Personal

Changes to Mark Conner's BLOG

Hi everyone (including subscribers), Today I have transferred all of my BLOG posts (including links, comments, and categories) from Typepad to my Wordpress website. This will enable me to manage one site rather than two. You can visit my Wordpress BLOG section now. There you will notice two new posts released today - "Navigating the Storms of Life" and a related poem called "Stormy Winds". For subscribers, from now on I will release an occasional e-newsletter with information about recent BLOG posts and other activities that I am up to, including where I am speaking and about projects I am... Read more →


The Mystery of our Emotions (Part 3)

Yesterday, we talked about sadness and I shared a very personal poem with you. Like journalling, poetry is another way to give expression to our emotions. I am very much an amateur but writing poetry has been worth the effort. It helps me to put my feelings into words, my thoughts on to paper, and to give a voice to my emotions. [Read more of my poems here] In our modern society, men have often been known to bury their feelings and therefore to not be in touch with them. Sadly, these suppressed feelings can fester there and then burst... Read more →


The Mystery of our Emotions (Part 2)

Yesterday, we started talking about the mystery of our emotions. I am a fairly optimistic person and therefore I have a lot of positive emotions. My family have called me everything from 'Peter Pan' to ‘Tigger'. Yes, I do have a lot of enthusiastic energy … usually from the moment I wake up. In the first few decades of my life, I had little experience with some of the darker emotions of life such as sadness, grief, disappointment and depression. But as life has gone on, these have come into my world and added new colours to my life. Three... Read more →


My Experience with Burnout

My first encounter with burnout was back in 2002. I experienced what I would call an ‘emotional valley’ that lasted for about 6 months. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me but it took everything within me just to make it through the next meeting, the next appointment or the next project. My mood was higher when something was done, rather than when I was leading up to it or during the event or experience. I felt overwhelmed a lot of the time and didn’t have the energy to think much beyond what was right in front of me.... Read more →


A Pain in the Back

I was in agony. I couldn't move. As I lay on my bed, the pain down my back and through my right upper leg and calf muscles was so great that I didn't think I would get through it. Eventually, I rolled very carefully to the side of my bed and somehow managed to get up ... very slowly. What was happening to me? It was January this year. I had overdone it with lifting a month earlier - moving house and moving a heap of boxes (762!) of my dad's books with the help of my son Josiah and... Read more →


Personal Update from Mark Conner

It is hard to believe that it has been 6 months today since I finished up as Senior Minister of CityLife Church. The month of February this year was such as special time as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of CityLife, had my farewell, and inducted Andrew Hill as the next Senior Minister. These important events all went so well and I look back with gratitude for that. Nicole and I are particularly thankful for the many 'thank you' notes and video messages we received from people both inside and outside of CityLife, as well as the generous gifts from... Read more →


The Beauty of Sleep

I'm on holidays and I'm loving every minute! My time off started just over 3 weeks ago. The difference in this break is that it began with me finishing employment at the same place for over 32 years. Needless to say, I have been gradually starting to relax and unwind, although it has taken discipline to not focus on what I have 'done' at the end of any particular day. My productivity bias is very strong! One thing I have noticed is how long and how deeply I have been sleeping. I guess you don't really know how tired you... Read more →


My Farewell Address: The Meaning of Life

What does one say in a farewell address? In biblical times, we have a record of parting words from people such as Jacob (Genesis 49:1-33), Joseph (Genesis 50:24-26), Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1 - 32:47), Joshua (Joshua 24:22-28), David (1Chronicles 29:10-20), Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20 and John 13-17) and Paul (Acts 20:18-25). In modern times, we can consider the farewell speeches of kings, presidents and prime ministers, as well as sports personalities, actors and entertainers. Whether it's Michael Scott saying 'goodbye' on the TV series The Office, Truman exiting The Truman Show (“In case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and... Read more →


What's Next?

After you say goodbye, what's next? What’s Next for Me I’ve been on church staff for the last 32 years and led the worship ministry as a volunteer for 5 years before that … so that's 37 years of continuous leadership responsibility. You can’t question my commitment :) Now that I am finished with my Senior Minister staff role, I will take a few months off - a rest, a 'drinks break', a sabbath. On top of the full array of regular Sunday church services over the last 30-40 years, I've been involved in Saturday night church services for 18... Read more →


Time to Say Goodbye

Last weekend was my final weekend speaking at CityLife Church as it's Senior Minister. It was a very emotional time for both Nicole and myself, but with a real sense of celebration of all that God has done. We are deeply grateful for the many words of encouragement, 'thank you' notes, gifts (I felt like a Christmas tree!), and the parting love offering from the congregation. Thanks to Peter Sheahan and the Board of Elders, as well as Peter Leigh and Daljit Gill for arranging all of this. We felt very honoured. It has been an honour and a privilege... Read more →


The Finish Line

Today was my last official day of work for 2016. I spoke at all 5 of our church's Christmas carols presentations this weekend. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people there, especially so many visitors. It's now 2 months and 8 days till I finish up in my role as Senior Minister of our church. That's 70 days all up but once you take out holidays and some days off, I only have 31 days of actual work left. That's hard to believe! Especially after being employed for 32 years at the... Read more →


The Great Unknown

Sometimes in life we experience 'more of the same' as we deal with the familiarity of routine. At other times, there is the adventure of new things and of entering uncharted waters. That's my life right now. I am in the process of transitioning out of a staff role at CityLife Church where I have served in various roles for almost 32 years, and for 22 years as the Senior Minister. I'll take 6 months off when I finish at the end of February 2017 then see what new opportunities may present themselves. I am also living between our new... Read more →


Update on Mark and Nicole Conner

At a Special General Meeting on 6th October, the CityLife members confirmed by an overwhelming majority the unanimous nomination by the Board of Elders of Andrew Hill as the next Senior Minister of CityLife Church (read my initial announcement about leadership transition back in February 2016, in case you missed that). I congratulate Andrew on this appointment and look forward to working with him over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition for him and the church. Good days are ahead. February 2017 will be a big month for our church as we celebrate our 50th anniversary (11-12th... Read more →


Confessions: A 3 Month License Suspension

Confession time ... Right now I am in the middle of serving a 3 month driving license suspension. Where I live in Australia, there is a demerit point system for driving offences such as speeding, driving through a red light, etc. If you accumulate 12 points or more in a 3 year period of time you lose your license for 3 months. I have been on 9 demerit points for a few years now and I have been driving exceptionally carefully, usually right on the speed limit using cruise control pretty much all of that time. Unfortunately, I received a... Read more →


Our 30th Wedding Anniversary

30 years ago today, Nicole and I were married. She was 20 and I was 24. You never know where the road of life may lead but I couldn't imagine a better traveling companion. Nicole is a person of deep compassion, courage and conviction. She is also heap of fun to do life together with and she is the best mother in the world to our amazing family. Most of all, Nicole is my best and dearest friend. As we come to the last chapter of this first book of our life, I am truly grateful to God and his... Read more →


Mark and Nicole

Nicole and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniverary this June. Nicole is my best friend and my life's climbing companion. I can't wait to see the joy that is around the next corner for both of us. To keep track of our whereabouts, check out our web site, which has been recently updated. [Photo taken while we were in Moscow last year where I was speaking at a pastor's conference for church leaders from all over Russia, hosted by the Word of Life Church, Moscow] Read more →


Happy Birthday, Nicole

Once upon a time there was this cute girl named Nicole. She launched out on this adventure called life and our paths intersected 30 years ago. She is now my best friend and my climbing companion. I can’t wait to see the joy that is just around the next corner for both of us. Happy birthday, my love! Read more →


Announcement about Mark Conner's Future

This weekend, I made the following announcement to my church family - CityLife Church. Obviously, it was a surprise to many, while not to others. There is a degree of sadness with any change like this but I am also encouraged by the amount of support I have received. [Watch on You Tube] I have given the matter of our church’s future, as well my own future, much prayer and reflection over the last eight months. As a result, I believe that it is time to start thinking about a successor – who will be the next Senior Minister of... Read more →


Reflections from my Sabbatical (Part 4)

So what now? That’s another good question. 1. Personally, I need to re-engage with church life and ministry. I need to get back in harness and up to speed with what God is now doing. I’ll gradually ease back in over the next few weeks. 2. We want to keep the current spiritual momentum going. God’s Spirit is at work. We’re not going to press rewind and play. The church has moved on. I have moved on. I have changed and grown. Other people have too. It’s time to keep moving forward. The Lord said to Moses, “Get up and... Read more →


Reflections from my Sabbatical (Part 3)

What did I learn during my sabbatical? In many ways, I see this moment and season as a significant crossroads for my life and ministry. The Lord once said to Jeremiah, “Stand (stop) at the crossroads and look around; ask for the ancient paths (the old, godly path), ask where the good way is, and walk in it (travel its path), and you will find rest for your souls (Jer.6:16)." In many ways, I have tried to do just that - stop, look around, ask and then walk. I have had numerous thoughts about my life and ministry. Here are... Read more →