Leading a Church Plant Team

I had a great time with a mate today discussing how we are going as a team. One of the things we discussed was the way in which a team like ours needs to be led.

He suggested that I should consider leading more strongly – setting the pace a bit more and giving more direction. I haven’t done a lot of this – but it has been very intentional. It even goes against my natural leadership style.

But… I still believe it is the right thing to do.

You see in an established church of 200 people when the pastor / leader says ‘here is the vision – lets go!’ 30 or 40 people say ‘yeah! Count me in’. Around another 50 say hmmm, looks good, lets check it out, 50 say hmmmm…. not so sure convince me and the rest refuse to get on board.

BUT… right or wrong, in an established church with a significant core of 40 or so followers you can generate momentum and the ‘uncertain/dissenters’ can be sometimes be won or board or encouraged to go somewhere else.

You know the line ‘if you’re not on board with the vision then maybe this isn’t the church for you’. And maybe that is true. Churches can’t be all things to all people.

But in a team of 14 people you can’t operate in the same way. I have been figuring this out as I have been going, but I am increasingly convinced that especially at this stage we need to make significant decisions as a team and I need to accept a more facilitative role.


Because if I ‘lead strongly’, give direction and call people to it, I might get them there by strength of personality and their reluctance to challenge my covictions, but if they haven’t been a vital part of setting the direction and if they don’t own the direction deeply they aren’t really on board and may well bale when things get difficult.

Right now I think we need to move together more than we need to move quickly.

I wish I could nobly say that this is a way of leading that I enjoy and find easy, but it has actually been pretty frustrating at times. I think I know the answers to many of the question we face – I have been chewing them around for a looong time.

free needful things But we need to deal with these foudational community shaping decisions together as they need to be our answers – not just my answers.

At the moment the issues we face as a team are because we have decided together to choose the route we are on. I don’t feel deep personal responsibility for our struggles because we have moved together and decided on this course together. We are all responsible for where we are at – both the good and the bad – and truth be told there isn’t much bad.

Maybe the day will come when our mission team needs a different type of leadership from me, maybe not…

I am enjoying the journey God has got me on leading more instinctively and trusting those feelings rather than trusting my tried and tested methods.


Some days I am really grateful for what God has called me to and the people I have been privileged to spend time with.

Today was one of those days. It began with a breakfast with the old man of mentoring – John Mallison. John is an Aussie icon when it comes to the art of mentoring and its been a privilege to be able to get to know him a little. He has been in Perth this last few days and called me to see if we could hook up. It was a great time.

From there I met with an old mate, Dave Stanford, another Aussie legend. Why? Anyone who stays in the same church for 32 years, (16 of them on full time staff) is one amazing bloke.

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It was great to look back on our lives and see how our experiences of mission trips to the Phillippines have shaped both of us and been pivotal in leading us to where we are today. We shared some great memories of those trips and the sparks that flew. It was an encouraging and affirming time – something Dave is very gifted in. He will be one of our Forge coaches next year, something I am really pleased about.

Then… it was a meeting with a guy who is considering a Forge internship next year. Again, someone I feel privileged to be involved with, someone who is really grappling with issues of faith and mission in his own church setting.

That all started at 8.30 and finished at 12.45. To say I was tired was an understatement. As an introvert and more task oriented person I normally try not to schedule more than three people meetings into my day time hours. I find this is all I can manage before my brain turns to mush and I am as good as useless.

Unfortunately from the cafe it was off to our Forge coaches training session. I say ‘unfortunately’ because I had definitely reached my ‘people limit’ for the day!

However again, I spent two hours with a bunch of quality people whose paths have crossed my own and whose lives have enriched mine. One of them was Stuart Wesley, one of my closest mates and a bloke I have known from high school. Its the only high school relationship I still have and it has gone some distance! We take a holiday with Stu and family next month and it will be great to hang out with these guys.


Yup, tonight was church…

But, it was great to go along and in many ways ‘relax’ and enjoy what Danelle and Bec had prepared. A great recharge and very inspiring! Thanks girls.

One of the issues our team faces is that we all know each other very well. We have known one another for at least 4 years and in one case 22 years. It means we have a lot of history, but also a lot of connection with each other. Tonight I sensed we really enjoyed some of that history and celebrated the joy of being able to do this together.

I feel grateful.

My Brain is Channel Surfing

Right now is a busy and at times stressful period.

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It seems there are so many things going thru my head at once. Its like my brain is channel surfing.

We were praying tonight at our team gathering and my mind was flitting and flicking as I mulled over the things that need doing, the things I ought to do, the things that just won’t get done…

So much for a quiet time of contemplation!


Another new face on the local blog scene is Scott Vawser – an all round good bloke who will have plenty of interesting and probably humorous things to say.

Scott’s and my paths cross in many places and I have been enjoying getting to know him.

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When is a good time to discover that the suncream you smeared all over your face today is actually ‘glitter’ suncream?

While we were sitting having fish and chips for lunch I was wondering why Sam had glitter all over his face. How did that get there?

One look in the mirror when I got home confirmed what I suspected!

Asbestos and ‘She’ll be Right’

download ice harvest the divx Last week when I was returning my boat to the house where I keep it I backed it into the side of the house and put a hole in the asbestos that clads the house.

Now its a bummer that I did that because asbestos is a bugger to fix and the rules on dealing with asbestos are incredibly tight… as I have discovered…

My first thought was to jigsaw the broken pieces back together with liquid nails, putty it up and all would be ok, however the break, while small just wasn’t going to do that.

Option B – take the trusty angle grinder to the asbestos and then slide in a new sheet of hardiflex? After reading the procedures and rules for working with asbestos I realised that would put everyone in danger especially me… Even with my ‘she’ll be right’ approach to life this just doesn’t seem worth the risk. I have seen someone die of mesothelioma and its not pretty.

Option C – remove the whole 3m sheet of asbestos? Also dodgy as it means dislodging asbestos fibres. (Sounds like these little fellas are really potent.) As well as that it is very exy as it means disposing of the asbestos and buying a bigger sheet to replace it. Lots of $$$

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So to plan D… Scour the local building sites for cut offs of hardiflex that will make a good patch and then with the assistance of the trusty liquid nails try and tie it in with the existing stuff. So far so good… I’ll be back there this week to finish off, but I’ll be real careful with my driving from here on.

Asbestos… nasty stuff!

Sunday’s Plan…

Face_1 amazing grace dvd Tomorrow Danelle is spending the day running a creative memories workshop, which means I have the kids…

I have always felt there are two ways you could look at this situation – bummer its going to be a beautiful day and I can’t get out on the water because I’ve got the kids from 9-5… (and yes I do think that sometimes) or… fantastic, I’ve got a whole day to hang out with the two people I love being with more than anyone else (excepting you of course honey!)

Since I started seeing these days where I have the kids the whole time as opportunities to cut loose and have some fun I have actually really enjoyed the experience. So tomorrow…

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We might start with a sleep in – that’s the pre 9.00am bit!

Then we might head down to the local swap meet – I’ve got a few odds and ends I’ve been sniffing around for. The kids will love it – they get to buy something for themselves. Other people’s crap!… Still its cheaper than new crap.

From there we’ll head to Hilary’s boat harbour to Aqwa. They will absolutely love looking at all the fish.

Then we’ll go for a swim at the beach and have lunch down there.

Its should be 1.00ish by then and we’ll need to head home so fatboy can have his afternoon snooze (no that’s not me…)

Ellie will watch a video and I’ll maybe doze off for while.

By the time all that is over and done it’ll be almost time for dinner!

Another fun day with two beautiful kids.

Decisions Decisions…

Almost 3 weeks to go until the school year ends for me.

On Tuesday ‘The Australian ‘ actually did a write up on the school I am teaching at as one of the best in Australia…

I think we were all a bit astounded!

Next year i need to replace $22000.00 that I will no longer have – or live without it. We have several irons in the fire at the moment. We are:

– seeking personal support like overseas missionaries do from our team and people who know us and churches we are connected with. I

– have one Bible College course to teach (Biblical Ethics and Values)

– I’ll still do some preaching. My goal was to average once a month this year and it will turn out to be just over that.

– there are two other ‘job opportunities’ out there, but I’m still a little dubious about taking on another day or two of work. It does limit my availability round here if I have a commitment to another employer. It also stretches my brain and emotional energy around 3 differerent roles.

As I was driving home today I was pondering all this aware that while God is in control I still need to ‘push some doors’ to see if they are where he is leading.

Hopefully we will have some idea of how it is all coming together by the end of December, when the school’s money runs out.

Crowded House?

Today I met with my mate Steve McAlpine who has been looking at trying to get Steve Timmis from Crowded House in Sheffield to come to Perth.

We were discussing and teeing up his visit for June next year. This guy sounds like a sharp theologian and effective practicioner. It’ll be great to have in Perth meeting with our local missionaries.

Here’s a sample of his stuff here.

We’ll running some broad brush exposure days for folks new to missional paradigms as well as some intense / indepth stuff for those who are further down the track in their thinking on this stuff.