leave a legacy to your family and future generations. Come and discover who God made you to be through Born for Significance. Once you do, you will never want to be anyone else.
101 WAYS TO BE LESS STRESSED
Discover How to Move On, Make Peace With Painful Memories, and Create a Life That’s Beautiful Again By Lysa Terkeurst
Simple Self-Care Strategies to Boost Your Mind, Mood, and Mental Health By Dr Caroline Leaf
You deserve to stop suffering because of what other people have done to you. Have you ever felt stuck in a cycle of unresolved pain, playing offenses over and over in your mind? You know you can’t go on like this, but you don’t know what to do next. Lysa TerKeurst has wrestled through this journey. But in surprising ways, she’s discovered how to let go of bound-up resentment and overcome the resistance to forgiving people who aren’t willing to make things right. With deep empathy, therapeutic insight, and rich Bible teaching coming out of more than 1,000 hours of theological study, Lysa will help you: • Learn how to move on when the other person refuses to change and never says they’re sorry. • Walk through a step-by-step process to free yourself from the hurt of your past and feel less offended today. • Discover what the Bible really says about forgiveness and the peace that comes from living it out right now. Identify what’s stealing trust and vulnerability from your relationships so you can believe there is still good ahead. • Disempower the triggers hijacking your emotions by embracing the two necessary parts of forgiveness.
Although many of us prioritize our physical health through exercise and healthy eating, we often forget to spend time boosting our mind, mood, and mental health. Yet the mind is the source of all our thoughts, words, and actions; when our thinking is unhealthy, our lives will be unhealthy--even if we go to the gym seven times a week and eat kale every day. It is so important that we focus on mental self-care and reducing daily stress, since mental toughness and resilience will get us through difficult times and help us achieve success in every area of our lives. Using the incredible power of our minds, we can persist and grow in response to life’s challenges. Let bestselling author and neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf help you change your life by changing your mind with 101 simple ways to reduce stress. With simple strategies for mental self-care, we can change the way we think and how we live our lives. 101 is available at: www.koorong.com
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ARE YOU GETTING THIS? By Robert Fergusson
If Robert Fergusson were to tell you a story, whether from a church platform or in the confines of the seat next to you on an airplane, you would undoubtedly listen - and undeniably be changed. Stories pass on gathered wisdom, they reveal much about a person’s identity, convey responsibility, instil values and uncover truth. There is an art to storytelling, and priceless significance gained when you discern and absorb this age-old practice. In ‘Are You Getting This?’, discover the story telling method that has made Robert Fergusson a sought-after teacher, memorable preacher and incessant disciple of Jesus Christ. Rediscover a love for learning and teaching, the importance of impartation and the eternal truths found in the greatest story ever. Are You Getting This? is available at: www. koorong.com
X: MULTIPLY YOUR GOD-GIVEN POTENTIAL
HOMES OF HEALING SERIES
Most of us want to make a big impact with our lives but struggle with questions of ‘how’ and ‘what’ to do. John Bevere carefully explores Scripture and uses powerful stories to help you think differently about your calling, your God-given gifts and your potential. “Let’s hold nothing back and die empty, pouring ourselves out completely as a gift back to God. . . . This is when we’ll truly come alive and experience life to its fullest.” Do you ever feel like a spectator in God’s kingdom? Perhaps you know there’s something you should be doing, but you just can’t pinpoint it. Most of us want to make a big impact with our lives, but struggle with questions like: • How can I be sure I’m not missing God’s will for me? • What role do my unique gifts play in building God’s kingdom? • How do I make sure I live up to my Godgiven potential? • Is my calling less significant if I’m not in “ministry”? • How do I balance resting in God’s grace with meaningful actions for His kingdom? • How do I break fear and move forward even when it feels uncertain and risky?
ACC pastor, Olwyn Harris, has released three books this year in her new fiction series ‘Homes of Healing’: The Beach Cottage, Petrea Downs and The Writer’s Retreat. In The Beach Cottage, heartbroken and downtrodden Eliza-Beth Perkins is facing the dire consequences of her choices and the possibility of life in the poorhouse. Then she, literally, runs into Jensen Harker. Jensen is facing his own heartbreak at the death of his wife and wants nothing more than to be left alone. As we follow their journey together, will we see them find the healing they both desperately need? In Petrea Downs, Meg’s life has been turned upside-down, with her husband gone, trying to run Petrea Downs by herself, and disaster after disaster at every turn. Thankfully, her neighbour Everett Grossman is always there to help but is Everett really the hero he makes himself out to be? In The Writer’s Retreat, romance writer, Tess, prides herself on letting her characters tell their own story. When she arrives at Rocky Creek B&B, the run-down stone cottage looks like the perfect place to write her book, and escape her past. Join her as she discovers her characters and explores their stories, and finds that God is intent on becoming part of her own story at the same time.
By John Bevere
In this profound book, John Bevere relies on a careful exploration of Scripture and uses powerful stories to help you think differently about your calling and why it’s so important to God. As you turn these pages, you’ll be empowered to multiply your God-given gifts and step into your potential. If you’re ready to trade inaction for greater purpose, your journey begins here.
By Olwyn Harris
The Home of Healing series is available at: www.koorong.com.
Follow @olwynharris on Instagram New releases can be ordered online from www.koorong.com 36
A new year. A new decade. Looking beyond 2020 with faith and fresh vision, with a spirit of unity for the body of Christ.