At the Cathedral: Mark Dever and Three Good News Stories

From the Dean

A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.

Originally Published:
15th August 2013

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Over the next two weeks Dr Mark Dever is going to be speaking in Sydney.

Mark is the senior pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington DC. He is also the President of 9Marks Ministries.

It is a great pleasure and privilege to welcome back Mark to join us for a week. He is one of the most important voices in North American Christianity today. Having studied and ministered in Cambridge for some years, as he undertook his doctoral studies there, he has a better understanding of Australia and Anglican ministry than most North American Baptists.

While Mark is a scholar, author, conference speaker, denominational and interdenominational leader, he is first and foremost a Biblical Pastor. He is concerned to lead the flock committed to his care with the truth of God’s Word that he expounds regularly in the pulpit of Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

He will be preaching in the Cathedral on Sunday 25th of August at the 10:30am and 5:00pm gatherings. He will also be speaking at the Tuesday lunch time Cathedral Bible Study at 1:10pm. It is always great to hear him expound God’s word, and a great time to bring interested friends.

His large heart for others in the work of the gospel has led him to the work of encouraging men and women who are engaged in the work of the gospel around the world. He founded 9Marks Ministry to provide stimulation, encouragement and clarity for church leaders. It produces a regular stream of articles via the web, to help church leaders. Many really useful articles can be downloaded from their storehouse of interesting discussions.

The reason for his visit to Sydney this time is to speak in the Cathedral at the Ministry Intensive on Monday and then to the Ministry Development Conference for assistant ministers from Tuesday to Thursday. This trip, and these conferences, are being sponsored by the diocesan Ministry Training and Development Department. 

Mark is very concerned for the health of his own Southern Baptist Convention as well as other Reformed ministries across the States. He is a council member of the Gospel Coalition that is bringing expositional and reformed ministries together to work for the advance of the gospel across the nation.

I hope you will take every opportunity you can to hear Mark expound the Bible to us.

I want to share with you three related good news stories. The first two involve our Assistant Minister Sarah Briant and the third involves us all. Sarah has been working on reaching young families in the city. She has led the team who have created “Music Time” on Tuesday mornings. This is a music appreciation time for pre-schoolers. It introduces the children and families not only to music but also to our buildings, staff and congregation members. There are always some Christian songs in the programme, and a clear invitation to come to other aspects of Cathedral life. From this contact with families we are attempting to bring the saving news of Jesus to them. A real key to the programme is the team that Sarah is leading. Having congregation members with her not only makes the organisation on the day run smoothly, but also provides a group of praying evangelists to network amongst those who come. The programme is now well established and more and more people are coming. Last Tuesday there were nearly 30 families represented with 60 people downstairs in the Lower Chapter House. Already some people have been introduced to Bible study through this. This is exciting work that we must remember in prayer, each Tuesday morning of school term at 10:00-11:30am.

A second ministry opportunity is our first ever “Kathedral Kids Superhero Academy”. This will be a one-day, fun-filled school holiday program for Kindergarten to Year Six children on October 1st.

This initiative led by Sarah, is a part of our outreach to city families with the good news of Jesus. Sarah has already started to gather a team of Cathedral partners with different gifts, to help with this outreach. We'd like our Cathedral families - both children and parents – to set aside October 1st to take part in the fun and connection with other families. Of course whether we have children or not, we can all be involved by praying for this day. 

The “Superhero Academy” is the second of our four days of family outreach during the second half of 2013. The other three are Father’s Day, the Christmas Colin concert and Families Christmas Eve service.

Both “Music Time” and “Kathedral Kids Superhero Academy” are the concern of us all as we pray and support our workers in their attempts to bring the gospel to people.

The third piece of good news affects us all more directly, that is the giving to the ministry of the gospel this year. It is great news that in the first seven months of the year we gave over $400,000 for the first time. The closest we have ever come to that is $375,000. This has not come from one off big donations but the consistency of you, our partners, in the regular gospel giving. Thank you for your support and please keep giving joyfully, it is such a mark of the spiritual work in our midst.

Sadly, to meet budget we needed to reach this figure in six months not seven, but that we have done it in seven is still wonderful. Generally we receive more financial support in the second half of the year, so we are still hopeful of finishing the year within sight of the budget. Please keep it as a matter of urgent prayer; it is our heavenly Father who puts it into the hearts of people to be generous as he is. So we need to ask him and not be anxious (Matthew 6:31-34).