Pastors & Leaders eNews - May 2023

Hi Pastors and Leaders, and welcome to our latest Insights E-News!

One of the ways to encourage each other in mission and ministry is by hearing and telling the stories of how God has been at work.  Our Story is a space where we can do this across our movement!  It’s a great place to visit regularly for encouragement and ideas. Please also share your stories to inspire others.

Our Assembly Council meets this month for the first time since Assembly, in an all-day retreat.  Please be in prayer for new members and for the Council as it commences the significant volume of work following the Assembly, especially following the resolutions passed regarding Affiliation, Baptist Values and Marriage.

And finally, at the end of June Rev Dr Ross Clifford finishes in his role at Principal of Morling, after 26 years leading our College.  Ross’ impact on the College and on our movement through this role is hard to overestimate.  A generation of pastors and cross-cultural workers have been equipped under his leadership, and the College has grown to prepare people in a breadth of roles within the church and far beyond.  Ross has brought a huge capacity and energy to his principalship as well as creativity and an unswerving commitment to see people equipped to take the unchanging gospel to our changing world.  Ross, our movement is much the richer for your service.  Thank you.  We wish you and Beverly God’s rich blessings in your next season of life and ministry.

Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries

Helpie FAQ

  • Our Association Strategic Plan - Developing Leaders

    During The Gathering Incorporating the Annual Assembly held at the beginning of May, the Assembly accepted the 2023-25 Strategic Plan. The Plan can be summarised in our three priority areas: Developing Leaders, Mobilising Healthy Churches, and Partner in Ministry.

    The first priority is Develop Leadership across our movement in three dimensions:
    1. increasing the number of leaders,
    2. widening the diversity of leaders, and
    3. deepening the character, competence and capacity of leaders.

    Check out what Craig and Jenny had to say at the Assembly about Developing Leaders and what that looks like on the ground!


  • Baptist World Congress July 2025 in Brisbane!

    Meet your global family as Baptists from all over the world descend on Brisbane’s Convention Centre and Exhibition Centre.

    For more than 100 years, Baptists from across the globe have gathered for the Baptist World Congress. Hosted every five years in rotating regional locations, the 23rd Baptist World Congress will take place July 7-12, 2025, in Brisbane! This is a partnership between the Baptist World Alliance, and our Australian Baptist movement.

    The Congress Logo has just been released!  Designed by Australian Indigenous artist Mariah Sweetman, the branding is rich with symbolic meaning.

    The event theme is “Living the Good News” drawn from Luke 4: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (v. 18-19)

    “The theme and passage inspired the storytelling design in an artistic style that is unique to Australian First Nations people,” said Sweetman.

    The river design is centered on living the good news through the “Living Water,” the phrase Jesus uses in John 4 when ministering to the woman at the well. The water shape depicted in the logo symbolizes the journey of believers to Christ.

    Watch an interview with artist Mariah Sweetman to learn more about the logo’s meaning, and visit BWABrisbane.com for more information about the 23rd Baptist World Congress.

  • OurStory

    ‘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.

    The Open Circle is a new church plant in Gungahlin, ACT. After two years of building, the Open Circle is six weeks old and taking on a life of its own. “This is what the church is meant to be,” says Mark, church planter, “a group of people in community learning about and gathering around Christ”. To read the article and find out more click HERE

    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.

  • Simple Church Foundations

    The Baptist Simple Church Network would like to invite pastors, ministry leaders and small group leaders to explore opportunities to start simple churches in our community. The Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT are committed to a Gen1K vision to see 1000 healthy churches across our movement in a generation. Foundations is an opportunity to learn how you or others in your church can connect with new people and serve God in your surrounding neighbourhood.

    Simple Church Foundations is a 1.5 hour online interactive seminar designed for people who have good relational skills and are passionate in connecting with people and encouraging them to follow Jesus. Simple Church Foundations will give you the essential building blocks of starting a ‘simple’ church group, and work through the theological basis for church and provide practical experiences of simple forms of church.

    The workshop will be presented by local leaders with long experience in church planting and in alternative forms of church. It will include:

    • First steps – discerning God’s calling, how to get support, guidance and how to get started.
    • What ‘church’ could look like – discover how forms of church can be contextually adapted to engage with specific communities while also being consistent with a biblical understanding of church (e.g. simple church, dinner church, missional community, messy church, discipleship groups and others)
    • Essential practices for groups – explore how to pray and worship God, discuss, and learn from the bible and explore how to follow Jesus together.
    • Experiences – Common opportunities and challenges faced in starting a new (simple) church

    To find out more and to register click HERE

  • That Thing - June 19-20

    You are invited to be part of That Thing – a time for those serving in other than senior/solo ministry roles to connect, reflect and refresh! An opportunity for you to get some time away that develops you as a leader and will refresh your mind and spirit.

    Unfortunately, we’ve have had a technology glitch and registrations have not been working. If you have tried to register and didn’t get through to payment our apologies. The system is working again so head straight over and register now. ​​​​​​​

    We are creating a space for you to experience creativity, stillness, inspiration, challenge and encouragement in a beautiful environment with delicious food and outstanding company.

    For more information and to register visit the website HERE, or if you have any questions please email Kathy Dwyer – ​​​​​​​kdwyer@nswactbaptists.org.au 

  • State Kids Camp 2023

    State Kids Camp 2023 is coming up in the first week of the July school holidays!  Camp will be packed full of fun, new friends, and peak faith experiences.  If you know someone in Years 4-7 at school, we’d love them to join in at Kiah Ridge for this two-night, three-day, memory making peak experience.

    Throughout camp we’ll be asking the question, “Who Am I?”  As God’s children, we are chosen, forgiven, and deeply loved by God; members of his family, disciples and worshippers.  Camp will be packed full of interactive hands on Bible learning, content creation, awesome activities and much more! 

    Visit statekidscamp.org.au for more info and to register by 11 June.

  • State Youth Camp

    Over 500 young people from over 20 churches over 4 days – That is State Youth Camp! And it needs you​​​​​​​!!!

    We need your young adults. We need your retirees. We need anyone in your church or your network who loves young people and can spare a few hours or the entire weekend to serve the youth and their leaders at State Youth Camp!

    Camp runs from the 22-25th of September at Cataract Scout Park, Appin, and we will have people on the ground from the 20-27th of September to set up and pack down the camp site.

    We need everything from prayer warriors to lights and AV support. Site safety, first aid and ushers. We need baristas and donut makers. Activities support and just plain ol’ “stick me wherever you need me” volunteers.

    Register to Volunteer at SYC

  • Leadership Development 101 - A New Resource to Develop your Junior Leaders

    Leadership Development 101 is launching soon!  This training course is specifically designed for junior leaders aged 11-17, who are serving (or soon to begin serving) in an area of local church ministry.  Whether you have junior leaders serving in children’s, youth, worship, hospitality or technology ministries, or in any other area, this course will develop their leadership skills.  Topics covered include character, spiritual growth, teamwork, communication, spiritual gifts, skill development, safety and much more.

    The course is delivered online, with each lesson containing a short video to watch, an activity to do, something to reflect on, and a conversation to have with your ministry leader.  The course is very flexible in its delivery – it can be done by individuals or small groups, at your own pace.  For more information and to stay updated, visit the website HERE

  • Disaster Relief Update

    Western District Floods

    Six months ago, the western districts of NSW experienced a significant flood that affected a number of regional cities. Places like Molong, Eugowra, Cudal, Forbes and others. The Baptist churches across the country responded with generosity and raised over $103,000. We were able to mobilise some of those funds and support our local churches in those areas to be the hands and feet of Jesus. With multiple crises in that region over the last several years, the needs were compounding, especially around mental health. A few months ago we were able to appoint a community chaplain and, a couple of months ago, Marbuen Diaz (Team Leader – Church Witness & CALD Lead) and a consultant were able to visit the region. They ran workshops with Molong Baptist Church and other church leaders as they shift from immediate relief projects to also including projects that look to recover and build resilience. Check this video to see a summary of that field visit.

    Lismore Floods

    February marked one whole year since the Lismore floods in 2022. On the most part, a lot of progress has been made. But in some significant ways, there has been a lack of progression – especially in the matters of housing. As a Baptist family we responded in community relief and recovery… and we continue to do so today. Currently, we are embarking on a ‘narrative therapy’ project that captures their story and promotes community resiliency. Research shows that in any disaster space, matters of resilience need to be intentional and resiliency is also critical to how communities respond to future hardships. We are currently halfway through this project so please continue to pray for it.

  • Advanced Creating Safe Spaces

    Are you committed to providing a safe place for all people in your church? Would you like to develop skills and grow in confidence in managing this important aspect of ministry? Would you like to do that with other pastors and leaders across our movement, benefitting from a learning experience together?

    In July and August this year, Jonathan Bradford (our Standards Manager) will be hosting Advanced Creating Safe Spaces Training. This training for pastors, leaders, and safe church teams is designed to supplement the Creating Safe Spaces workshops run by the Baptist Association to further develop understanding of safe church practices. We will hear from industry and ministry leaders with experience in child protection, risk management, leadership, and church culture. The training also provides an opportunity to discuss and formulate plans of action for scenarios that could arise within your church. The purpose of these is to build skills and confidence in managing them and giving awareness of resources available to support you. The training is run over two days (2 weeks apart) with both in person and online options available. The cost is $100, with discounted tickets for subsequent registrations from the same church. For more information and to book, please visit the website HERE

    We look forward to seeing you at ACSS!

  • Recognising and Responding to the needs of Pastors’ Spouses

    This month at our online Insights pastors and leaders gathering, Krystyna Kidson shared on “The Hidden Sacrifice – Recognising and Responding to the Needs of Pastor’s Spouses”. Krystyna provided valuable input into the unique experiences and needs of pastor’s spouses, and we highly recommend checking out the recording of this session HERE  if you missed it live.

    Be sure to join us at our next Insights Gathering on Wednesday 21 June, more details coming soon.

  • Stand with Myanmar

    Marbuen Diaz (Team Leader – Church Witness & CALD Lead) recently attended a multicultural pastor’s retreat in Victoria. He listened as a pastor from a Myanmar diaspora church apologised for appearing tired that morning session. The reason for that tiredness? Well, it was for staying up multiple nights in a row – hearing, grieving and praying, as he heard of houses and church buildings being burned down close to the borders of Myanmar… a place what was his home. These weren’t just structures made of wood or cement – they were places of refuge for his people. He told us that he had run out of tears and did not know what to do anymore. But he clings to the hope of Jesus and his way. At the point of his sharing, around 120 church buildings had been burnt down.

    In light of this continuing and growing conflict, the National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries came together to pray and work out how to stand in solidarity with the people of Myanmar. They call on the Australian government to:

      • increase humanitarian visas to refugees from Myanmar, particularly from ethnic areas such as the Chin, Kachin, Karen and Karenni States where people have been displaced and wait for settlement for upward of 35 years.
      • increase humanitarian aid to these ethnic areas that struggle to receive international support due to Myanmar Government restrictions.
      • increase pressure on the Myanmar government through further sanctions against individuals and companies associated with the Myanmar military and further action at ASEAN and the UN
      • increase pressure on the Indian Government to issue exit permits to refugees who have already been granted Australian visas.

    Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) is leading robust, high level and direct conversations with DFAT, in partnership with other denominational church agencies regarding current (limited) spread of foreign aid and the acute need of local communities of every ethnicity. Baptist Mission Australia (BMA) are running an appeal as a way to support the humanitarian relief, build local care capacity, stand alongside pastors and support the development of a new generation of leaders. Please consider supporting this and publicising the opportunity to your church.

    “If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it.”  (1 Cor 12:26)

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