A dangerous passion for growth

Pastoral Ministry

A deep and abiding passion to see our churches grow is a very dangerous thing.

That may seem an odd observation to make, but it is a critical one. If we run with a passion to grow things without at the same time being aware that it is one of the most dangerous passions you can have, then the passion will destroy us and our work.


Custom-make your own conference

Everyday Ministry, Pastoral Ministry

This time last year I was enjoying the Geneva Push In the Chute conference in Melbourne. I gathered with others from all over Australia, young and old, from a range of denominations, to encourage each other in the work of planting new churches. In some ways, I was the middle-aged pinup boy, heading to the Top End to begin all over. It was exhilarating to feel the energy, especially from those who were moving to new places to reach out with the message of Jesus. I had the privilege of teaching on why we need to keep planting new churches, how to build ministry teams, as well as sharing our specific dreams and plans for outreach in the Darwin area. (more…)

Making disciples by planting

Pastoral Ministry

Our task of making disciples is an urgent one. I want to look afresh at the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus to “make disciples of all nations” and its implications for church-planting today. (more…)

Building new engines

Pastoral Ministry

In his recent Briefing article ‘What is church for?’, Phillip Jensen suggested that we are “somewhere between everywhere and nowhere as to the importance of church”.1 The same could be said about church planting. (more…)

The mistakes of Phillip Jensen

Everyday Ministry, Sola Panel

Tony Payne: Phillip, you’ve been in ministry for quite a long time…

Phillip Jensen: Well, ever since I became a Christian; that’s when you start ministering, and that was back in ’59. (more…)

Humble strategic planning

Pastoral Ministry

There are lots of leaders talking about their visions and strategies for ministry. Paul Harrington encourages churches and their leaders to be thinking about God’s plan before making their own. (more…)

The indistinctiveness of church

Pastoral Ministry


I was recently at a conference where the presenter suggested six ways to maintain movement dynamics within a local church. The idea was that these were some ways in which a healthy, self-propagating, ‘organic’ culture of church could be encouraged, which (in the context of the conference) would be a healthy scenario for planting new congregations.


How to think about multi-site churches

Pastoral Ministry, Sola Panel


Have you seen Mark Dever’s chat with Mark Driscoll and James McDonald about multi-site churches? It’s excited plenty of interweb comment, not least because of the rather vigorous way Dever is set upon by the other two in a kind of jokey, jovial but still half-serious way.

(‘Multi-site’ means planting a new congregation or church service at a new location, but having the lead pastor from the mother church still do the bulk of the preaching, usually by means of a video feed. It’s a growing and controversial practice in US churches. Is it healthy? Useful? Biblical?)


Sausage factory or Kapooka?

Pastoral Ministry

On Thursday 2 September, Mikey Lynch emailed me, and three other mates, to point us to a blog. He said, “I thought you’d be interested in getting a feel for the kind of conversations [people] are having about secular work vs gospel work”. This thread was a reflection on the Katoomba Convention Centre Conference called Engage.

The five of us sent a series of emails to each other pondering the strengths and weaknesses of our own leadership and of the church at large. I thought I’d share with you the email I wrote. In the email I sort of just went ‘splat’. I guess it is a distillation of three and a half years of conversations with hundreds of people around Australia about full-time gospel work vs bi-vocational, MTS’s highlights and lowlights, the impact of Mark Driscoll’s 2008 visit, Gen Y’s view of church leadership … plus other stuff. Throw your two bobs worth in after you’ve read it.


Taking ‘crazy’ one step closer to ‘can do’

Pastoral Ministry

Jai and his wife Jay-Ellen are planning to plant a church in Mackay in 2011. Better them than me! It’s a huge task. But that’s the exciting thing about The Geneva Push: having a chance to rub shoulders with all these different people, with all these crazy plans, and being able to play a part in helping them on their way. (more…)

The Geneva Push

Pastoral Ministry

It is a little-known fact that Calvin and the Genevan Consistory sent hundreds of trained missionaries into France and the rest of the Europe to preach the gospel and plant new congregations of believers. In this interview, The Briefing talks to Al Stewart about the ongoing importance of church planting in light of Al’s work with Evangelism Ministries in Sydney and The Geneva Push, a new Australia-wide church-planting network whose name is derived from the work of Calvin and his colleagues.


Podcast: The Geneva Push: An interview with Al Stewart


Paul Grimmond talks to Al Stewart about the ongoing importance of church planting in light of Al’s work with Evangelism Ministries in Sydney and The Geneva Push, a new Australia-wide church-planting network (MP3).

Audio MP3

Planters versus founders

Pastoral Ministry

What’s in a name? Does it matter if we call someone a ‘church planter’ or ‘church founder’? According to Phillip Jensen, it matters quite a lot. (more…)