We will take a wee break from WeddingGate (I still have the challenge to fulfill of writing my own version of the sermon!) but before we go on to consider some lessons learned from a wonderful couple of days in Brisbane, I have to share this with you – Rod Liddle at his hilarious best – https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/05/is-meghans-wedding-our-obama-moment-lets-hope-not/
The whole thing is perceptive, provocative and laugh-out-loud hilarious. My two favourite lines – “Curry had chutzpah and power, and he was the hit of the service. And yet what he actually said was banal to the point of imbecility. “ “It’s no good, then, cherry-picking Jesus.” Sometimes you have to wonder why it is that the children of this world are sometimes wiser than the children of light?
We are just back from Brisbane – what one Sydneyite called Rustica – maybe a wee bit of jealousy? Perhaps they are a little concerned that what was once a large country town is now a city of some 2.4 million people with a better climate and the Gold Coast nearby!
What we saw of Brisbane was lovely, but I was there to lecture at Queensland Theological College (the Presbyterian college) and to give a talk at Ann St Presbyterian Church.
Some lessons I learned.
- There are great theological colleges and spiritual life outside Sydney. I was so impressed with QTC. https://www.qtc.edu.au/
There is a good spirit in the place – it seemed a united, friendly,
outgoing and happy place. I’m sure much of this is to do with the principal and staff. Gary Miller as principal is a visionary and gifted leader. The member of staff I worked with Mark Baddeley was one of the best interviewers I have come across. I loved the way he guided his class and still gave me freedom! I found the interview I did with him (which I think will be on line) – stimulating. The students are blessed.
Celtic ministers can survive and thrive in Australia! Gary is from Northern Ireland, David Jones, the minister of Ann St Pres is from Wales.
- City centre churches need to change and develop in order to reach out. – Ann St was a traditional Presbyterian church in an old town building in the midst of a burgeoning modern city. They have developed the building and you can sense the beginnings of great potential for congregation and extension of the work.
- Work amongst students remains key. We had a good number of students, and the leader of AFES – https://www.afes.org.au/ Impressive and encouraging. Australia could be key to evangelising and discipling the Pacific Rim and AFES is a keep part of this.
- The Lord’s people are hungry for leaders with biblical vision – I think that they sold about 175 tickets for the meeting last night. It was a full hall with a variety of ages, ethnic backgrounds and denominations – for a relatively unknown speaker. I think it was the subject (presenting Christ in a post Christian city), that appealed. I found it to be a stimulating and enjoyable meeting. May the Lord richly use it.
Thanks to all in Brisbane who looked after us and enabled us to have a great time. As an honorary Sydneysider I would be happy to make a return visit to Brisbane! So that’s Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane…what’s left? Adelaide, Hobart, Perth and Darwin?!