Friday, February 22, 2008

team changes

Our (paid) team at Opawa is changing. Amy Hay, who was employed 2 days a week in areas of youth and worship is stepping down in order to concentrate on her studies. And Craig Fairhall and Paul McMahon are joining us 2 days a week each in areas of mission and discipling (a search that began in October last year). So change and uncertainty. Excitement and sadness. All mixed together for us at Opawa.

It continues our commitment to team ministry by part-timers rather than sole charge leaders-do-it-all. It continues our missional journey, focusing us on mission and discipleship. At some point I might blog about the selection process, which was the most rigorous and innovative selection process I have been through. We worked with a Human Resource consultant, who gave a lot of sharpness and skill. It was a new experience for me and for those in the process, but was well worth it.

It was also a deeply God process. At one point we as a Calling group were a bit stuck. A radical suggestion was made and the selection panel went away to pray about it. The Scripture the next day, from the church Lectionary Reading, was 1 Kings 19. Elijah is called, unexpectedly, to anoint new leaders. It was the Scripture that I had used to shape the first year of my ministry at Opawa. I read it, amazed at how the Lectionary reading could so clearly read our life.

We will welcome Craig and Paul as a church family on Wednesday, March 12 and farewell Amy on April 5. For more on Craig and Paul,

Greetings from the Fairhall family to the church family of Opawa Baptist Church. It is a fantastic privilege to be joining the pastoral team and coming to serve and worship God within your midst. We arrive at Opawa full of anticipation and excitement as God unveils a new chapter in both the life of our family as well as for the people of God who call Opawa home.

Our ministry journey has already seen me in pastoral leadership roles across a wide ecumenical spectrum over the past eight years. Beginning with four years as Assistant Pastor for Omokoroa Community Church (in the Bay of Plenty) followed by a time as a church planter at Southbridge. Over the past two years I have had dual roles as the Interim Minister at Rangiora Presbyterian Church as well as Pastor for the St Nicholas Youth Trust. Our move to Christchurch in 2004 was to enable me to complete a Bachelor of Ministry degree through BCNZ. As my role at Opawa is part time I will also be studying towards a Masters degree in Theology.

We are a family that enjoys the outdoors and physical activity following many different sporting pursuits. I have run a couple of Christchurch marathons over the past two years and dabble in the odd game of golf. The children participate in athletics, cricket, soccer and swimming, while Sharyn is a great walker and also enjoys swimming. Latham & Samantha attend Hillview Christian School and are enthusiastic about all areas of their lives. Prior to entering into church ministry we spent seven years progressing up through the dairy farming ladder in both the Waikato and Mid Canterbury regions.

I have had a strong sense of God’s leading in the decision to come to Opawa and I am thoroughly looking forward to working within a multi-congregational church. I have a desire to see people grow holistically in all areas of their lives, unlocking potential and empowering people to serve God with their natural talents.

Craig will:
• Develop and deliver growth programmes. Both candidates will do this, Craig bringing his coaching skills.
• Be Growth Coach leader
• Leadership/management of some ministry leaders
• Leadership/management of plus 5 interns
• Be responsible for some Sunday night Grow sessions.
• Resource God at work programme
• Preach
• Catalyse new congregations (Both and with Steve).

Referees describe Craig as solid, mature, reliable and personable. He is respected by people because he has “rubbed shoulders with ordinary people. Gets alongside and works with them.” He has character, honesty, integrity and can apply Biblical knowledge to life. They are enthusiastic about the role for Craig because he is ready for a challenge and has proven ability to preach, to teach, to visit and to minister to all ages.

Paul McMahon is married to Anne and they have lived in Bishopdale for four years, after moving from Auckland in 2004. They have been attending Opawa since early 2005, and were involved in planting and are still involved in co-leading Espresso (a congregation of OBC).

Paul has recently completed a Master of Theology (BCNZ) in political theology, looking from a Christian perspective at distributive justice in New Zealand, and also has a BA (Hons) in Political Studies (Auckland).

Paul works one day a week for Stepping Stone Trust (a mental health provider). He also works one day a week as a research and teaching assistant for Steve Taylor.

Paul is interested in most forms of politics and occasionally gets to play cricket. He misses his dog in Auckland, and the Ranfurly Shield, but not the traffic.

Paul and Anne’s sense of call to Opawa is strong. It began when they attended the Christmas Journey in 2004, as they sat in the 11pm service on Christmas Eve they felt the Spirit of God urging them to change church. After some prayer and investigation they came back to Opawa and got involved. Paul’s call as a pastor is to them an extension and expansion of that call.

Paul will
• Develop and deliver growth programmes. Both will do this, with Paul bringing his facilitator skills.
• Leadership/management of some ministry leaders
• Be responsible for some Sunday night Grow sessions.
• Preaching as theological storytelling around our mission life.
• Resource existing mission leaders
• Catalyse new congregations (Both and with Steve).

Referees describe Paul as thoughtful, reflective, honest and growing. He is respected by people because they feel listened to by someone who will go below the surface. They are enthusiastic about the role for Paul because he cares about the whole of life and he will help others grow in that. He uses his own life experience really well to help others grow.

Posted by steve at 07:38 AM

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