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The Point Church


APEDS 2018: Reflections: May 2018

Hello everyone,

Thanks again on behalf of The Point Church for contributing to the success of the APEDS2018 Conference. Our purpose and prayer were that God would be glorified and that his people would be encouraged and equipped for greater service. Together by God’s grace, I think we accomplished both.

PowerPoint presentations, relevant notes and photographs from the conference are now available on the website at We hope to have the video recordings of each session uploaded to the website before the end of May 2018. Everybody will be advised via email when the videos are available.

Looking further ahead, we are glad to announce that Belmore Road Church of Christ in Melbourne, Australia will, Lord willing, be hosting the next Asia Pacific Elders, Deacons and Spouses’ Conference in 2020.

In the meantime, our challenge is to “keep the conversation going.” That invitation was the last item on one of our brainstorming lists composed towards the end of the conference (you will find those lists on the website).

The trouble with a stimulating conference is that it ends too quickly and is then all too soon forgotten. One way to keep the conversation going as we look towards Melbourne in 2020 would be to reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities identified in the 2018 brainstorming sessions. I hope to facilitate ongoing conversations with my own reflections—one point at a time—every four to six weeks for the next twelve months or so. I will welcome any feedback and additional responses to each point. I may at my discretion share and/or respond to extra insights in subsequent posts. You can send any responses or additional thoughts relevant to the topic to me at the email address below.

My thoughts on:

Adjusting expectations—being realistic/reasonable

There is a big difference between expecting a reasonable but high (biblical) standard of congregational leaders on the one hand and demanding perfection on the other hand. Yes, there are biblical standards and criteria to be applied in the selection of elders and deacons … all of which are given and applied within the broader context of our human fallenness redeemed by God’s grace and forgiveness. No serious Bible student needs to be reminded of the imperfections of leaders of God’s people in the past, ranging from Abraham to David to Peter. God works with and through us despite our imperfections.

We all want the ideal “all-rounder” on our team, but most of us have weaknesses as well as strengths. And that’s OK because we are part of a team where each one’s differentness is complemented by the others. I believe God’s wisdom in organising congregations with a plurality of leaders is plainly evident here. Any potential elder should be considered in the light of his becoming a member of a team, not scrutinised as if he must be a self-sufficient all-rounder excelling in all aspects. I suspect that is why most of the criteria provided by Paul (e.g. self-controlled, hospitable, able to teach) is flexibly relative and calls for wise and gracious judgement in the process of selection.

The candidate for the presbytery or diaconate will be new to the role. The good thing about being a beginner in any role is that there is plenty of scope to learn and grow! To apply a standard that we might reasonably expect of a veteran to a beginner is unjust.

Are we putting a stumbling block in the way of developing and appointing biblical church leaders because of unreasonable expectations? What are we basing our expectations on—are they truly theologically and biblically informed, or is there some other standard or motive at play? What do you think?

Looking forward to seeing you all in Melbourne at the APEDS2020 Conference!

Grace and peace,

Steve Wilson