I am Richard Foster, husband to Roslyn, father of 6 and grandfather to ten. I am a resident of the west coast of Australia and live in a suburban community about 100 miles from the State capital of Perth. Australia is an affluent nation that enjoys high levels of health and safety. It is quite isolated from the world by its geographic location and history. Perth occupies the same time zone as Beijing and Singapore, and it is cheaper to travel to Indonesia from Perth than the other capital cities in Australia.
The high standard of living, isolation, comparative wealth and security of Western Australia is reflected in the beliefs of many of its people. There is a general sense of self-sufficiency, and, therefore, the need for God is not recognized.
There are indigenous communities, and the increase in migration, especially from Asia is bringing change from the Colonial past and a greater exposure to different faiths and cultures which is beginning to have an effect on public policy, sense of self and identity. Ministry can be comfortable, but testing. By census over 60% of the nation identify as Christian but less than 10% attend any place of worship. Australia has been cited as being one of the most atheistic countries in the world.
I came to the Lord in my late teens after flirting first of all with the street culture and then the ‘flower power’ movement of the late 60’s and 70’s. Having grown in a fairly dysfunctional home, I sought a sense of identity in various sub cultures without much success. At the invitation of a friend I attended a fundamentalist church where I came to believe in the reality of God without feeling the need to make any sought of personal commitment to Him, however after a period of wrestling and questioning I understood the need to surrender my will to the Lordship of Jesus and accepted him as my saviour. As still quite a young believer I was invited by my Pastor, and the first mentor, to preach in a youth service. I think I made a mess of it, but he obviously saw something I didn’t and persevered with providing encouragement and opportunities. Ever since I have felt called to communicate the word of God by preaching and teaching.
Initially my desire to enter vocational ministry was not shared by wife, so I worked in areas of administration and management until 1986 when I joined a para-church organisation on ‘faith’ basis. Over the next years, I moved between pastoral roles and business type activities until being invited into a full-time pastoral role. While I had studied in various places and at different times, I didn’t proceed to conclude formally any formal Biblical or Theological training, and life just got too busy. After a period lecturing in a secular college, I was invited to assume the role of Senior Pastor in the church I now serve and where my wife and I expect to remain for some time.
Despite advancing age, I retain the dream of challenging young people and providing them with the confidence and belief to achieve their goals. Until recently I was working bi-vocationally as a Lecturer in Business and Management, specifically to final year high school students who were not coping with usual school curricula. I have also been invited to travel to Uganda to help to teach capacity building to young men and women there as well as to provide some training to disengaged youth in mining town close to where I currently live. These, I believe are components of the dream that remains within me.
This course through CLI will, I believe, provide me with some structured learning and discipline to aid in fulfilling that dream.
I have been called to a local church as Pastor, and so I have its endorsement on my life and calling. This is a church of young families in a growing community. It does not own buildings or real estate but has a passion to reach the community, especially those in the 4 to 14-year-old window. The most effective way that others can pray for me is that I will be able to balance the challenges of the administration of a church while retaining my passion for preaching and teaching the word of God.