by Serena Williams

All generations of our church must come together to face the same challenge the Israelites faced when they crossed the River Jordan into the land of milk and honey, the first national Grow Ministries conference heard.

Keynote speaker Rev Greg Priebbenow told participants that the church is in danger of losing our faith-stories—and our children with them—in our land of milk, honey, internet and Sunday trading.

Grow Ministries is the new identity of the Lutheran Church of Australia’s Board for Child, Youth & Family Ministry, which gathered delegates from around Australia in Brisbane early in September. Rev Priebbenow had participants read and meditate on Deuteronomy 6, with its detailed instructions on how to pass on the faith.

Research shows that each young person should have five non-parent adults as faith role models in their life

‘We need to get back to the way God instructed the Israelites to pass on the faith, through multi-generational festivals of remembrance, and by sharing and being witnesses together’, Rev Priebbenow said.

‘When Jesus went to the temple as a twelve-year-old boy, he didn’t just go by himself. He went with his parents, and the whole family and village. It was a festival, an adventure. We need to make faith-life more of an adventure.

‘The church needs to apologise for saying to parents, “send your children to us and we’ll take care of the God stuff”’, Rev Priebbenow said. ‘We’ve got to help the parents make their homes… Subscribe and read the full article


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by Linda Macqueen

‘So, who is this new bloke with the non-German surname?’

In his sermon prior to his installation as our first bishop, John Henderson voiced the question that’s been doing laps around the LCA for months. He was stating the obvious—that his surname rings a bell of change in our church, following the distinctly Germanic names (Lohe, Grope, Steicke and Semmler) of his predecessors in the LCA’s highest pastoral office.

As we come to know him better, we’ll discover that his name isn’t the only thing that is, well, not typical of LCA leaders past and present.

John’s childhood and adolescence were grounded firmly in Lutheran culture, but from there his pathway to leadership departs from the script. It’s coloured with the sorts of experiences that make you suspect that, at every step along the way, God was preparing John for this particular role—to guide the LCA through a time of change.

For change is something John knows quite a bit about. He can’t remember a time when he thought the Lutheran Church was ‘the church’. Probably his maternal grandmother had something to do with that. ‘She was born into a Presbyterian family and married a Lutheran in a Methodist church’, John explains. In her mature years, she worshipped at the Lutheran church in Brisbane’s CBD, went to an Anglican charismatic healing service, sang in the Baptist Crusade Choir and went to Bible study at the Uniting Church.

‘But the Lutheran Church was always her home’, he says. That’s how it is for John too: ‘The church is more than us, more than the Lutheran Church. But this is my home. I’m Lutheran by upbringing, and also by choice.’

His father became a Christian when he was about 23 or 24, after…

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