by Stephen Baxter (Mission Director Tasmanian Baptists
Published: 12/11/2021 (3 weeks ago)

 Westbury Baptist Church (Pastoral Search)
Read the full Position Description Here

The Westbury Baptist Church community is looking for a new Pastor and family to commence early in the 2022 Year. We hope the following information gives you some idea of the context and the sort of person we are looking for to work with the church community to lead us into the future. 

The ‘Core Beliefs’ section of the documentation will give you some idea of the elements of the Christian faith that are important to us and that bind us together. Clearly, the list is not exhaustive. 

We believe that God has set aside someone to fill this role and we would welcome the opportunity to hear from you and to talk through any questions you might have about the position, the township and how we might ‘make HIM better known’. The documents make it clear that we are prepared to explore options around the role with prospective applicants. 

Westbury is uniquely placed in so many ways. We are close to Launceston, which has all the major services of the second largest city in Tasmania and which is also the commercial heart of Northern Tasmania. We are close to a major airport and to the Devonport ferry terminus for the Spirit of Tasmania Service. There is potential for future population growth in Westbury both as a dormitory suburb of Launceston, but also as a light industrial hub on the major highway between the Port of Burnie and Hobart. 

The Westbury Baptist Church has a strong evangelical legacy and we are seeking to fulfil God’s will by revitalising that mission, as well as servicing the human and spiritual needs of the congregation and the local community. 

We are open to new possibilities and we look forward to hearing from you. 

Any approach should be made through the Tasmanian Baptist Union. 

 

 

Westbury Baptist Church Profile 

‘To know Christ better and to make Him better known’ 

1. Westbury Township 

Westbury Baptist Church is located in the beautiful and historic township of Westbury, about 25 minutes from Launceston, the second largest city in Tasmania. The Western Tiers provides a stunning backdrop to this rural township that services the local agricultural community and is increasingly, a dormitory suburb of Launceston. 

The township is reasonably well serviced with a brand new IGA, a number of cafes/coffee shops/take-aways, a public primary school, a gourmet butcher, several small hardware/rural supplies businesses, a pharmacy, a hotel, a distillery, the RSL Club, a Dental surgery and two Doctors surgeries. It is also a small industrial hub of sorts, and is centrally located to ports, highways and the major urban centres in Tasmania. Housing construction and Pharmaceuticals (morphine from poppies) feature prominently. The State Government has proposed that a prison be built on Birralee Road on the outskirts of Westbury. Launceston is the second largest city in Tasmania and is well serviced with every amenity/service. 

Westbury hosts a number of tourist attractions including Pearn’s Steam World which holds an amazing collection of old steam and farm equipment, as well as Australia’s only reputed traditional village green. 

2. Westbury Demographic (Census Data 2016) Westbury has a population of around 2000 people. The median age is 50 years. There are equal numbers of men and women from mainly English, Australian and European backgrounds. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people make up 2.5% of the population. Over a quarter of the population are over 65+ years and 16% under 15 years of age. English is the dominant language spoken at home and 2/3 of the population claim to be Christian, mainly Anglican and Catholic. Roughly 2/3 are married or in a defacto relationship. Half the couple families in Westbury do not have children, 35% have children, and 13% are one-parent families. Of the one-parent families, 77% are female and 23% male. 

Of all households, 66% were family households, 32% were single person households and 2% were group households. In Westbury, 32% of households had a weekly household income of less than $650 and 5% of households had a weekly income of more than $3000. Home and car ownership is the norm with generally two people living in a 3 bedroom house and 40% of private dwellings owned outright. 

Over 40% of the population are in work with 50% of people in full time work. Occupations range across the full gamut from professional to labouring jobs, with the levels of education largely allied to trades, management, community and service roles, and labouring jobs. 

3. Westbury Housing Market The median house price in June was $357,500 for a three bedroom home and $604,500 for a four bedroom home. The rental market is tight at the moment with the median rent around $388 per week. 

4.The Church Building (53 Franklin Street) Westbury Baptist Church was completed in 2003. It is a modern, open and welcoming multi-function facility. Features of the building include an auditorium to seat 60-80+ people, a commercial style kitchen which can cater for gatherings and community groups, and a large sunny foyer, ideal for group meetings. 

There is a facility for young children with an enclosed playroom. The Church building also includes a couple of consulting rooms, which have the potential to be used by health care professionals or community services. The building is called ‘Parklands’. 

5. Westbury Baptist Church Demographic Many Westbury Baptist Church members have strong ties to the land and have been farmers or have grown up around farms. As a consequence, there is a distinctive ‘can do’ attitude and resilience found in our church community and whilst we have an aging demographic, humour is never very far from the surface. More importantly, our congregation is steadfast in their faith and committed to their Christian beliefs. Many of our oldest members, both men and women, have been elders, deacons (servants) and church leaders in a variety of roles over many years. They continue to serve but hunger for a younger cohort to take up the cross and put their shoulder to the wheel. 

We currently have 36 members (up to half are active) and around 30 attendees (about half attend on a semi regular basis). We have an aging demographic (around half of the congregation or more are over 80). 

6. History to the Establishment of the Westbury Baptist Church Westbury Baptist Church has deep evangelical roots that go all the way back to the early 1870s, when the great preacher, the Rev C.H. Spurgeon, began sending out young students from his Pastors’ College in England. Spurgeon’s son, Thomas, visited Tasmania five times between 1878 and 1890. The generosity of Mary Ann and William Gibson, wealthy pastoralists of Native Point, Perth, made this possible. They paid for the passage of these men, as well as contributing to the cost of building churches, chapels, halls and manses. 

The essence of the Spurgeon tradition was an unashamed, powerful, and evangelistic preaching tradition … Spurgeon’s men and the Gibsons were ambitious doers rather than thinkers (Rowston 2011). The Blackwood Church was opened in 1879 following representation to the Gibsons in 1878 from Thomas Spurgeon and Mr Harry Wood. The Liffey Church followed in 1881, Bracknell Church in 1884, and the Cluan Church opened in 1906. 

These four churches became the Bracknell District Baptist Churches (BDBC). By the late 1950’s/early 1960’s, Mr Harold West commenced monthly Sacred Singing at the Westbury Town Hall supported by Mr Jack Gillam and members of all the other Westbury churches. These nights continued into the 1980’s. 

In the early 1990’s, a number of Cluan Church members formed the view that they should hold church services in Westbury. As a consequence, the Westbury Baptist Church Fellowship commenced in 1991 as an outreach from the BDBC. They held services, first monthly and then fortnightly in the Westbury Town Hall Supper Room, and then later, in the Westbury Community Health Centre. 

In March 1992, the BDBC purchased a 2 acre block in Westbury and it was this collective vision, sponsorship and financial support that saw the establishment of the Westbury Baptist Church on 14th June 2003. 

Like many churches in Tasmania, Westbury Baptist Church has an aging demographic and is facing the very real prospect of further decline in the coming years. Over the past seven years, there has been a focus on solid biblical teaching led by Pastor Michael Ritchie. Michael is retiring at the end of this year and the Westbury Baptist Church has been wrestling with what we might do in the future, to build on 4 the strong historical foundations of outreach, that is bone, marrow and sinew to our collective heritage. There are still strong family links within the congregation to those ‘doers’ that established those churches in the BDBC. 

Planning has been ongoing for many months now. On Sunday 11th July 2021, Church members supported the proposition that the Westbury Baptist Church would reaffirm our focus on outreach, with a view to ‘making Him better known’ in the Westbury community. In practical terms, this means that we intend to commit a significant proportion of our resources to employing a full time Pastor, who has the ability to develop strong relationships into the community and who primarily, has a gift and a passion for mission. We are looking for a person with a young family, who will live in Westbury and commit to at least four years. It is our very prayerful ambition to build a church that is relevant, outward looking and willing to become the ‘hands and feet’ of Christ. 

This is clearly a vision dependent on God and the desire of our Church to fulfil what we are all called to do. We would be fishers of men/women. Like our Christian forbears, we aspire to be doers. God willing. 

7. The Westbury Baptist Church Plan (Envisioning the Future 2022-2025) 

7.1 Seek volunteers to form a Prayer Group whose single focus every week is to seek God’s purpose and blessing to ‘Make Him better Known’ in Westbury, to pray for understanding about what needs there are in Westbury, and to pray for the future of Westbury Baptist Church. 

7.2 Establish a ‘Call Committee’ to employ a new Pastor at the Westbury Baptist Church. As part of that work, undertake a program of visitation to those churches in Tasmania who are actively involved in mission/pastoring and have demonstrated church growth. 

7.3 Plan for the Employment of a full time Pastor located in Westbury who has the ability to develop strong relationships into the community and who primarily has a gift and a passion for mission. 

7.4 Develop a realistic strategy for community engagement in Westbury. Seek volunteers and form a small group to identify opportunities in the Westbury community to be the hands and feet of Jesus. 

7.5 Foster Fellowship and Support within the Westbury Baptist Community. Examples include: 

  • Implement an Information and Prayer Chain. 
  • Develop opportunities to be a welcoming and hospitable church. 
  • Implement a Hospitality Sunday Program for those interested to provide an opportunity for the church to fellowship together. 
  • Provide an opportunity for members of the church to participate in the Alpha Program through the creation of Home Church Groups (up to 8 people). These groups would meet in homes and share a meal every 2-3 weeks and work through the program, as well as come together for worship, prayer and fellowship 
  • Develop a calendar of fellowship activities. 

7.6 Plan for the following Promotional Measures to advertise Westbury Baptist Church in association with the appointment of the new pastor. Examples include: 

  • Erect an electronic Noticeboard adjacent to the road, outside the church, to promote activities, service times etc. 
  • Ensure street signs are prominent and note the location and direction to Westbury Baptist Church 
  • Consider the possibility of changing the signage at the front of the church to say Westbury Family and Community Church 
  • Advertise the Westbury Baptist Church in a variety of Media 

 

Current Westbury Baptist Church Activities 2021 

  1. Sunday Service
    Services are held every Sunday commencing 10.00am. This is followed by a ‘cuppa’ in the Foyer area. The format of the church service is traditional, as is the nature of worship. But there is a heart for change and the desire for younger families to join the congregation.
  2. Kids Club
    Westbury Baptist Church actively supports the local Primary School Chaplain. The Chaplain and her family attend Westbury Baptist Church. As part of the Chaplaincy role, the Church sponsors the Kids Club, which operates fortnightly on a Thursday between 3.15pm- 3.45pm in the Church building during school term. Kids Club caters for primary school aged children.
  3. Chat ‘n Choose
    This group meets every Thursday morning 9.30am – 12.00pm. The focus of the meeting is fellowship built around a common interest in handcrafts. Morning tea is offered and a short devotional ‘Think Spot’ shared by one of the leaders. This group has also been involved in significant fund raising over the years.
  4. Regular Bible Study/Prayer Meeting
    Current practice is that a Prayer Meeting commences 10.00am every Friday and this is followed with a Bible Study between 11.00-12.00am. The Pastor is currently responsible for leading the Bible Study.
  5. Mens 8 Ball
    Mens 8 Ball meets every Thursday at 7.30pm in the Church building to catch up and enjoy fellowship with each other. Skill is not a pre-requisite to membership. 

 

Westbury Baptist Church Governance
The Church has updated Constitution and Policy documents that provide guidance to the church around membership, the election of church leaders, meetings and general organisational matters. 

1What do we want the Westbury Baptist Church to look like in 2025?
We are a church focused on God’s word and in particular we want to make Him better known in Westbury. Like the Apostle Paul, we will adapt to a changing world and make our message relevant, meaningful and contemporary. 

We acknowledge our many frailties but we aspire to be a community of believers that is kind, compassionate, humble, gentle, patient, helpful to one another and forgiving. We would be thankful, prayerfully alert, wise and interesting in the way that we act towards those who are not believers, and capable of giving the right answer to everyone. 

We are a vibrant, outward looking church with a spiritual presence in Westbury. We are a church that is welcoming and encouraging of people. We live lives that reflect love and hope, so much so, that people observing us will want to know why. We are supportive of each other, truly love each other and welcome productive change. We are a church that doesn’t frighten people away at their first visit. We find ways to be the ‘hands and feet’ of Jesus. 

We are less interested in what we (personally) want and more focused on practices, worship and ways of doing business that ‘bear spiritual fruit’. We walk away from practices that don’t bear fruit. 

We are a congregation of believers with a balanced demographic that includes increasing numbers of families with children. We welcome the sound of children crying during the Sunday service.