A Glimpse of the Kingdom of God in Suburban Australia

On Saturday night I attended a dinner run at New Hope Baptist Church in Melbourne. A joint effort of New Hope and nearby Anglican and Churches of Christ churches “Dinner Tonite” has been running for a couple of years. The premise is simple: if you need a...

No, You Cannot Pray for Me

“Can I pray for you?” It’s a question I am often asked. Just once I’d like to say “no”. I preach and teach at a lot of different churches and there is always someone moved by the sight of my Parkinsons driven tremors to seek me out...

After Hellfire & Brimstone What? Regaining Confidence in the Gospel

I grew up with a gospel built on the pillars of love, sin, fear and certainty. I was overwhelmed by the knowledge that God loved me so much he sent Jesus to die for my sins; fearful of going to hell and anxious that my friends avoid that fate; assured that people were...

The Corinthian Principle

One of my favourite comments on the church is found in Eminence, a novel by Australian author Morris West, which tells the story of Luca Rossini, a Cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church. Luca who now serves in the Vatican, lives in the shadow of a terrible experience...

Why Every Church Should Pay Attention to Its “Brand”

Five years back if you had asked me what I thought of the idea of branding the church I’d have scoffed. Branding to me was little more than marketing spin, something to be strenuously avoided by anyone interested in authentic community. Having been through a...

Australian Churches – Losing More People Than We’re Gaining

The Church in Australia appears to be in decline. Yet between 2001 and 2011, the number of people identifying with a Christian church grew from 12.8 to 13.1 million. I belong to the Baptist denomination. In the 2001 census 309,205 people identified as Baptist, but in...

The Heart of the Gospel

In 1971 the Sydney Anglicans produced a report that revolutionised my understanding of the gospel. Now out of print, Move in for Action, a report of the Commission on Evangelism, contained a chapter by Paul Barnett that examined the preaching of the gospel by Paul and...

Belief Enablers. What Turns Australians On to Christianity

In my last post I reported the findings of research into what blocks engagement with Christianity for Australians. The research also provided insight into what fosters engagement. First, while half the population are not open to changing their religious views, half...

Belief Blockers. What turns Australians Off the Church

This week I came across a piece of brilliant market research into Australian attitudes to Christianity and the church conducted in late 2011 by McCrindle research. For those Christians inclined to think of creation and evolution as the key ideological battleground, to...

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