Australian National Pastors’ Conference

By John McLean

 

In February we were delighted to have Vice-President Mike Feazell and Multiplication Ministries Director in the United States, Randy Bloom, and his wife, Deb, join us for the Australian national pastors’ conference. About 80 participants—pastors, pastoral team members, ministry leaders and overseas guests—gathered at Bond University near our office on the Gold Coast for plenary sessions on the opening day.

After worship and a devotional time, Mike Feazell spoke about "God Talk"—knowing God through relational experience as Father, Son and Spirit in loving perpetual fellowship. Rather than reducing God to our own limited terms and definitions, our lives are taken into the very life of God through the incarnation and resurrection of Jesus. As a result, we share in the peace, joy and love of the mutual indwelling of Father, Son and Spirit. We can live in the incredible encouragement that just as our sin and death has been taken up in Christ’s life, death and resurrection, so too our lives have been taken into the life of God himself.

Rod Matthews updated the group on the humanitarian work of CarePac and the opportunities opening for sharing the gospel in Asia. John McLean discussed leadership as a learning journey, and covered results of research on Christian Leadership conducted by the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) over the past 15 years in Australia and internationally. In particular, we looked at elements of innovation, vision growth and ownership, and the importance of dialogue as a mode of discourse in our national and local fellowships.

Over the following days, a smaller group of pastors and pastoral team members met at the church office. Randy Bloom discussed expository preaching, and Mike conducted a Questions and Answers session. Daphne Sidney looked at issues of self-care in ministry, and Rod Dean addressed ministry with seniors and issues of risk management. There was an update from Aub Warren on the work of Pacific Training & Development, the professional development arm of the church. And we looked at the ongoing role of Ambassador College of Christian Ministry (ACCM) in equipping our ministry leaders and members for growth, development and service into the future.

Pastors spent considerable time sharing their strategic commitments and plans for the future, and in prayer for one another and our members. It was both encouraging and exciting to see what God is doing with and through our small fellowship in so many different ways, reaching out with an external focus to live and share the gospel, manifesting Christ to one another and to the world.

The serious and prayerful discussion of our calling and work together also included lots of laughter, fun and enjoyment. We are blessed to be able to enjoy a spirit of camaraderie, peace and unity.

It was a blessing and a joy to have Mike Feazell and Randy and Deb Bloom with us. In addition to their direct contributions, we enjoyed their company and friendship. Their presence and fellowship was both an expression of the value of our international ties, and our mutual desire to affirm and foster such precious relationships. Mike and Randy preached to congregations in Brisbane and Melbourne respectively, and also co-taught an ACCM learning weekend class on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ.

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