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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.

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Thursday
Jul222010

Between the pew and the pavement - Praising with the people of Paarl

I am always honoured, and humbled, to be invited to address Churches or groups.  Tonight I had the privelage of sharing with a group of men at the Protea AFM Church in Main road Paarl thanks to my friend Nic Slabber who invited me.  I first met Nic at the Global Day of Prayer conference in May.  

At that conference I did my talk on social media (twitter, facebook, blogs etc.) and how these technologies are changing the global landscape.  The premise is simple - Christianity has shifted its location throughout history.  It started in the Middle East, moved to Europe, form there is went to North America, and then on to the developing world.  Next, however, Christianity is moving on to the internet!  I used Philip Yancey's great quote to illustrate this shift:

As I travel, I have observed a pattern, a strange historical phenomenon of God “moving” geographically from the Middle East, to Europe to North America to the developing world.  My theory is this: God goes where he’s wanted.

If facebook were a country, it would be the third most populace country on earth (third only to China and India).  At the time of writing this post facebook had more than 500 million registered users - that means that 1 in every 14 living persons is on facebook!

The question is - where is the Church?

What struck me this evening was the simple truth:  If the Church's primary means of evangelism is its Sunday service, then the Christian faith is in for some serious challenges!  

There are two basic problems with Sunday services.  First, a Sunday service does not serve the real needs of a community in a tangible and practical way!  It doesn't feed people, it doesn't help people to face hardship, conflict or some of the most basic needs in life (this may be a general statement.  I'll concede that there are some Churches that do these things in addition to the regular 'Sunday service' activities. But, on the whole most Churches do not).  I'm not saying that a Sunday service is not valuable or necessary - it is!  It is an act of worship! But, I AM saying that it is a VERY innefective tool for evangelism.  

The second reason why it is not effective as a tool for evangelism (in the sense of bringing the Good news to bear upon the world) is because it is framed around propositional evangelism i.e., the preacher will make claims and statements about God and the Christian faith that his or her congregation will have to make a decision about.  Most of the claims (e.g., God loves you, Jesus died to set you free form Sin, God wants to meet your physical, emotional and spiritual needs etc.) cannot be substantiated by an experience or encounter in the service.  So, if we say that God loves us, how will we facilitate an authentic encounter with that love in a synthetic environment?  The problem of propositions is compounded in a world of competing truths!  The Church will have to move beyond the Sunday service if it wants to move from the pew onto the pavement with the Gospel!  

The act of worship should be the catalyst for evangelism and mission!  If you want to see how Monday can become an extension of Sunday then please see the incredible work of my friend John van de Laar at www.sacredise.com.  John is doing some amazing things to extend worship into the world of work (and general life), and bring the world of work (and general life) meaningfully into worship!  Please keep an eye on John's site for his new book which is sure to give some fantastic practical insights into this topic.

So, my presentation suggests 5 mind shifts, paradigm shifts if you will, that we shall need to go through if we wish to live for legacy, impact our community for the Gospel and not just out Church.  In other words, these are things that we shall need to do in order to shorten the distance between the pew and the pavement!

Thank you to the men for their hearty engagement, the great coffee, and most of all to Nick for the exceptional worship!  Nic is truly a gifted worship leader!

So, here are my slides:

 

 

Please feel free to use them!  The video that I used, called 'Shift happens' is one of the most asked for clips when I speak publicly.  Here's a copy of the video:

Lastly, if you would like a more detailed discussion of the 5 paradigms please see these tags - There is even an audio recording from a Radio Pulpit show on the 5 paradigms after the jump. And I wrote a chapter about this in my new book 'Transform your work life' (Chapter 3 entitled 'Big plans, big purpose). It has both the content and some useful references and illustrations to help one practically consider the implications of such mind shifts.

How many Churches do you think have understood the relationship between the pew and the pavement?  Can you give any creative examples of how the Church can shorten the distance between the pew and the pavement?  I'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday
Jun302010

There is more than this! Finding blessing at work!

On a Wednesday morning we have a prayer group that meets from 6h30-7h30 at our company. It is a wonderful gathering that fills me with hope, connects me with my faith, and offers support and encouragement for the week. But, it also allows me to see many of our staff arriving at work to start the day.

It is pretty sobering to see people arriving for work, knowing that they have 9 hours ahead of them, and many of them don't look energised, let alone blessed, by the prospect of being at work.  I can understand some of the practical considerations that make going to work difficult - the mother of a newly born baby who longs to be with her child.  That father of a sick wife who arrives at work worried about how his wife is feeling.  The person who has to face a difficult boss, and those who don't particularly enjoy the tasks they are to do in order to earn an income and survive.

Indeed, work can be difficult - but, the good news is that there is MORE to work than just working!  There is an immeasurable opportunity to find blessing at work by allowing God to use you to BECOME a blessing at work.  And, it may be much simpler and easier to do than you think!

Listen to this interview between Particia McNaught Davis from Radio Helderberg and Dion Forster (broadcast on the 15th of June 2010 - 8mb MP3) and you may just get a few insights to help you to discover that your work life can be transformed into an extraordinary calling.  Something that you look forward to, because there is a sense of incredible significance and purpose in what you're doing there - you are sent by God to achieve His will in that place, among those people, and within those systems!  Indeed, 'work can be worship' (Col 3.23-24).

You can also download the first few chapter of the book 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' and read all about Graham Power and how God is using him in business, and also about Dion Forster - a pastor who has been sent by God to work in the marketplace.

You can purchase copies of the book (with a free leather journal) for on R88 (just over US$10) at ChristianRepublic.  Or if you're in South Africa you can pick up copies at Wordsworth books, Exclusive Books, CUM books etc.

Monday
Jun212010

Download the first few chapters of 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' for free

Struik Christian Books have very kindly put together an Adobe PDF document that contains the introduction and the first two chapters of 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'!

The account of Graham Power's conversion and discovery of his ministry role in the marketplace is extremely encouraging and makes for wonderful reading!  

You'll also get to hear about Dion's journey with this successful businessman, and how he came to discover his role as a minister in the corporate environment.

Please click here to download and read the first few chapters of this new book by Graham Power and Dion Forster.

Please repost, email, print out, and distribute this preview as widely as you would like.  If it can encourage a friend or family member please send it along to them.  

Even if you don't want to buy a copy of the book please consider joining our 'Transform your work life' facebook page to engage with other Christians in the work place.

'Transform your work life' can be purchased online internationally at and in South Africa from Christian Republic. In South Africa the book is also available in most book stores (Exclusive books, Wordsworth Books, CUM Books etc. if they do not have a copy in stock they can order it for you from Struik).  

If you live in Malaysia or Singapore you can order your copy here.

We'd love to hear your feedback!  Your perspective and testimony are important as we join together in raising up thousands of Christians to be God's instruments of healing and transformation in the marketplace!

Tuesday
Jun152010

Transform your work life selling for only R88! A great Father's Day gift!

'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' is on special for only R88.00 (just a little more than US$10) on Christian Republic for a limited time. It is also available in most book shops (Exclusive books, Wordsworth books etc. If they don't have it on the shelf simply give them the title, the publisher (Struik Christian Books) and the names of the authors (Graham Power and Dion Forster) and they will order it for you.

Why not bless someone with a copy today?  

It could be one of the most significant gifts that you give to a friend, family member or colleague - their work life could be transformed into a source of immeasurable blessing for them and others! Proceeds from sales go to fund the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns http://bit.ly/tywlweb

Monday
Jun142010

Radio Helderberg 93.6FM interview 15 June 2010

If you live in the Cape Town area tune in to Radio Helderberg on 93.6FM at 10AM on the 15th of June to listen to an interview between Patricia McNaught-Davis and Dion Forster.  During the interview we'll discuss both the ideas that are presented in the book and some general insights into transforming your work life from 'mere work' into an extraordinary calling!

We hope to cover ministry in the 9-5 window, a theology of workplace ministry, as well as some practical suggestions for workplace ministry.   And of course we'll also talk about what God has been doing with Graham Power and the Power Group of companies. So please tune in, and if you do please feel free to post your thoughts, comments and feedback here, or on our facebook page.

Please also spare a prayer for Graham and Dion, and of course we would ask you to continue to pray that God would use this book to touch the hearts and minds of many people who are looking for a life of greater significance in service of God's Kingdom!



Sunday
Jun132010

Some great advice for aspiring authors!

Since the launch of our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling', Graham Power and I have asked by numerous people how one 'gets published'.

Of course this question arises out of the reality that statistically only one in ever ten thousand manuscripts get published by a mainstream publisher.  First, let me say that this doesn't mean that those books that get published are better than the ones that don't.  Rather, it means that those manuscripts that make it through the process of being read, vetted, edited, published, distributed and sold have a reasonable business model!  Let us never forget that publishers are in business - they want books that have a good chance of selling and making them money!

A friend of mine recently wrote one of the most remarkable manuscripts that I've read in some time.  When he sent it to two of South Africa's major Christian publishers they didn't even read it, one simply said that they are not looking to bring any 'new titles' into their catalogue. I suggested that he self publish it - I know it will encourage and bless others, so it is too good to NOT be published because it doesn't make 'business sense'.

So, what do you do if you have a great story to tell or a ground breaking idea to share?

Well, there are various options to consider... My advice is don't wait for a publisher to give you 'permission' to be published!  

Some of the greatest success stories in recent publiciation come from self published books - have you heard about William P Young's book 'The shack'.  That great book started its life as a self published book. There are many other great examples! 

If you're interested in connecting with some great publishers who will help you to get your work in print then please leave a comment below, or send me a note via the contact section of this page, and I'll send you details for people that I've used in the past.  

Of course it is worth trying a publisher first, but if you hear nothing back, or if the reply is negative consider getting your manuscript proof read, get a nice cover designed, get an ISBN number (all of which are incredibly easy to do), and then get it printed!

You'll soon discover, as I have, that simply having a publisher doesn't mean that your book will sell!  Even published authors have to spend their time and energy getting their books into people's hands, on book shelves, and you still find that most of your 'sales' come from speaking engagements, book clubs, and personally sold copies.

We sell quote a few copies of 'Transform your work life' via stores and the web, but we sell far more copies at speaking engagements. Remember that your publisher has hundreds of authors and titles to promote!  They have limited staff, time and budgets to keep their business running!  So, unless you make the effort to set up speaking engagements, tell others about your book, and sell copies yourself you may just get forgotten.

This section from Seth Godin's post below seems to agree with my ideas:

...the fledgling author, the one who has been turned down by ten agents and then copies his manuscript and fedexes it to twenty large publishing houses--what is he hoping for, exactly? Perhaps he's hoping to win the magic lottery, to be the one piece of slush chosen out of a million (literally a million!) that goes on to be published and revered.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.

There's a hard work alternative to the magic lottery, one in which you can incrementally lay the groundwork and integrate into the system you say you want to work with. And yet instead of doing that work, our instinct is to demonize the person that wants to take away our ticket, to confuse the math of the situation (there are very few glass slippers available) with someone trying to slam the door in your faith/face.

You can either work yourself to point where you don't need the transom, or you can play a different game altogether, but throwing your stuff over the transom isn't worthy of the work you've done so far.

Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

A great story (or idea), hard work, and self determination are certain to get you published and read! I've been reading 'Rework' over the last few days (written by the guys at 37signals).  They have some incredible advice for entrepreneurs, much of it can be related to writing.  I'd encourage you to buy a copy of it.  In particular they encourage one to get your product or service to market as soon as it can meet a need.  If you get caught in the cycle of trying to get it perfect (or published) it may never make it into people's hands!

Feel free to drop me a line with a comment, question or some advice of your own.

Wednesday
Jun092010

'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' is on special for only R88.00 (just a little more than US$10) on Christian Republic for a limited time. Why not bless someone with a copy today?  It could be one of the most significant gifts that you give to a friend, family member or colleague - their work life could be transformed into a source of immeasurable blessing for them and others! Proceeds from sales go to fund the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns http://bit.ly/tywlweb
Wednesday
Jun092010

Bread of heaven – Serving daily (A marketplace ministry testimony)

This morning I had a cup of coffee with my friend Andy who is an entrepreneur second to none! Andy owns a number of businesses (a thriving restaurant in a local mall, a bakery and various other enterprises). Andy has a passion for serving Jesus through his business - he is such an example of Colossians 3:23 "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord" I wrote about Andy in 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' - here's an excerpt from page 91 of the book:

One example of a person who took the Church to hell is Andy Loughton, a marketplace minister from our Church. Andy loves the Lord, but of equal importance, Andy loves the people that the Lord loves. One of Andy’s business is a bakery in the centre of our town. The area close to the bakery is popular place for homeless people to congregate. Remember, as we discussed in the previous chapter, a minister is a servant who operates under the authority of the King. What do you think Jesus would do if he was the owner of ‘Bread of Heaven’ bakeries? Of course, he would use this business to minister to the needy. Thankfully Andy thinks like Jesus does, and so in his mind ‘Bread of heaven’ was a prime opportunity to establish the Church in the marketplace! Wherever you have need and you have a Christian in the same location you can be sure that Jesus wants to do something special. So Andy began to establish the Church in a simple way, as a baker he could provide some bread to feed the hungry, but he could also provide the bread of life (John 6:35). In a place where the Churches of our community were seldom active you will now find the Church meeting daily. The hungry are fed and the Gospel is preached. ‘Bread of Heaven’ has become a little like the story of Ephesus – there have been so many lives changed because of Andy’s obedience that many in our community are beginning to hear the good news (like in Acts 19:10).

This is how that section of the book concludes:

Remember, God’s intention for the Church is that it would be a mighty instrument of salvation, healing and transformation. In order to make that happen we will need to take the Gospel out of our local congregations and into the marketplace. Your workplace may just be the next Ephesus where the testimony of God’s grace is so powerful that everyone comes to hear the good news of Jesus (Acts 19:10)!

I'd love to hear some more examples of people like Andy, and companies like 'Bread of Heaven' who are doing extraordinary things to bring God's Kingdom to bear on their surroundings! Please do share any ideas and testimonies in the comments below or on the discussion and feedback page! One thing Andy did mention, which has been something I've often thought about, is how disconnected our Christian efforts are from the good work that other believers are doing. For example, he indicated that there are some days on which there are two Churches feeding the same people (one in the morning and another in the afternoon) and other days on which the homeless are not being fed. How do we create networks and relationships to help us work together more effectively for sustained transformation? I'd love to hear your thoughts! God bless, Dion

Tuesday
Jun082010

Reader feedback on 'Transform your work life'

I am pleased to say that 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' is moving off the shelves (and from the internet) at a good pace!  This is great news for the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns since the proceeds from all of the sales are donated to these two wonderful organisations! But, it is even better news since it means that the message of being a blessing, and finding great blessing, in the 9 to 5 window is getting out there! The feedback is starting to pour in at a steady pace as more and more people share their insights, testimonies, and experiences of discovering what it means to be a minister in the marketplace!  Here are a few little lines from some of our readers:
This powerful book has great potential to do what the title sugests: Transform your work life - turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. You will discover Biblical perspectives, practical knowledege, and very usable tools to be a kingdom ambassador and change-agent in the marketplace. Through this book you will also be connected to a network of experiences and insights of this new move of God to transform our world in our life time. May you be equiped to be part of that and become a history-maker where you are everyday. (Dr. Johann Oostenbrink, Associate at Camino Consultancy Practitioning Coach & Mentor and Consultant in Organisational Development)
Johann is a wonderful leader who is doing a great deal to activate leaders for to reach their God given potential in their work life - his endorsement is an incredible affirmation for the book.  Thank you Johann!
I want to congratulate Graham and Dion for an excellent resource. Their new book ‘Transform your work life’ is a must for every working person and also for Pastors seeking to minister effectively to people struggling to turn their working hours into ‘worship.’ Well done guys!
This feedback comes from Rev Delme Linscott, the author of two great books 'Now' and 'Living Oceans Apart'.  Delme is a minister in a thriving Church in Pietermartizburg, it is such a blessing to have a pastor's perspective on the book!  Thanks Delme - you can read more about Delme's work at www.livingingrace.co.za
Hi Dion. I've finished the first chapter - great reading - and a topic I've struggled with for several years and still don't have an answer. It's a flipping big question and I just wish God would write the answer on my bedroom wall!! If I didn't have to get up @ 5am I would have finished your book tonight!!
This wonderful bit of feedback comes from my friend Philip Collier - Philip did an MA in Psychology and is an expert in neuroscience (see his great blog at http://www.brainsparks.co.za/ for more). He is currently developing a unique model to high level performance that helps athletes to surpass their current levels of achievement. I'd love to hear your feedback on the book as you read it!  You can either comment on this post below, or add a comment on the comments and discussion section of my blog, or leave us a comment on the 'Transform your work life' facebook page.
Thursday
Jun032010

To Hell with the Church!

"The target of the church should be the world and not the pew." – Ed Silvoso
Chapter 5 of 'Transform your work life', entitled 'To Hell with the Church' is causing a bit of a stir!  That's good news!  Here's an excerpt from that chapter:
Where is the best place to ‘shine your light’ and be ‘the salt of the earth’ (Matt 5:13–15)? You need to shine your light where it is dark of course! For many years I made the mistake of thinking that a church’s success is measured by its seating capacity (how many people are in worship on a Sunday). The truth is that a church’s salt, its real worth, is measured by its sending capacity. God does not care how big the ‘salt shaker’ is, rather what God is concerned about is how much salt is shaken from the salt shaker, and how much light the church shines in the darkest places of society.
Let me ask you another question, if your church were to close its doors this week, who would notice that you are not in ministry any longer? Of course the members who worship in your congregation would care, but would the homeless in your area notice? Would the hungry and the abused of your society realise that you are not operating anymore? Would your closure have an impact on the sick and the elderly people in your community? How about the schools and businesses in your community; would they notice that you are no longer ministering in the community?
When Jesus said that He would build his church and the gates of hell would not overpower it (Matt 16:18), there was a clear assumption that He builds his church at the gates of hell! One of the most loving things we can do with the church is to send it to hell. We need to find the places of suffering, brokenness and need, and be the church in those places so that Jesus can build his church there. In my experience those places are not very far from where you work!
What do you think?  Where should the Church's ministry be focussed? Either leave a comment below, or post a message on the discussion forum here.
I'd love to hear your feedback!
Sunday
May302010

An overview of ministry in the marketplace

In this post you'll find a good video interview about ‘Transform your work life’.  Moreover the interview gives some good insights into the concepts of ministry in the marketplace and being a marketplace minister - if you're missional and mission minded this would be a good primer on the subject of living your faith beyond Sunday's Church service!

What is God’s purpose for work?
How can you find blessing during your worklife?
How can you transform your workplace without alienating your co-workers and clients?
Does God automatically bless Christians?
Should Christians only work for Christian companies?

These questions, and many more, are discussed. You’ll also get some insights into ministry in the marketplace and being a marketplace minister.

Transform your work life - full interview about the book. from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

 

I'd love to hear your perspectives, insights, and ideas on serving Jesus in the '9-5 window'! Drop me a, or post a comment below.

Sunday
May232010

CVC Media - 1Africa interview for 'Transform your work life'

This video interview was conducted by Xena Lee from 1Africa / CVC Media for our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'.  

Why should you take Jesus to work?  Does God automatically bless Christians in their work life?  How do you share Christ's love in a tough environment?  How can you be a Christian at work without alienating others?

Watch this short video to get some insight into the book, some of the ideas that we discuss and consider in 'Transform your work life' and to get some practical insights and inspiration for your work life.

Transform your work life - turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling from Dion Forster on Vimeo.

Thanks for all of the prayers and support!  Let's keep praying that more people will find ways of discovering blessing and becoming a blessing in their work life and their workplace.