This is a tree-lined boulevard with trams from the city to Parramatta. Even a metro. Plus 100,000 new apartments, with 100,000 new jobs thrown in. Word is, that it's all achievable within 25 years if a new urban regional authority is established to manage it.
The article explained how the developer Iwan Sunito, the chief executive of Crown International Holdings Group, conceded that every council (between Sydney and Parramatta) has ''different ideas'' so it would be far easier to deal with one authority. The suggestion is that the state government takes control and look at the whole thing as one, especially in this state-significant matter. (smh.domain.com.au)
We all might ponder on this and considered how very close these business and community developments have in line with Church growth and development.
25 years ahead
Churches too need to be contemplating 25 years ahead and in so doing, negotiate a way forward in such developments that will cover such a long period in forward thinking. Perhaps it is something akin to the innercity Hillsong development that took some years to see past the planning departments as there were so many issues for consideration and moreover community concerns and complaints (many with their own agendas).
But it is more than this though, as ‘red tape’ involves the churches as it does with any community organisation.
This is a short list of just some of these, so as to illustrate the dramas involved in seeing an every day local church even open its doors.
A number of issues
There are changing Council regulations and by-laws and someone in the structure of the local church’s organisation has to read these, ascertain what they might mean for the church property and then come to a decision. Often such issues cannot wait for the quarterly church business meeting, so the church governance personnel get together, make a decision and so the business of ministry continues.
There are entitlement laws associated with employing people which includes the local church’s professional personnel, which might include the Minister (Pastor), an Assistant or Youth Minister, an Administrator, possibly a psychologist, maybe coffee shop employees, and whoever else might be on staff. Some large churches have many many staff.
Each of these people have lawful entitlements as pay levels, long service leave payments, superannuation, sick leave, compassionate leave, travel allowances, house or accommodation allowances, book or library allowances and a host of other rightful and legal appropriations. Someone has to be aware of these things and dutifully and righteously make those payments and then an auditor checks them all and so the business of ministry continues.
There are a host voluntary people serving in the local church’s ministries. Everyone who ministers with children are required by law to have an official Police Check and someone has to ensure that no one without this proper lawful authority is working with children within the church’s ministry program.
Multiply that with similar legal requirements for those ministering within the various agencies of the church. A person convicted of fraud or known to be a bit loose with money would not be a suitable person to run the financial affairs of the church or be in any position involving handling church funds. Someone has to make those checks and become legally responsible for having such a person involved.
Now that is only the beginning of red tape in church life. There are numerous issues for which anyone uninvolved with church life would have little insight.
One issue that comes to mind is that of Denominational Accreditation of preachers which is a perennial trouble spot for many smaller churches who struggle to raise the funding to pay a Minister. In some denominations a preacher needs to be licensed or the visiting preacher has been formally endorsed by the Minister who is licensed.
Even in Australia today, there are Anglican diocese that would frown on an evangelical preacher from the Sydney diocese speaking from their pulpit.
Call what it what you will, it is all red tape.
Moreover politics in the church is horrendous and those who can exercise the control of what goes on, are those who can better make use of the ted tape to tie up such situations to their cause.
Federal Politics eat your heart out – you have nothing on church politics. Anyone reading of the Protestant Non-Conformist expansion in England in the C17-18 knows all about how the Parliament became the final arbiter in many situations. Cromwell was the hero of the Puritans. It was red tape that held up the release of the slave trade through which Wilberforce had to fight for so bitterly.
We all acknowledge that red tape is part and parcel of life in business, corporate, the work place, social organisations, sporting bodies, the entertainment industry, mother’s clubs, wherever you have more than one person …. church politics is right up there with the best of them.
When the preacher says we live in a fallen world, in fact, he knows he’s addressing himself and all those who govern his own congregant’s ministries.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html