Let’s Talk?

28 Aug 2020

Many of our readers will be aware that next month Conference Executive is proposing changes to our Constitution at a special meeting of Conferences scheduled for the 24th September at 7.30pm via Zoom.

There are six resolutions relating to the changes and these have been emailed to church secretaries and our ministers.   

In case you missed this information, you can access these documents as follows:

Concurrently we have also been hosting open Zoom conversations where you can join us and share your questions, concerns or ideas. There are two more scheduled coming up in early September, and we invite you to join us.

    • ZOOM 3 – Wednesday 2nd September, 10am

    • ZOOM 4 – Thursday 3rd September, 7:30pm

In the conversations so far, I have advised churches that these resolutions fall within two broad categories, namely: 

    • continuous improvement; and 

    • community or government expectations around governance and reporting.  

They pre-empt a broader, more extended consultative process in 2021 where we will undertake a full review of the constitution and modern rewrite. These changes are timely given the heightened expectations placed on religious charities and our need to remain transparent and proactive with respect to current issues including child protection and church safety.

We have put together a FAQs document addressing some of the main questions raised by participants in the first Zoom meetings. You can read that HERE.

Because of the limitations of digital technology, we are inviting you to talk with us. You can pick up the telephone and chat with us, email us at tracey.french@freshhope.org.au or choose to join us in one of our Zoom meetings listed above. Please contact us by email if you need the Zoom link details.

I can’t emphasise enough the importance of engagement in this journey. Some have already suggested there is a hidden agenda to these changes. Not so. We are simply presenting some changes that are important for the future of this movement.   

The old adage is helpful to the conversation – ‘what do you stand for or believe?’ I believe this is more important than what we believed 2 decades ago or even 200 years ago, notwithstanding that Jesus and the gospel remains constant. For this movement to stay on the frontier of embracing new churches, new cultures, new ministries and new opportunities it is critical we define our future direction in line with some of the strategic horizons outlined over the preceding months. 

These include the importance of –

    • Spiritual Leadership; 

    • Pioneering New Frontiers;

    • Prayer as a Primary Practice;

    • Transformational for Existing Churches and Ministries; and 

    • Urban Mission and Regional Renewal.

In conclusion, your church delegates will be asked to vote on these resolutions. I can’t help expressing that a ‘vote’ is a contract – a transaction that will either ratify the acceptance or the rejection of these proposed changes.   

In contrast, a ‘conversation’ is more akin to a covenant. This is the journey of transformation – how do we engage in non-emotive conversations from relationships of trust, where we are able to disagree without bringing disrepute to our movement or slandering one another.

The book of James issues a poignant closing question: ‘What causes fights and quarrels among you? Dont they come from your desires that battle within you? (James 4:1). My prayer is that our posture be one of humility, openness to hear the Spirit and a desire to see this movement designed for future generations that may not yet be participants in the Kingdom. Please pray for our collegiate discernment with healthy relationships and avoidance of fear, power or control.

We’d love to talk.

Dr. Andrew Ball
Executive Ministry Director

Churches of Christ in NSW & the ACT.

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