Church Life and Pastoral Care in Victoria

Dear Full Gospel Pastors of Victoria,
We are praying for you and your congregations. During this time of restrictions we urge you to join our Pastor’s Round Table ZOOM  meetings at any of these times:
Monday 6:30 AM
Wednesday 6:30 AM
Wednesday 5:30 PM
Friday 6:30 AM
Friday 6:00 PM
Please refer to the emails sent to you for meeting details.

Church Life and Pastoral Care in Victoria

Victoria is under two types of COVID-19 Restictions:
1.       Metropolitan Victoria is in Stage 4 Restictions
2.       Regional Victoria is in Stage 3 Restrictions

NB: You are responsible for determining which level of restriction you are under, and to act within the law at all times.

VICTORIA STAGE 4 RESTRICTIONS

PLACES OF WORSHIP ARE CLOSED

EXEMPTIONS for pre-recording or live broadcasting services ( 5 people max on site – includes volunteers) or foodbanks and community services
CHURCH OFFICES MUST CLOSE – This means that all church administrative work must be done at home including preparation of services, pastoral care, church admin etc.
WEDDINGS are not allowed during the next 6 weeks unless for compassionate reasons
FUNERALS are allowed but only for 10 people
WORKER PERMITS – If staff (paid or volunteers) are attending the church for work (only for reasons above) the Church) MUST issue a WORKER PERMIT  – this is the employer’s responsibility and must be carried at all times by the employee.
FACE COVERINGS ETC – Face coverings, one person to four-square metres rule and appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all time
COVIDSafe PLANS  ESSENTIAL – All workplaces that remain open (Churches who are prerecording services, live broadcasting or operating foodbanks) must complete a COVIDsafe plan by 11:59pm on Friday 7th August
8pm CURFEW  – All services should conclude by 7:30pm to allow for workers to be at home by 8pm.
NO CHURCH MAINTENANCE – For the next 6 weeks, only emergency safety maintenance will be allowed – mowing lawns, basic church upkeep etc. cannot be undertaken.
Information about completing a COVIDsafe plan is available here:
Permitted Worker Scheme Information: https://www.vic.gov.au/worker-permit-scheme

VICTORIA STAGE 3 RESTRICTIONS

PLACES OF WORSHIP

Places of religion and worship must close for both religious ceremonies and private worship. Exceptions are:

CEREMONIES AND SERVICES can still be recorded or broadcast live from the place of worship for viewing online. Those who are necessary to conduct the ceremony may be on site to record and live stream services, however this is limited to a maximum of five (5) people including volunteers. You should ensure those people wear a face covering and maintain physical distancing by keeping at least 1.5 metres between each other at all times
ESSENTIAL PUBLIC SUPPORT SERVICES such as food banks, help for the homeless or other essential activities allowed, ensuring face coverings are worn and appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all times
·       If you can work from home, you must  – all church administrative work must be done at home including preparation of services, pastoral care, church admin etc.
WEDDINGS limited to five people – the couple, two witnesses and the celebrant
FUNERALS limited to 10 mourners plus those required to conduct the funeral
·       A wedding or funeral held in a private residence will be limited to the members of the household, plus the people required to conduct the ceremony
FACE COVERINGS ETC – Face coverings, one person to four-square metres rule and appropriate physical distancing is maintained by keeping at least 1.5 metres between everyone at all time
HOSPITAL VISITATION is restricted, however a pastor providing essential physical or emotional care that cannot be delivered by the health service care team or via electronic means may be allowed to visit. Individual hospitals may not allow pastoral visit – please ensure you act according to all directions from hospital staff if you choose to visit
PASTORAL CARE in PRIVATE HOMES is not mentioned in Victorian State, however FGA advise that unless there is a true emergency, personal visitation should cease till restrictions are lifted
Further Information:

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/visiting-hospitals-covid-19

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/stage-3-restrictions-covid-19

https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/face-coverings-covid-19

BIG WAVE dreams, visions and prophecies

Some time ago, many people started seeing BIG WAVES in their dreams or in visions or receiving Big Wave prophetic words. There was a commonality in these experiences in that the waves seemed to be HUGE, IMMINENT and LIFE CHANGING, and that there was a preparing which could be done. A preparing of the heart seemed to be the most important thing. People, organisations, governments, companies and especially churches were about to have a ‘Brody Moment.’*

2020 COVID-19 has certainly been destructive for many people and sadly, hundreds of thousands of people around the world have passed away as a result of being infected.  Some have theorized about origins of the virus; how governments and authorities have used the ‘opportunity’ to increase their power; about the dangers of relinquishing our ‘freedoms,’ etc.  I am not addressing these ‘issues’ here.

Could it be that the BIG WAVE in these dreams, visions and prophetic words is/has been the experience we are now in? The big waves in these experiences could be seen as a social disruptor** Some negative aspects of disruption have been: Social distancing; Closures of churches and ministries; Closure of businesses; Unemployment; Shut down of large parts of the economy; Travel restrictions; Increase in mental health disorders; etc.

Some of the positive things which have come out of the recent disruption of social distancing and restrictions are: Increase in technological know-how. A spike in the uptake of online meeting software/ services such as ZOOM, Skype, MS Teams, etc. New opportunities have emerged for reaching people who have never been touched before by local organisations.

A large wave, or more rightly, a series of large waves have hit the world in the last three months. Some commentators are saying that the world will never be the same again, this could be true. Some of the big questions are now:

  • How do we move on from here?
  • How will we use our newfound knowledge?
  • What new technologies are there which we could use for the benefit of our organisations?
  • What old patterns of thinking are we hiding behind which should be updated, changed or discarded?

We now have an unprecedented opportunity to continue with disruption, not for change’s sake, but for the benefit and betterment of ourselves, the organisations we work in and other people. We need to commit to looking outside our normal parameters in order to see the problems we don’t see when we are looking at things through our normal lens. It is only then that we might see the answers which could bring us into new paradigms of success.

—–

*Brody Moment – the moment where you realise your current direction will result in spectacular failure. Taken from the film Jaws (1975), where Chief Brody sees the shark up close for the first time. Brody backs into the cabin of the boat and says, “You’re going to need a bigger boat!”

**Social Disruptors – This term usually is usually applied to people and organisations that disrupt the existing state of affairs to create positive change. Here I apply it to an unprecedented and unforeseen situation which has given rise to a unique and far reaching opportunity for change.

+ Wave photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

Places of Worship Closed to the Public – Update Re: Small groups

According to the most current advice we have received, the gathering of small groups is permissible under current legislation as long as the social distancing regulations are being adhered to. This includes but is not limited to:
    • Bible study groups
    • Prayer groups or intercessory prayer groups
    • Production Teams. The teams could constitute:
        • Audio Visual Crew (usually one to three people)
        • Lighting Crew (one or two people)
        • IT crew (Usually one or two people)
        • Musicians and singers (Usually from four to eight people)
        • A host or worship leader
        • A minister to present a sermon
        • A production generalist
    • Board meetings or elder’s meetings
    • Funerals
These allowances do not extend to:
    • Youth Groups
    • Young adults meetings
    • Kid’s Church or Sunday School
    • Children’s groups or play groups
    • Mother’s groups
    • Women’s and men’s meetings
    • Prayer breakfasts
    • Large baptisms
    • Large weddings
    • Large groups of any kind
    • Outdoor events such as Church BBQ’s etc.
What is the current Social Distancing Rule?
Under current rulings, each person must maintain a distance of 1.5 Mtr from other people. In gatherings, each person is to be allocated four square metres.
      • If a room in which you are gathering is six metres by five metres, the internal area of the room is
      • 6 X 5 = 30 square metres
      • 30 / 4 = 7.5
      • Therefore you can have a total of 7 people in that room under current rulings
Some Ways to obtain the Correct Social Distance
    • Measure the rooms you will be using and record the results in a journal, log or some other record which is kept to prove that you have ‘done your sums.’
    • Keep a record of people present and when they entered and left.
    • Ask participants to sign the record.
    • Do not allow people to hug, shake hands, give high fives or show other forms of affection with physical contact.
    • Provide soap and running water for hand washing.
    • Provide hand sanitiser for hand cleaning.
    • Clean all hard surfaces with an anti-bacterial disinfectant spray/wash/wipe before and after the meeting.
    • Before the meeting, talk about the risks of infection and give instructions regarding personal hygiene and behaviour
These are not hard and fast rules, they are merely suggestions on how you can keep yourself and your church/ministry family safe. There are many sources of information available with up to date and official data on how to stay safe in this time. Please see your local government and state government websites for the most up-to-date information.
Social Distance is not Emotionally Distant

The Prime Minister’s Announcement – All Places of Worship to Close Their Meetings

Tonight, the Prime Minister announced sweeping new measures (STAGE 1) which will change the way Australians everywhere gather, including churches/places of worship. These new measures will come into effect at midday tomorrow, the 23rd March 2020.

 

From tomorrow all churches will not be legally allowed to gather, excepting for funerals, etc.

 

At allowed events the four square metre ruling should be strictly applied. The 4 square metre ruling is that each person is the centre of a four metre exclusion zone which another person may not enter. The drawing below represents 4 square metres around a person represented by the black dot.
Please ensure your church / ministry adheres to these new measures. Full Gospel Australia expects that all churches and ministries will be obedient to the government God has placed over us and that we will all be prayerful in upholding the Prime Minister and all our elected politicians, especially at this time.

 

We are mindful that some churches and ministries credentialed by FGA are ‘house churches.’ To those in this position, we strongly encourage you to think creatively and carefully consider how you meet. We want you to be known in your communities as groups who have high regard for your neighbours and your community in general.

 

We understand that this new ruling by the Commonwealth Government is a difficult one for many people of faith, however, it also presents to us new opportunities of reaching people we never could have or would have reached before. Please consider still holding your services via LIVE STREAMING. Other technologies to consider using are ZOOM, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and your own web page/ blog.

 

Even though Australia is physically isolating people, it does not mean that we have to be spiritually and emotionally isolated.

 

Starting this Wednesday, FGA will be holding a morning pastors and leaders meeting via ZOOM to pray for each other, our churches and ministries and the nation. I encourage you to log on via ZOOM following this invitation (below) at 6:30 AM Brisbane Time (7:30 AM Sydney/Melbourne/Hobart; 7:00 AM Adelaide; 4:30 AM Perth). After Sunday 5th April when Daylight Saving ends, the eastern seaboard will all be at the same time. We will also hold meetings on several afternoons/evenings for those who cannot make it early in the morning.

Book Review: “The Healing Spirit” by Dr. Leo Stossich

The Healing Spirit –A Study of Seven Journeys to Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse.  Leo Stossich 2019 Wipf & Stock

If you are in Christian ministry as a pastor, pastoral carer, home group leader, you need to read this book. Every Christian Minister should have this book on their book shelf and in their hearts. Dr Stossich has captured the heart of healing, especially as it pertains to healing for the wounded spirits of those who have been victims of sexual abuse, particularly childhood sexual abuse in the context of Christian Ministry. The stories of real people, as told by themselves, are revealed and studied to bring revelation of how healing can (and does not) occur.

The latest statistics show that in almost every congregation there are people who have been affected by the scourge of sexual predation. They live in every community. They look just like every one else but deep inside there are hurts. Memories rush to the surface in quiet moments, fears that bubble up, overwhelming them. These are triggered by things which could be as innocent as a style of clothing worn by someone, or a word, sound, smell or place. They are ordinary, every-day occurrences which are beyond their control.

These people need healing. The love of God demands they have it. Yet many ministers go about their daily business oblivious to the need for healing in these dear ones who are sometimes their most avid supporters. Leo’s book will give every minister more clarity, compassion and direction around these serious issues. If you are a minister who loves people, you need to read this book.

Leo also addresses the issues surrounding spiritual ministry. The second chapter of this book is one of the best explorations of spiritual ministry, especially dealing with healing, written in recent years. Leo delves into what spiritual ministry is all about, bringing revelation in an easy to read fashion. His section on spiritual healing is enormously helpful in understanding this ministry.

The testimonies of seven people who have been abused as children will affect you. In my reading of this book, I had to put it down time after time so that I could process what I had just read. The deep understanding these imparted to me is invaluable. The fact that their recoveries were facilitated through their local churches is a wonderful testimony to the efficacy of spiritual healing of the deepest hurts, brought about through the ministry of ordinary people. God is eager to heal the brokenness of humanity.

Leo Stossich is an ordained minister with The Full Gospel Churches of Australia, leads a vibrant church in Hobart, Tasmania and is a well respected academic in his field.

You can purchase this book via Amazon, on Booko.com.au or direct from the author: Dr. Leo Stossich <lstossich@gmail.com>  for $35 including postage.

 

Faithfulness and COVID-19

The National Leadership Team (NLT) of FGA calls all our ministers, credential holders, their congregations and teams to prayer in faith for their own health, the health of all congregations and ministries in FGA and for the wider Australian community. It is our privilege and duty to surround our nation with faith filled prayer.

We call on God in faith that he responds to our prayers and delivers us. Psalm 103 states that he heals all our diseases (ESV). Psalm 138:7 “Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me.” (ESV).

Please include your staff, associates, teams and congregations as you join with us in prayer for our Nation. Pray for our political leaders, health authorities and businesses as well as the Australian population. Ask in faith for God’s blessing of protection on Australia.

From the FGA Response to Covid-19

 

National Conference 2020 Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Uncertainties

The Australian Government has today announced a ban on public gatherings greater than 500 people. Among the organisations who have been affected are sporting fixtures, concerts, public gatherings and the arts. Currently, there are increasing travel restrictions (domestic travel is being discouraged and international flights are severely curtailed) plus growing uncertainties surrounding public health and well being. Full Gospel Australia has been in contact with health authorities, government departments and received information from the World Health Authority concerning COVID-19.
The board have taken the decision to cancel the 2020 NATIONAL CONFERENCE. Whilst we understand that the first week of September is nearly six months away, we also do not know what social and travel restrictions will be in place at that time. We have taken this decision now, in faith that it is the right decision for all our members and credential holders.
We trust that you will understand this decision and support us prayerfully as we continue to work on your behalf.
We will be issuing a position statement to all our members early next week regarding COVID-19.
Today we call you to prayer for our people, our nation and especially for those who are affected by these circumstances.

State Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensives 2020

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

2020 is shaping up to be a great year. We have amazing speakers lined up for our State Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensives who are wonderfully passionate about their people, what they do and the impact Full Gospel Australia is having in Australian communities.

Full Gospel Australia has talented and blessed people, working in their chosen communities to further God’s reign in the earth. We are a diverse family of believers who put Jesus Christ first in our lives. This year for our State Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensives we have drawn from our own talented and dynamic membership.

Far North Queensland’s Andrew Adidi is a passionate visionary serving in Cairns and in the Torres Strait, with his wife Meker. Together, they pastor an exceptional church which reaches out into the Torres Strait, fostering unity and encouragement wherever they go. Andrew has a real passion for the lost, for community engagement and for bringing healing to people whose lives are shattered. He will be speaking in the FNQ Conference on 29th February. If you are near Cairns on this date, he is not to be missed.

Adelaide’s Ray Ledger will be presenting at the South Australian Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensive on the 7th March at 1 – 3 Alpha Road, Bellevue Heights SA 5050. Ray is the Senior Pastor at Clear Vision in Bellevue Heights. He and his wife Demie love people. Their passion is to bring in the lost and help them overcome their difficulties to live transformed lives. Ray will be ministering on the 7th March at Clear Vision in Bellevue Heights.

Ann Brown, also from South Australia is one of Australia’s foremost prayer warriors. She brings a unique perspective of the prophetic, is passionate about life and strongly desires unity and compassion in the body of Christ. She will also be ministering on the 7th March at Bellevue Heights.

The Victorian Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensive boasts three dynamic and engaging speakers: David Michael, Jason Harrison and Kate Kenny.

David Michael from Spirit Alive Church will be ministering at the Victorian Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensive on the 14th March at 17 Assembly Drive, Tullamarine, VIC 3043. David has a unique perspective of the church’s role in society and he and his wife Tina, are greatly loved by their people. His insights are thought provoking and life changing and are not to be missed, especially if you are near Melbourne on the day.

Jason Harrison is an energy charged, effervescent servant of God with a message of hope and victory. He and his wife Rachel minister in a vibrant fellowship in Bendigo, Victoria and they love the presence of God, encouraging their people to live victoriously in Christ.

Kate Kenny presently serves on the Mission Field in Hong Kong. She has lived through the rioting, public unrest and uncertainty of the last year in Hong Kong, victoriously trusting in the Lord for her sustenance, safety and serenity. She brings a message of hope and trust which must be heard today as we move into a future that could be, in the world’s view, chaotic and uncertain.

Colin Grigg from Newcastle will be the main speaker for the NSW Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensive on the 21st March . Colin is guaranteed to bring a challenging and encouraging word on Leadership from a twenty first century Christian perspective.  Colin and Debra have many year’s experience as a senior ministers and have seen the Lord do the most amazing things. Colin’s perceptions are incisive and clear.  The day will be held at Voice to the Nations Church, 129 Railway Parade, Granville NSW 2142.

Neil Miers is our guest speaker for the Queensland Pastor’s and Leader’s Intensive on the 28st March. The day will be held in Accelerate Church, 8/12 Business Drive, Narangba QLD 4504. Neil has a rich treasure of wisdom and knowledge, and is well known around the world for his leadership, powerful ministry and humility. He and Nancy pastor a vigorous church in Queensland with a world-wide reach.

WORD FOR Full Gospel Churches 2019 and moving forward. By Sheena Ryan

I see a new wave coming with signs wonders and miracles,also  restoration of the tired and broken down ministers, those who have laid down their ministries because of the overwhelming attack against them and especially their families.

Souls will also be added, God is drawing in these people and churches will grow and need new spiritual nursery systems to disciple them.

God is saying prepare for this harvest.

God is asking us to open our arms to those who have been marginalised in our communities, those he sends in particular, and to restore them with his love.

Even as a tsunami goes out before it comes in, and the wave has been pulled back for a long time,this causes a time frame before the wave can be seen. This is the season for it to come in and bring the new anointing for this season. What is a destructive force in the natural, will be a cleansing and restoring wave in the spiritual.

This wave will only destroy what is not of God, he has positioned us for such a time as this, we can ride this wave and must ride it to walk in Gods’ promises.

It has felt like a long hard season for those on the front lines, but reinforcements, are coming, Gods’ might men including the men and women of Issachar will add themselves to us.

It will take faith like never before, but as we call upon this faith, it will burst forth and we will be able to rise to the mission and assignments that are being renewed and released.

God says to read again what the original spiritual fathers established. Those pillars will remind and affirm the vision that was laid.

God has sifted in this season and what looked like loss is in fact re-alignment for this season.

So train and release like never before. The missionary focus will have the fire of God breathed upon it at this time.

Missionaries will go out, many will go to our first peoples and bring healing, and many of our first peoples will be raised up to share the gospel with the nation, with their own people and with the nations.

Those ministers touched and renewed in this wave will become spiritual parents to the upcoming ones, there’s a refreshing which will bring healing.

It is time to see that which would oppose Australia’s destiny, apathy, counterfeit religions and religious division, fall down like dagon before the ark.

New Website Introduction

Our new website is finally up and running. We are so pleased to introduce you to our new format website. Please take some time to browse around and familiarise yourself with it, and please give us feedback. We love to hear what you think!

New Ideas for 2018

By the end of 2018 we want to have some new web based initiatives in place. They are:

  • A public Facebook page for general information about where we are heading as a national body and also for local churches to access so that they can let the rest of Full Gospel know what they are doing.
  • A private Facebook page open only to credential holders, so that we can support one another in a private, safe atmosphere.
  • Access to website space for local churches and ministries who would like to have a presence on the web but do not want the high costs of commercial web authoring and web servers.
  • Links to local Full Gospel websites or Facebook pages on our website, so that you can advertise your presence with the national body of Full Gospel.

We are open to other ideas, so if you have a great idea that we haven’t mentioned, please let us know.