Ministerial Association Secretary’s Report presented by Pr Russ Willcocks
It has been my pleasure to serve the church in the role of Ministerial Association Secretary. I wish to thank Joanne Donaldson for her support of the Ministerial Association, and Pr Joe Webb who served as the Ministerial Association Secretary until November 2014. Below is a summary of the ministry initiatives and tasks completed during this time. The following report is an expanded version of the Report found on pp84-87 of the 76th South Queensland Conference Constituency Meeting Report.
Pastors and Pastoral care
- Pastoral visitation with the pastoral team and their families in their homes is a vital function of the role, especially when the pastor or their family is enduring challenging circumstances.
- Regular phone calls to pastors to affirm and encourage, listen, provide pastoral care, pray together.
- Established SMS communication among the team for sharing important news. This helps the team to know that they are valued and up to date with important news.
- Accept preaching invitations to preach in locations/ churches throughout the year. This provides practical support to the pastor and is also an opportunity to affirm the Congregation on behalf of the Conference.
- Meet with pastors as needed for support/ assistance/ coaching. This role is increasing in size with the improving opportunities for ministry development and leadership improvement.
- Oversee Cluster Group meetings roster (8 meetings every 6 weeks – Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Northside, Southside 1, Southside 2, Gold Coast, and Western Region) and attend most/ – support Cluster leaders in their leadership.
- Advice and interventions, occasionally attend difficult church meetings to support pastor / lay leadership team. Examples include challenging safety and discipline issues, church conflict, providing leadership resources etc.
- Preach on regular basis around the churches – generally 2 weeks in every 4.
- Established a semi regular email updates among pastors so that they are kept informed of news and resources. Typical updates will include a short devotional, news from around the team, resources and links, updates and information.
- Work with Pr Bruce Manners and some retired pastors to provide increased
access to retirement information and strengthen ties and networks with retired pastors. Our desire is to improve pastors’ preparation for retirement, and to see that retired pastors feel that they are still connected to what is happening in the pastoral team, including ongoing service opportunities.
- Introduced a formal Induction process in 2016 and resources for new ministers. This allows for a seamless transition into pastoral ministry, providing answers to questions, completion of forms and safety inductions, and access to policies and resources.
- Conduct Internship review process for each intern / facilitate interviews/ preparation of documents for AUC/ communicate successful mark internship progression. Internship progression is overseen by the AUC, and previously made use of paper forms, which involved manual collection by the Ministerial Secretary, and data manipulation and transferring by the General Secretary. Creating online forms for use by the AUC has simplified the process of completing and collating forms, simplified the form submission process, and automated the averaging calculations.
- Ordinations (6) and Commissionings (2) – Preparation of documents/ facilitate interview with officers/ coordinate and oversee service/ program/ certificate/ gift/flowers etc. Ordination/ Commissioning involves the laying on of hands, prayer for the blessing of God, and marks the affirmation of the world church on a candidate to carry out more extensive ministry functions anywhere in the world.
- Retirements – ensure that Pastors are are appropriately honoured upon retirement – Citation, gift, GC medal, flowers for spouse (8). Retirement is a significant milestone in the life of a Minister. Marking honourable retirement appropriately is vital, and not only publicly honours the minister (and spouse/ family), but also affirms the ministry of all present.
- Work with ministers transitioning from Pastoral team to other vocations (6). From time to time and for various reasons, some ministers may find that full-time pastoral ministry is not for them at a given point in time and may transition to another vocation. There is often much thought and prayer that goes into such decisions and pastoral support can be a key ingredient to managing this transition successfully.
- Handle correspondence regarding the ministerial team. Various communications from other parts of the world church that affect ministers.
• Coordinate marriage documentation/ supplies for ministers (forms, Registers etc). Over the past quinquennium there have been a number of changes to marriage law in Australia, and also in the way that the Department of Births Deaths and Marriages handles the preparation for and certification of marriages. These changes have also involved a number of changes to the marriage forms in use (Form 13, 14, 14A, 16, 2nd official Register etc) and the requirements around the printing and submission of these forms. Keeping our pastoral team up to date with the changes is an important process. To assist with this, and to provide training and general advice for pastors across Australia, the webpage aucministerial.org/weddings was created and is routinely kept up to date.
- Work with admin to resolve issues that arise from the field. Various questions and needs arise from the Pastoral team that need decisions from the Administrative team. Examples include changes in circumstances, special travel, suggested improvements to policy etc. Seeing these items through to resolution is an important part of helping our ministers focus their attention on their work, and to know that their work is valued and supported.
- Provide resources and support to pastors as needed for various situations. Examples include reading or study material that relates to doctrinal questions, dealing with interpersonal and safety issues that arise in the church.
- Attend 3 regional days each year as an additional means of connecting with churches.
- Provide letters in support of Religious Freedom issues e.g. Sabbath Exam deferrals, and Sabbath work liberty advice and advocacy. Throughout the year there is a large number of requests for letters of support around Sabbath exam deferrals, and from time to time assistance is needed in supporting Adventist members in responding to an employer regarding Sabbath work.
- Facilitate Intern Supervisors to attend AUC Training events / arrange transport every even year (Usually 3-4 supervisors every 2nd year). The quality of the internship depends largely on the quality of the supervision provided by the intern supervisor. Every 2nd year the AUC provides training for intern supervisors. Generally we send new supervisors to these events, unless is has been some time since a supervisor has attended training.
- Facilitate all Interns to attend AUC Training events / arrange transport every odd year (Typically 4 every 2nd year). The AUC provides intern training events every 2nd year. These take place over 4 days. This is for the dual purposes of gathering interns together for the benefit of support and fellowship, build awareness and relationships with Presidents and Ministerial Secretaries from around Australia, and to invest in valuable training specific to the intern getting the most from the intern-supervisor relationship.
- Collect and read Monthly and Quarterly Ministry Reports, picking up on discussion points, providing ongoing coaching where needed or requested. Over the past quinquennium, we have transitioned from monthly ministry reports that centred on the minister’s activity) to quarterly Ministry reports centred on the Minister and their leadership team’s vision, goals and activity. We hope that this will lead to a more strategic and consistent approach for both the Minister and their leadership team. As of August 2018, preparations are underway for these new Ministry Reports to be trialled in Victoria and New South Wales.
- Participate in Monthly online web meetings with AUC Ministerial Secretaries from other Conferences. This collaboration has largely taken place over the last 5 years and has opened new doors of opportunity and innovation across the AUC.
- Provide Internship Supervision for 1 isolated Intern (Southern Downs). From time to time an intern is placed in a ministry location at some distance from their intern supervisor. It is even rarer for the role of intern supervision to fall to the ministerial Secretary. This was the case for one intern this quinquennium.
- Facilitate twice yearly gatherings of Cluster leaders to have input on key items affecting ministers and their families. Due to the expansive territory of South Queensland, our field is arranged into 8 cluster groups (as above). The leaders of these groups usually meet twice a year to have put on issues that may affect the whole field. Examples include key dates, emphases, policies, suggestions etc.
Care of Partners and Families in Ministry
- Pastoral family‘s retreat – 2014 (Joe Webb) and 2017 (Russ). The 2017 Retreat saw 175 from our Pastoral families spend quality time together over the last weekend in October.
- Pastoral visitation of pastoral families when challenging times arise in the church.
- Pastoral Care and visitation during times of Sickness/ Bereavement. We were extremely saddened to lose Pr Brian Je earlier this year following a short battle with illness.
- Introduced Pastoral Families dinner (and free family portraits/ professional photos) each year on the Thursday of Camp setup week.
- Established SMS communication system for Partners in Ministry, and Facebook page run by Mrs Rae Townend.
- With Rae, organise a morning tea/ speaker/ small gift for the PIMs on the first Sunday of camp each year usually with around 40 Partners in Ministry participating.
Cross team Collaboration with other SQC Departments
- Aged Care – work with Adventist Aged Care+ and Relationship ministries on training resource decisions and in putting together Job Descriptions for Spiritual Carers (Team Leader, Member, volunteer).
- Work with Ministerial AUC and SQC Ministerial Education Secretary to refine Ministry Report for School chaplains.
- Work with Camp Committee on overall vision for camp – specifically the signage,welcomers, themes, vision for camp.
- Working with Education on improving the effectiveness of mission in our school zones
- Work with Discipleship Director on providing coaching to pastoral team
- Work with Treasury team to refine mileage report.
- Literature Evangelism – support and work with LE Director, Sone Mariner on initiatives.
Committees and regular appointments
- Marriage and family committee
- Ministerial advisory – February & October in Melbourne each year to work with other Ministerial Secretaries on Australia-wide initiatives, decisions and issues (eg. Avondale ministry curriculum advisory, overseeing internship, ordination, ministry policies).
- Avondale Ministry student interviews – Aprileach year.
- SQC Staffing committee – usually 8-12 meetings, June to November each year.
- Attend and support SQC leadership and Prayer Conferences.
- Evangelism Funding Committee.
South QLD Big Camp
- Big Camp – coordinate activities in the big tent, and lead the Big Family Tent team (2015-2018), including upgrading its Risk assessments and control measures.
- Establish Big camp on the Convene Live Events app to bring greater efficiency and flexibility to communication with campers – now a collaborative project run by leaders of various departments.
- Made available Big Camp Presentations via USB sticks (2015,16,17) so that campers can access messages more readily after camp.
- Camp leaders committee (2018) – working together with other tent leaders on Camp-wide intergenerational collaboration and initiatives.
- Founded LEAP (Leading with Excellence and Authenticity in Pastoral Ministry) – preparing younger minister for ordination through connection, training, discussion, FAQ, and prayer
- Arranged Pre-marriage mentoring training (Prepare•Enrich) event for team (2015) attended by 18 pastors.
- Founded SUM talks (modelled on TED Talks) – now adopted across AUC
- Provided a number of tech support events for pastors During Big Camp setup week (2015-2017).
- Organise Annual Ministers meetings – the focus has been on well organised, high participation meetings with plenty of variety, providing quality resourcing, strong peer to peer connection, and affirmation. includes Somerset 2016, Fraser Island 2016, Somerset 2017.
- Arranged bulk discount purchase of LOGOS Bible software for approx. 30 Ministers.
- Arranged for SQC Ministers to access Ministry Magazine in electronic format
- Created office and field staff Directories with photos and Job titles (125 staff) to help team know each other better
- Purchase books both in bulk and specifically to support team in their ministry and leadership.
Mission & Outreach Work
- Conducted Bible studies leading to 10 baptisms in the period 2015-2017. Studying with 4 toward baptism at present.
- Coordinated with 5 SQC pastors (Wayne Humphries, Casey Wolverton, Francis Pule, Lachlan Campbell and Zeny Vidacak) to coordinate 4 mission teams to Mongolia in 2015 in the towns of Bulgan, Chiggis, Darkhan & Bugganur, with many community initiatives (health programs, cooking classes, kids clubs, english classes, prison ministry and evangelistic meetings taking place). A number of baptisms took place as a result and the team also funded initiatives to support local pastors, local churches including heating and signage, and the local prison using funds that had been raised.
- Assisting the Road to Bethlehem Outreach event to integrate with more of our Brisbane churches, streamline its operation, grow its reach to Brisbane families and its outreach to the underprivileged through the Bring a Gift/ Be a Gift campaigns (more at http://roadtobethlehem.org).
- Organised 15 local SDA churches with resources to host coordinated outreach services at Christmas time 2017, with more churches to participate in similar efforts in 2018.
Additional Pastoral & Personal work
- Pre marriage mentoring for a number of couples (3), and weddings (3).
- Walked closely with grieving and bereaved families through loss (3).
- Various speaking appointments, teaching and presentations in various Conferences.
- Support Chaplaincy and teaching staff including chapel presentations, bible studies with students and being present at various school and Chaplaincy events, Connect meetings etc.
- Numerous pastoral counselling appointments with individuals.
Wider Church work
- AUC – EMPOWER Ministerial Convention (over 700 attendees)- personally cared for all Communications with attendees in the lead up to, during and after the event. Arranged transport shuttles from and to train station and airport. Established and administered the event app including scheduling and resourcing via Convene Live Events app.
- AUC – Facilitated an Open night for those exploring a call to pastoral ministry through study at Avondale (2016).
- AUC – Establish online meetings via Zoom – now used by AUC
- AUC – Establish online training webinars – now used by AUC now hosted from AUC
- AUC – Establish paperless meeting system for AUC Ministerial Meetings
- AUC – Establish online resource boards For SQC ministerial team (induction policies/ ministerial association updates/ church photos) now also in use by AUC
- AUC – Created aucministerial.org as a resource website (org) for forms, articles, information sharing across SQC and the AUC.
- AUC – Convert all internship forms to online format, eliminating email and creating efficiencies with data handling. includes Internship plan, Supervisor-Intern evaluation, 360 Intern Evaluation.
- AUC – Create best practice online training pages for weddings, funerals and dedications now in use across the AUC.
- SPD – Served on SPD Executive Committee member, 2015-Current.
- SPD – Company Director, SPD Companies 2015-Current.
MD (Ministry Development) Framework
In 2014 the AUC Ministerial Dept made the decision to initiate a development process to help pastors grow in their ministry effectiveness. In preceding years, SQC Ministerial had also begun a similar journey. Since 2015 MD has emerged as a valuable growth framework for ministers, facilitating feedback from lay teams, open dialogue with admin teams, and supporting ministers with access to resources and mentors to grow. In May 2018 the SPD and AUC advised that they have co-funded the further development of MD as an online resource for the development of ministers.
More information relating to Ministerial Development can be found at aucministerial.org/md
Specific tasks relating to MD are below:
- Established and refined REAP (Review/Evaluate/ Auxano Plan/ Progress) cycle, new Seasonal Ministry Reports and personal Accountability for church ministers, school chaplains and Spiritual Carers.
- Manually facilitate the REAP process for SQC ministers in 2016-17 (this will be automated under MDOnline)
- Create training web pages and 14 training videos.
- Facilitated numerous MD inductions for ministers commencing MD for the first time.
- Work with development team to prepare the initial design concepts and wire frames for development of MD ONLINE – Ministry Portal for REAP Cycle and Ministry Reporting.
- Liaise with General Conference Ministerial Association (Ministry in Motion), North American Division (Adventist Learning Centre), AUC Ministerial Association (Leadership Resources) and Natural Church Development (NCD) on coding for resources to be included into the MD portal.
- Oversee Mission to Cities Funding applications and reports 2015-2017
- Oversee Global Mission Funding applications and reports 2015-2017 – Russell Island, Flagstone Group, Brisbane African Church, Chinese Group, Korean Church Plant.
- Oversee Additional Evangelism Funding 2015-2017.
- MD Strength Development fund – for developing a minister in their strength areas.
Planned Future Directions 2018-2023
- Continue to support/ minister to/ invest in the our Pastors, Chaplains and Spiritual Carers.
- Continue to develop greater collaboration with other SQC departmental staff to reduce silos and simplify support.
- Build a network between Elders teams for shared learning, resourcing and support.
- Work to better connect retired ministers with the field and each other.
- MD – Complete the development of MD Online, assisting other Conferences in implementing MD (funded).