This year has been a most fruitful year of creative endeavour. For you, our friends and supporters we thank God and we thank you. During 2010-11 highlights included:
- In 2010: embarked on a whirlwind ministry journey to England & Wales, including major seminar presentations in the UK Greenbelt Youth Festivals, celebration of the 15th year of God’s Squad United Kingdom chapter (now 3 UK chapters and an Irish Republican venture).
- Spoken at some highly effective men’s breakfast presentations – Spoke at the major Gold Coast Easter music fest with Don Francisco – Continuing regular ministry in God’s Squad and St Martin’s Community Church.
- In 2011: we recently had the edited but expanded version of my Doctoral dissertation for a new global revitalisation think tank at Asbury theological seminary published by Emeth Press
- Almost a decade of research and pondering has finally produced The Myth of Self Esteem for publication, currently being assessed by possible publishers.
- Ministry and preaching opportunities in Adelaide, including conducting seminars at the SA Schools Ministry Chaplaincy Conference for 350 chaplains.
- Six weeks abroad included ministry at the Euro God’s Squad run in Germany, encouraging the amazing new outreach & faith community centers called God’s Garage set up by God’s Squad in the Ukraine, Lithuania and Norway.
- Keynote address and seminars with the outstanding European Christian Artists seminars sponsored by the European Union.
- Privilege of preaching at the oldest Protestant Church in Asia (Macau), to mainly a Philippino audience.
- Ongoing commitment to mentoring, pastoral care, weddings and along with regular preaching/speaking opportunities. There is no end of work behind & before us.
- And, of course, our big sea-change, where Glena and I moved from their home of 41 years to Ocean Grove with daughter Kathy and Simon and 6 home-schooled children in walking distance. Paul and Natasha and their 2 continue in Lilydale and Lyndal, Keith and their 9 in Canberra. How blest we are.
In June the Board of Concern Australia decided to make me redundant so they no longer financially support us. I remain on the CA board as founder and Director of Mission and Ethos.
Support sent to Concern Australia no longer underwrites our salary or ministry costs. Welfare is an extremely demanding and necessary aspect of Christian ministry and has increasingly become the primary focus of Concern Australia (see CA Annual Report). I will continue to work voluntarily with CA, and promote the excellent welfare mission work to which CA is dedicated. I will continue to be employed one day per week by St Martin’s inner city church.
We were initially heartbroken. Now, after catching our breath, we believe so many friends and prayer partners will come on board to financially support us and perhaps make for a closer relationship in sharing the dreams and stimulating vision we have for new directions of ministry. Our visions embrace our own directions and oversight of the fast growth of God’s Squad CMC ministries including God’s Garages and Zac’s Places in Australia and Europe. These are becoming legendary for their unique blend of counselling, independent welfare, rehabilitation and proclamation through word, art and music.
In a message that has truly captivated my heart, and mirrored my reinvigorated passion for our mission, Apple genius, Steve Jobs said – “Ask yourself, If this was the last day of my life what would I do? Don’t settle. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” We aren’t settling as our ministry seeks to follow the example of Jesus and His mates: …then the Apostles were on the road, They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different… they brought welfare to the sick, healing their spirit (Mark 6:12-13 Message Trans). We are renewed in our determination to continue to promote our new God’s Squad outreaches and faith communities, to write, to mentor and to proclaim wherever possible, that life can be radically different.
Those who know us and have supported us in prayer and finance over the years will know disappointments have always spurred us on to greater and more creative ventures. We are being assisted to set up a new framework for accountability, moral support and guidance, and we will be posting regular reports on happenings and things to come for those interested.
If you wish to support us, monitor our activities, ideas and future plans, or pray for us, you may send private posts with your details to us on FB, contact us below or go to our web site for PayPal facilities or account & card details at bluespreacher.org. This blog (thanks to David Woodridge & Sean Stillman) will provide regular inspirational articles, audio and video presentations, itinerary, project and publication details. We are planning to enter the e-book field as we respond substantially to the social networking world. Currently we are operating under John Smith Ministries, but once the guiding council is established we envisage changes to incorporation, name etc.
The future is refreshing and challenging. In 2012 I will be running a course on Faith and Justice for the Reformed Theological College in Geelong.
2012 will be the great 40th year celebration of God’s Squad ministry with families coming from all over Australia and Europe for a vision casting, inspirational series of events. Invitations to teach and preach in Nepal have recently been sent to us. There will be no lack of opportunities. Pray for wisdom in discerning.
But, the greatest new beginning in history is celebrated soon. Have a very happy, holy, friendly, generous Christmas folks.
Love and care,
John and Glena