Pastors & Leaders eNews - March 2024

Hello and welcome to the March edition of Insights Enews.

Easter is early this year! Lent is already upon us. Ramadan is being celebrated too and Passover is just days away. Our society is still steeped in faith traditions, spiritual practices and a yearning for something more than the physical realities of this world.

It, of course, has been a pretty quick turnaround for many of our pastors and churches to move from the summer holiday season, through getting your communities together and active for the year ahead, to now preparing for your annual Easter celebrations and services.

While the early date of Easter might be in the middle of a whirlwind of activity, it is of course a central pillar of our annual faith rhythms and reflections which resonates across communities, beliefs and traditions. And so, Easter provides a great opportunity to connect with friends, family and the wider community with an expected recounting of the story of Jesus and a message of sacrifice, love, forgiveness, new life and hope.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. (Colossians 4:5-6 – NLT)

Let’s pray for each other in the midst of the Easter flurry, that God would grant energy and renew our spirits, watching for the opportunities this season will provide to declare the love of Jesus with our words and in our actions.

As usual, Insights Enews focuses us on just some opportunities provided for us to engage in the journey of living wisely and making the most of what is before us. Check out updates and actions around:

  • Connect Days for your children, youth and SRE leaders;
  • The “LeadUp” retreat for Associate Pastors and other church staff who aren’t in the Senior Pastor role;
  • State Youth Camp 10 Year Anniversary Celebrations;
  • 4 x 4 Prayer Autumn season;
  • … and lots more.

May God bless you, your churches and your communities this Easter season,

Grae McWhirter
Associate Director, Strategic Support and Regional Development

Following the Way Forward motion (as amended) from our 2023 Annual Assembly, Assembly Council presented to the movement Recommended Processes for Churches and Pastors relating to Affiliation, Baptist Values and Marriage.

For your reference you may access the document outlining the recommended processes using the link below.

Don’t forget about our two opportunities to provide feedback or to ask questions about the Recommended Processes. 

The first is a series of online feedback sessions facilitated by Rev Pete Davies (Boambee Baptist), Dr Barbara Griffin (Epping Baptist) and others. Each session will be limited to 20 people each so make sure that you use the links below to register and guarantee your spot.  

The second opportunity to give feedback is an online form responding to the following 3 questions:

  • What do you consider are the positive aspects of the Recommended Processes?
  • Please identify any parts of the document that you feel need clarifying or require more detail.
  • After reading the Recommended Processes, what aspects, if any, raise concerns for you? For each concern, please note where in the document you are referring to and why you believe it presents a problem.

Persons using the written feedback option will need to supply their name and church for their responses to be processed. Opportunity to respond will be open until the end of Friday 22nd March.

Last Saturday March 16th we saw over 170 people attend our first 4 Connect days at Sydney North, Riverina, Illawarra/South Coast and Greater West for Christ/Blue Mountains.

We have 2 more Connect evenings in April and 4 more Connect days in May. We would love for you and your team to join us at one of our regional based Connect days.

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.

It’s not too late to register, click the button below and register for your region now.

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 from 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.

Join us for an inspirational time at our Insights Online Gathering on 27th March at 1:00pm, as Adam Holland, CEO of Open Doors, delves into the untold stories of perseverance and leadership from persecuted church pastors and leaders. Don’t miss this opportunity to gain wisdom from those who exemplify unwavering commitment to their faith and mission. Register now to secure your spot and unlock the secrets of enduring leadership.

Our second season of prayer is approaching. In Autumn our prayer spotlight is Justice. Please pray from April to June that our churches will be places where community transformation is championed, where the vulnerable are loved and safe and where we advocate for causes which work against injustice, oppression and abuse. If you are not already receiving our quarterly prayer calendar, we’d love you to sign up to receive it. We’d also love you to register for our quarterly online prayer gatherings. The next 4×4 online gathering will be our Autumn get together on Wednesday 15th May at 7.45pm to 8.30pm. If you want to sign up for the next edition of the prayer calendar or register for the next online prayer gathering, head to the 4×4 Prayer page by clicking below:

When a pastor or church leader retires it is sometimes difficult to stay connected to what is happening in the Association. Many Pastors would still like to receive updates from the Association after retirement such as prayer requests, information regarding some Association activities and updates of the health or passing of pastors.

Recognising this, we have created a new mailing list dedicated to keeping you updated on the latest news from our Association without needing to receive every email.

To subscribe to our Former Pastors mailing list, simply fill out the Communications Preferences form on the bottom of our home page and select the “Retired Pastors Updates” option

LeadUp is a space for those serving in the staff team of Baptist Churches but who are not the senior or lead pastor. The aim is to make investment into their leadership.

We are very excited to let you know registrations for LeadUp 2024 are now open!!!!!!

Date: 6-7 May 2024

Venue: Kiah Ridge Conference Centre, Tahmoor, NSW

Your plan is to thrive not just survive in ministry. We know to live and lead well requires some intentional times of development.

This year the theme is Futureproofing your Leadership. Our time together will include wisdom and input from other leaders, opportunities for connection and sharing, space for reflection and considering the next steps in leadership development for you and those you lead.

Together we will explore:

  • Futureproofing your leadership
  • Futureproofing your soul
  • Futureproofing the team
  • Futureproofing the mission

Our facilitators will include the GEN1K Leadership Development Team alongside Richard Black from Mind Health.

To register, click the button below.

SYC 10 year celebration Gala Dinner 

We invite you to join with us as we celebrate the 10-year Anniversary of Baptist Youth & Young Adults Ministries State Youth Camp. We want to celebrate with past speakers, campers, volunteers, staff, leaders anyone who shared time or resources with us in the past 10 years.

During the evening, we will hear stories from the past 10 years, watch some highlight and blooper videos plus hear of the exciting plans for SYC in 2024 and into the future.

This event is also a fundraiser for the future. We will have opportunities for you to give to this wonderful ministry opportunity with our young people.

We have created a pay via invoice ticket for those who would prefer to register their ticket and pay at a later date via invoice rather than online with a credit card.

RSVP is 26th March so make sure you click the link below ASAP and register your seat for what will be an amazing night of eating, story sharing and celebrating all that God is doing!

Hope to see you all there!

Group Registration for State Youth Camp 2024

Camper registrations open soon.

Is your Youth group registered yet?
Click the button below to register your group now so your youth can register as soon as registration opens!!

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. The topic will be “Addressing Domestic and Family Violence in our Communities”. The evening will be facilitated by Carolyn Cousins who has extensive professional experience in the field of trauma, including domestic and family violence along with other presenters. 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. Please look out for further communications from us soon including an online rego form.

‘OurStory’ 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. Our Baptist churches continue to work with and amongst Indigenous communities to bring hope and healing. Northside Baptist Church has partnered with Common Grace as they wrestle with how to do this well.

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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