Press Service International (PSI) is a ministry of Well-Being Australia which mentors young writers in a program with Christian Today Australia whereby two columns each week day are allocated to these young writers who contribute a feature article once a month.
Chairman of Well-Being Australia Dr Mark Tronson explained that the plenary program is to stretch the vision of these young professionals in order that they might advance and further their own specific ministries in their churches and university campuses quite apart from their writing.
The young writers came together for the mini-conference from across Australia and New Zealand. On Friday 6 September Tony Dunkerley gave a plenary on mentoring. Born in England, he migrated to Australia mid '60s, a UK based Multi-National - Australian Managing Director for 35 years, Australian Joeys Soccer Assistant Coach (ret), Victorian Under 21 Coach (ret), President Victorian Football (ret) and Commissioner Junior Football (ret).
Tony's specialty is Mentoring - every young writer is involved in mentoring, to young teenagers in our Christian circles to those of more mature years. Tony's been mentoring young soccer players, to top level soccer players, to Socceroos and so too in his business life.
He focused on ESPP - Enthusiasm, Stability, Persistence and Perspiration. He discussed these in a practical presentation that applied to coaching junior football teams as it did with his business over 35 years and the Gospel message to young people. He's presented these on our Country Town Tours over 25 years where he plays a key role in our outreach teams.
The second plenary was by New Zealand young writer Sam Burrows from Auckland where he raised the idea that whereas 500 years ago the world and the church was dramatically and irreversibly changed with the printing press - today we're in another such paradigm change with the astonishing technological advancements.
Sam Burrows presented some research relating to the current statistical drop out rate of church with the 18-30 years age bracket. He cited figures of 90% in New Zealand and was looking at further research that illustrated Christianity as presented by the institutional church was failing them.
The church needed to be the house of meaning, Sam Burrows explained. Young people attending university were introduced to a range of new philosophies presented as norms and too many churched young people succumbed as they didn't have a good enough grasp of the intellectual Gospel to counter atheism and the other 'isms.
Young people in New Zealand are finding being 'cool' is no longer satisfying, there is search for more meaty material provided in the Gospel,. Sam Burrows stated this is a positive sign and its something he himself is becoming aware.
There were question sessions after each plenary by the 30 young writers which concluded the mini-conference. In 2014 there will two separate young writers conferences, one in both Australian and New Zealand so as to reduce the costs.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html