The Pastors’ Post – 29 October 2021

Welcome to The Pastors Post, an update for life at Southern Cross.

Well, it’s time to go off to the show, rain, hail or shine – that is this Sunday, 9:45am this Sunday. Aim to arrive a little early so you can get your bearings. It’s so exciting to see you all again!

Southern Cross Goonellabah relaunches at 9am and is working with Invercauld House about catering for a welcome back morning tea at Invercauld House.

For those who are unwell or uncomfortable to join us, Southern Cross will be zooming from 9am each Sunday. Therefore, we won’t have a pre-recording of the Bible talk. But as always an audio recording will be available on the website from Mondays.

Then from 11:30am, we have our preliminary information meeting. We’ll be looking at endorsing the financials for James Ritchie to transition into the Families Pastor role from the 1st January 2022. As you would know, James was endorsed by the Northern Rivers Presbytery on the 6th October this year, unanimously, for the role of pastoral assistant (unsupervised).  

What does unsupervised mean? I hear you ask! Unlike when Ian served in his role as Families Pastor in 2020, Ian’s oversight and pastoral care was enacted by the local session, which is our Leadership Team. Whereas James is an ordained Presbyterian minister so his oversight and pastoral care and accountability comes from the ministers and elders of the Northern Rivers. He reports to them, they’re actually his boss, not actually Southern Cross.

That’s why they’re so eager and very eager and why the denomination has a vital involvement in the appointment of local ministers and pastors. They want to ensure that those serving in our district love Jesus, love people, and are willing to stand up and speak out when those things are compromised. But as you would know, James and Leadership Team want to ensure James is a good fit for bold gospel leadership at Southern Cross so he would undergo a formal ‘call’ process late in 2022 if the financials are approved for his role on Nov 7.

We will have Scott and Louise present our current financials and future financials this Sunday at the preliminary information session.

How are they going, you might ask? Well Committee of Management meet on Wednesday and, for about the first time ever, we are in surplus against the budget. Yes, ahead of our budget. How cool is that! It’s been a very complicated stop-start year, we give thanks for the generosity of our Father God and you his people. We budgeted for a $42,000 deficit, but it looks like we will end the year only with an $8,000 deficit. That’s a $34,000 gain. It’s brilliant!

For 2022, we’ve budgeted for a $48,000 deficit. What would 2022 bring? We don’t know.  

Likely another tricky year but, since 2014, we have been carrying a ‘golden egg’. For those who were around at the time, we had a ‘double your giving’ year. It was ear-marked for church planting, so there’s been around $90,000. And how much have we used of that so far? Zero.

Will 2022 mean we crack into that ‘golden egg’? Yes, that is probable. But what has it been earmarked for? Planting churches – it’s the proven strategy for growing the gospel in Australia.

Southern Cross Goonellabah (SCG) will celebrate a five-year anniversary in 2022. Did you know that? Five years. Statistically when a church plant fails, it’s likely to happen in the first five years. We want SCG to keep reaching out to Goonellabah, which it is – lots of new faces, lots of new contacts, but a pandemic doesn’t help to provide the conditions to have new folk connected.

Do pray for SCG and our mission to grow churches across our city. And you might’ve remembered we explored planting across the nation in places like Hervey Bay in Queensland, even across the world in a place like Scotland. Our God is the God of the nations. Those across the road can’t run from him. We can’t escape the rule of God and we can’t miss the opportunity to remind our neighbours that God is the God of compassion, rich in mercy, abounding in love.

Remember again this reminder from Jonah 4 and verse 2:

2 He prayed to the Lord,
“Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home?
That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
a God who relents from sending calamity.

Thanks for tuning into The Pastors’ Post.