In order to keep up with current events in relation to a wide range of topics, I subscribe to quite a number of newsletters. But there is one newsletter that I have always subscribed to for personal reasons. That is the newsletter sent out by Pastor Tony Keys.
On Friday I published an article from Pastor Tony Keys newsletter entitled 'What is an Interim Pastor'. Usually the newsletter contains information on upcoming events; conferences to be attended; lectures to be given or details about the latest event in which Pastor Keys has been involved.
The newsletter last week however was somewhat different, for it contained the article that I published. What I did not publish was the post script which offered Pastor Keys services as an interim Pastor.
I wrote to him and asked why he had added the Post script, and it appears that this really neat guy, after devoting most of his time to education and seminars, is now looking to return to active ministry, at least in a temporary capacity.
Because I know, like and admire the man, I was happy to publish his article as a straightforward article, and happy to help him get back into mainstream ministry.
I first met Dr. Keys in the early 90's when I signed up to study at a Government approved religious institution to study Social Science, business and of course Theology. Because the college, which he founded, was government approved, many of the students came from backgrounds dissimilar to the bulk of the students. (I was affectionately - and sometimes not so affectionately - referred to as either 'The Chief Heretic' or 'The Rabbi'.)
My own religious background and theology is quite different to that of Pastor Keys, but during my 3 years in that college, I learned so much, not just about Christianity, but business, sociology, cross cultural communication, psychology and counselling, research and planning and of course teaching. All of these have empowered me in my teaching in China.
I remember Pastor Keys once saying to a stunned group of students: 'Banks don't care how much faith you have, they are only interested in butts on seats.' Many students were really shocked by that. The rest of us simply enjoyed the man's blatant honesty.
Tony is an immensely practical and loveable person. He is one of the few Christian ministers that I have ever been able to freely relate to. He is truly a genuine human being, with the intellect of a giant.
|Pastor Tony Keys|
I remember when once in class he was discussing some topic or other and getting very little response from the students, he asked several times, 'Doesn't anyone want to ask a question?'
When it appeared that no one had anything to say, he looked directly at me [sitting at the back of the classroom] and said: 'Surely YOU have a question or statement to make!'
I was of course tempted but while I can't remember now what the topic of discussion was, I knew that if I said anything it would cause an uproar, so I just smiled and said: 'No! I'm fine thanks!'
He replied: 'Nonsense! You ALWAYS have something to say! So say it!'
I knew him well enough by that stage to know that he was asking me to liven up the lecture. So I fired away. Well, the students did fly into an uproar and Pastor Tony just stood back for a while laughing. You see he loved to see people 'think for themselves' rather than blindly follow something that an authority figure says. He loves people really getting into the subject instead of just sitting like sponges soaking up information.
I have always admired his courage and fortitude, especially in the face of adversity, and I know he has faced quite a bit of that in his life, especially from a certain denominational church that resented the fact that so many of 'their people' preferred to study in Pastor Tony's college rather than their own denominational college.
Tony always made a point of saying that anyone involved in ministry ought to be fully equipped for the task of both dealing with people and running an organization. For that reason, all students had to study counselling under a qualified counsellor; had to study business management under instructors qualified by the Australian Institute of Management, and had to study civil and contract law under the guidance of a qualified 'legal instructor'.
For some religious people, this was just a tad 'too secular' for their liking.
Whilst I will honestly admit that I only signed up to go to that college because I needed a break from 'working for a living', my time in that college taught me so much about people and about life, and I have always felt indebted to this wonderfully down to earth man, who believed that you could never receive too much training in learning how to be an effective leader.
Now I don't want to continue praising the man or praise him too highly here lest you think I am being paid to do so, but if you check out his website, you might be surprised to see what he has done in his life, and you can read some of the testimonials he has received. I will provide here just 3 that I selected:
I recently attended a local pastors' daytime retreat at Faith Bible College NZ led by Tony Keys. The material presented was so worthwhile. Subsequent to that we held a short seminar here at our small fellowship. Tony gave practical, useable principles illustrated with fascinating anecdotal context which spiced the subject well. I found the material to be applicable to both small and large church scenarios and would highly recommend them. Dave Sales Senior Pastor Welcome Bay Baptist - New Zealand
I have read and re-read Tony Keys' books on leadership and transformational change. They are refreshing and compelling insights into the core issues that leaders must face in order to lead the church well in the early years of the twenty-first century. Tony is to be commended for producing a series of thoughtful, challenging and helpful works which are serious contributions to the body of information available to initiators of change. - Timothy W Jack Apostolic Church Australia
"The very fact of initiating this seminar for our staff has benefited everyone (all) , thereby helping me personally at a very deep level to lead a coalition into our future. The content and presentation brought tensions and deep issues to the surface for immediate and future healthy dialogue and forward movement as a group. The integration of the 2T's, when understood and practiced, creates incredible dynamic forward movement in an understanding environment". - Ken Gill - Member of National Executive for Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada - PAOC.
In 'What is an Interim Pastor?' Pastor Tony Keys wrote:
Looking for an Overseas Interim Pastor?
Countries such as United Kingdom and Canada allow religious organisations to apply for an interim pastor to be issued with a Minister of Religion work permit, to undertake missionary work.
I know that man well enough to realise that he is obviously so keen to get back to regular ministry that he is willing to travel overseas to do it. Elsewise he wouldn't have written that last section.
So let me shamelessly say: 'If you are looking for an Interim Pastor, then you can drop him a line at the email addresses below.' You can check out for yourself his resume which is on his website.
As I stated at the beginning, I did receive his permission to post his article and additionally to use his photograph, but what is contained in this article is all my own doing. I figured it was the least I could do for a man who demonstrated to me that not all 'born again' Christians are .. er... well - you get my drift.
I have also asked him if he would be willing to contribute to Magic City Morning Star as a regular religion writer. I don't know yet if he will, but I do hope so.
Best wishes to one and all.
Kingscalendar Writers Journal
Stand-in Editor of Magic City Morning Star News
Dr Tony Keys can be found on this website:
R.P.BenDedek is the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' and a guest columnist at Magic City Morning Star News.
"The King's Calendar" [ on sale - US$10.00 - while the economic recession is on], is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls. See Chapter Precis page.
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