Pastors & Leaders eNews - February 2024

Happy new year and welcome to Insights eNews for 2024. We hope and pray that the beginning of this new year has brought you joy and an expectation that God will lead and guide you in what he has called you to in 2024.

In this new year, as we continue towards 1000 healthy churches in a generation, we are hoping to recapture our movement’s commitment to prayer in a fresh way. It is an age-old commitment, but one we need to continually remind ourselves of, and rededicate ourselves to.

In Colossians 4:2-4 Paul urges the church to pray and covets their prayers for him in his mission.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.”

We want to call you to also devote yourselves to prayer this year, being watchful and thankful. And, like Paul, ask God to open a door for the message of the Gospel through our leaders, churches, regions and movement, as we proclaim that Gospel clearly, as we should.

So in 2024, in our 4 x 4 Prayer Initiative, we will be centring the prayer life of the Baptist movement around:

4 seasons (Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring), across
4 spotlights (Health, Justice, Leadership and Mission), in
4 spaces (as individuals, churches, regions and movement),
based on Colossians 4:4

In each month’s Insights eNews you’ll find lots of things to guide you in your prayers. In this first eNews for the year, you’ll find some specific prayer strategies and resources in our 4 x 4 Prayer Initiative which we hope you’ll engage in.

Also in this month’s eNews find out more about:

  • Insights Online coming up next week with guest Ian Hussey speaking on “Vital: what the Kingdom could look like in your context”.
  • Connect 24 days for people involved in kids, youth, families, young adults and SRE teaching, with guest speaker Mark McCrindle
  • State Youth Camp news
  • … lots more.

We’re praying for you, please pray for us.

Grae McWhirter
Associate Director, Strategic Support and Regional Development

Please engage as you are able in prayer through our 4×4 Prayer initiative. We’ll be rolling out a few different strategies to encourage prayer and resource you as individuals and in your churches to pray. These include:

4×4 Prayer Calendar

This is a quarterly prayer calendar, with prayer prompts based around that season’s spotlight, coming from across our churches, regions, BMC teams and partner organisations. If you would like to sign up for the Autumn Edition (April to June), go to the main page of the Association website, scroll down, fill in your details and click the “prayer and intercession” option.

4×4 Prayer Nights

Once each season, we’ll be meeting online to spend time praying from wherever you are. We’ll focus on that season’s spotlight and bring to God all that is happening across our 4 spaces.  Please put these times in your diaries and register by following the links below.

Autumn (Justice): Wednesday 15th May, 7.45pm to 8.30pm – register here

Winter (Leadership): Wednesday 14th Aug, 7.45pm to 8.30pm – register here

Spring (Mission): Wednesday 30th Oct, 7.45pm to 8.30pm – register here

4×4 Prayer Prompts for Pastors and Leaders

We’re going to post a weekly 4×4 prayer prompt in the Pastors and Leaders Facebook Group each Monday, to encourage leaders to pray. There’ll also be the opportunity for pastors and leaders to share their prayer points so we can pray for one another.

4 x 4 Prayer Visits and Messages

If you would like a BMC team member to visit your church to speak in a service, preach or talk at an event, we’d love to arrange a time to share about prayer (or anything else!). Please contact Grae McWhirter if you want to explore that option – gmcwhirter@nswactbaptists.org.au

4 x 4 Prayer Website and Resources

Please check out our 4×4 Prayer webpage to find prayer encouragements, links and resources which we’ll create and gather as the year progresses. Check back regularly as we grow this page over the coming weeks.

VITAL: What The Kingdom Could Look Like In Your Context

What could the Kingdom of God look like in your unique context?

Dr. Ian Hussey – pastor, lecturer, researcher and author – will be sharing insights that not only unpack how to discern an answer to this question, but also how to take your next best step toward that future. His 2023 co-authored book “Vital: An Exercise In Practical Theology For Australian Churches” explores extensive research and findings in this area.

Insights is a monthly time of information, connection and inspiration. Last year we saw leaders from across 173 churches within our movement gather throughout the year for Insights Zoom. We’ll be diving deeper into different areas of Leadership Development across each 1-hour session. Allowing each session to become an Insight into one of these areas.

If you are a Baptist leader do not miss this opportunity to invest in your leadership development. Be intentional in setting aside time to fellowship and grow with other Baptist leaders as we journey together to our Gen1K Goal of 1000 Healthy Churches in a Generation.

Join us at our ‘Insights Monthly Online Gathering’ on February 28th at 1:00 pm.

The dream for Connect 2024, is to connect people involved in kids, youth, families, young adults and SRE ministries to encourage, share stories and shape vision for our local contexts.

Our Connect days for 2024 are fast approaching and we are very excited to announce that our recorded Keynote Speaker this year is Mark McCrindle. Mark is a social analyst and demographer whose passions lie in tracking social trends, communicating insights and generational analysis.  Mark is also a person of faith. In addition to being the author of five books, Mark coined the term for the latest generation, Generation Alpha (those born between 2010 – 2024). Since founding McCrindle in 2006, Mark has presented thousands of keynotes and workshops in all major industries including finance, technology, health, mining, energy, and education for top global brands and organisations.

We would love for you and your team to join us at one of our regional based Connect days. Head to our website for more information, dates and registration details.

Some feedback from those who attended in 2023. 

One leader said their entire youth team travelled together to Connect and then had the afternoon and dinner together afterwards to debrief and share thoughts form the day it was a brilliant way to build team.

Another church is seeing the fruit of the new initiatives they implemented after hearing stories from other churches about ministry with children and young people.

SRE teachers have shared how valuable it was to be part of something that isn’t siloed off but as part of the whole church and its ministry to children and young people.

SYC 10 year celebration Dinner – save the date.

Can you believe State Youth Camp is celebrating 10 years this year??

To celebrate this milestone, there will be a celebration dinner on Saturday evening April 6th, 6-9pm in the main auditorium on level 1 of the Ministry & Learning Centre at Macquarie Park. We will be celebrating the past 10 years with previous speakers, leaders, staff, volunteers, campers and many more. Keep an eye on social media and your emails for ticket prices and registration details very soon.


Planning is well underway with our new State Youth Camp coordinator Jo White who started in her new role last week. Jo is no stranger to SYC as she has been part of the core team since 2016 as our Main Tent Coordinator.

We can’t wait to share many exciting things with you for SYC24 very soon. Make sure your group is already registered for SYC24 to get all the news first


Working With Children Check (WWCC) Renewal

Recently, the NSW Office of Children’s Guardian (OCG) has introduced a process to renew a WWCC without having to visit a Service NSW Centre. Visit the OCG’s website to renew and for further details here. New WWCC’s still require a visit to a Service NSW Centre.

Safe Church Team Network Evening advanced notice

Please save the date and plan to be there for this year’s Safe Church Team Network Evening – Tuesday 21st May 2024, 7:00pm to 9:30pm. You can either attend in person at the Ministry and Learning Centre at Macquarie Park or online via Zoom. This event is for church leaders and Safe Church Teams to be equipped and encouraged in this vital role within the life of your church. More details will follow soon.

Creating Safe Spaces v4 Training

We are excited to have launched an update to our Creating Safe Spaces training over December and January. This update has involved a refresh of the online module, including:

  • updating the video content
  • updating the written content
  • incorporating new legislative requirements
  • the development of an optional senior church leader and safe church team lesson
  • shortening of the module by 20% for most participants
  • introducing a category of further optional reading/viewing that participants can access to explore a topic more

We have also updated the content in the face-to-face module with an emphasis on practical application in large and small group discussions.

The online module is now available for purchase and churches can book a workshop at the Creating Safe Spaces website here (simply click on “purchase the online module” or “book a workshop”). You can also see the workshops that are available, including on Zoom (click “find a workshop”).

The Australian Baptist Easter Offering is a thousand churches combining to express our gratitude for Jesus and to invest in sharing him with others.

The offering supports Crossover – a national Baptist ministry that provides resources, training and encouragement to help Australian Baptists share Jesus with their friends and neighbourhoods.

You may know Crossover for the Plan A training course, National Baptism Week and baptism resources, or the Sacred Agents blog. To see all their resources or join their mailing list, visit the Crossover website. Crossover runs entirely on the donations of people and churches like us – so let’s support generously as we’re able.

For resources and tips on how to introduce the Australian Baptist Easter Offering to your church, visit the Crossover website here: https://www.crossover.org.au/australian-baptist-easter-offering/

Australian Baptists use various terms to describe their lay church leadership groups including elderships, diaconates, councils and boards. This brief anonymous survey is part of a research project by Ian Hussey from Malyon Theological College that seeks to identify the training needs of these Baptist church leaderships. Would you be willing to share the link to the survey with the lay leaders in your church? Ethical approval for this research has been given by the Malyon Theological College Ethics committee.

We are thrilled to unveil something special that we’ve been tirelessly working on. Our brand-new Association website is on the horizon! The new website will bring with it updates to content and new functions to help us serve you more efficiently.

Stay tuned for more updates coming soon and check out our new website once it goes live!

‘Our Story’ is where we share stories of our wider Baptist movement; stories from our journey towards our goal of becoming a movement of 1,000 healthy churches in a generation, stories of how Baptist Churches in NSW & ACT are navigating key issues, and stories from our affiliated groups. Sharing stories is vital so that we can learn from each other, be encouraged to persevere in our ministries, and witness how God is working amongst his Church. We hope that Our Story will be an inspiration for you and your church. In partnership with Alpha AustraliaOne Heart Blacktown has been running Alpha courses to inmates in Parklea Correctional Centre. To find out more about how God has been using this ministry in extraordinary ways in the lives of the men of Parklea, click the link below.

If you have a story about how your ministry, church, or region is stepping into the Gen1K vision send an email to hello@nswactbaptists.org.au with more details.
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