Thursday, December 22, 2005

Central Baptist Church, Sydney

One of the most interesting pastorates I've served was eighteen months as the Interim Pastor at Australia's first-established Baptist Church - Central Baptist Church in downtown Sydney. There's a bit in my story on the JMM website about our experiences there. Here's an email I received today from one of the then-young deacons at that time:


You mentioned CBC of the most memorable aspects ( there were many at that time) was the thrust into reformatting/ refocusing the evening services. I cannot recall all the 4 particular rolling events but the "Electric Church" and the "Central Forum" are two which certainly stick in my mind.... probably because I had a role in working up some of the arrangements under your mentorship). These initiatives were so far ahead of their time... even today I sit in Church Planning meetings etc where people are only tossing around the possibility of such things as potential changes to make some of our church "services" relevant to today.

Maybe you recall two of the Forums ...which were major drawcards and got Sydney Morning Herald coverage etc..."The Aboriginal Question: Is Black Power the Answer?" Some of the attendees I
recall were Mum Shirl, Paul Coe, Neil Appo, Professor Wooton UNSW... and the "Little Red Schoolbook." Justice James Burchett was one of the presenters looking at it from the legal perspective....

Another key thing I recall from CBC days - and which for me was a key new learning experience, was the whole issue of "change management". The exponential pace of change at CBC was not without its risk. I observed from your approach not only to identify "change" as an issue which needed to be managed, but some strategies for managing such. And I believe the results were extremely successful. Over the years I have been involved in significant change management roles (at times even having the position title of "Transition Manager") and have attended post graduate workshops/courses specifically on the topic... but the exposure at CBC by observing/following you on the job as it were was my first and defining moment. I will always be grateful for the time you spent with us (deacons, ministry leaders, etc ) in taking the time to do what a leader is supposed to do.... and this is particularly relevant to change management... in fact that's what leaders are really involved in.


When I get a bit of time I'll fill out more details of this story.


Rowland Croucher

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