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7 Questions with Tim Freyer
helps you in your leadership.
7 Questions with Tim Freyer
Name: Tim Freyer
Current title: National Strategy Director for Families
Current organisation: Power to Change
At uni, Tim had big plans and obtained bachelor degrees in theoretical mathematics and statistics as well as having done post-graduate work in statistics. Then God stepped in and redirected Tim to the mission field. Early on as a missionary, Tim led a campus ministry that was focused on raising up and sending missionaries to the world.
On one of the short term missionary trips to the Middle East, Tim met this Aussie vision of beauty and thought he wouldn't have a chance with her. He pulled out all of his charm and she confirmed his original hunch. It only took Tim 8 more years to get Liz to agree to marry him! Together they are raising 2 boys and a little girl.
Together Tim and Liz worked for several years in closed countries working with those in poverty and planting underground churches as well as helping train local believers who could take over. They loved the adventure and the culture and regularly seeing God work in miraculous ways.
God again though had a change in mind and as a result of some medical issues, brought Tim & Liz back home to Australia. They are currently serving as the National Strategy Director for Families with Power to Change. In this role, they work with churches throughout Australia to help refine their focus on Jesus’ mission of evangelism and discipleship using the tools of marriage and relationship.
Together, Tim and Liz love walking alongside people and watching as many sunsets as possible with a chai latte in hand.
1. What have you found most challenging as a church leader?
For us, the biggest challenge is that the job is never done. No matter how much we have accomplished there is always more to do. There's another person to walk with or another task to accomplish. It's been a big challenge to learn that I don't have to get a high distinction on every job I do - sometimes a pass is enough. More than that though, as I've grown in leadership, I've realised that there are only so many plates I can spin and some are going to drop. That's okay but wisdom is knowing which ones to let go and looking at the long term goals of how to build up people to join in the journey so that there are more people helping advance the Kingdom.
2. How did you become a church leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I grew up as an atheist and went to church the first time curious to see what a cult looked like. Once Jesus got a hold of my life, I knew there was no sitting on the fence. If Jesus was a nice story for polite folks, it wasn't worth my life. If Jesus is who He says He is then I have no choice other than give Him my whole life and everything I have. Seeing God radically transform my life has driven me to desperately want others to experience that same transformation. From there, God has clearly directed us every step of the path and has challenged me in larger scopes and in different cultures. Looking back it's been an amazing journey and I'm looking forward to what else Jesus has for me before calling me home.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
For me, I have a pretty rigid priority structure. The first is God and I need to have time with Him. This can look a bit different with young kids but connecting with my Father is the key. For me, I like to go on a hike or get away to have some time outside of the hustle and bustle of my office or home. I'll also try to schedule a few days with the Lord throughout the year where I can have a bit of extra time for relationship with God and a chance to hear from Him.
The second is family and I make it a priority to carve away special times alone with each of the kids and my wife. We also then schedule some family times together where we can unplug and just have fun together.
Then, I will schedule my work days. I keep one day a week open as a sabbath and it doesn't get touched no matter what. The other 6 days are fair game once time with God and time with family has been scheduled. I have also learned what energises me and what drains me and so I schedule according to those purposes. I try to also block out some time each week. This is an unstructured block of time to think, jot down ideas, and dream big dreams with God.
I think it's also really important at some point to just unplug and be unavailable. I love to play board games and so I'll play with some mates or have a hang out time with a few people that are close to me.
Lastly, I work very hard on being disciplined with sleep and really try to get a solid 8 hours in at night so I'm fresh and ready to go the next morning.
4. What's one book apart from the Bible that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
The Master Plan of Discipleship by Robert Coleman is a classic but had a really profound way on the way I think through ministry. I've extensively studied Jesus' ministry plan and I think the principles of kingdom focus and spiritual multiplication have continued to have a deep impact on me and how I invest my time and life.
5. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
Jesus didn't focus on the masses, He focused on the few. He took the 12 and more specifically the 3 through a pretty rigorous apprenticeship and then launched them to reproduce what He had done. So often, we look at metrics like attendance or finances and those things can give us some information but the better metric is how many multiplying disciples are we actually creating. A lot of churches in the West have really started to have some mission drift. We must do the hard yard and become what we want to reproduce - multiplying disciples.
6. How do you develop a healthy leadership pipeline in a church?
This is a great question because I think we often give a lot of time and attention to the wrong people. Many of us can have a pipeline but many are not healthy. I care far less about how much doctrinal knowledge someone has and far more about how they are progressing as a multiplying disciple. I know heaps of great Christians who are faithful in many ways and have a lot of head knowledge but are not connecting with the lost and are not helping people take one step closer to Jesus. The heart just isn't there and that's okay. I believe that the heartbeat of Jesus is to go and make disciples of all nations and to do it by loving God and loving others well. If that is Jesus' heartbeat, then that also needs to be my heartbeat.
One way I've found to help practically develop a healthy pipeline is to live it out myself. Amidst a busy schedule, I need to be involved in the lives of my lost friends and family. I then look at who is joining me in the journey and who is helping train others to grow and take steps to reproduce their lives. These people become the beginnings of my healthy pipeline and are the people that I invest the most quality time in. They may not start out as the most polished Christians but I've learned it's really hard to steer a parked car.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a church leader so far?
For me, I love to see those moments when others "get it." I think of one business leader I was working with who struggled with the idea of doing ministry in a secular work environment. As the director of his company he had to walk a line between his faith and his leadership. He knew he wasn't impacting his business spiritually but was stuck on what to do.
We had a few conversations and he started to pray and try a few things. He found a few opportunities and pretty soon, he started to have employees asking questions. They would start off with "I've always had this question about Christians but never have seen one that really cared and was real. Can I ask you ..."
This guy now works as a part time chaplain (although he has a much fancier title than that) and is walking some of his employees through the life of Christ. He has also started to help other Christians in his field start to think about how they can have a ministry at their place of employment.
His new life has even spilled out into his neighborhood where he and his wife have been able to see some people make a commitment to Jesus and their family where his daughter is starting to share her faith with classmates.
For me, I love to see the multiplication and see how God works in such incredible transformational ways in Australia!