Growing generous hearts

Greetings all,

It's that time of the year when many church plants and Christian organisations are looking hard at their finances and working out how best to provide for the needs of the coming financial year. For many of you this will involve giving campaigns and renewed efforts to build financial as well as prayer support (It has for Geneva Push – you can financially support your network here!).

But as in every aspect of our lives, there is a worldly way to raise funds and a Christian way. It's obviously not just about getting people to give you money. Church planter Andrew Heard says the goal is growing generous hearts in your congregations. What he calls a, 'Why wouldn't you?” attitude. People involved in supporting church planting financially should be doing so because they believe they are partnering in advancing the Kingdom, not out of misplaced guilt or even moral responsibility. What you, and we, provide is an opportunity to serve when we provide them the chance to give.

That's why this month we've been devoting our site to the finer theological and practical points related to giving. Here are some of the fresh, Australian-generated resources at your fingertips:

The Rod Irvine collection

Rod Irvine is an experienced pastor and acknowledge expert in fundraising for churches, as well as the author of the Christian giving handbook, Giving Generously. We've worked with Rod to provide a wide range of resource for you to benefit from.

The best of the rest

We've also assembled a collection of new resources and previous greats on the topic of money, allowing you to work out how it should fit into every other part of your life as well as your church.

The church planter’s personal budget

Greetings all,

There are few things that put pressure on a church planting couple's marriage like finances. Not just the business side of planting a church, but the roll-on affect this uncertain time can have on family funds. Geneva network couples have regularly shared with us how the bank account balance can affect their relational capital. So in a month we're concentrating on money, let us share some very helpful resources.

As many of you will know Geneva runs the Refresh conference each year as a service to church planting couples in the network. For a number of years we've been able to share the wisdom of Scott and Kim Parry-Jones with those who've come along. The Parry-Jones' are solid Christians with roots in a multitude of ministries, as well as being successful business people. 

Here are two talks we think will be of great benefit to any church planting couple trying to get control of their personal budget:

Money and Ministry

Kim and Scott Parry-Jones are a mature Christian couple who've lived through hard times and gone on to establish a highly profitable business. They share practical lessons God has taught them about handling money and the stresses it can place on couples.

Living Well

Successful businessman and Geneva Push supporter Scott Parry-Jones provides advice to church planters on Being good stewards of the money God has given you with off-set accounts, credit cards and good governance so that you can spend money where it really needs to go.

Generous giving follows giving yourself to God

Greetings, one and all.

Glad you can join us for another tasty treat to chew over, when it comes to applying biblical principles to church planting.

Our most recent Planter Session was focused upon talking about money at church. How to do that was suggested, in various ways, by two experienced budgeters and fund-raisers. New Life Anglican Church pastor Stuart Starr worked with Rod Irvine at Figtree Anglican Church (Wollongong area), who is author of Giving Generously and advises church leadership about money. (For copies of Giving Generously for you and your church, contact Rod directly: roddirvine@gmail.com)

For their entire information session about how to talk about money at church, click here. As a taster, we latched on to one of the many points Rod explained about how to approach members and supporters. In short, Rod's an advocate for having a clear vision of your church-plant ministry – and calling people to team with you, to fund what you pray will be the very work of God.

Provide vision, see growth

“You're asking people to give to the vision,” Rod offers simply, about how to combine your ministry work with the heart-deep issue of godly giving. “You can hold up the vision and the ministry's going on in that vision. You can say to people that what's going on here is we want to start a childrens' ministry, or a ministry to the poor, or a men's or women's ministry, or we want to send five more people to the mission field. And these are the things that happen because of your generosity.

“So you're highlighting their growth in faith and the church's growth in vision and ministry, under God. And people get excited about that.”

Rod encourages church planters to focus on how financial support is manifesting within what their congregation is doing. Pointing people to fruits of their generosity doesn't just sound nice and reassuring. It's a biblical model of seeking unity in giving, because a particular flock of God's people want together to give themselves to God – and to return His material blessings to His mighty works.

Biblical backing

“That's exactly what Paul was doing in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, what David was doing in 1 Chronicles 29, and Moses did when he raised material for the tabernacle,” explains Rod. “They held up this vision and said, 'Under God, let's get on board.' And Paul actually says they gave themselves to the Lord before they gave to us. There's a spiritual dynamic – they're giving themselve to God, and to God's work. So let's give! It's a very exciting thing to do, and people grow.”   

For more from the Planter Session “The 'M' Word: Talking About Money At Church”, click here.

Click here to register for our next Planter Session: “Lessons from Mother/Daughter Church Planting”.

 

– Ed

Church planting job opportunities!

Greetings all, 

We've had two church planting job opportunities brought to our attention which we think will interest our network. Do either of these suit you – or someone you know?

Cheerio,

Ed.

Central Presbyterian Church, Ipswich, QLD – Grow Pastor Ministry Position

Central Presbyterian Church Ipswich is a medium to large church in the heart of Ipswich (45 minutes from Brisbane). It is looking for a committed theology graduate to join its Ministry Team in 2015 (or 2016). The successful applicant will work in a strategic ministry role focussed on training and discipling leaders and preaching.

Click here to download futher details

Maryborough Church of Christ, VIC – Lead Pastor

Maryborough is a suburb of South Western Victoria, Ballaratt, Victoria. Maryborough Church of Christ is a strong community church with attendance in the mid 40s that is looking to grow. The Church is looking for a conservative evangelical who can lead the Church in the coming years with doctrinal clarity, pastoral care and equipping God's people for works of service.

Click here to download further details

Six Key Principles When Talking About Money

Welcome back. Nice to see you.

Money. Money. Money. Something so integral to our daily lives is so often something we'd rather not talk about. Particularly at church. More particularly, at a church plant that is trying to perform its role within God's kingdom.

To help ease the strain and tension around money being on the agenda at your church plant, Geneva hosted an instructive and considered panel discussion with two Christian leaders well versed in raising funds. Author of Giving Generously, Rod Irvine, and New Life Anglican Church pastor Stuart Starr, provided plenty of financial wisdom during this month's Planter Session – “The M Word: Talking About Money In Church”. We recorded the entire discussion, so click through to tune into “The M Word” session.  

Each month, Geneva hosts an interactive “Planter Session”, where experienced ministry leaders and relevant experts share information and advice aimed at strengthening your church-plant ministry. To provide an idea of why you should check out all of “The M Word”, below are six key principles that Stuart explained during the Planter Session. Stuart previously worked as an assistant minister with Rod at Figtree Anglican Church, NSW, where Rod's insights into “talking about money in church” informed a lot of Stuart's own thinking on the subject.

Belief

“I think that you, as the pastor, have to believe yourself that people cannot serve God and money. You need to be talking about money with your people because it's killing them.” Referring to how destructive the dependence upon money can be for people in our churches, Stuart concludes that ministry leaders must talk about money as a spiritual concern. Money talk should not be a pragmatic plea for operations funding; there must be a spiritual imperative to the confronting of how we all approach money. 

Vision

“You have to be all-in, yourself.” What Stuart means also can be expressed as: “If you weren't leading the church you are leading, would you still go to that church?” Stuart points to Rod as a strong example of a church leader who set a distinct vision for his congregation to respond to. Being unable to concisely state what you and your church is about, and where it's headed, will hinder the ability to seek support for it.

Clarity

“I think you need to tell peope what's at stake.” Kingdom outcomes and the financial reality of running a church plant, should be clearly expressed to the people you are leading.

Transparency

Don't hide financial realities from your church – or only raise financial matters “when everything is falling apart”. Allow your people to see and understand the situation, so they can grab hold of the practical difference their support makes to the church plant. 

Leadership

Rod's style and thinking about leadership had a major impact upon Stuart. One of the areas he emulates Rod is in giving. Both Rod and Stuart advocate that church leaders must themselves be giving to their own church plant. This might sound “circular” but there are plenty of operational costs (not just the senior minister's wage).

Trust

Over time, people should come to see that – within the provision of God – something is happening between your vision and related results. Trust will be generated by demonstrating you are a leader who has “under God, delivered again and again and again. Trust and vision will go together, and that will enable people to give joyfully.”

 

Click here for the whole “The M Word: Talking about Money in Church” discussion.

To participate in Geneva's next Planter Session, click here to register.

– Ed. 

Multiply15 – preparing couples for planting

Greetings all,

We're almost out of time on the last day of registrations for the Geneva network's national conference. If you're yet to register for Multiply15 then don't let the sun go down on this opportunity.

There are many things we could say about the benefits to church planters and their teams – great talks from Gary Millar, international insights from Steve Timmis and a host of seminars from exprienced Australian church planters –  but one topic that's often forgotten is the couple at the heart of every new endeavour. 

At a previous Multiply attendees got to meet Dave and Ruth Sheath, 14-year church planters from The Lakes Evangelical Church who shared what two decades of marriage has taught them about ministry together. You can hear what they had to say here.

We always have couples like the Sheaths on hand to help others work out the best way through the trials of church planting, without sacrificing your marriage along the way. 

If you'd like to attend then make sure you get your name down today.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MULTIPLY15

Video

Are you ready to give whatever it takes?

Greetings all,

It's the last day registrations will be open for the Geneva Push network's national conference, Multiply15, and we're down to the wire if you still haven't had a chance to register. 

Multiply15 is Geneva's seventh national conference and any attendee from past events will assure you they're worth shaking up your week in order to attend. But we'll let one of this year's keynote speakers, Gary Miller, tell you about personally about the 'whatever it takes' attitude that will be required if we're determined to win Australians for God…

Are you considering church planting? Being part of a team that's breaking new ground for God? Don't miss this opportunity to gain insight, network with experienced planters and have your goals aligned with the Gospel imperative.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MULTIPLY15

Video

Multiply15 a must for church planting wives

Greetings all, 

There are only two days left to register for Multiply15 and on behalf of the network we'd like to ensure Australia's church planting women are aware of the great opportunity it represents.

Every year dozens of church planting wives get to together for special seminar events that assist them in connecting, collaborating and supporting each other. Last year EV Church's Cathie Heard shared six hints for ministry wives that she's learned from decades of church planting with her husband Andrew Heard:

If you haven't registered yet, make sure you and your team don't miss out on what promises to be an excellent opportunity for every church planting team.

REGISTER FOR MULTIPLY15

Video

“The gospel is about cross now and glory later.”

Greetings all,

There are only two days left to register for Geneva's Multiply15 conference with Steve Timmis and Gary Miller, not to mention a host of informed Australian seminar speakers on all things church planting, and we're more than a little excited.

Have you arranged your ticket yet? If not, let Steve Timmis tell you why you need to discover the the key role sacrifice plays in church planting: because the Gospel is all about cross now and glory later…

If you're interested in planting a church, joining or supporting a church plant then we humbly suggest you'll regret not being in Gosford when Multiply15 kicks off on May 18. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR MULTIPLY15

Partner with your people, to maximise outreach

Hi there. Thanks for joining us for another exciting instalment.

Last week, I brought to your attention how Australians are warm to Christianity. This surprising statistic led visiting missiologist/pastor/cultural commentator Ed Stetzer to recommend “seizing the gospel opportunities” afforded by such major events as Christmas and Easter. Read all about it, by clicking here.

Ed made these comments during his terrific discussion with Scott Sanders about “Are Christmas and Easter losing their gospel edge?” As with all of Geneva's monthly Planter Session webinars, Ed's discussion on this vital topic is available. Click here to watch it.

The webinar is chockers with facts and reflections, which don't only flow from Ed being a Trinity College lecturer or how he's the kind of Christian expert you get to conduct masterclasses about the context and approach for contemporary ministry (which is just what Geneva has done, this week, in Sydney and Brisbane). Ed's a committed Christian and pastor who calls himself and his congregation to partner in the gospel. To mobilise on mission. Together.

Partners who get mobilised

While Ed told Scott that Christians “are doing it wrong” if they only desire to actively serve at major events, he is an advocate of using such events to train and equip Christians for year-round service 

“What we're trying to teach people at our church is that we want to partner with them. I think that's a key phrase. We want to partner on our church, on these outreach opportunities.”

A recent example was the Easter program organised at Grace Church in Tennessee, where Ed is lead pastor. He and his leadership team  “don't just assume people” in the congregation will get behind the Easter activities. So Stetzer calls his staff, to remind them all to pray for, and reach out to, five people to invite to Easter servies. They staff team call Bible study leaders, with the same shared message. Leaders call others in the church. 

“It's not just us standing up saying 'listen all you blokes, invite all your friends next week.' It's a holistic approach,” says Ed. “We're not just wishing that they would invite people. We're mobilising them for that.”

Lead by example

Ed provided this brief overview of what Grace Church did at Easter, to suggest how church leaders can model and support partnership. While it might sound like all the phone calls, letters, personal contact and direct mail were instantly expected to generate kingdom results, Ed didn't think so. Instead, as he told Scott during their webinar discussion, the purpose is more about helping his church family to be active representatives of who they serve.

“We know that we're not going to get a huge response but by communicating all of those things together, we're mobilising our church. We tell our people: The postal service has not been given the message of reconciliation. You have been. You're ambassadors of reconciliation. So don't expect the mailer to bring somebody; that's your role.”

For more on how Ed encourages churches to , read his Christianity Today article: “Don't Waste Your Spike”.