A2A Movement Update – November 2020
Who would have thought 2020 would turn out like it has! It’s certainly been a year of uncertainty and change. But as we approach 2021, we have a lot of good news to share with you. Whilst we have faced many extraordinary challenges this year, I’m very encouraged how many A2A churches have intentionally grappled with two critical questions during this time: how can we love our communities as Jesus would? (the New Commandment) how can we make disciples (the Great Commission) Both of those questions go right to the heart of what it is to be an Acts 2 church today where the new church “… enjoyed the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:47) We won’t enjoy the favour of the people in our community if we aren’t engaged with them extending the love of Jesus to them. These questions are at the core of our challenge today. Whilst there may be pressing short term issues that we need to deal with, these two questions are critical to our long term vision of being: “an alliance of innovative missional churches transforming Australian lives” As you read this Movement Update, I hope that you will be encouraged with how the Holy Spirit is shaping us to not only serve you and the church that you lead but also to reach our nation in a transformational way.
2021 A2A National Conference
We are excited to announce that the 2021 A2A National Conference will be held at the Mantra on View St in Surfers Paradise from Monday 26 April to Wednesday 28 April. With Queensland relaxing restrictions to 2 ms per person, this means that we will be able to have up to 250 people in attendance at the Conference. We are still working on final details and will communicate them to you as soon as we can. We are also excited about the theme which will be “A Brave New World”. The conference will be based around the book of Acts and drawing principles from here as we look to the future of the church in a post covid environment. Naturally, we will continue to monitor the situation re Covid and restrictions, but at present everything is looking good for us being able to hold a great conference in April 2021. So instead of being double-minded about what might happen, we are full steam ahead with planning what will undoubtedly be a great conference. You can register online for the conference here https://a2a.org.au/2021-a2a-national-conference/
A2A Pastors Health and Wellbeing
Thank you for all those pastors who participated in the NCLS Church Leaders Well Being Check that was recently conducted. The A2A responses were compared to average interdenominational responses from the 2016 NCLS survey. The above snapshot shows that on average, A2A pastors when compared to the benchmark rated themselves as more effective and less stressed but with a lower rate of personal satisfaction with life. We will be exploring the findings further and working with mentors to explore how we can create an environment and support that will enhance the overall wellbeing of our leaders. Mentoring A reminder that all credential holders should be in a mentoring relationship with an appropriate mentoring agreement in place. We are working with Keith Farmer and Tim Hanna to provide a panel of qualified mentors outside of the A2A network. We see that having an appropriate mentoring relationship in place is a key to our mission of “raising enduring leaders who will build prevailing churches”. Sharon and I highly value having a mentor who checks in on us, listens to us and asks the hard questions on a regular basis. To find out more, visit https://a2a.org.au/mentoring/
February 2021 Leaders Together
We tried a hybrid Leaders Together in September that comprised of online connection across Australia with localised hubs in various regions. The feedback is that it was a tremendous success. In line with a similar format (which we will continue to refine) we will be holding our next Leaders Together Everywhere on 11 February 2021. Later in the year we will hold localised Leaders Together in every region, most likely in September 2021. Enhance Church Consultancy An exciting new development is the Enhance Church Consultancy developed by Mark Ansell designed to review and add value to existing churches. Mark has done tremendous work in a part-time role with A2A in overseeing our Mentoring and ELI Coaching work and has a ton of experience as Executive Pastor of Gateway Church in Seaford in what makes a good church great. Contact Mark for further information at email@example.com or go to the A2A Website at https://a2a.org.au/enhance-church-consulting/
A2A Pastoral Leadership Development Programme
We are so pleased that we can offer this distance learning experience offering first rate theological study with a range of practical workshops in a flexible way at an affordable price. Contact Kim Corbett for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://a2a.org.au/a2a-pastoral-leadership-development-program/
Having grown up in the church, I knew about Christianity – I’d heard the Bible stories, listened to sermons, read the physical words on the pages, and tried to follow Jesus’ example, the A2A Pastoral Development Program filled in the gaps. It taught me how to read the Bible, to understand the context, genres, and storylines, suddenly I was reading a book that made sense and could see the connections between all the different parts. It gave me space to explore the whys behind the church as a whole, bigger than just the building or denomination I was part of. It taught me how to have conversations about my convictions, and be able to verbalise the why. Even if you don’t want to do this course for yourself, do it for others – after all, we’re called to be a light on the hill, salt on the earth, and to go out and make disciples of the world.
ELI (Emerging Leaders Initiative)
ELI is our pathway for preparing potential leaders to be extraordinary leaders. Unlike the A2A Pastoral Leadership Development Programme, it doesn’t involve study of theology, but there is a strong biblical base underlying the entire program as a range of leadership topics and experiences are encountered and explored. ELI really is a top quality leadership coaching program designed to equip you or your emerging leaders for a range of leadership roles whether they be ministry leadership, eldership, senior leadership, marketplace ministry or church planting. Joining the Eli team and dedicating my time to learning and developing as a leader has been enlightening in so many ways. What has been most helpful is the way I continue to be able to implement or apply what I am learning in Eli into the day to day running of Catalyst Church, whether it be a practical issue such as time management or more of personal one where a team member needs to be heard and encouraged. Contact Mark Ansell for more information at email@example.com or visit https://a2a.org.au/eli-tribe/
Most of us know that adaptation helps solve existing problems in new ways, but innovation helps us design new solutions to new problems and opportunities. Throughout Covid, I was urging leaders to not just settle for adaptation but to move to innovation. But even as I said this, in the back of my mind I had the nagging thought that many leaders don’t have the skills or understanding to innovate, and that we need to teach them how and equip them with these skills. As a result, we have put together the Innovators Table. This will be a round table zoom discussion over 10 sessions where I will teach and practically lead leaders to practically develop the knowledge and understanding to innovate. I can’t wait! I will be drawing on an extensive range of experiences innovating in both church life, marketplace ministry and the business world, as well as recent learnings I have embraced and want to pass on. The Innovators Table will be commencing in July 2021. For more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://a2a.org.au/innovators-table/
Church Planting Made Simple
It’s exciting seeing a range of new churches being planted, campuses being established, online churches being experimented with and micro churches being planned throughout A2A. We have done a lot of work to set the planting of churches of all kinds up for success and have developed a robust but flexible process to help you plant successfully. Here’s a snapshot of what our process looks like: Some more good news is that no matter where you are located, we can help you with this process. In fact we have even taken our Church Planting Made Simple Workshop and put it online with 35 short instructional videos and a workbook covering 19 chapters so you and your team can do the journey together where you are, in your own time. You can access the online course here: https://www.timoneill.net/courses/church-planting-made-simple-online-workshop For more information about church planting, contact me at email@example.com or visit https://a2a.org.au/church-planting-3/
What will the Church Of The Future Look Like?
That’s the million-dollar question isn’t it? We can be sure that Covid brought about change, and that things will never revert back to the old “normal”. And in my opinion, neither should they! I believe that we are going through another reformation of the church, a church quake (to take the term from Peter Wagner’s book of the same name) if you like. Not only will the church be shaken, but in many cases so too will our theology and ecclesiology as we grapple with issues like: What’s a church and what’s not? What’s the minimum requirement to be a church? Can a church be online only or a micro church? What does disciple-making in the new environment look like? When does an online service become an online church How do we do pastoral care with online attenders? So many questions, and so much uncertainty! There are three great resources that I recommend that you take advantage of in helping chart the way forward. They are as follows: McCrindle Research have just released an excellent report in relation to the “Future of the Church in Australia”. It’s well worth a read. You can download it or watch a presentation of the report https://cityinfield.com. Carey Nieuwhof and Todd Wilson (founder and president of Exponential) have a great conversation about the future of the church, church planting, micro churches and campuses and other related topics. I highly recommend that you watch or listen to this. You can watch it at Todd Wilson on the Future of Church Growth 3. The third great resource will be the 2021 A2A National Conference “A Brave New World”. We are really excited about the conference and the topics that we are planning to help you not only thrive or survive post covid. You can check out details about the Conference here https://a2a.org.au/2021-a2a-national-conference/
Update from Tim
Merry Christmas As Christmas approaches at breakneck speed, I hope that you will be able to create the space to enter into the joy of Christmas, the wonder of our Saviour Jesus and the hope for the new year. As a movement of churches, the National Leadership team, Mark Ansell our A2A Executive Coach and Liz Jesson our Exec Assistant are incredibly proud of how you have weathered the year, adapting, innovating and working hard in the most unusual of circumstances. We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New year. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13
Tim O’Neill, President, A2A November 2020