It’s a joy serving Jesus through our CRC movement and to share with you about our journey since our last National gathering.
2011 Pastors & Leaders Conference
The theme of our National Pastors and Leaders Conference in May 2011 was GO! – 21st Century Evangelism and our selection of experienced CRC speakers powerfully challenged us to get fully aligned with Jesus’ Great Commission. The DVDs of all the sessions are available and they are an excellent equipping resource for your churches.
New Local Church Model Constitution
It was during the 2011 conference that the Local Church Draft Constitution was presented and accepted by the National Council as the model Constitution for new CRC churches and a guideline for existing churches. Several churches have now adopted this as their governing document and others are going through the process in consultation with their State Executives. I am so pleased with the best possible governance practices and ministry principles contained in this constitution and it’s so proactive in balancing our autonomous-interdependent ethos as a family of churches. Many thanks to the Team that did a huge amount of work to produce this excellent document (Pastors Bruce Sharman, Neil Milne, Mike Cronin, Norm Reed and Nathan Bettcher).
Australian Missions Office
Pastor Mike Groom (Senior Minister of Waurn Ponds Community Church) who was doing an excellent job as Australian Missions Director felt it was time for him to let go of this National responsibility. I am so thankful that Pastor Mike Cronin accepted this crucial position as Australian Missions Director when we approached him. Mike has a wealth of experience as a former Victorian State Chairman and our National Chairman between 1988-1996 and, along with his wife Lois, has a passionate heart for international missions. Please read of the positive things happening across the world in our PULSE magazine (available on the CRC Missions website) and also from Mike’s report in this update. The Missions Office has now transferred to South Eastern Christian Centre, although Judi Shirley continues in her role at the Finance Office (still located at Waurn Ponds).
I would like to extend my personal thanks to Pastor Mike Groom for overseeing this area and also to Judi Shirley who assists greatly in practically facilitating our International Missions Vision.
Poloso Family Update
We shared with you in March that Pastor Nathan Poloso (our former Chairman in the Solomon Islands) was granted a permanent residency visa here in Australia. This has been an answer to prayer and a testimony to the faith and perseverance of Nathan, his wife Lydia, their two boys and Pastor Mike Groom, who has been supporting them since Nathan’s medical condition meant that he had to stay here in Australia to stay alive. This means that Nathan’s medical costs for his dialysis treatment is now covered by Medicare.
We’re now working to eliminate the $211,000 debt incurred at covering Nathan’s medical and living expenses before his permanent residency was granted. I so am grateful that so many of you have contributed towards this debt and I encourage all our CRC Churches to prayerfully consider giving so that we can eliminate this debt that our Missions account is carrying as soon as possible.
Colombo Project Update
Thanks also to the many churches who have been contributing towards the Colombo Project. Contributions received to date have almost covered the land purchase and we will soon be in a position to start building! We will share further on this at the convention and post updates as things start to happen.
An interesting development for me has been the invitation to connect with two Apostolic organisations. Firstly, I was invited by Bishop Dag Heward-Mills to join his ‘Healing Jesus Crusade’ Board, which is a great honour and opportunity for the CRC to connect and learn from what I estimate to be the most influential evangelical force in Africa right now, next to Reinhard Bonnke. Dag’s denomination called Lighthouse Chapel International, have planted over 1200 churches in the last 24 years, which is pretty amazing and I’m gaining a lot of insight by visiting Accra Ghana each year for the Board gathering and to share at their massive Iron Sharpeneth Iron Conference, which had 20,000 attend the night rallies.
I was also invited to join the Empowered21 Oceania Cabinet. This is an International initiative (endorsed by the Pentecostal World Fellowship of which the CRC is also a member) with the audacious goal, ‘That every person on Earth would have an authentic, life transforming, encounter with the Presence and Power of the Living God by 2033.’ Let’s reclaim Pentecost Sunday as churches and make it an annual focus in the CRC that will see many thousands of people get Born Again and receive the Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
Sadly over the last 12 months, we have had four Victorian churches disaffiliate from our denominational family. This has been a difficult and unpleasant process, but it has made us aware that we need to implement some positive reforms that will strengthen our fellowship connections as a family of churches.
2012 RISE UP – International Peoples Convention
I trust that as we explore the theme of discipleship together, we will experience fruitful growth as we rededicate ourselves to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Our guest speakers in Jackie Pullinger, Paul Scanlon and Harvey Carey are sure to leave an indelible impact on us with their unique and powerful testimonies of how God has used each of them. In particular I’m looking forward to hearing the good news stories from across the CRC world.
Next year, our National Pastors and Leaders Conference will be all about REVIVAL – in our personal lives, our churches and across our world. Some new aspects we are planning for this event will be a training stream for kids and youth leaders, an afternoon-evening program along with the launch of our third Australian Strategic Directions 2013-2018. Take full advantage of the early-bird discounts and join us at Kingston City Church, Melbourne on October 2-4, 2013.
National Executive 2012-2014
|Proposed National Executive Team|
|National Chairman||Pastor Bill Vasilakis|
Victorian State Chairman
|Pastor Bruce Sharman|
|South Australian Chairman||Pastor Hans Voortman|
|New South Wales State Chairman||Pastor Vicki Gilchrist|
|Tasmanian State Chairman||Pastor Greg Jones|
|National Missions Director||Pastor Mike Cronin|
|National Church Planting Director||Pastor David Wright|
|National Church Health Director||Pastor Ian Miller|
|National Training Director||Pastor Rob Nyhuis|
|Administrative Support Team|
|Mr Nathan Bettcher||National Administrator|
|Mrs Janet Brice||Executive Secretary|
|Chairmans Commission and IMST|
|Previous National Chairman (1988-1996)||Pastor Mike Cronin|
|Previous National Chairman (1996-2002)||Pastor Neil Milne|
|International Missions Director||Pastor Barry Silverback|
|(IMST only)||Pastor Mike Groom|
At our National Council meeting on Sept 27th, we will be holding National Executive elections. I am half way through my four-year term as Chairman and our State Chairs (Pastor Bruce Sharman, Victoria; Pastor Hans Voortman, SA/NT/WA; Pastor Vicki Gilchrist, NSW/QLD/ACT; Pastor Greg Jones, TAS) are automatically voted on as has been our practice for several years. Pastor Bruce Sharman is again standing for the position of National Vice-Chairman. Pastor Ian Miller (National Church Health Director), Pastor Rob Nyhuis (National Training Director), Pastor David Wright (National Church Planting Director) and Pastor Mike Cronin (Australian Missions Director) will fill the remaining roles. As there are no other nominees it is anticipated that these will be the elected members. I highly commend each member to you as ministers of great integrity and leadership capacity. It is good to know that the senior leadership of our movement is in good hands.
I would also like to thank Janet Brice (Executive Secretary) and Nathan Bettcher (National Administrator) for their service in the National Office. Without their ongoing assistance, I could not do all that I do in my role as National Chairman and it’s been great to see how they have both developed as spiritual leaders through their direct involvement in the CRC. Nathan will finish up in his role at the end of the year as he returns to full-time post-graduate study and he will be sorely missed.
I believe the best is yet to come for the CRC and as I visit the State Conferences each year the sense of love and unity among us reveals a really health scene. I can see the potential for new leaders to rise up, for new churches planted, new innovative ministry opportunities in Australia and new missionary endeavours to reach the Nations of our world, plus much more. All this is possible when we keep our eyes on Jesus and whole-heartedly serve him.
As always, it’s an honour to serve the best interests of our great movement.
Pastor Bill Vasilakis