What an amazing privilege it was to attend the Greater Sydney ADRA Dinner.  I was thoroughly impressed by the work that is happening at our projects at Macquarie Fields, Redfern, Blacktown and Parramatta.  There were many exciting stories about lives touched.  Compassionate ministry is an important part of the Christian life, and this can be done in a formal sense through ADRA, however, it is also something that we can do on a day to day basis when we seek to live life beyond ourselves.  In the book Acts of the Apostles it speaks about “a woman named Dorcas, whose good deeds had made her greatly beloved. She was a worthy disciple of Jesus, and her life was filled with acts of kindness. She knew who needed comfortable clothing and who needed sympathy, and she freely ministered to the poor and the sorrowful. Her skillful fingers were more active than her tongue.” {AA 131.2}  Dorcas is a true example of Christianity at work, and if we each were to emulate her life we would change the world!

As we continue to refine and consult with Pastors and Churches about the strategic focus of the Conference in the coming few years, I am more and more convicted that “Growing in Discipleship – Reach Up, Reach Out and Reach Across” is the right focus for the church in Sydney.  I believe that compassionate, community service is a vital part of reaching out that works in partnership with evangelism to fulfil the call of the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

Building on the Last Empire evangelistic series that blessed our Conference this year, we have decided to move forward with a three pronged approach for the Year of Evangelism in 2014.  The invitation is there for each local church to get on board with one or more of these initiatives or to develop their own evangelistic strategy that reflects where they are up to as a church.  The three key coordinated evangelistic strategies we have as a Conference for 2014 are as follows:  1. To conduct as many CHIP programs across Sydney in May 2014 as possible.  2. To have as many churches as want to get on board conduct the Last Empire commencing Friday 29 August 2014.  3. To conduct relationship, parenting and marriage workshops and seminars across our 6 schools.

I recently heard a fellow leader speak of his passions in leadership, and it resonated well with the passions that I have for the church.  This leader indicated that key priorities for him were evangelism, education and communication.  Whilst there are so many important facets and aspects of who we are as a church, I believe that if we get these three things right, many other aspects of church will function well.  With this in mind, we have taken the opportunity recently to restructure a few functions in our Office, and we are presently seeking to engage a full time Communications and Public Relations Coordinator to work closely with me as we seek to ‘lift the bar’ of both our internal and external communications within the Sydney region.

May the Lord bless you and your families as we move into what is often the busiest time of the year.