Church Growth

I got asked the other day if our church is growing by ‘conversion’ or by ‘transfer’ which is pastor speak for ‘are people becoming Christians or just moving from other churches?’

Well – neither – our growth has been by immigration. Its hardly a ‘strategy’ but it seems that over half of the people who have come to QBC have come from another country. The biggest group by far are the South Africans who seem to flock to the far north of Perth and then of course there are the Brits. I think Aussies are a fairly strong minority in our church community at the moment and that takes a bit of getting used to.

FWIW I have really enjoyed the SA crew and the guys who have joined us have been great value. With the exception of one very bad experience at the start that I have had to work hard to put behind me, we have all got on well.

The different cultural and theological backgrounds have made it interesting as we have realised there are South Africans from a very strict rigid background in church and then those who come from that but are happy to be part of something more casual and relaxed.

If we do anything well at QBC then its being casual and easy going. So it will be interesting to see what the future holds. The old saying ‘a crowd attracts a crowd’ reverbs in my mind and I imagine we may see a larger group of immigrants form the core of the church.

In that I see our role as leaders as being a church that fits this context and is effective in reaching the people who live around us. So ‘where you’re from’ is less important than if you gel with the vibe of the place and want to be about the same things as we are.

‘Drop Everything’

Occasionally you just need to ‘drop everything’.

Today I was on my way to the Two Rocks rec centre to check out what’s going on in our community and I took a brief detour to The Spot, a local surf break that is good, but usually packed.

As I drove down the track I noticed it was offshore… hmmm… a light breeze – and then I got into the carpark and was the only one there. Usually this means the surf is crap. But today although it was small there were sets coming thru that were very ridable and there was no one out.

To get decent waves to yourself is a luxury so I spun around and headed for home to grab my board and wetsuit before anyone else turned up. Somehow in the rush I managed to grab the board and forget the wetsuit… so although it was a very good surf it was also a pretty cold one and a short one.

I was out there alone for a while before one other bloke followed me out. Probably the best day I have had at The Spot, but it needed a ‘drop everything’ moment for it to happen.

Sometimes you just have to do it.


A few months back I reflected that I was going to change tack in how I introduce myself to people and when asked what I do for a crust I would be a ‘retic bloke’ rather than a baptist minister. I’m happy for people to know I’m a minister, but I just thought it would be interesting to experiment with a different starting point.

So today I am out surfing again and there’s one other bloke in the water – also mid 40’s and a local. We get chatting. He works at the golf course. We talk about life, family, kids, work, travel and the general banter that blokes have – broken occasionally by one of us catching a wave. He tells me that he wants to get his kids into the surf club this year and there’s a point of common interest because we have been considering similar.

‘When’s it on?’ I ask.

‘Sundays – in the morning’

‘Yeah I thought so. We’d like to send the kids but we are part of a church community that meets at the same time so it gets tricky’

‘Yeah me too’ he says.

I wasn’t sure if I’d heard him right. ‘You’re part of a church too hey?’


‘Which one?’ I ask.

‘The Christadelphians’ he says, ‘ But we meet a long way away so church is a 100km round trip.’

I chuckle inwardly because I’m guessing neither of us picked the other for a God botherer. He went on to tell me they had been looking for a church locally but hadn’t found one that was down to earth and not too ‘happy clappy’ (his words).

In the flow of the conversation I let him know that I was a pastor and led a local Baptist church. At that point he obviously felt compelled to let me know that he wasn’t a very good Christian because he swore and drank too much. I’m guessing he was thinking back over the conversation we’d had and the ‘f’ words that had been sprinkled throughout and the references to ‘time wasted not drinking beer’. I told him I didn’t think Jesus cared too much about a few naughty words and had bigger fish to fry.

I don’t often invite people to church, but today I did. I’m not sure if he is a dyed in the wool ‘Christadelphian’ (whatever they are these days) or whether he’s just a bloke trying to find God and raise his family in the way of Christ. But I figured he’d like our mob and he’d fit in well.

I invited him home for a coffee or beer, but he had to head off and pick his kid up from school. We’ve been praying for some local mates both for ourselves and for our kids so who knows. Maybe this was a significant encounter, or maybe its just another slice of life…

I’m hoping we might see each other again.


Ok so there’s a word that didn’t exist before Facebook… but now it needs no explanation.

I was a reluctant facebooker and avoided it for a couple of years before finally conceding that I might benefit from it. I have days when I find it really valuable and days when my mouse hovers over ‘delete account’ as I consider getting out of it altogether.

I used to have a pretty ‘open’ policy on friends. I recognise some people read my blog and want to connect via facebook so even if I didn’t know you personally I would accept the friend request. That has changed however and now if I don’t actually know you I am most likely going to hit ‘ignore’.

The friend requests that irk me the most are those from people I have no knowledge of whatsover, but when I look at their page I see 2435 friends. I feel like I am becoming ‘friend fodder’ for a fragile ego. Then there are those whose common friends are high profile church leaders, some of whom are my mates. Seriously though, just because we have ‘friends’ in common does that mean we should be friends?

In the last few weeks I have been defriended twice. Ironically neither of the people who defriended me were actually friends. More acquaintances and barely that. One who was an ex school student asked for some advice, which I gave. On a subsequent post some harsh words were spoken by this person about Christians & hypocrites blah blah blah… (you know the deal) and then I finished up being ‘defriended’. There was no communication. Just a click of a button and ‘goodbye’.

Then on the day Steve Jobs died a ‘friend’ posted ‘Steve Jobs invents new app called iDead’. I commented – ‘a bit soon?…’ , because I thought it was. The next thing I knew I had been yet again ‘de-friended’ and my comment deleted. (Obviously dissenting opinions were not welcome on this page) But now I’m wondering – when I see this person at the shops (because we live near each other) have I been defriended in real life or just online?… Do we ignore one another? What is the protocol?…

Or maybe facebook is more like real life than we would like to admit. Maybe this is how it works in our world. I have certainly seen plenty of people cut friendships at the slightest hint of disagreement. Unfortunately it only creates immature people who fail to grow and develop relationships of substance – because you can’t do that when you cut off everyone who disagrees with you.

So maybe facebook actually exposes us more than we realise… definitely time to delete that account…


Last year was a very busy retic year for me. I said ‘yes’ to virtually every job possible and on the three days I allocate to my business I went at a frantic pace. I got a lot of work, earnt a lot of money and paid a big slab off the mortgage. That was part of the plan – to try and recover from that big hit we took a couple of years back.

We still had fun, enjoyed life and had holidays, but it wasn’t a pace I wanted to run at for any length of time. I also found myself becoming somewhat obsessive about the whole issue of reducing debt. In the end I became more concerned about the obsession, than the pace at which I was working. When you have a somewhat obsessive personality its easy to do…

However winter and spring have given me a chance to experience a much more sustainable pace of life and its one I’d like to keep rolling. Its been wonderful starting work at 8 and getting home by 2. When you know that’s all you’re doing 3 days a week then its not as demanding on the body – and my body was really beginning to tell the story.

I’m figuring I could well be a retic and turf bloke for many years to come, so I’m looking for a pace that allows me to enjoy work rather than just being a money spinner.

So as summer approaches i’ll be saying ‘no’ a lot more often. I’ll be referring work on, or just politely declining because I want to address the issue of ‘pace’. Yes, I could employ someone, develop the business etc – and there is plenty of opportunity for that – but at this point in time that isn’t my intent. It is very much a lifestyle business with good returns and low stress – if I choose to keep it that way. To employ staff would change that. Maybe in the future… but i doubt it…

So I have already been spacing work out and planning for easier more enjoyable times. Perhaps not as financially lucrative, but I’m guessing I’ll have a bit more fun