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.
Youth Ministry Series: You Don’t Always See Immediate Fruit, by Amanda Waterson.
This can be disillusioning and disheartening, but we want to encourage you because there is light at the end of the tunnel- even if the tunnel is very, very, VERY long.
One of the toughest parts of youth ministry is to pour your love, life and wallet into a young person, only to have them walk away from you and other positive influences based around faith…..and then welcome the next young person in with open arms, ready to love again. It’s always good to remember that we are children of God and our identity is in Him, not our statistics. Christ is in us and that is what matters – regardless of how many are at youth, how they behave when they get there, how many times your leaders let you down, and how many complain and walk away – it doesn’t change the fact that you are a son of the Most High God and your identity is in that – circumstances don’t change truth.
But, to encourage you, we are sharing the stories of some young adults from our youth group from years ago – from more than 10 years ago for most of them. Some of these young people, could have been easily written off, but now, a decade later, they are bearing much fruit. May their stories encourage you and inspire you to love your youth relentlessly and passionately. May they give you keys and strategies to help with your own youth ministry.
I will never forget Sandra’s first night at youth when she was in grade 9. She was dragged to youth by her friends and sat glued to the wall in a tight ball for the whole night. I remember sitting beside her and chatting to her but it was hard work.
After a few weeks of coming to youth we had a night where we had a sausage sizzle. Some of Sandra’s friends came to me and told me she was ‘cutting.’ After a brief conversation with this precious young girl, it became apparent she had a history with anorexia and wasn’t coping with food at youth group.
We connected over social media, and it was then that I realised how deep her pain was and how real her struggle with food was. She had actually been hospitalised for a long period of time in grade 5 for anorexia. Her suicidal thoughts and self-harming activities were escalating. Sandra didn’t have a connection with God at this stage, and it was becoming apparent that her needs were beyond the expertise of youth group.
by Loren Williamson
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
A2A Youth Camp Leadership Preparation
How wonderful that we are part of a movement where not only our Senior Leaders, but also our Youth Leaders and Pastors are gathering together intentionally to grow in unity, understanding and faith. On Saturday 9th September, we had A2A Youth Leaders gather from Riverview, Gold Coast, Lismore and Ipswich to be equipped and refreshed leading up to our SEQ/Northern NSW A2A Youth Camp coming up at the end of this month.
Together we discussed all of Acts 2 – including what do we see in action – and what are we hungry to see more of in both our own lives, and the lives of our young people. We expressed together a passion for seeing each other live out our true identity in Christ; being woken up to all that God has in store for us, no matter our life stage. The morning then lead to discussion of the Discipleship Bible Study model (adapted from Steve Addison) and some debrief models, so that all leaders can feel equipped to teach our young people both at camp and moving forward how to reach their friends, and unpack anything they may experience with God or others.
After lunch we heard from Anton Scott about operating in Spiritual gifts, and then with his facilitation broke into groups and put into practice these principles and asking God for the gifts of healing, prophecy, and asking the Holy Spirit to come. We even saw two leaders speak in tongues for the first time!
What a great opportunity to continue to seek the Kingdom of God in all generations, we all left feeling thoroughly refreshed, and excited for all that God is going to do this weekend at camp!