Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Best of...

2017 has, numerically, been my least productive year of blogging, but there have been a few highlights.

My most viewed posts were Is Your Ministries' Spouse Your Future Killer? (which is a little disturbing if people are genuinely Googling whether they might be murdered by the spouse of a minister) and The Divorce Post (which is more understandable since it explains a great deal about what's been going on in my life over the last few years).

Over the last twelve months, I did do a series based off the same-sex marriage plebiscite held in Australia and it's implications (my post the night before and the repercussions for society and the church.

Aside from that, my other favourite posts were... 

Avoiding Church Nepotism (my third most viewed post)

Are Periods or Mental Illness too Offensive for Facebook?

Do we Consider the Believer's Drain Caused by Religious Schools? 

The Church Without Old People is Weak

Could we now Describe a Fearful Hell?

The Message of "Dear Graeme..."

Why Wanky Questions Don't Work

Anything But a Christian

The Freedom of only having One Service

How Does Our Sex Talk Sound to the Outsider?

How do you Handle Small Group Mutes?

My Gay-and-in-ministry Questions

Church White-guy Privilege 

"Second Chances" Staring Graham

Prayers of the People Hacks

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why you should put a bunch of faces with a church notice

Church notices are a nessesarily nuisance in churches. Hopefully, they are kept relevant and punchy in order no minimise the disruption of a church service.

The best notices, aside from being applicable to an important chunk of the congregation and encompassing a short timeframe, also include faces.

For, notices shouldn't happen in a vacuum.


Because ministry doesn't happen in isolation.
Ministry involves people.

So, notices should, ideally, have an invitation for all those who are involved in the ministry activity, if comfortable to do so, to make themselves known.

The reasons are simple.

It gives any enquirer more people to speak with. This is advantageous if the up-front speaker is occupied or, for whatever reason, someone doesn't feel comfortable to speak with.

Furthermore, if the participants of a ministry reveal themselves then it further displays what the activity is like. You instantly get an idea of what age group or life stage, if applicable, who attend/help out.

Finally, from a purely self conscious perspective, lifting the veil of annonomous attendees dissipates the fear that being included would be unpopular. After all, who wants to be involved if you're the only one you know?

When it comes to church notices, relationships are golden. 

The best way to open conversations about a ministry is to nudge those involved out of the shadows.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The divorce post

Yesterday, after more than a year of separation, six months counselling, thrashing out a parenting agreement and letting lots of water go under the proverbial bridge, I got divorced. 


That might, if you don’t know me personally, come as a surprise.

But, when everything hit the fan and this started adversely affecting my eldest, it was the best move to make.

Of course, there’s more to the story, but for the most part, my ex and I are amicable, ended up filing for divorce jointly and are both now in new relationships.

So, what does this mean?

Does it trash everything I’ve every thought about marriage or discredit everything I’ve ever written about marriage? I don’t think so. Most of my thoughts on the significance of marriage weren’t based on the success of my own. The majority of it, I hope, was grounded in the bible and, if anything, based on marriages around me, healthy or otherwise.

So, what were the results of this whole messy process?

While my separation started after I left my last ministry position, from the moment it became fairly clear that we would be heading towards the direction of divorce I stepped away from ministry completely, including the intermittent preaching I was doing.

Honestly, that was hard. It still is. I miss a lot of things about vocational ministry.

I’ve lead one bible study over the last year. Nothing else.

Which brings me to church...

Currently, I attend two churches. One with my daughters, another in the evenings when I'm not with my girls.

Speaking of which... What does this mean for my family?

While not living with my daughters 24/7, I'm with them as much, if not more, than when I was in ministry - dropping them off to school twice a week, picking them up two or three days alongside staying over and having complete care every second weekend.

While not ideal, we're making parenting work as best as we can.

What does this mean for my faith? 

Unsurprisingly, it's been tough, but God and I are doing ok.

I've needed to be reminded that, even in my brokenness, God has and does not change. He is still faithful. He is still true. 

Just as much as a decade ago. Or two years ago.

My worth does not depend on what I do, or try to be a part of, for God.

Will I be stepping back into ministry?

Probably not. At least not professionally. Or at least not for a long, long time. Stepping away from ministry has, in many ways, been refreshing.

Training to become a teacher part time, while juggling everything else, has been a welcome change.

Finally, what does this mean for this blog?

In short, from my perspective, not a lot.

I'll still write my Ramblings since, in part, they are for me. They help me process. They help me declutter. They, ever so slightly, keep my mind for God sharp.

Will you continue to read, now knowing that I'm divorced? I don't know. That's your call.

But, one lesson that's been unravelling, and still has a long way to go, has been my change of standing in the church.

I was sitting on a golden ticket.
In ministry.

I'm a problem.
I'm someone you need to wonder about.
I'm a marker of your values of "welcoming" and "inclusiveness."
I'm a person where your preaching of grace is on display.

Frankly, being officially divorced for a grand total of one day, I don't know what that means going forward, but I'm as sure now, as ever, that God loves broken people, He remains beside failures, He can and does still use those who are difficult or messy.

For years, I told others this.
For years, I wanted churches and ministries to reflect this.

Now... This includes me too.