There’s a lot that's been happening and that we want to let you know about in this latest Movement Update!
We’ve just completed our latest round of Leaders Together in Tasmania, Victoria Queensland and South Australia with this round probably being the best ever attended with approx. 120 pastors and leaders attending. Feedback from many participants has been excellent. More on what we covered later
And we have our 2018 A2A National Conference coming up fast. Before we give an update from the recent Leaders Togethers with links to resources, here’s a Conference Update with things that you need to know about in relation to all the options we are offering this year, as well as some information about accommodation.
A2A National Conference
The 2018 A2A National Conference is now less than 2 months away. Once again it will be on the sunny Gold Coast, this year being held (two weeks after the the Commonwealth Games have completed) from the evening of Monday 30 April to midday Thursday 3 May.
To say that we are looking forward to the Conference is a massive understatement. We feel that the Holy Spirit is ushering us in a direction and the Conference is an important and exciting part of this.
If you want more information about the conference, you can watch a brief promo about the conference here and find more details here.
This year we have lots of optional extras that include:
If you haven’t yet registered for the 2018 A2A National Conference, you can do so here.
Some Important Changes
We have some important changes taking place in the leadership of A2A that we want you to know about.
Eugene Bognar has now stepped down as Executive Pastor of A2A. We thank Eugene (and Judy of course) for the amazing service that he has provided to many of the churches and pastors across A2A whilst in this role. I’m sure that Eugene’s influence will be sure to be felt as he will continue working with various pastors and leaders as a mentor and in other roles churches may invite him to play.
We also want to honour and thank Phillip Mutzelburg for the foundational role he has played in our movement. Trevor Chandler was of course the founder of CLCI and is in many ways the grandfather of A2A, but Phillip is rightly the father of A2A. Thank you Phillip for the amazing contribution that you have made. You and your contribution are deeply appreciated.
Phillip has now stepped off our National Leadership Team, but as President Emeritus he is welcome to attend any and all of the NLT meetings and will be kept in the loop on all NLT communication and discussions with his ongoing input being sought and welcomed. I will value Phillip’s continued input to the movement.
The NLT has unanimously nominated Ted Pangilinan, senior pastor of Church One for appointment to the National Leadership Team. Before this can be finalised, we are required to present all credential holders and affiliated churches with 30 days to prayerfully consider the nomination and to submit in writing to the President any concerns or objections to such nominations to be considered prior to the appointment being finalised.
Accordingly, if there are to be any concerns to the appointment of Ted Pangilinan to the National Leadership Team of A2A, please either email me directly at email@example.com or write to “The President, A2A. PO Box 276 Riverside Tasmania”
A Word for the Movement
The National Leadership Team has for some time being asking the question “what would a move of the Holy Spirit look like in our midst today?” CLCI was birthed out of such a move in the Charismatic Renewal of the 70’s and 80’s, however if such a move was to take place today, we expect that it would be different.
With this in mind, the NLT last year asked Phillip Mutzelburg if he would put together a small working party to consider this question, and so A319 was born. A319 refers to Acts 3:19 which says “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord”.
As the NLT prepared to come together for a prayer and planning retreat (that was held in Tasmania on February 13th), I asked Phillip to lead the Retreat. During the day, we felt certain that we had heard from the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit had given us a word for the forthcoming year. That word was “sent”. You will hear more about this at the Conference in April / May, and the amazing confirmations we have had since then.
You can watch a brief video from Phillip talking about this here.
A New Focus
We commenced the February NLT meeting asking the question “what is the most important focus for us to have for the next season of time in moving forward in line with our mission and vision”. For the last two or so years, the answer to that question had been to identify and raise young leaders. The NLT thought that much had been put in place to see this occur, including launching the ELI program, preparation to take Camp No Fear to other states and in raising awareness that identifying and raising young leaders was a critical issue for the movement. You can watch a video of hi lights from Camp No Fear here.
The NLT agreed that the next major focus was to work with churches throughout the movement to help and inspire them to be truly missional churches. In doing this, we saw the following 6 steps as key:
We also agreed that we would like to see the following three outcomes occur as a result:
The Annual Church Survey will be amended to help measure progress across the movement in this.
As part of helping A2A churches develop the leaders of tomorrow, we want to encourage churches to consider putting in place Internship Programs. These can be quite simple but effective in equipping and envisioning potential leaders of the future.
Churches are free to design their own formats, or take one such as this and adjust it to suit their circumstances.
Some of the resources we have put together including a list of 35 podcasts, can be downloaded here.
Below as an example is a template that we are using at Tailrace Community.
Remuneration Principles Recommend For Pastors
Greg Smith has recently done some great work in reviewing levels of remuneration for pastors across various denominations and movements. We have looked carefully at this and together a paper which we recommend that all church boards read and consider.
The paper can found in the Ministry Manual or it may be downloaded here.
Making Our Churches Safe For Children and Vulnerable People
The Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse handed down it’s final recommendations in December. It’s recommended that you read the 27 recommendations that applied to churches in general. These recommendations can be downloaded here.
As a result, our Ministry Manual has been amended with the following three sections being amended:
How The Marriage Act Has Changed
We would all be aware of the changes to the Marriage Act that occurred in December 2017. Dr Andrew Corbett has recorded a short presentation going over how the changes affect A2A ministers as well as the changes required to the forms we use.
You can watch Andrews presentation here or download his slides here
Phillip Mutzelburg provided an overview of steps that were taken by Religious Freedom Australia. A copy of the submission that Phillip referred to and that was lodged can be accessed here.
Emerging Leaders Initiative and Mentoring
Mark Ansell provided an overview of the new mentoring framework we have recently put in place for A2A Pastors, and the Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) Coaching program for young and emerging leaders that has recently been put in place.
You can watch Mark speak about these two great initiatives here.
Demystifying Church Planting
Church planting is often put in the too hard or “one day when …” basket. But a bit of knowledge coupled with some helpful processes can often make it much more achievable.
I’ve included below a brief overview of what we covered at the Leaders Together. You can download the slides we showed on church planting here.
A healthy church planting pathway will generally consider of 4 steps to raise up men and women who will be suitable for church planting.
4 Components of a Healthy Church Planting Pathway are:
There are certain key issues that must be grappled with as part of the equipping, coaching and general planning. These include:
Putting a Core team together.
This should generally comprise of a:
Developing a Robust Financial Model
Financial models should be considered both pre launch and post launch, which take into account finances from the following sources:
After launch a budgetary model should be adopted. A great model to start with would see income allocated as follows:
Developing a Launch Strategy
Before you launch your church, 2 of the critical aspects you normally need to put in place are:
A good launch strategy will help do this and build momentum and strength in these areas.
Apart from having in place a leader who isn’t shaped or equipped to be a successful planter, one of the biggest dangers to a church plant is birthing prematurely. When this happens, the new church will generally be weak and struggle to survive. This can be overcome by having a launch strategy that is a process rather than an event.
For example, it may be that:
This process may go on for 6, 9 months or more before the new church is finally ready to be launched.
Please make contact with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 03 674538 if you want to talk about church planting or are interested in finding out more.
You can download the slides from Leaders Together about Church Planting here.
We hope that the Leaders Together are truly adding value to you and thank all those who have been attending. At every LT, we aim to stimulate:
Thanks to all the A2A pastors and leaders who support the Leaders Together days so well. Whether you are a pastor, a leader a church member or other, we hope you find this rundown together with links to the various resources useful and that you can use this information to recap or use in training and updating your teams.
In finishing, the rest of the National Leadership Team and I are excited about where we are heading as a movement. We are on a journey as we are being carried along by the Spirit. We certainly haven't arrived and perhaps never will fully do so, but we are on the road to truly being a "sent" people, an apostolic people comprised of apostolic churches that are true missional.
We look forward to seeing more people reached and baptised, disciples made, leaders raised, churches pioneered and communities impacted.
Thank you for journeying with us.
The Acts 2 Alliance
by Tim O'Neill
You can't afford to miss out!
Really, you can’t afford to miss out on the 2018 A2A Conference.
Our last Conference was amazing, but we’re expecting even greater things from this years' conference.
Sometimes we just need the effort to go to where we can connect with others, be inspired, learn new perspectives and allow the Spirit to minister to us.
After the last conference a few delegates said:
Messages touched my heart. I loved the amazing speakers. Soaking in worship. The fellowship with everyone. I learnt new and refreshing ideas to take back with me.
The love of God and power of the Holy Spirit moved me to a higher place in God.
I received confirmation about the direction and decisions we have come to. I felt encouraged and connected with others.
Heard afresh from God His call on my life and received a glimpse of His plan for its unfolding.
Who should come to the 2018 conference?
This year's conference will help lead us deeper in our faith journey as we Worship the Father, learn from the Son and are impacted by the Holy Spirit. It’s a conference for pastors and leaders, for team members, and for all who want to be inspired and equipped in our faith.
We have a range of world class speakers lined up for you. Mark Connor, who for 23 years led what was probably Australia’s second largest church will minister to us about going deeper and the life lessons he has learnt.
Steve Addison will do what he has been doing in many countries; equip us in how we can reach and make disciples who will reach and make disciples of others. Vince Esterman will inspire us with stories of how he has pioneered churches across France and Reunion Island.
Sharon O’Neill will talk to us about steps we can take to connect with our community and we will hear from Carl Mutzelburg about the journey he is on in implementing disciple making principles in an established church. Andrew Corbett will treat us with teaching form a book of the Bible.
And then we will have Pastor Phil Benson giving what is sure to be hilarious advice and wisdom!
Brilliant. Loved the keynote speakers, but also loved hearing from leaders from within the movement. So much wisdom.
I loved the diversity of content and style. The messages were relevant to all ministry leaders, not just senior pastors.
The speakers were absolutely fantastic. It was great to hear simple, yet incredibly profound and applicable messages straight from the values of the movement.
It changed my viewpoint of the ministry - love God love others in my uniqueness.
A great time to connect...
One of the highlights for many about the conference is that it’s a great time to catch up with old friends and new. Ministry can be lonely at times. Often we don’t realise how much we get refreshed by connecting with others on a similar journey, until we take the time to do so. Thats a reason why we don’t schedule in main sessions during the afternoons; so that delegates can get the chance to hang out in a coffee shop or restaurant with others and shoot the breeze with them.
It’s often only then that we can realise that we are enough. We don't have to be something that we aren’t, and whether our church is large or small, God is with us and uses us.
I don’t need to do more or be better. I am enough!
Loved the fellowship.
To help delegates connect even better, this year we are offering a range of optional dinners on Tuesday evening, and optional activities on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon where you will get the chance to spend time getting to know other delegates.
Or you might like to simply chill and do coffee with Rick and Marcy Paynter and a few others on Wednesday afternoon.
But wait, there's more!
As if this isn’t enough, Jess Mutzelburg will be leading an optional Women’s Breakfast on Tuesday morning, with Phillip Mutzelburg leading a Men’s breakfast on Wednesday morning.
Emerging Leaders might like to go to the optional Tuesday afternoon workshop with Mark Connor. For those with an interest in Disciple Making, Steve Addison will be offering an optional workshop on Tuesday afternoon.
We have so many optional extras for this years conference. But one thing that isn’t optional is that throughout the conference we will all be able to participate in great worship and be refreshed in the Spirit’s presence.
The whole thing was deeply impacting. Stirred on all fronts.
Brilliant, I felt challenged, encouraged and inspired.
The worship was powerful and impacting.
I learned I need to free up my passion for Jesus and am going home to do just that.
What's the cost?
The cost of not registering and coming along is huge! It’s a cost I’m not prepared to pay!
The cost of coming along isn’t that much considering what you will receive. If you are an A2A Credential holder, your registration is already paid. All you need to do is register.
If you don’t hold an A2A Credential, the normal registration fee is $220.00
If you are an Emerging Leader or if this is your first A2A Conference, the cost is just $150.00
For children, their participation in the A2A Children's Programme is $100 each child under 12.
You can also choose to participate in the conference by day and that cost is $75 each day (Tuesday or Wednesday).
You can register for the conference here: http://www.a2a.org.au/conference.html
What about accommodation?
We have a special deal with Watermark Hotel and Spa in Surfers Paradise where the Conference is being held, with highly competitive rates provided for our delegates.
To take advantage of these rates, please use the code "A2A" when making your reservation.
To make your reservation you can either call the hotel directly on 0755888333 or via their website https://www.watermarkhotelgoldcoast.com.au. On the website the "Book" button is in the upper right hand corner of the webpage and provides a space for entering the promo code. Upon entering these details you will be able to view the rooms available and their respective rates.
If you would like to organise an extra bed or reserve a parking space (highly recommended if you plan to bring a car), it is suggested that you call the hotel as these are supplied at an additional cost.
Parking is available at the hotel, but it is limited. Parking can be reserved with your room at $20 per night, but this can only be done by calling the hotel on 0755888333. Alternatively, valet parking is available for $30 per night, or off-site parking facilities may be considered. If you plan to bring your vehicle it is advised that you make arrangements for parking in advance.
The 2018 A2A Conferences will be held at the Watermark Hotel and Spa in Surfers Paradise, Qld and will be commence at 7:00pm on Monday 30 April (Registrations open at 6:00pm) and will conclude at 12:30pm on Thursday 3 May 2018.
3032 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise Queensland 4217
We hope to see you at what promises to be our best Conference yet!
by Phillip Mutzelburg
This article continues the series on the distinctive of A2A. To help with continuity of thought, I include again the six distinctive we sincerely hope and pray will gain traction throughout the churches of the movement.
Defining Healthy Leadership
Our mission statement says, “To raise enduring leaders who build prevailing churches”. As has often been stated, the first phrase, “To raise enduring leaders...” deals with the health of the leader.
“Raising enduring leaders” is a descriptive phrase. It infers that there must be a proactive process for growing and educating our leaders so that they last over the long haul in the demanding and challenging role of Christian leadership.
When we raise something [or someone] we imply that it grows, and the natural desire is that it grows in a healthy manner so that it reaches its full potential. There is also the notion of something organic in the nature of growing.
Enduring implies a whole bunch of admirable qualities like lasting, continuing, durable, stable, permanent, long-term, and persistent. Clearly a healthy body, emotions, and spirit are essential for any leader to gain these qualities.
1. The Challenge
Healthy leadership is still not given the attention that is vital for a leader to gain the capacity to endure in ministry. This is despite several attempts by the NLT to convince leaders to take advantage of the mechanisms we have made available. I have heard it said that our mentoring programme has not really worked. This is correct, but a principal reason for this is simply that leaders have not taken advantage of it.
For healthy leadership to become an authentic distinctive of our movement, there must be a greater “buy in” resulting in participation from our leaders. I have had some discussion with a number of our leaders, and leaders from other movements regarding what the road blocks are that prevent engagement in a disciplined programme that makes for healthy leadership. In summary these are my findings:
I want to briefly address these roadblocks in the hope that they will be demolished as barriers to engaging with our mentoring strategy for developing healthy leaders.
Regarding roadblock 1. Almost every leader in scripture struggled, many with issues far greater than those you or I face. Everyone on the NLT is aware of their own humanity, and has nothing but sympathy and compassion for the struggling leader. We lead on with our limp and you can also.
Regarding roadblock 2. Confidentiality is seriously honoured. As you would honour the confidentiality with a congregant who comes to your office for help, so will a mentor do the same. The struggles you face are between you and the mentor, and will not be shared with any member of the NLT without your permission. The only exceptions are those which are required by law to be reported, and those which have serious spiritual implications on your ministry such as immorality and marriage difficulties. Even in these cases it will be done with great sensitivity to your right of privacy, and in many cases the whole NLT would not be informed.
Regarding roadblock 3. Pride is a spiritual issue. Only you can deal with this. The only help I can offer from a distance is to repeat that we all have our struggles, and you are not alone in your brokenness.
Regarding roadblock 4. To be honest, we have considered making having a mentor mandatory, and conditional upon receiving your ministry credential. Many of the most successful market place organisations have done this. It is a condition of employment. However, it is not our plan to do this as we would consider that free will is paramount to a successful relationship with a mentor. The downside of mentoring remaining voluntary is that it does project that it is not highly valued. This remains an issue for each leader to put before God.
It remains our intention to offer mentoring experiences to every credentialed minister and spouse so that not one of these courageous leaders feels they have to walk alone. In 2018, mentoring will again be offered throughout the movement, and a list of available mentors will be made available for leaders to choose as their mentor. This will be visible on our A2A Pastors and Leaders FB page. The mentoring programme will be led by Pastor Mark Ansell, but I will remain involved in the programme.
2. Defining Mentoring
It is considered that there is widespread confusion between mentoring and coaching. It is our belief that the role of a mentor and the role of a coach are different, and each can be defined in clear terms.
A mentor is a friend with a purpose. The purpose of this friend relationship is to bring experienced and trustworthy advice which will help grow the leader so they last over the long haul.
Another way of defining mentoring is to say, mentoring is about who the leaders is.
An Analogy for Mentoring
Healthy Leadership is a combination of the condition of the leader’s heart and the way he/she leads. It goes without saying that an unhealthy leader leads in an unhealthy way. A healthy leader will lead in a healthy way.
As previously mentioned, the first phrase of the A2A mission statement says “to raise enduring leaders...”. If I wanted to raise a plant so that it grows strong and healthy and is able to last through the storms and seasons, that implies attention must be given to the soil, fertilisers, watering, pruning, and where it is positioned. This is because a plant is organic in nature, and living organism. By simply planting a seed in the ground and then leaving it to grow and develop on its own is likely to see the plant die prematurely, or grow well within its potential.
Because we as leaders are living beings, I do not think it is too much of a stretch to say that leaders will only last through the storms and seasons of life and reach their full potential as leaders if all care is given to our development as well. To this end I believe a leader will best grow to be healthy if they have some to walk with in that process. That person is their mentor.
3. The Difference Between a Mentor and a Coach
So there is no confusion between mentoring and coaching, coaching gives special instruction on leadership skills so that they systematically build local churches that dominate our culture.
Another way of explaining coaching is to say, coaching is about what the leader does.
It will be impossible for a mentor to always avoid questions that fall into the category of coaching. Nor should they be avoided. This is understood, but the mentor will be coached to stay on their main area of responsibility, and defer the detailed and ongoing skills questions to a coach.
4. The Focus of Mentoring
Mentoring focuses on the well-being of the individual in three areas. We are tripartite beings, and are made up of body, soul, and spirit. These three areas most affect the way we function. The mentor will focus on the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of ministry couples.
The leader must pay attention to his/her physical health. The mentor will not usually be an expert on how to maintain physical health, but they will strongly encourage the leader to pay attention to such things as weight, diet, exercise, work and sleep patterns, and regular medical checks. With the leaders cooperation, the mentor may refer the leader to a proven health consultant, or dietary expert, and then help hold them accountable to a recognised programme.
The mentor is not normally a counsellor but they are a listener. By listening and helping the leader to express their feelings about the various situations of ministry life, it can become clear whether or not it is advisable for the leader to seek help from a counsellor.
The emotional well being of a leader can be helped enormously by just talking with a mentor. In the process of talking many issues can be resolved. Emotional health includes such things as recognising what and who drains your tank, and what and who fills your tank.
Too many leaders do not practise basic spiritual disciplines. These include such things as daily bible reading, journaling/meditating, prayer. Other spiritual disciplines include solitude, retreats, serving in a programme that keeps your heart soft.
The mentor can help the leader to make these disciplines a way of life.
A2A talks a lot about the health of the leader. From many conversations with leaders of other movements, and the pastors of other movements, no one is making as much effort as we are to make this an authentic distinctive in our movement.
But we must do much more than talk about it.
If we do not engage with mentoring on a voluntary basis, it is likely that in the near future it will become mandatory because of government legislation. The recently concluded Royal Commission into child abuse has made the following recommendation:
Recommendation on 16.45
Consistent with Child Safe Standard 5, each religious institution should ensure that all people in religious or pastoral ministry, including religious leaders, have professional supervision with a trained professional or pastoral supervisor who has a degree of independence from the institution within which the person is in ministry.
by Tim O'Neill
Yesterday will undoubtedly be remembered as a historic day, the day that the right to marriage was changed. No longer is marriage defined as being between a man and a woman, but between two people.
Whilst the result of the marriage debate is not one that the National Leadership Team of A2A wanted, we do congratulate the “Yes” campaign on winning the postal vote and getting the result that they worked for. We also congratulate Lyle Shelton and those who led the “No” campaign on the campaign that they have waged.
Just a few points that you need to be aware of about the legislation that has been passed:
How we conduct ourselves in this new era will be important. Let's take the road of loving our neighbour whilst sticking with the convictions that Christ follower will have.
It's important that we always act with love and grace, because as they say, love is love!
The Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017 put before and now passed by Parliament to become law may be viewed here: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/download/legislation/bills/s1099_third-senate/toc_pdf/1725720.pdf;fileType=application%2Fpdf
Disappointed as we may be by the changes to marriage, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that God is still God, life goes on, and we have much work to do.
In broad terms there are approximately 25 million people in our nation. Of these only about 3.75 million (15%) are reported to be connected to a church and only 1.25 million (5%) are in church on any given week.
To put it another way, our country has between about 21 and 24 million people who we would consider “lost” in terms of the good news that Jesus gave His life to bring.
Can our country be reached? We can take inspiration from the Apostle Paul who we are told saw all who lived in the Roman Province of Asia hear the good news in just 2 years (Acts 19:10,26). This was a region about the size of Victoria with a population of about 10 million. How amazing is that!
How did Paul do this? By making disciples, training them and sending them.
At the recent Leaders Together days, we spent time learning a handy disciple making tool called “411”. Here’s a 17 minute video you can use in 411 training
Just a reminder that the 2018 conference for leaders and teams is drawing closer. We are excited to have Mark Connor and Steve Addison joining us as our key speakers. The Conference will be held at the Watermark Hotel on the Gold Coast from Monday (evening) 30 April to Thursday (noon) 3 May.
At the following link you can register for the conference and also find information about how to book your accommodation with the Watermark Hotel: http://www.a2a.org.au/conference.html.
This is an important time for us as a movement to come together and connect and share with each other. It’s also an important equipping and culture shaping time. Please tell your church about the conference and encourage your leaders and teams to come and join in the fun!
Domestic Abuse Policy
We now have in place a Domestic Abuse Policy. This is a critical area where we must ensure that we act in the correct way at all times. It’s an area that we believe is likely to come under the spotlight, potentially with a Royal Commission addressing this issue.
We encourage you to ensure that your key leaders are well acquainted with what the policy says. The policy can be located at http://www.a2a.org.au/resources.html
One of the things that we are passionate about is seeing churches throughout A2A grow in developing a leadership development culture. At the recent Leaders Together days, Carl Mutzelburg gave an excellent session on how to raise leaders. Here’s a video of what Carl presented (20 mins). We encourage you to take this video back to your leadership teams and discuss it with them.
Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI)
It is exciting seeing the number of young and emerging leaders putting up their hands to take part in ELI, which will run for the first time in the new year.
If you may be an emerging leader, or if you see someone in your church who is, have look at the ELI details following: http://www.a2a.org.au/eli.html
Thanks to Mark Ansell and the team at Gateway for all that you are doing to put ELI on the ground and make it a success!
Phillip Mutzelburg and Mark Ansell have been working hard to get our mentoring program up and running. If you are a leader and aren’t in a mentoring relationship, I’d encourage you to enter into one.
Information about the mentoring program will be posted here:
If you have any questions about the mentoring program, you can email mark at
If we are to raise up healthy people for ministry and potentially church leadership or church planting, we need to create ministry and leadership development pathways. Internships are a great way of doing this.
Every church will probably do internships in different ways, and that's fine. They need to be tailored to fit your context.
As we are soon to commence a new year, I’d encourage you to put in place an internship program and promote it throughout your church. As an example, here’s what we are doing at Tailrace Community, and yes, we have “borrowed” the ideas from others and then tinkered with them.
Internship programs don’t need to be complex. They just need to be intentional.
Other Equipping Events
I will be running 2 workshops in January. They are:
Let me know if you are interested in coming or would like more information
The National Leadership Team has taken the important and visionary step of putting aside what we consider to be our surplus financial reserves and allocating these funds to a reserve that will be available for future development.
The reason that we did this is that we do not agree that movements should continue add to the money they have in the bank without a plan and an intentionality to invest it for kingdom returns.
The result of this is that our profit and loss statement will reflect a loss this year. We are on track to make a small but healthy surplus (profit) this year, but the decision to put aside funds in a provision for Future Development will knock about our reported profit and cause a loss to be reported in our accounts for this year.
The important thing is that we are taking action to ensure that as a movement we are putting aside funds for future development rather than just allowing the bank account to keep growing. You are welcome to contact me if you would like me to explain further how this works.
Reflection and Seasons Greetings
As we come to the end of the year, it’s always good to reflect on what God has been doing throughout the year.
I know that for some of you, it’s been a hard year. Some have had illness and death to cope with. Others have had issues in their churches that have sapped hope and energy.
And yet, others have seen breakthroughs and good things happen.
Either way, God has been at work, through the good times and the bad. I encourage you to look beyond the circumstances and events of 2017 and instead spend some time asking
“What was God doing? Where was God in all this? Where is He leading me in the coming year? What is He saying to me?”
I wish you, your families and your churches all the peace and joy that Jesus brings and hope that the coming year will truly be the best one yet.
Thank you for the privilege that I have of serving you as President.
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe in him, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
by Phillip Mutzelburg
This article continues the series on the distinctives of A2A. They represent what the National Leadership Team believes the Holy Spirit confirmed to us with our spouses early in 2017. It is arguably the most difficult to make comment on without including models and examples. The purpose of these articles is not tell you how to do it, but to provide enough material for thought to allow each leader to arrive at the conclusion that best fits their church.
Usually any discussion on discipleship includes a model, but my experience is that as soon as a model is presented, many leaders stop thinking and fall into “copy-cat” mode. This rarely works, so these short comments will hopefully give you enough to catch the principle, and the inspiration to work out how it can look in your church community.
To help with continuity of thought, I include again the six distinctives we sincerely hope and pray will gain traction throughout the churches of the movement.
Defining "Disciple Making"
In my opinion, the very unique Christian term “disciple” has taken on a number of different meanings over time which have significantly changed the original understanding of what Jesus meant to convey when he said in Matthew 28:19 “Go and make disciples…..”
Perhaps the simplest definition of discipleship is someone who follows what Jesus said to do, and actually does it.
I will say little about the variations of meanings that have minimised the effectiveness of the intent of Jesus other than this. It is my observation that when many Christians think discipleship they immediately think teaching in the sense of classroom activity. The end result is endless “discipleship classes” which often get little adhesion in the life of a Christian. There seems to be a presumption that if you sit in a classroom you will naturally go out and do what has been taught. This is not the case in the majority of cases. Classrooms are comfortable, discipleship is not.
The Challenge of Discipleship
Even a casual read of scripture will make it clear that the greatest challenge for the Christian is to be a true disciple of Jesus. It is not comfortable.
Matthew 8:18-22, Matthew 16:24-26, and Luke 9:57-62 each highlight the challenge of discipleship. Jesus said it would be hard. It is recorded in John 6:66 that when Jesus dialled down on what discipleship really meant, “many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him”.
The Main Thing is still the Main Thing
Regardless of how hard it is to be a disciple, there is something vitally important about what Jesus said that we should not overlook. “Go and make disciples” was something Jesus intentionally integrated into the very last words he spoke on planet earth before He ascended back into heaven. Matthew records them as the absolute last words He spoke. This is worth contemplating.
If you knew this was your last day on earth, what would be the main thing be that you wanted to say to your loved ones? You would chose to say something that would have lasting impact on them. I am certain you would choose to say something that would ultimately maximise their potential to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Jesus gave us a life mission with these last words he spoke. If you “greek” this out, you will see that while Jesus intended for there to be teaching, he also intended that what was taught was something that we actually did. His emphasis was on what we did as a result of being taught.
He commissioned us to “make disciples”. If you want to make a cake you do not sit in a classroom and learn about how to make a cake, or simply read a cook book. You have to do something before the cake is made. Disciple making is about doing something. You are not a true “Christ follower” until you are doing what Jesus has taught us to do.
The disciples of Jesus listened to his teaching but then got on the road and did what he taught them to do. They made what Jesus taught them to do the first priority in their life.
What Does Making Disciples Look Like?
Again, I want to resist the temptation of describing a model of what I think disciple making looks like, but I can give a general overview of what I think Jesus meant it to look like.
Making disciples does not begin after someone makes a decision for Christ. Our tradition leans heavily into this perspective, and it is for this reason that I think most of our endeavours, as well meaning as they have been, have not been effective.
Our potential to make a disciple begins the first time you engage with someone who is not a follower of Christ. By your lifestyle and demonstration of Christlikeness, you gain favour over time with a new friend, earn the right to share your faith and tell some personal life transformational stories. Either in the process towards a faith decision, or after they make a decision to follow Christ you teach them from scripture about what kingdom living is, or you connect them with someone else who can teach. This can take the form of formal classes. The end result is that they then go and engage with someone who is not a follower of Christ.
This is how Jesus made disciples. Jesus engaged with the fisherman and the tax collector before they were followers. He shared his life with them, and taught them, and overtime they became his followers who did what he did. They changed the world. This is what true disciples of Jesus do.
It is worthwhile making this clarifying comment. While I firmly believe that making a disciple begins as soon as you engage with someone far from God, that person’s journey to becoming an authentic disciple of Jesus does not get traction until they make a faith decision which includes Jesus as Lord of their life.
As I often say, “it is not rocket science”.
A disciple of Jesus goes into the community they live in and look for someone to engage with so that they can develop a relationship that gives them the right to share their faith. They then walk with them on their journey of discovering a relationship with Jesus, and teach them or place them in a teaching environment where the values of the kingdom of God are presented so that they can in turn go out and make disciples. True disciples of Jesus change their communities.
What to do Next?Steve Addison has contributed significantly to this subject of disciple making. He has presented at A2A events in the past, and will be taking two sessions at the coming annual conference in 2018. Get out your notes, or search for them in A2A archives and look again at what he has taught.
As suggested in previous articles, gather with your pastor friends in your geographical area over a cup of coffee, and share how each of you are addressing the issue. Be authentic and share the successes and failures of your discipleship programme. Ask lots of questions of each other so that you can arrive at a place where making disciples is a joy for your church community.
These prompters may help in a discussion:
Some further prompters on this:
Over to you.