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For many years I have shared both the pain and the joys of those who work with churches. Like many of you, I have asked many times whether there are better ways forward to thrive together and have missional impact on our world. And sustainable ways - it's not about trying harder - but doing different things in different ways. Interrupting and reflecting on practice. That is what I do as a pastoral supervisor/mentor. What I do as a church and non-profit consultant. And what I endeavour to do as a blogger and writer. I hope what is posted here is water, God willing, for those planted in churches that we may thrive together.

Please let me know what you think in the comments. Or you can contact me through my website:


M. Scott Peck in The People of the Lie profoundly portrays the mystery of Easter. That in the face of humanity’s independence and wrongdoing, the choice God makes in dealing with evil is not despair, nor is it revenge or destruction, but that of willing self-sacrifice:

"There are dozens of ways to deal with evil & several ways to conquer it. All of them are facets of the truth that the only ultimate way to conquer evil is to let it be smothered with a willing, living human being. When it is absorbed there like blood in a sponge or a spear into one's own heart, it loses its power & goes no further. The healing of evil can only be accomplished by the love of individuals. I know that good people can deliberately allow themselves to be pierced by the evil of others-to be broken thereby yet somehow not broken-to even be killed in some sense & yet still survive & not succumb. Whenever this happens there is a slight shift in the balance of power in the world." (Peck, 269)

The choice we face every day is similar: to cynically despair and give up hope for the transformation of the world, or to seek revenge and retribution, bitterly carrying grudges for many years, or to deliberately allow ourselves to be pierced by the evil of others, absorb it, determine that it will not harm another, and watch evil there lose its power. This is ultimately a costly act of love because it hurts so much. It is like a death.

The wonder of the cross of Christ is the transformation that it offers to each one of us. We do not pay the price of our own evil, and we can therefore choose to respond in other ways when we encounter the evil of others or the evil that is generally in the world. We are killed yet still survive. And every time we participate in God’s redemptive activity like this, there is a slight shift in the balance of power in this world.

This is the mystery of the dying, rising Christ. In death and defeat, life and victory:

And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, he exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act! Col 2:15 Phillips

© 2024 Ian Duncum. All rights reserved. No reproduction without written permission.

Rev Dr Ian Duncum is a trained and accredited (with John Mark Ministries) church consultant with over 20 years experience of working with non-profit enterprises and churches across a number of denominations. This has also included denominational leadership in church health and development and church research in the tertiary education sector. An accredited minister with a track record of growing churches, Ian also trains church consultants, facilitates training for ministers and leaders, and mentors/supervises pastors and other leaders. He can be contacted at or

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