The One Thing 341: About Growth And Change By Andrew Heard

Andrew Heard has a new book out, Growth and Change. Over the coming weeks we will be posting some conversations that Jo and Scott had with Andrew about the book and it’s background in the Reach Australia podcast.

In this episode of the One Thing, Jo and Scott reflect on their conversation with Andrew. Here are some of the things that they loved:

  • He works through these struggles biblically and practically

  • He doesn’t rush to the pragmatics, rather focuses on how the hearts of church leaders need to be in the same place as God’s heart

  • This then flows into everything – principles of ministry, focus, pragmatics

  • He challenges ‘what is it we are focusing on?’ – more clarity and directs our energy into the right things.

  • He challenges the desire in our world to want to measure – why numbers matter, how to use them to assess ministry.



The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.

I’m Scott Sanders. And I’m Joe Gibbs. Welcome to the one thing a podcast is to give you one solid practical tip for gospel centered ministry. Every week the one thing is brought to you by Reach Australia. We want to see thousands of healthy, evangelistic multiplying churches. So if this is you, if you’re listening and you’re thinking, I’m stuck, or we are ready to go with a church plan and we’ve got the plan to, but we just don’t have a plan and we don’t know if this person is the right person to come and say reach Australia.

We want to get alongside churches and help them launch churches. We also want to get alongside church leaders and help them grow into the leaders that God has made them so that we can see healthy, evangelistic, multiplying churches. Joe Scott, are you are you a big reader like you are? You would call yourself a big reader. I’m not a big reader of books.

I have to admit that way. It’s like I read magazines and I read an awful lot of articles, articles, my blog posts, or like, we’re talking like, proper articles from proper magazine, proper articles from perfect, proper magazines, but also some. I follow some people in terms of blog posts. So that’s more I could that’s my attention span. I tend to move very quickly to different things.

So you’re not like you don’t like reading novels and would you be pretty good? I should read more. Basically, any banter we do before an interview, I’m realizing that I actually need to change something about my life. So thank you. Happy holidays. Yeah. Yeah. How about you? You mentioned radar. Yeah, I like to read books. So, nonfiction. So I love reading books about stuff and history.

And I. I’ll dip in. I like, I’ll. I’ll go to the end and, you know, say, you know, see the answer, and then dip into various chapters. I’m not a read from, like the front of the back. There’s always kind of, you know, two or three books on the go when I’m learning or exposing different things. But I do like I’ve got a subscription to Harvard Business Review.

Yeah, I do like that. And I do love getting I get a couple of regular kind of emails from various sources that I that I’ll always dip in and always put those on the on the agenda reading. We’re going to be talking about books in a moment. But for now you’ve pressed play on another episode of The one thing an equally good thing to do is to listen to podcasts almost some would say, as good as reading books.

This podcast, though, is all about growth and change. And I’m going to be talking about Hurley’s new book, Growth and Change.

But for now, you’ve been on another episode of The One Thing growth and Change by Andrew Hird.

So Joe, we got the opportunity to spend a bit of time with Andrew Hird talking about his new book, Growth and Change, and we’ve done a podcast series.

We’re going to put in the show notes, a link to the four episodes that we recorded with Andrew at a church recently, but I thought we could just in this episode just to highlight a few things and hear your response to heard his book on Growth and Change. Hear our response on that. Yeah, yeah. And can I say I’d similarly encourage people to listen to the longer podcast episodes on this because they were great conversations and you get in more depth, more detail about the areas we’ve been covering.

Yeah, it was a great morning. It was great to have to read the book as homework and to sit down as not the reader to finish an entire book, but to hear it key areas of ministry that Andrew has spent years thinking about and thinking about, not from a theoretical perspective, but at the coalface of ministry by thinking about key things that Tripp is up as as church leaders, ministry leaders about areas that we really need to push into.

So what particularly stood out for you? You’ve been in ministry in a number of different contexts. Contexts for a number of different years. What what did what was a kind of a challenge to you as an experienced ministry gospel worker? I love how Andrew is able to notice excuses that we make our ways, that we justify things that are not biblical in terms of our ministry practice and just the way we get bogged down in things that are not focusing on the most important priorities for ministry in terms of disciple making.

And he’s able to kind of bring those to our attention and then work through them biblically, work through them practically, because often in the busyness of ministry, we have those things operating in our minds false assumptions, myths, a whole bunch of things about what our priorities are, how we operate in ministry, but don’t have the time to actually dig down deep into that think.

Is that actually a healthy biblical way of doing ministry? And he’s taken the time done thinking over the years to do this for us. And in some ways the book is kind of the fruit of talking about these topics for the last ten, 15 years, learning how to persuade, you know, learning, learning where we you know, where we’re leaders pushback and respond.

Yeah, but also getting, you know, even sharper clarity clarity on on the things that he’s seen and observed. Yeah, he’s he’s done how many hours hundreds of hours of coaching conversations with senior pastors. He’s produced material that goes into our leadership development program. He’s spoken at our foundations at national conference. So he’s in lots of different spaces. He’s done so many church consults, so he’s seen churches across the country.

So he’s really in a good place to be able to talk about these things. And one of the things I heard, he often talks about is head, heart and hands. So the heart focus, that was something that stood out for you just as you read through the book. And I think a lot of people were expecting it to be a book about systems and structures and models.

Yeah, but actually the book really only has really doesn’t have anything on that. It has it as an appendices as well as they’ve kind of pushed it to your fantasies. Yeah. Ripped it out of the book. Yeah. I he takes, he really doesn’t, he takes a lot of time. He doesn’t rush it to think about it hearts and he ties that to clear gospel convictions.

So he’s got a real clarity around that. And he front ends those those convictions that make us urgent and passionate about growth and

Andrew Andrew doesn’t rush to the pragmatics end of Outreach Australia. We want to share all our models and be really clear. But he wants to make sure that they’re the hearts of church leaders are in the same place as God’s heart for the lost with a deep love for God’s people. And so the book is full of Scripture and often there’s just lists of passages which I so appreciate it because I enjoy just soaking in God’s word.

He makes a point, but then he shows where that is not just in one or two places, but across the Bible. And his concern is that pastors are moved by the same things that God is moved by. And so then everything flows out of that. Our principles for ministry, what we’re focused on and the pragmatics in the appendix, but they actually flow out of those heart convictions.

I was going to pause there. Want to hear just briefly from Andrew from episode one on why it is that he wrote the book.

And I do get very I get very passionate about certain things that I think if we could just make certain changes, if we could just do a few things a little bit differently. Our churches could be more effective, they could reach more people and we could see the country turned around. You know, I’m a constant I’m very convinced that there’s nothing inherent in Australian culture that that means we can’t see many more people converted.

Sure, it’s the source hard and all the rest, but. But, you know, we’re seeing streams of people coming, wanting to know about the things of Christ. And it’s not just here, it’s all over the country pockets. So I’m convinced we can we can do more than we are if we just make it. And so that’s why I keep sticking my head up on the God.

Come on. We can do this. Yeah,

Okay. So Joe, really helpful to hear Andrew’s kind of why for writing the book. And in some ways he’s his passion to actually keep pushing into the Australian church scene and challenging us about our ruts.

I reckon there’ll be enough people who sort of don’t want to pick up the book because they don’t want to be challenged. Okay, This is another book that’s going to give me a bunch of how to’s and ministry is hard work and you don’t understand my context and it’s just a real challenge and it’s all just it’s all just too much.

Why? Why should you buy, you know, buy the book and pick it up and and read it and get challenged afresh. Yeah. And I can imagine for the person who’s already feeling pretty tired in ministry, you don’t want to pick up something else. It’s going to if you think that it’s going to push you harder. But I think Andrew really gets it.

He’s done years of ministry, so he’s not ignoring the challenges of ministry and he picks up on a number of those dangers in ministry. But he also challenges some of our assumptions about what the purpose of ministry is, that it’s more than a job. And he does that in a way that’s comforting and challenging, that that actually addresses where people are at.

So it’s not like he’ll be pushed hard, but he will also challenge you in a way that’s saying maybe we’ve picked up some assumptions from the world about professional work, about roles and jobs that actually are part of ministry and how God sees ministry. And so I love the way he takes us back to those biblical roots and challenges about not only the pain and the challenge of being involved in ministry, but also what is it we’re focusing on So not his he’s not going to be saying, just get busier, just work harder.

But what is it that we’re focusing on so that we can be clearer and putting our energies into things that really count? Yeah, there’s a real there’s a real logic at certain points to, you know, I guess hurt. His hurt is why he’s made it his motivation, you know. So the reality the cross, the reality of heaven and hell, the brevity of loss.

Yeah. You know, it’s a logical state of any kind of pulls in pulls in another, you know, the sort of plus one he calls it, we’re actually just commanded to make to make disciples. That’s what it actually means to be a disciple of Jesus, the great Commission wasn’t just to the 11 disciples. The Great Commission was actually to us as followers of of Jesus.

So there’s a real logic. But but in the book, know, you get the the time, you know, takes the time to actually persuade you and convince you of the urgency and the importance of this vital task. Yeah. And everything that he talks about flows out of those convictions is about the priority of making disciples and maturing disciples. And we talk about that in our churches.

I’ve sat in staff meetings where we’ve talked about that and then thought, How does that look in practice? What would that actually mean? And some of those conversations have been fruitful. Some of them have. I felt like we’ve gone around in circles myself as well. But everything he does, everything he talks about in the book, flows out of that.

So if someone’s listening, they’ve got a heart for making disciples and wanting to make their ministry have that impact on making a maturing disciples, then you’ll love this book because everything’s connected to that. But

was going to hear again from Herdy, where he addresses and talks about some of the key numbers that you want to be paying attention to regularly in church life.

Let’s take a listen.

that. What do you measure Those things that I care most about that will help me do my job better to produce that change. That’s what I measure. So if I care a lot about conversions, I’ll want to know how many people are being converted so I can see, you know, year on year.

So the thing we want is a whole there’s much more to be said about this, of course, but year on year, what we do is we if everything’s the same in our ministry, we would expect to see a similar number of people convert it next year. And if there’s less, a lot less, we’re going, something changed. So we stick a heading or if there’s a lot more, we go, Is something changed?

And so that helps us just keep a track on what we’re doing now. So, so conversions, of course, you care about, but we care very much about people’s transformation to the image of Christ maturity. And so we have found ways to give a sense of what’s happening for people that give us an indication of whether people’s lives are being changed.

Now, very simple one, there is attendance and regularity. So we we pay attention to whether someone is attending church and how regular they are. Now, we know when church was small, you know, 30, 40 people. And for the pastor of a country town kind of context, you will know that. And if you don’t like, I want to shake your hand and say, what’s wrong with you?

You know, you’re a shepherd here. You’re meant to be pastoring your people. Don’t you notice that Joe is sorry? Joe is only here every, you know, thanks. Once or twice, once or twice a year. Thanks for finding it out. It’s got is he rarely comes you know. You know, as a pastor of a small church I’ll know that you know and and so I’ll particularly be concerned what can I do to help change that?

And so in a big church like ours, we know which families and kids, you know, we have we have because we’ve found ways to just keep track of what’s going on. Now, we’re careful to to never use that in a way that suggests people to us are just a project in the kingdom building exercise all week. But we do operate like teachers and doctors, teachers who keep track of how the kids are going in their exams.

Doctors who keep track of the reports and the blood tests. And we do all of that because we love people.

Now, in that episode, I kind of comes towards the back end and it took a while to get there. Again, one of the the things I’ve observed in Andrew’s ministry is a desire not to give kind of a quick answer. It always takes time to develop and explain the principle and works really hard not to kind of almost tell you what you ought to do, but get you to reflect and think on your own practice and understand what’s, you know, what’s what’s a principle that’s driving below there.

So it can be very frustrating. You know, just give me the five things I need to measure. It seem to take a long time, a long time to get there. But it’s a real challenge. You know, the challenge that I guess Andrew’s addressing is a desire in our in our world to not actually measure to to be you not have a carefulness about numbers so that we actually often don’t want to record them or don’t want to pay attention to them.

And so the book again, carefully takes time to explain why numbers matter, but also how to how to use numbers to assess your ministry and also to understand how to make the changes to see growth and change, not only in people coming to first time decisions about churches, but also growing spiritually. Yeah, and I even though you might be frustrated wanting to jump to that, here’s the handful of things that you need to to measure.

And we’ve got podcast episodes on that. I love how he carefully lays out principles for thinking about measurement that apply to any context, any size of church, but not rushing to dashboard with all these figures on it and a real emphasis on loving God’s people, I guess actually for the purposes of seeing them grow and loving them well rather than for necessarily the purposes of the pastor.

And so I really appreciated that emphasis.

so, Joe, what’s the one thing you’ve learned about growth and change for a non reader? Can I say I have loved reading this book. And so the one thing I’d say is get the book, take the time to read through these things, take the time to reflect on your own ministry with the challenge of Scripture and heard his experience and really see what change God might bring about in your church.

And I’d say, like I say a lot of things, find someone to read the book with, Find someone to wrestle with these things together. You’re not going to agree with everything in it, but it’s going to force and challenge you to think about what you’re currently doing. And that’s always a good thing. Okay, in terms of the toolbox, we’re going to try to link in the show notes to Mythos Media where you can purchase it or purchase it from our good friends, the wandering bookseller Carl Grice, as well.

We’ll also put the links to the longer conversation, so we’re going to drop them all at once on the Register Podcast Episode one, two, three and four all at once. You can binge them. And then the other thing that we’re going to raise as well and put on there is a link again to the Reach Australia Ministry Framework e-book.

That’s often a good place to start as well. If you’re wanting to wrestle with I guess, five big questions that really underpin a lot of the work we do at Reach Australia. I’m Scott Sanders. I’m Joe Gibbs. Chatter

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