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Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Sherrylee and I were invited to participate in the first South Pacific Conference on Missions, organized on behalf of the churches in the Restoration Movement in Australia and New Zealand.  It wasn’t a large gathering, perhaps 50-60 different people by the end, but what a wonderful group of people!

A good percentage of the participants represented the independent Christian church workers, perhaps an equal number from the Churches of Christ (non-instrumental), and then several from the remnant from the International Church of Christ movement in Australia. Although a number of these representatives knew each other either by name or from hearing about their work, quite a few new relationships were formed among the participants and much was learned about the work going on in these different streams.

If that was all that happened in this short three-day conference, it would have been worthwhile, but, in fact, much more took place.

On Thursday, Sherrylee and I were responsible for the whole day’s pre-conference workshop. In the morning, we brought our LST experience with knowing yourself better so that you know how you will work within groups to the table. By the time we broke for a late lunch, people were talking about what it meant to their work since they were a “Mission Impossible” or a “Cautious Lover”.

For the afternoon the coordinator Peter Gray had asked us to talk about leadership training in the churches, but considering the audience of leaders in the room, we decided to start with the axiom that you will not be able to train good leaders until you are a good leader, so we presented our work on “1A Leadership” which we have practiced for years with LST—you know, the leadership style based on the “one another” passages in the New Testament.

Once again, it became very apparent to me how often leaders mistakenly think that somehow their position exempts them from those very clear “one another” passages.

Sherrylee taught the women on Friday about women in ministry, and Saturday morning I shared with the group the characteristics of great missional churches (If you are interested, you can find the core material for these in my blog categories!).

But we were inspired by the tremendous work done by some of the people in the room. One brother is deeply committed to working with the aboriginal people in Australia. Another has a terrific ministry through music with juveniles who live on the streets.  Another brother has led a church planting ministry in New Zealand for 12 years, and then there is Phil, 70 years old perhaps, who has preached all over the world, conducting weeks of tent revivals, but who unselfishly brought a young preacher from India to the conference to introduce him to the church leaders there.

It’s winter in Australia; the temperatures were in the 50s and 60s—a wonderful change from our Texas heat—but the love and warmth in this conference were unmistakably a sign of growing unity and cooperation among these Christians.

They will know we are Christians by our love! Kudos to the Aussie and Kiwi Christians for bravely stepping out in faith and love.

Yesterday we arrived in Kuching, Malaysia, for the Asia Mission Forum, where we expect to find the same Spirit.

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