with Tim O'Neill
It’s amazing to realise that most of 2018 is now behind us and Christmas is just around the corner. Where has the time gone?
It’s been great seeing so many A2A churches taking steps to engage in a greater way with their local communities and to be more missionally effective. I think that we all want our churches to be like the church in Acts 2 that was so engaged that they enjoyed the favour of all the people in their city with the result that more were being saved and added to their number every day!
Thats a wonderful focus for us to have as we embrace the great commandments and the great commission. As Rick Warren says, a great great commitment to the great commission and the great commandment will build a great church! And of course to do this, requires great leadership.
National Leadership Team Update
At our last National Leadership Team meeting we discussed ways in which we as an NLT could add value to the churches across the movement. One of the ways we thought may be useful was to make ourselves more available across the movement to help catalyse change. Ralph Moore in his book MegaMultiMultiply makes the following comment:
An apostolic leader, whether in a large place or small, feels the need to keep moving. Some, like Paul, move from city to city. Today, most shift from project to project while extending the boundaries of the gospel. These people are catalyzers. If this is you, you naturally spark change.
Just to be clear, we are not calling ourselves apostles, but we do believe the the NLT can add value by functioning in an apostolic fashion. What this means is that:
ELI (Emerging Leaders Initiative)
The first year of ELI has by all accounts been an outstanding success with some wonderful testimonies from the emerging leaders who have taken part. The recent trip to Canberra was an incredible experience for all involved.
Whilst in Canberra, the participants had their worldview significantly expanded with substantial input from politicians and other key individuals in relation to our nation’s history both politically and militarily, the workings of the constitution and High Court and of Parliament House. Meeting our Prime Minister was surely also a highlight for all.
Special thanks to Mark Ansell and the team form Gateway who run ELI, and to Phillip Mutzelburg who arranged the trip to Canberra.
If you are a young or emerging leader, or you have emerging leaders in your church, I encourage you to consider next years ELI program. Please Contact Mark Ansell or Tina Silk on 03 9785 7500 & email@example.com for more information about ELI.
The NLT is delighted with the uptake that has occurred with credential holders entering into mentoring arrangements. We are particularly pleased that nearly all A2A Senior Leaders are in a mentoring arrangement. We see mentoring as being key to the ongoing health of a leader.
One further initiative that we will be instigating in the near future is introducing a short form agreement that can be used between the mentor and mentee to ensure a few key components to mentoring are agreed upon and to a degree formalised.
You can find out more about A2A mentoring here or by contacting Mark Ansell 03 9785 7500
Revised Marriage Rites
Religious bodies, such as A2A, may be granted permission by the Attorney General’s Department to endorse religious marriage. Ministers are permitted to solemnise marriages on the basis that they conduct marriages within the rites of their denomination.
The NLT has revised A2A’s Marriage Rites, with a copy being sent to all credential holders registered to solemnise marriages. A copy of the Rites is available here.
Other Movement News
A2A Executive Administrator / Assistant
I’m delighted to let you know that Liz Jesson has relinquished some of her Tailrace duties to enable her to come back in the role of Executive Administrator/ Assistant for A2A. Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 03 6327 4538
We are just about to complete our latest round of Leaders Together. Here is some of what we have covered as well as links to resources
Keeping Fresh In Ministry
We revisited Mark Conner’s excellent teaching about Keeping Fresh In Ministry, from the 2018 National Conference. Mark reminded us of the Theology of Self Care and the 5 habits of healthy leaders. We watched Mark teach first 2 habits (Retreat Regularly and Deal With Your Internal Stress) and then had a time of discussion. You can watch Mark’s excellent teaching on Keeping Fresh In Ministry here.
Developing A Strategic Plan
Rod Dowie presented the strategic planning process that he and the team at Coast and Vines have been putting together. They have come up with a brilliant template that could be used to help your church to develop your own strategic plan.
Their founding scripture is Isaiah 61:4 “And they shall rebuild old ruins. They shall rise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolation of many generations.”
CLICK HERE to hear from Rod. The document templates they have developed are available below.
Fringe Benefits Exemptions For Pastors
Most pastors would be aware that there are certain fringe benefits exemptions that may apply to pastors. Following is a brief summary of how that works.
Under tax law in Australia, income is generally taxable. When instead of receiving income, a person receives a benefit, this is generally subject to assessment under the Fringe Benefits Tax legislation. So any form of remuneration that is not assessed as income is generally regarded as a benefit.
The FBT legislation however provides that benefits paid to pastors and church workers may be exempt from FBT under certain circumstances.
The Draft Taxation Ruling issued in July of this year provides three important tests that must be passed for a benefit to be exempt.
School Holiday Programmes
It was discussed that School Holiday programmes and other programmes that churches undertook where with children under the age of 13 years, where parents or guardians were not on premises may require licensing as a Child Care Centre.
There is an important exception to this under the Education and Care Services National Law where it can be shown the programme or service is being conducted principally for the purposes of religious instruction.
This could have substantial ramifications on a number of activities that churches may run, including camps.
The take away from this is to document the purpose of the activity and why and how it is being undertaken for the purposes of religious instruction.
Link to Education and Care Services National Law Act 2010 (p17)
CAMP NO FEAR
CAMP NO FEAR has recently been held for QLD & NSW with outstanding success. The Camp had 90 attend with 6 salvations. 74 said they were refreshed in their relationship with God, 26 were operating in their supernatural gifts, 7 were baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Well done Anton, Lauren and the team who made this happen!
CAMP NO FEAR Victoria will be happening 24 to 27 January. You can find out more information here http://www.campnofear.com or obtain tickets@ https://events.ticketbooth.com.au/event/cnf2019
2019 A2A National Conference
Conference Registrations @ QT Gold Coast are open – get in early and make the most of pre-ordering your accommodation. Gives a great opportunity to gather your team and get them all along
Cultural Distinctive - Spirit Empowered Ministry
Phillip Mutzelburg has written another great paper outlining our Cultural Distinctives, with the latest one being about Spirit Empowered Ministry. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read this blog. Cultural Distinctive
I was journalling recently from Nehemiah (I love that book!) and came upon the last verse in Nehemiah Chapter 10. It finishes with the statement:
“We will not neglect the house of our God.”
It reminded me of what a special privilege we have of being part of God’s house, and for many of us, leading one of His houses and leading the people connected to that house to be passionate about Him and His house.
Be encouraged and keep up the great work that you are doing.
by Sharon O'Neill @soulkeeping
This past week I have spent time with the mob at Kyogle.
We drove up into heaven country for a women’s soul retreat.
As I stepped out of the car I could feel the spot was magical.
It was perfect for a women’s soul retreat.
The delicious invitation to rest, renewal and delight.
I was expecting love and life to happen but what I wasn’t expecting was the beauty.
The beauty of the environment was simply delicious.
I could feel myself slowing, resting, nestling into God’s luscious palms. The flowing creek, the shafts of sunlight finding its way through the tall trees and shrubs.
The bower birds penetrating the silence with their pinging sounds.
But it wasn’t this beauty that truly captured my heart.
What captured my heart was the sound of lives turned from brokenness to wholeness; from pain to hope; from messy to life and love.
Over the coming days I was privileged as girls time and time again shared their story of surrender. The moment when they turned their will and their life over to God.
The heart sharing always began with a smile, a giggle and then the story of how God turned their hard, their broken, their messy into love and love.
I loved the child likeness, the simple delight of “I was once lost and now I’m saved.”
There was Janet who came to faith because her daughter went to youth group and then wanted to go to church. Janet recalls how her first service was filled with unexplained tears.
There was another who saw a sign advertising the church, went home and googled, saw their was a small group meeting on in the evening and simply turned up.
I love what God is doing in this church. First generation Christians. Story after story after story of families discovering Jesus for the very first time.
There was this child like wonder. “God’s done this for me and my family.”
I loved BJ who every day says to Jesus, “Okay who are we going to love together today? Who are we going to give dignity to?” I love the heart.
I want to give a big shout out to Danielle and James and their team for creating a space where people who are far from God feel safe enough to explore, to bring their broken soul and have it redeemed and healed.
May Kyogle continue to be blessed and to be a blessing.
by Phillip Mutzelburg
Most bible based Christian churches would claim to do “Spirit empowered mission” and this claim is not argued as all Christ followers have the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide them in mission from the moment of conversion.
A2A would consider that there is an extra dimension of the Holy Spirit available to every Christ follower, which gives them a dynamic empowerment to do mission.
We believe that Jesus makes it clear that we should wait until we are baptised with the Holy Spirit before we do mission. For this reason, it is worthwhile giving further comment to this important biblical truth.
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit defined
The baptism with the Holy Spirit takes place when a Christ follower who earnestly and diligently desires it, makes themselves available for Jesus to immerse them in the fullness of his power.
Unfortunately, due to the undue emphasis and consequent excesses of some charismatic and Pentecostal groups, this biblical truth is seen in some circles as highly controversial, and even something to be avoided at all costs. For these reasons it is considered important to make some statements about this amazing phenomena which Jesus called a gift.
a. The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not a relatively recent addition to Christian belief:
The Baptism with the Holy Spirit is not charismatic, Pentecostal, or “third wave” theology; it is New Testament theology which was embedded in the experience of the early church. It has been identifiable through every season of church history since the inception of the church. There have been seasons where it almost entirely disappeared in practise, but in more recent times it has once again been restored since the renewal took place at Azusa Street in the early part of twentieth century.
b. There are several reasons every Christ follower should seek the baptism with the Holy Spirit:
c. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is available to every Christ follower at or subsequent to their salvation experience:
Some Christians are baptised with the Holy Spirit at the time they make their first confession of faith in Christ. Others are baptised with the Holy Spirit subsequent to their salvation experience. Within our churches a Christian who has never had this experience is not considered a “second rate” Christian.
d. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is not the central doctrine of the bible:
The prominence given by some Christian churches to this teaching implies that it is the central doctrine of the bible. We believe all truth is important to our spiritual growth, and we endeavour to teach the whole counsel of God.
We do not believe that being baptised with the Holy Spirit makes you a better Christian. We believe the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit at work within the Christ follower that changes us, and that it is this work evidenced by the “Fruit of the Holy Spirit” in our lives that makes us more like Christ.
e. Speaking in tongues is the most common evidence of being baptised with the Holy Spirit:
Speaking in tongues is the most controversial aspect of this dynamic experience of being baptised with the Holy Spirit. It is controversial because some Christians argue that unless you speak in tongues you are not baptised with the Holy Spirit. Within our churches we are resistant to this being a divisive issue.
f. The baptism with the Holy Spirit is the usual gateway for the Christ follower to operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit:
This is also somewhat controversial as there is evidence that many Christians who do not claim to be baptised with the Holy Spirit, or speak in tongues, function in some or all of the gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Within our churches we are resistant to this being a divisive issue.
NB: The reader could be frustrated in some regards by the lack of a more detailed explanation of some of these views, and the lack of biblical reference to them all. This paper is not meant to be a comprehensive doctrinal document, but rather an overview of a distinctive of our churches. It is written with the commitment to the celebration of diversity which we enjoy in our movement.
The primary purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to empower us to do mission
In many charismatic and Pentecostal churches, including those under the banner of the older traditional denominations who have embraced the “charismatic” experience, this primary purpose of the baptism with the Holy Spirit being an empowerment for mission has been ignored.
Instead of the focus being outward, the focus has become inward. In some places the focus is about “my healing”, “my prophesy”, “my word of knowledge”. The mindset is the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for me. We would not suggest that the ministry of the Spirit should not be extended to the already convinced, but in the process of doing this the primary purpose of using this power to reach the masses of unchurched people in our community must not be lost.
Within our movement of churches there will be a constant challenge to use this dynamic power available to the Christ follower who is baptised with the Holy Spirit to do the main thing. And the main thing will always be the main thing, “to go into all the world and preach the gospel and make disciples”.
The baptism with the Holy Spirit without the balance of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit disempowers effective ministry to the unchurched community.
Paul speaks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and then makes an amazing statement about these dynamic gifts. He says “I will show you the most excellent way” and goes on to talk about the power of love over all the gifts. Becoming a person who loves at all times is a result of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
Love is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. Love must overshadow our ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. When love is lacking the gifts regardless of how astonishing they may be, are lost in the intrigue associated with anything not easily explained. Without love, we are effectively disempowered in our effectiveness. Love must be evident so that the Spirit of God at work in them can be seen.
Developing a Christlike character must be our first priority if we want the dynamic of the Holy Spirit to do its work in the hearts of the unchurched.
It was great connecting once again with so many of A2A’s Pastors and Leaders at the recent round of Leaders Together days.
Here’s a brief recap on what we talked about, with links to some of the resources that we used.
As we have talked about at recent Leaders Togethers, the National Leadership Team feels that it is important to help and encourage churches in growing to the extent that they are genuinely “missional churches”.
According to the Hughes Scale, a missional church is one that is both biblically sound and engages effectively with the culture.
Ed Stetzer in Planting Missional Churches says that most churches tend to polarise around two points on the scale; churches that are bible focused but unable to reach the world around them, or that relate to the world but have lost the basic tenets of the faith.
Churches that are found in Quadrant C, that are traditional and biblically illiterate will have very little positive impact and generally wont be around for long other than via generations of families that are committed to them.
To encourage A2A churches to grow in their missional focus and effectiveness, we would like all A2A churches to do four things:
We will use the Leaders Together days to provide ideas and information to help you in doing this.
As I write this, I have to tell you about something that happened at our elders meeting last week. I raised the issue of setting a baptism target for the next 12 months, and then suggested a target. I was immediately swamped with stories from the elders about people in their groups and ministries that they were discipling to be baptised. At that point the meeting overtook my expectations and we ended up setting a target for baptisms of about twice what I was thinking.
My lesson was simple. Collectively we had greater vision than I personally had.
Credential Re Applications
Just a reminder that Credential Re-Applications were due by 30 June. If you haven’t yet submitted your re-application, you can do so using the online form here.
Please also remember that credential fees were also due 30 June and can be paid to:
A2A General Account
BSB 633 000
Ac 148 128 077
Annual Church Survey
The Annual Church Survey is now due. This provides important information for us as a movement and so we encourage you to complete it by the end of July.
The online form to complete the survey can be found here.
Working With Children / Child Safe Policies
You will note in the Annual Church Survey Form there is a question asking whether your church has yet submitted it’s Working With Children / Child Safe Policy with the A2A office. From now on, as we explained at the LT days, we will be asking annually for these policies to be submitted to us so that we can keep a copy on file. We won’t however be vetting them for completeness or appropriateness; that’s up to your own board to do.
Also a reminder in relation to your working with children status. Please make sure your state authority issued card is up to date and so is your training. We require all credential holders to undertake training every 3 years. Most A2A Credential holders will have 12 months to update their training, which can be done online through Childsafe. So please keep this in mind as needing to be attended to in the near future.
What To Do If You Have A Known Sex Offender In your Church?
We raised and discussed at Leaders Together the issue of having a known sex offender in your church and implications for the church with regard to insurance cover.
An important note was that insurance will not cover a sexual abuse claim in relation to the known sex offender.
This is regardless of whether or not they have actually been previously charged with a sex offence.
Where it is known that a sex offender does attend your church, it is highly recommended that a written agreement be put in place between the offender and the board of the church.
If you want more information in relation to this, you can download from here more information along with a sample agreement provided by ACS and a copy of an agreement an A2A church actually has in place with a known offender.
These are only examples to help give you an idea. You may need to seek your own professional advice about any documentation, policies and procedures if you are faced with such a situation.
Is Your ACNC Reporting Up To Date?
The Australian Charities and Not For Profit Commission oversees 56,192 charities and not for profit organisations with a total annual income of $121 billion and they are starting to take action where organisations are failing to fulfil their reporting and other obligations. This action has at times seen organisations lose their tax exemptions.
Churches and other organisations registered with the ACNC are required to submit an annual report within 12 months of the end of their financial year, so if your church has a financial year ending 31 December, your ACNC return should have been lodged by 30 June.
Leadership Or Ministry?
Ian Jagelman, author of “The L Factor” spoke at an A2A Conference some years ago about the difference between ministry and leadership.
We recapped some of Ian’s teaching and saw that :
These concepts are also useful in working out the important responsibilities for a position description. In writing a statement of key responsibilities, Ian recommends listing the (say) 5 most critical ministry responsibilities and also the 5 most critical leadership responsibilities.
Doing this will help achieve a good balance between ministry and leadership to ensure that neither gets neglected.
Engaging With Your Community
The church in Acts grew as they enjoyed the favour of all the people. with the consequence that each day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46)
To enjoy the favour of the people, we have to be engaged with our community and be equipped to share the good news with those we meet.
In his book “What Jesus Started”, Steve Addison provides a simple disciple making model that follows these steps:
Sharon O’Neill shared how Mothers Day provided an unexpected opportunity to share with single mum’s, women who weren’t able to have children and mum’s who had lost children. You can watch what Sharon had to say here.
We then looked at the following simple template that can be used to assist in developing a disciple making strategy around ideas for community engagement.
Christian Influence in Schools
At the Leaders Together in Queensland, Suzie Overell gave a presentation in relation to The Christian Religious Instruction Network, which is a not for profit, ecumenical group that was established in 2012 to recruit, train and empower CRI instructors. Their mission and passion is that the local church & community would help to raise positive and productive children, knowing their God.
Suzie advised that the optimal window where people are most open to the gospel is between ages 4 & 14 and more than half of the people who will ever accept Jesus as their saviour will do so by the age of 12.
Developing A Strategic Plan For Your Church
In South Australia at the Leaders Together, Rod Dowie gave an excellent presentation on the strategic planning process he has been taking Coast and Vines through over the last few years.
What Rod has developed here will be made available to assist other churches in their strategic planning in the future.
2019 National Conference
A reminder that the 2019 National A2A Conference will be held on the Gold Coast at the QT Resort from Monday 29 April to Thursday 2 May 2019. We are delighted to have Oscar Muriu and David Storer locked in as our key speakers.
Registration is free for Credential holders with the registration fee for non - credential holders being $220. A reduced registration fee of $150 will apply to first time attendees, emerging leaders and A2A recognised retired ministers $150.
A 10% discount will be given to any who register prior to 31 December 2018. You can register now for the 2019 A2A National Conference here.
Next Leaders Together
If it’s not already in your diary, don’t forget to reserve the following dates for the next Leaders Together:
Workers For The Harvest
I believe that we have an outstanding opportunity to take Jesus and the Good News into the harvest across our country.
With the training that Steve Addison has been doing, when men and women take the step of faith by going into public places or door to door and asking people if they can pray for them, we are frequently seeing about one in three say yes and receive prayer there and then.
When these people are asked if they would like a simple explanation of the Gospel, again about one on three say yes.
By and large, people aren’t closed to the Gospel and being prayed for. The problem’s not in the harvest, it’s in seeing workers; people like you and I going into the harvest.
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out… Luke 10:2,3
Let’s commit to being workers who will go into the harvest as Jesus sends us, taking along other workers so that they too will become harvesters!
Going on holidays!
Sharon and I will be overseas for about 3 weeks from 8 July to 30 July first attending a meeting with Empart and then taking a break with our family. Can’t wait!
During this time, you can contact Liz Jesson on 03 63274538 or email@example.com.
Carl Mutzelburg will be acting President in my absence. You can contact him on 07 3813 4900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are looking for the right person to become Executive Assistant to Tim O'Neill the President of A2A, the Acts 2 Alliance.
This is a key position and we are searching for the right person who has is able to be the front line of communicating with pastors and leaders and their churches throughout A2A as well as having strong organisational skills.
A2A is a movement of churches who are passionate about engaging in our communities in a way that is meaningful and effective. We want to be contemporary reflections of the church in Acts 2.
Our mission is raising enduring leaders to build prevailing churches and our vision is to become an alliance of dynamic missional churches expanding locally and globally.
A2A currently has churches in five Australian states.
The main objectives in relation to this position are to support the President by:
This position is currently approximately a half time position and is located in Launceston Tasmania.
Ideally the successful candidate will have experience in general administration and will have great communication and relational skills.
For more information or to explore this further, please contact either: