Tuesday, November 10, 2009


This just came to mind: After 50 years 'in the workforce' I only know eight people (5 males and 3 females) who found it difficult to work with me. Interesting, all the males were short (I'm tall); three of them were work colleagues, two were parishioners. One of my bosses had a primary agenda of enhancing his own status within the organization, rather than enhancing the ministries of those reporting to him. It's difficult to be (a) humble, with a genuine servant-spirit and (b) true to one's own unique calling, in a situation like that. The three females... (how can I put this?) I judge had personal expectations for me which I could/did not fulfil...

I was invited to a ministry with World Vision by Australia's Executive Director, Harold Henderson. We were living in Canada at the time, and as part of the interview process I wanted to share my perspectives on the previous two years' difficult experience as pastor/ex-pastor of First Baptist Church, Vancouver. 

We took six months for the four of us (the girls were 9 and 11) to travel home - via a car trip from Vancouver to Mexico, two months in LA while I did some DMin study, then Toronto, UK, Europe, Cyprus, Israel, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa. We landed into Karen and Ross's and Abbie's home for a couple of months (at 13 Orchid St Heathmont) until we found a place of our own (7 Bangor Court, Heathmont - moved in April 2, 1984). 

My job in WV: do whatever God had called me to do within the churches of Australia (and beyond) as a 'gift' from World Vision for their support. At the time there were negative noises from many church leaders about all the money being siphoned off to this wealthy NGO at the expense of their own ministries. A challenging task! And helped greatly by a wonderfully faithful and competent secretary/research assistant, Grace Thomlinson. 

One of the first things I wanted to do was rejuvenate the Leadership Letter, called GRID. It went to every pastor - and many church leaders - on our database: 23,000 in all, every quarter. The response was quite gratifying. One article saw 600 letters in response! Pastors reproduced these articles for their leaders, and some of them were eventually published in a couple of books

My rough calculation is that then and since I've spoken in seminars and preaching to 700 congregations and/or their leaders around Australia. This included about 20 diocesan and other Anglican clergy conferences (which included preaching in three or four cathedrals), the 'Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' in Sydney (a progressive off-shoot of the Mormon church), four or five major Seventh-day Adventist conferences, 14 trips to Papua New Guinea (for missionaries' conferences mainly), the University of Queensland's annual commencement service, a charismatic German Presbyterian Church in Pennsylvania, Pentecostal/Charismatic conferences (mainly the more progressive ones, rarely the Assemblies of God), conferences of Baptist and Churches of Christ pastors in every state, a couple of aboriginal conferences, a few seminars with Brethren pastors/elders (they waited 30 years to invite me back!)... you name it... 

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