OPEN LETTER FROM THE PROVISIONAL CHAIRMAN
Every year busy ministers receive numerous invitations to conferences on ministry. We know it is important to stay fresh in our ministry and, of course, to keep in touch with colleagues. But how can we be certain that our time away at a conference will not be wasted? We want to be assured that speakers understand the real challenges of ministry and have realistic solutions to offer.
We also know that ministry is a rare privilege. We want to be found faithful, equipped, but also joyful, stewards of God.
‘Effective Gospel Ministry’ is the theme of the Anglican Connection conference this year. Tim Sims and Sarie King from Sydney, Australia, will present: ‘An analysis of the major threats and challenges facing society today’, and ‘Effective ways in which churches might respond under God; including a discussion of specific strategies in Youth and Children’s ministry’.
And, because we know people will bring friends and colleagues to churches they love attending, Dr Henry Jansma is addressing gospel clarity in The Lord’s Supper; Paul Groen, classically trained musician from New York, and I have some suggestions about getting music ‘right’. Marc Robertson and Jonathan Smith will talk about practical issues of ministry in today’s world.
As for outreach, we will be exploring ways to build gospel bridges of compassion in the wider community. Dr. Barry Smith, a highly respected medical researcher in New York will address a ‘felt’ need in society at large: ‘Problem Solving for Better Health: A Global Perspective’. Can we use a ‘felt’ need in society to introduce a need that is ‘not felt’ – spiritual health?
In 2012 Dr. Peter Jensen, former archbishop of Sydney, commended Tim Sims and his ‘Effective Ministry’ team: “We have learned a lot about mission… in the last decade – but it is only a beginning… If you are focused on mission, here is a way to take our thinking further with some of our best local thinkers…”
Since that time the Effective Ministry team has continued to develop further materials to facilitate ‘disciple-making’ ministries for local churches. As someone who served as a senior minister for over forty years in three very different cities – Canberra and Sydney, in Australia, and New York, here in the US – let me also commend Tim Sims and his team. Their research, insights and gospel focus can assist ministers and lay-leaders alike in growing effective gospel ministries.
Let me be bold and say that here is a conference worth taking the time out to attend. Each day we have Bible talks and discussion times for building quality ministries. If you cannot attend yourself you might consider sending a member of staff or a lay leader.
The Anglican Connection conference is being held at Beeson Divinity School, Birmingham, AL, 1:30PM, Tuesday, September 29 to 12:30PM, Thursday, October 1.
Hotel accommodations are available at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel, 500 Shades Creek Parkway, Homewood, AL 35209; or the Drury Hotel, 160 State Farm Parkway, Birmingham, AL 35209.
Please e-mail me with any questions. And, please feel free to forward this to others you know who might be interested.
With kind regards,
Provisional Chairman, Anglican Connection; Commissary to the Archbishop of Sydney in the USA; Canon of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney; Founding Rector, Christ Church New York City