Hi pastors and leaders,

As this year draws close and I reflect on the last 12 months I am reminded of the importance of trust and flexibility – trust in our God and flexibility to roll with those many things that come our way in life and ministry over which we have no control.  It certainly (again) has not been the year many of us were planning.  What a relief and encouragement to know that God not only is familiar with every twist and turn we will encounter on our leadership journey but walks constantly with us in it!

Thanks to everyone who was part of our first Call To Prayer Online Prayer Gathering last Tuesday evening.  It was fantastic to bring our movement before God, to know his wisdom in our current challenging discussions around how we express mutual commitment to those things we hold to be core to our voluntary association together, and how we understand and express this as Baptists.  Our next opportunity to do this together will be Wednesday 9 February 7.45pm-8.30pm online and further details will follow in the new year.  Can I encourage you to join and be part of this significant commitment to prayer!

In lieu of our recent cancelled Assembly, 4 short update videos have been prepared which you can view here.  They include really encouraging updates of our shared vision, and exciting news about ongoing development on our campus at Macquarie Park in Sydney.  

As Christmas approaches, I am reminded that there are numerous things that would distract us from taking time to “Adore Him, Christ the Lord”. Christmas is a powerful reminder that in Christ, God meets us in our vulnerability and walks alongside us in our challenges. He is also Christ the Lord – the resurrected One whose power is available to strengthen us each day (Col 1:11).

I am praying that each of us may have our hearts filled again this Christmas with the wonder of Christ’s coming for us.

 

Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn king;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies.
With the angelic host proclaim
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Blessings,
Steve

Welcome to our Insights News for October.

Gratitude is a powerful thing.  G. K. Chesterton said: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

In times of great challenge, I find myself less likely to be able to easily be grateful and wonder. And yet, it is at these times that I probably need gratitude the most!

The world is coming out of one of the hardest community challenges in perhaps a century. And it isn’t over yet. The challenges of re-emerging from the anxiety of this crisis are ongoing. The impacts on our mental health and wellbeing will be felt in ourselves and in the churches we love and lead for weeks, months and maybe years. So how do we gain perspective? Where is hope? It can start with a posture of gratitude and wonder. This can unlock for us moments of peace in the midst of anxiety, times of refreshment in periods of exhaustion, and glimpses of hope during feelings of discouragement. So:

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:15-17.)

So as you approach the challenges of the remainder of this year with all its ongoing uncertainties, we encourage you to make time to pause in God’s presence and find that for which you can be truly thankful.

The Baptist Association Team is grateful to God for you, our pastors and leaders, for your resilience, creativity, faithfulness, vision and leadership. We are blessed as a movement by you. Our gratitude for you and our churches is based on a confidence in God’s love and purpose for his people and in his promise that he is with us always. And so we look forward to continuing to serve alongside you as, together we love and serve Christ.

 

Grae McWhirter
Associate Director of Ministries: Leadership Development
Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT

Hi Friends,

I’m very much aware of the complexity we are encountering as we lead in churches and organisations during this season.  It can be demanding work to continually run into new challenges and opportunities and to steward them well for the Kingdom.  This reality is likely to continue as we look to emerge from lockdown in the weeks and months ahead in NSW/ACT.

We need wisdom.  And not just human wisdom, but that given by God through the Holy Spirit (Col 1:9).  What a blessing it is to know that as leaders we can ask God in faith for it, and he will generously give it (Jas 1:5-6)!

So as you lead through another week, can I bring a simple encouragement to you: ask the Lord for wisdom.  For yourself, for your fellow pastors and leaders, for those with whom you lead in your local context.  God is faithful and he will answer!

 

Blessings
Steve

Check out the video for July’s update!

Insights News – July Edition from Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT on Vimeo.

Hi everyone, and welcome to Insights:News for June.

Thanks to those of you who were able to complete our Ministry Survey from earlier in the year. At Insights last week we highlighted some of the main findings of how our leaders and churches are finding life and ministry now compared to what it was like before the pandemic hit. As a team we continue to be committed to all our leaders and churches as you seek to serve God and your communities in an ever changing world. As part of the Resilience phase of our Disaster Recovery Framework, we will be encouraging ongoing conversation about how everyone is traveling, as well as providing resources, input and opportunities to engage in how to respond to the opportunities this season presents. We want to encourage you to engage as you need and to be connected in your local networks and regions for ongoing support and partnership.

As part of the support we want to offer, there are opportunities to share, connect, be equipped and encouraged coming up. In today’s Insights:News you’ll find details about some of those options, such as The Form Conference, That Thing in July and Leadership Conversations and more. We hope and pray that you will find opportunities in this time of ongoing change to be refreshed, encouraged and supported in your leadership development.

Blessings,

Heidi.

Heidi Tak
Acting Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

Hi everyone and welcome to this month’s Insights:News – the monthly digest to help you stay up to date on opportunities and resources within and beyond our movement.  I trust it is of benefit to you and your church!

 

Blessings,

Steve.

Steve Bartlett 
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

At our online Insights hour for pastors and leaders this month, our guest speaker Omar Djoeandy spoke about redefining success in life and ministry.  It was a timely reminder that, even subconsciously, we are all susceptible as leaders to think about success in ways that bear little resemblance to how Jesus understood it.  We may become overwhelmed, or start listening to that internal voice that says we are not up to the task to which we’ve been called – not difficult to do in the challenging season we are in as Christian leaders coming out of COVID.  Alternatively, we may lose sight of the fact that all God does in and through us is by his grace alone.

For Jesus, a life well lived was fulfilling the mission his Father had given him (John 6:39).  May that be the case for all of us as leaders – may it stretch us to embrace God-sized visions for His glory, never losing sight of the call to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:36)

In this month’s Insights:News the Gen1K Health team reflects on making disciples, our Public engagement group highlight significant upcoming opportunities for your church to make its voice heard in the areas of Indigenous reconciliation and “Caring about Aged Care”.  There’s lots of other helpful and informative stuff here as well – I encourage you to click and read!

As we approach this Easter season, I pray that you may experience afresh the wonder of Jesus’ great gift to us as he fulfilled his earthly mission on the cross.  And the power active in his resurrection at work in and through you (Eph 1:19)!

 

Blessings,
Steve.

Steve Bartlett 
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

Welcome to Insights: News – the new Association resource delivered to your inbox monthly! Insights: News replaces our Pastors and Leaders Enews from prior years, and sits alongside our revamped monthly Insights online gathering for pastors and leaders.  While you’ll continue to see helpful information and resources in this new format, Insights:News will have additional content that I trust will equip you in leadership and mission in your church!

You’ll see here encouraging stories from our churches and updates of what’s happening in various areas of our movement’s life, including our affiliated groups, so you can stay up to date.  This month watch for a number of upcoming events to train and resource people in your church!

As I write this our Special Assembly is coming up fast on Saturday 27 February.  This will be a time when we will be discussing and discerning some complex matters in the life of our movement.  I was reminded and encouraged this morning by reflecting on Eph 4:1-6, where Paul says:

Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of all,
who is over all, in all, and living through all.

In the previous chapter Paul has made the astounding statement that God’s wisdom is displayed through the church (Eph 3:10).  His exhortation in these verses above is that this unity will require our active effort, focused around the source of our unity, God himself.  Our unity with one another flows from our being united to Christ (Eph 2).  As we all know unity is not uniformity or even necessarily agreement – otherwise I doubt Paul would either give it such weight as a matter of witness, or urge it so strongly, as it would be relatively easy to achieve in our own strength.  But true unity is God-inspired and gives glory to Him.  What a vision for God’s church!  Unity is also a blessing to experience.  It is a robust, God-honouring thing.  My prayer is that at this Assembly, but also in the life of our churches and our movement generally we might, bring honour to the One whose name we bear.

 

Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

Update on Federal Religious Discrimination Bill and how you can respond

Last week the Prime Minister introduced the Federal Religious Discrimination Bill to the Lower House.  Faith leaders (including Mark Wilson, our National Ministries Director) met with the Attorney-General Michaelia Cash about the bill also during the week.   

The Bill has been referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Human Rights, which has an online survey open now for anyone to complete – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReligiousDiscrimination This is to allow members of the public to express their views. The survey will close at 5pm on 21 December.  I encourage people to participate – it is a series of 10 yes/no answers so is quick to complete.  There is also room for comment if you wish to, but it is not required. 

The bill is not perfect, nor should we rely on legislation to carve out space for gospel witness.  However it does provide an important measure of protection for people of faith and religious organisations to operate in accordance with their values and beliefs. 

Find out more about what’s going on across different areas of our Gen1k & Association Ministries

From Grae McWhirter: Associate Director, Strategic Support and Regional Development

As we wrap up this year as pastors and leaders, we want to encourage you and thank you for your resilience, creativity, faithfulness and adaptability in one of the most challenging times for leadership we have faced in quite a while. We continue to acknowledge….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's Nov/Dec Update

As we wrap up this year as pastors and leaders, we want to encourage you and thank you for your resilience, creativity, faithfulness and adaptability in one of the most challenging times for leadership we have faced in quite a while. We continue to acknowledge the significant leadership challenges which are facing. In the busyness of this season, please stay connected with one another and make sure that you feel free to connect with any of the BMC team members who can offer support, point you to information or resources you may have missed, or find a specialist who might be appropriate to advise you.

Our final Insights for the year was “Plan A is for Advent”. Belinda Lakelin helped us with a framework for encouraging those we lead to thing evangelistically, even at this Christmas Season. Check out her Plan A resource. 

Also – check out the resource available for free “Carols in your Backyard ”. Marc Rader and Gymea Baptist church are providing this unbranded resource to individuals and churches for free. It will air online on Sunday 19th December.  

If you missed Insights this month, feel free to check in with the recording of it by clicking here.

Remember that our new Associate Director for Discipleship and Leader Development, Craig Corkill, will be stepping in to his role in February 2022. Please pray for him and Narara Valley Baptist Church during this time of transition.

May God bless you in this season of leadership challenge and opportunity.

 

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's October Update

We continue to acknowledge the significant leadership challenges which our pastors and leaders are facing at this time. We want to encourage you in this season to stay connected with one another and make sure that you feel free to connect with any of the BMC team members who can offer support, point you to information or resources you may have missed, or find a specialist who might be appropriate to advise you.

This month’s Insights was about “Re-engaging Leaders” (Wednesday 20th October). Craig Corkill Senior Pastor at Narara Valley Baptist Church and incoming Associate Director, Discipleship and Leader Development, talkeed about how we can re-engage leaders in a pandemic aware world and culture. If you haven’t been able to engage in our Insights Zooms, make sure you check out the recordings which are available to keep you informed and up to date.

The final Insights for the year is “Plan A is for Advent” (Wednesday 17th November, 1pm). Belinda Lakelin helps us to know how we might encourage people in our churches to share Jesus during Christmas (no matter what restrictions may or may not be with us in that season this year).

Don’t forget to sign up your church to be part of this year’s NCLS SURVEY as the Association is paying for each of our churches to be able to participate. To register your church click here: www.2021ncls.org.au.

May God bless you in this season of leadership challenge and opportunity.

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's September Update

We want to acknowledge the significant leadership challenges which our pastors and leaders are facing at this time. We want to encourage you in this season to stay connected with one another and make sure that you feel free to connect with any of the BMC team members who can offer support, point you to information or resources you may have missed, or find a specialist who might be appropriate to advise you. We are here for you!

At this month’s INSIGHT Zoom for Pastors and Leaders we spent time considering some of the key issues facing leaders around the roadmap out of restrictions. The recording of that session is available on our COVID page if you missed it. Coming up in INSIGHTS for the rest of this year for our pastors and leaders is:

  • Re-engaging Leaders (Wednesday 20th October, 1pm) as Craig Corkill, (incoming Associate Director, Discipleship and Leader Development), talks about how we can re-engage leaders in a pandemic aware world and culture.
  • Plan A is for Advent (Wednesday 17th November, 1pm) as Belinda Lakelin helps us to know how we might encourage people in our churches to share Jesus during Christmas (no matter what restrictions may or may not be with us in that season this year).

Don’t forget to sign up your church to be part of this year’s NCLS SURVEY as the Association is paying for each of our churches to be able to participate. To register your church click here: www.2021ncls.org.au .

May God bless you in this season of leadership challenge and opportunity.

From Jamie Freeman, Associate Director – Mission & Church Development: 

Despite the challenges of lockdown, we continue to see new congregations started across NSW and the ACT. In 2021 there has been 6 new plants who have received provisional approval, and a further 4 in the process to be completed by the end of the year.……. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Mission's Nov/Dec Update!

Despite the challenges of lockdown, we continue to see new congregations started across NSW and the ACT. In 2021 there has been 6 new plants who have received provisional approval, and a further 4 in the process to be completed by the end of the year.

The new congregations reflect our commitment to a blended ecology approach of different types of churches and leaders working together. You can read more about the leadership, contextual and sustainability consideration for Simple Churches, Neighbourhood Churches, Regional Churches and Resourcing Churches here.

To reach our goal of a thousand healthy churches in a generation, new people have joined the Church Multiplication Team. With a wealth of experience in these different models of church, the team consists of Ken Kamau (Team Leader), Jen Trevena (Mission Catalyst), Joel Noonan (Multiplication Facilitator) and Yvonne Zheng (Process Coordinator). The team are co-vocational and remain engaged in local church ministry while using their experience to guide and coach others. 

The team partner with individuals, churches, and networks of churches to send our new multiplying congregations. They have tools to help develop a Mission Plan and lead a congregation through the different stages of growth towards reproduction. There are also grants available to help resource these new initiatives.

 

For more information:

  • Contact Jen Trevena to Start a Simple Church or to Join the Simple Church Network
  • Contact Joel Noonan to explore Multi-Site and Planting within a Network
  • Contact Yvonne Zheng to Start the Discernment Process or Enquire about Grants
  • Contact Ken Kamau to Become a Sending Church and Multiplying Missional Movements
Click here to view Gen1k Mission's October Update!

As you zoom out and have a regional perspective of the churches in your area, what are the gaps? Who isn’t being reached by the Baptist footprint? The Gen1K goal of a thousand healthy churches in a generation requires an equally bold and informed strategy. How we answer these questions and the degree to which we are able to be flexible, innovative, and wise in the implication of our strategy will significantly impact our ability to achieve the vision God has set before us.

The speed of change in pluralistic post-COVID 21st Century Australia means that any single church planting strategy is likely to be outdated before it is fully implemented and what works in one context will struggle in another.

Diversity is key.

Diversity is our strategy. A blended ecology of church plants in which a variety of models and approaches work side by side is a strategic imperative in our context.

Diverse churches require diverse leaders. If we are to meet the Gen1K goal of 1000 healthy churches in a generation we will need to raise up, train, and empower a plurality of gifted leaders and leadership teams. If we are to succeed in a blended-ecology approach to church planting, we will need diverse and perhaps unexpected leaders. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work. As we expand our vision of what a church plant can look like we also need to expand our vision of who can be a successful church planter.

Consider who in your church or region would benefit from 5 days learning how to start and multiply new congregations and expressions of church as we pursue the Gen1K goal of a thousand healthy churches in a generation. In partnership with Morling College, the Association is offering the SENT Church Planting subject as an intensive at all study levels from Feb 7 – 11, 2022.

Complete this as an audit subject, or part of a broader award. I’d love to chat with anyone interested. Contact Jamie Freeman on jfreeman@nswactbaptists.org.au or 02 9868 9256. 

Click here to view Gen1k Mission's September Update!

Is there any more strategic investment than in building our capacity to shine our light and share our good news more effectively?

The key to deep, lasting transformation of individuals, families, communities, cities, and nations is this: People need to hear the good news of King Jesus!

Crossover helps Australian Baptists share Jesus. It is an arm of Australian Baptist Ministries and exists to serve our movement by providing encouragement, training and resources for outreach and evangelism. I have been on the Crossover Taskforce for several years and across this time have seen it be a key partner in the Gen1K vision of a thousand healthy churches in a generation.

Four Strategic ways Crossover is supporting churches to share Jesus right now:

  • Christmas Resource package: Good News for a Change which will include 4-part advent series with sermon outlines, a video and associated design package to invite people along and prepare for the series. To be released in October.
  • Plan A: Crossover is working with our very own Evangelism Consultant, Belinda Lakelin, to further develop and promote “Plan A” to empower churches across Australia.
  • A new Crossover website: They are reorganising the many resources and ideas on their website and making it easier to browse and access them. Launching in October, at the same website address crossover.org.au
  • PRAC and Sacred Agents coming soon: Stay tuned for new editions of PRAC (which aims to serve pastors, elders, denominational leaders and other thought leaders) and the ‘Sacred Agents’ blog/column (which will be accessible for people in Baptist congregations).

 

Spring Appeal

I believe that as we work out what it means to live in a pandemic aware world, there will be many opportunities to share the hope of Jesus. With the disruptions of COVID over the last 2 years, Crossover is $90,000 behind budget for support, just when they’re gearing up with a tonne of ideas and projects that Australian Baptists need. So let me encourage you to join in the special Spring Appeal by promoting this within your churches. Thank you to those who have already invested in Crossover through the annual Easter Offering 2021!  You can give anytime via crossover.org.au

 Crossover would love to hear from you, whether you have a creative idea for evangelism that can be shared, or you are looking for ways they can help to share Jesus in your local context. To connect, please contact:

Crossover Director – Rev Andrew Turner, andrew.turner@baptist.org.au 0412 095 670

General Enquiries / Offering Enquiries – Cat Nugent, crossover@baptist.org.au 02 9868 9236

NSW & ACT Crossover Rep: Jamie Freeman jfreeman@nswactbaptists.org.au 02 9868 9256

From Andrew Palmer, Associate Director – Global Mission: 

 

The following is an exciting update from Executive Director of GIA, Scott Pilgrim. We’ve got something exiting to share… we are changing our name! Global Interaction is becoming Baptist Mission Australia.….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Global Mission's Nov/Dec Update!

The following is an exciting update from Executive Director of GIA, Scott Pilgrim.

We’ve got something exiting to share… we are changing our name! Global Interaction is becoming Baptist Mission Australia.  

This is not something we undertake lightly. Over the past year we have begun implementing our 2021-2025 Strategic Roadmap, and with this has come big questions about the future direction of our mission. I look forward to sharing more about this discernment process over the coming months.

As we’ve sought to listen to the Spirit, we saw that it was time to refresh our name and brand for a new and exciting season of ministry. 

Here’s a video exploring the new name and brand.  

We are the intercultural mission arm of the Australian Baptist movement and we’re proud of this long and wonderful partnership. We, like the more than 1,000 Baptist churches across the nation, are a mission people. Our heartbeat is to come alongside people in their own community, culture and language, embodying the good news of Jesus by word and deed, in ways that make sense. 

We look forward to all that our faithful God has ahead for Baptist Mission Australia.

We have a history of bold and innovative faith steps, and we see our new name as another one of these milestones. And yet we also humble ourselves, realising our need to learn, listen and seek the Lord’s leading as the face of mission changes around the globe.

Thank you for your partnership. As a valued supporter, be assured the cost of this change will be minimal as most of our resources are now digital based. We look forward to journeying with you through this rebrand.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Grace and peace
Scott.

Click here to view Gen1k Global Mission's October Update!

New Discipling Course Exploring Mission Launching in 2022

“It is not so much the case that God has a mission for his church in the world, as that God has a church for his mission in the world. Mission was not made for the church; the church was made for mission – God’s mission.

So says Theologian Christopher Wright in The Mission of God’s People (Zondervan Academic, 2010). His point, of course, is quite obvious: we are all involved in God’s mission story; it’s what we were made for.

Yet what I have noticed is that ‘Global Intercultural Mission’, as a term, has a funny effect on people. For some it conjures up comical (and/or colonial) images of pith helmets and safari suits; others see super-Christians who levitate through life sinlessly…and yet others imagine very earnest, slightly awkward folks with overly long PowerPoint presentations and an outdated wardrobe.

The theme that draws these images together is that of ‘otherness’: whatever global intercultural mission workers are… they aren’t like me

But the truth is that global mission workers are largely very ordinary people seeking to follow an extraordinary God… and until they actually move into an intercultural situation here or overseas, they are most weeks found meeting with their faith family online or in person…because that is who they are.

Global intercultural mission has always been the mandate of the Local Church, right from the time that the early-Church leaders placed their hands upon Saul and Barnabas in Acts chapter 13 and commissioned them for ministry. It still is.

This conviction has led our team to work on a Global Mission one year course called Exploring Mission”, starting in 2022 and rolling out nationally. Pip Miner (NSW / ACT Missions Mobiliser) has taken the lead role in this project, drawing on her wealth of experience as an intercultural worker with Global Interaction in Cambodia for nine years, alongside her work in theological education and discipling at Morling College at Plunge and several years as the lead trainer with the i68 program in Sydney and her post graduate study in the field.

Exploring Mission is designed to connect everyday Christians with God’s big redemption story, and to help them find their place in it, including local intercultural work in our neighbourhoods and suburbs, developing passion and advocacy in the local Church, long term global mission and more.

It covers areas of theology, mission, context, culture and the gospel. BIG issues!!

Exploring Mission is an online and in-person course available to all ages wanting a deeper appreciation for and commitment to engaging God’s mission. It can be taken in one year or at your own pace.

For more information on Exploring Mission, please contact the NSW / ACT Global Interaction team: nswact@globalinteraction.org.au

 

Andrew Palmer
NSW / ACT State Director – Global Interaction
NSW ACT Baptists Associate Director – Global Mission

From Tim Burns, Church Health Team Leader

One of the values our family of churches shares is a common life that is Christ-centred. This is foundational to church health. When it comes to the local church then the Lord Jesus Christ must be given pride of place. The Scriptures testify…. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Health's Nov/Dec Update

One of the values our family of churches shares is a common life that is Christ-centred. This is foundational to church health. When it comes to the local church then the Lord Jesus Christ must be given pride of place. The Scriptures testify that He is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation”, adding, “For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers of authorities; all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And He is the head of the body, the church.” (Colossians 1:15-18) 

In his book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, Pastor Rick Warren begins with the words, “It’s not about you” adding, “The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfilment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by His purpose and for His purpose.” 

Surely, the same is true of the church. The reason the church exists is far greater than the fulfilment of its members, their peace of mind, or even their happiness. The church was born by God’s purpose and for His purpose. It exists for His glory and will only be healthy when Christ is afforded His rightful place. 

How is that done? Firstly, by a congregation making sure to treasure the relationship with Christ that is possible because of His death on the cross. Secondly, by them relying on the Bible as foundational to shaping their ongoing understanding of Christ. Third, by them allowing the Holy Spirit to lead and empower their community life. And, fourth, by them believing that God is able to do more than they ask or imagine.

I once saw a rather cheesy bumper sticker that read, “Put Christ back into Christmas”! Well, this Christmas let’s make sure to put Christ at the centre of congregational life, and let’s keep him there every other day too.

Click here to view Gen1k Health's October Update

The Church Health Team is pleased to welcome Yvonne Zheng as its first ever Process Co-ordinator. One of the important responsibilities that sits with the Church Health Team is supporting those churches that express interest in becoming affiliated. Whenever this happens the Team Leader – Church Health will meet with the church’s pastor and leaders to describe both the life of the Association and the responsibilities that attach to being an affiliated church.

Conscious that a good marriage between church and Association is important, the Process Co-ordinator’s role is to work closely with the church to ensure that its constitution fulfils the requirements for an affiliated church and that all Safe Church policies are in place. 

Yvonne has been part of the Baptist family for some time and, until recently, was ministering as a Chinese pastor in the Transform Southern Sydney region. She says that she is grateful for the opportunity to continue serving her Baptist family. Yvonne loves to share the stories of Jesus and teach new disciples how to read the Bible. Her journey to faith began during a visit to a library where “a mystery book” changed her life forever. You can read her testimony here

Earlier in life, Yvonne served in Anglican churches while working as an architectural designer. Upon the completion of full-time ministry training at Moore Theological College she answered the call to serve as a pastor in one of our southern Sydney Baptist churches and to partner with fellow gospel workers in the wider community. She has an adult daughter who is studying to be a teacher, and she enjoys bush walking, music, and a good coffee at the start of the day. Yvonne says that she is “looking forward to sharing life with all the saints in the Baptist family”. Her prayer is to see God’s love manifested among people, and to see churches united under the Lordship of Jesus.

If you, or someone you know, would like to better understand the process by which a church becomes affiliated then please contact Yvonne via the Baptist Ministry Centre.

 

Tim Burns
Team Leader – Church Health

Click here to view Gen1k Health's September Update

I see light! Yes, surely, that is light at the end of the tunnel. After more than three months of lockdown for Greater Sydney, and somewhat less for other parts of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the 70% and 80% vaccination targets are being reached and the shimmer of long-hoped for freedoms is growing stronger every day. 

At time of writing this article, the LGA where I live recently had a freedom returned. People living in Canterbury-Bankstown, and the other LGAs of concern where lockdown measures have been most severe, are now allowed to go for family picnics in local parks. Heady on the fumes of this new freedom I suggested to my family that we do just that only for my twenty-three year old son to roll his eyes and my wife to say, “I’d rather be allowed to have a haircut”!

There is a sense in which the light at the end of the tunnel is welcome, warm and comforting. However, this same light may also prove agonizingly bright when it reveals the damage done by lockdown to many congregations. Even now pastors and leaders are wondering what life will be like in the months ahead. Will everyone who was part of our public worship and regular ministries return? Will our church still have the capacity to finance ministry when the government assistance ends? What should church life and witness look like as we learn to live with COVID?

If you are a pastor or leader who is wrestling with questions like these then I would remind you of an excellent tool that was made available last year. Called the Cycle of Discovery it serves to equip leaders and churches to discover what new things God may be doing in and through the Church as it emerges out of COVID. 

There is no doubt that lockdown has taken a toll, and that leaders and churches must adopt a recovery mindset, but the Lord our God is with us and will do a new thing. Isaiah 43:19 was given to the Old Testament people of God during the long hard years when they were in exile. “See I am doing a new thing” said the Lord. Having reminded His people that He delivered them from Egypt, parting the Red Sea and snuffing out the enemy, God went on to declare that He was doing something new, “making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”. Surely, it’s the same today. The Lord our God does not change. In the words of Frank Gaebelein, “The fundamental principles of the divine activity are changeless, but the outward shape of that activity alters with the changing needs of God’s people”. God is doing a new thing and we would do well to invite Him to show us what it is so that we can participate and marvel at His provision.

 

From Kelly Crawford, Team Leader – Church Witness/Public Engagement Lead

The Safer Spaces Toolkit is Here! Australian Baptist Ministries’ Domestic Violence Working Group is pleased to announce the launch of the Safer Spaces Toolkit!  The Safer Spaces Toolkit is a blended learning program built around a trauma-informed preaching lens. It aims to stop the re-traumatisation of those experiencing domestic violence (DV) and to help pastors build relationally healthy church cultures that model biblical principles for respectful relationships. It is a free resource, available to any pastor anywhere.….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Domestic Violence and the Safer Spaces Toolkit

Domestic violence continues to be an issue of significant concern for Australia. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare declares, “family, domestic and sexual violence [to be] a major national health and welfare issue that can have lifelong impacts for victims and perpetrators.” (1) One in six women have experienced physical or sexual violence by a current or former partner since the age of 15. (2) One in four women have experienced emotional abuse by a current or previous partner since the age of 15. (3) Frontline DV workers in NSW indicated a “dramatic spike” in calls to national and state-wide domestic violence hotlines and a rise in client numbers through the pandemic. (3)

In 2018, Baptist churches collectively responded to Domestic Violence (DV) through the No Place for Violence Here (NPFVH) Campaign. This campaign focused on raising awareness and educating church leadership on DV. Since then, Baptist churches continue to be equipped to respond to DV, however, this effort is often piecemeal due to the nature of partner agency funding and access to training.  

What is the Safer Spaces Toolkit?
In early 2020, a group of Baptist women from around the country formed a working group to look at how to further equip the Australian church to respond well to DV. Together, they have developed the Safer Spaces Toolkit, a blended learning program built around a trauma-informed preaching lens. It aims to stop the re-traumatisation of those experiencing DV and to equip pastors to ensure they are comfortable with what is and isn’t helpful to say as well as gain further understanding of how their words and actions are interpreted through victims’ eyes. The ultimate goal is healthier relationships amongst those in our churches that model biblical principles for respectful relationships. 

The toolkit also includes in-depth video training on issues related to domestic abuse and building healthy relationships, and follow-up support for church leaders. The toolkit is designed for pastors and leaders, and is victim-focused and trauma-informed, assisting with the recovery of victims of abuse and ensuring their safety when at church. The materials will be made available online with additional online support, accessible to any church in Australia, with some contextualising on a state-by-state basis.  

_______________________

Australian Baptist Ministries’ Domestic Violence Working Group is pleased to announce the launch of the Safer Spaces Toolkit!  The Safer Spaces Toolkit is a blended learning program built around a trauma-informed preaching lens. It aims to stop the re-traumatisation of those experiencing domestic violence (DV) and to help pastors build relationally healthy church cultures that model biblical principles for respectful relationships. 

It is a free resource, available to any pastor anywhere at www.saferspacestoolkit.com.au.  It has been developed with industry experts and experts from within our Baptist Movement of Churches. 

What you will find in the toolkit:

Example video from the Toolkit:

The National DV Working Group would like to thank our sponsors, Baptist Insurance Services, Baptist Financial Services, and Baptist World Alliance Women.

If you have any questions about the resource, please feel free to reach out to Kelly Crawford, kcrawford@nswactbaptists.org.au.  Kelly can direct your question to the appropriate person in the working group. 

Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill

On 19 July 2021, Independent MP Alex Greenwich released his Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.  You can read a copy of the Bill here.  He intends to table this bill in parliament soon. 

Conversations about assisted dying provide opportunities to reflect on what a good death looks like.  What does it look like to care well for someone who is at the end-of-life?  How can we as Christians model Christ’s compassion and care for people as they are dying?  How can we also care well for the carers? 

The Baptist Association has a website called https://agooddeath.org.au/ that aims to resource Christians for conversations about assisted dying as well as open discussions about death. 

On this website is a position paper on euthanasia and assisted dying that has been authorised by the Public Engagement Group.  It aims to provide background information on some of the concerns about assisted dying legislation, and also provide a biblical reflection.  Recent updates have been made to the paper to reflect Victoria’s legislation, introduction of Bills in other states, and the Greenwich Bill.  You can access the paper at: https://agooddeath.org.au/discover/.

We understand that assisted dying is an issue that we may not all agree on.  In 1995, the Baptist Association NSW & ACT released a series of statements in light of the debate at the time around euthanasia.  To read these statements, view pg. one of the above-mentioned paper. 

According to “Dying Well”, a good death is:

  • To know when death is coming, and to understand what can be expected
  • To be able to retain control of what happens
  • To be afforded dignity and privacy
  • To have control over pain relief and other symptom control
  • To have choices and control over where death occurs (at home or elsewhere)
  • To have access to information and expertise of whatever kind is necessary
  • To have access to any spiritual or emotional support required
  • To have access to hospice care in any location including home, not only in hospital
  • To have control over who is present and who shares the end
  • To be able to issue advance directives that ensure wishes are respected
  • To have time to say goodbye, and control over other aspects of timing
  • To be able to leave when it is time to go, and not to have life prolonged pointlessly

As followers of Christ, we will continue to have a lot to offer people in terms of open, loving conversations about death and care at the end-of-life.  These conversations and the care provided help to create the settings for good deaths to occur.

From Ministry Standards Team:

The NSW Parliament hasrecently passed the new Child Safe Scheme, which requires churches and other organisations to implement the 10 Child Safe Standards from 1 February 2022.  See our recent email to churches for more detail. Now is the perfect time to book in a Creating Safe Spaces workshop for Term 1 2022..….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Ministry Standard's Nov/Dec Update!
  • The NSW Parliament has recently passed the new Child Safe Scheme, which requires churches and other organisations to implement the 10 Child Safe Standards from 1 February 2022.  See our recent email to churches for more detail.
  • Now is the perfect time to book in a Creating Safe Spaces workshop for Term 1 2022 – an opportunity to train and reengage with volunteers. Please contact Joseph Lamvia our webform to lock in a date that suits your church calendar.
  • We have been receiving an increased rate of applications for the Safe Church Health Check from a wide range of churches across our movement. The applications are of a very high standard and we are encouraged to see the depth of engagement in so many churches. We continue to encourage all churches to
  1. Appoint a Safe Church Team
  2. Adopt the Safe Church Package of model policy and procedure documents and communicate them to your church
  3. Book to host a Creating Safe Spaces workshop at your church
  4. Ensure all volunteers have been appropriately screened and trained
  5. Submit your Safe Church Health Check application to demonstrate that your church is implementing the Child Safe Standards

Please contact Katie Watson on kwatson@nswactbaptists.org.au

 

Click here to view Ministry Standard's October Update!

Safe Church Health Check
We have now had 19 churches satisfy all the requirements of the Safe Church Health Check and an additional 40 churches have submitted an application and are making final amendments. These are a diverse range of churches, including suburban, rural, regional, CALD, new, established, large and small churches but all share a commitment to Safe Church practice. We are encouraged by the commitment across our movement with nearly 200 churches who have already engaged with the Safe Church Health Check process by adopting policies and/or seeking advice about specific legal requirements.

Creating Safe Spaces
The Standards team are preparing for a meeting with all our Creating Safe Spaces presenters on 3rd November, where we will discuss some updates and improvements to our training resources. Would you please pray for our presenter team as they continue to engage via Zoom and to support churches in developing Safe Church practice? This is crucial but challenging work, and we appreciate the commitment of our presenters.

Extended WWCC
Working with Children Checks that were due to expire between 27th September 2021 and 26th January 2022 have been automatically extended by 3 months. This includes any WWCC that were originally due to expire between 19th July and 27th September 2021 and have already been extended. Please see the ocg.nsw.gov.au for more details.

NSW Child Safe Scheme
The NSW government is moving forward with its proposal to make the Child Safe Standards mandatory for all organisations working with children, including churches. The legislation to implement the Child Safe Scheme has already passed the lower house but was stalled in the upper house by the cancellation of Parliament due to Covid. The government listened to our initial representations and has now included sporting organisations in the scheme and removed mandatory guidelines. We have continued to make representations to members of government to ensure that the bill in its final form adheres to the content of the Child Safe Standards as developed by the Royal Commission and does not add elements that might adversely affect religious freedom.

 

Please remember: Safe Church model policy and procedure documents are available in multiple languages at www.creatingsafespaces.org.au/resources 

Click here to view Ministry Standard's September Update!

September has seen the continuation of a lot of really positive things within the Standards Team. Here’s a quick snapshot!

  • Creating Safe Spaces workshops continue even throughout lockdown. We are very grateful for our presenters and hosts whose skills enable Zoom workshops to remain engaging for participants.
  • The NSW government is moving forward with its proposal to make the Child Safe Standards mandatory for all organisations working with children, including churches. The legislation to implement the Child Safe Scheme has already passed the lower house but was stalled in the upper house by the cancellation of Parliament due to Covid. The government listened to our initial representations and has now included sporting organisations in the scheme and removed mandatory guidelines. We have continued to make representations to members of government to ensure that the bill in its final form adheres to the content of the Child Safe Standards as developed by the Royal Commission and does not add elements which might adversely affect religious freedom.
  • We are excited to see more applications for the Safe Church Health Check arriving fairly consistently. Please ensure that your Safe Church Register is complete, including all screening questionnaires and codes of conduct, before submitting your application. Congratulations to Eastwood, Liverpool, Orange, Narromine, North Canberra, Griffith and Bowral Baptist Churches who have recently satisfied all the requirements. We are confident that your communities will appreciate your commitment.

Please pray for our team as we support churches with exciting proactive work to develop Safe Church Culture and also with the more difficult task of addressing complaints, concerns and claims.

From Sarah Alarcon, IMPACT Gap Year Director

During this year I have been asking some big questions as I am sure many of us have. Big questions of myself, of God but also given that my ministry role with youth and young adults I have been asking them what BIG questions are they asking right now. The stand out types of questions that seem to be a regular occurring theme are: Understanding who I am? Questioning God – particularly around big topics such as suffering, free will, justice……. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view BYM's Nov/Dec Update!

NEXT – Like you we want to see those who follow Jesus to be doing so in all aspects of life – at home, when with friends, online, at work, and in the church. We too long to see biblically focused, Christ-centred, missional, prayerful, and culturally aware women and men to live and speak of the faith Jesus has given them. We want this for the whole church and we at BYM particularly want this for youth, young adults, and those in leadership roles in these ministries.

NEXT is about partnering with local churches in what they are providing in terms of support, development, and ministry training in order to see an Association wide movement of healthy and effective ministry to, with, and for young people.

NEXT is an intentional time focused on building relationships with young adults currently in ministry or exploring ministry options in their local church, as well as for youth pastors and ministry team leaders. Out focus in on fostering community and connection with likeminded people, praying with and for one another, sharing of ideas and resources, inspiration, refreshment, and ultimately being reminded of who we are and who we serve. It’s about investing into ministry leaders and young adults to be all that God desires for us for the year ahead and into the future.

Who will you encourage and facilitate being part of NEXT?

For more information and details on how to register visit – https://baptistyouthministries.org.au/events/

Click here to view BYM's October Update!

During this year I have been asking some big questions as I am sure many of us have. Big questions of myself, of God but also given that my ministry role with youth and young adults I have been asking them what BIG questions are they asking right now. The stand out types of questions that seem to be a regular occurring theme are: Understanding who I am? Questioning God – particularly around big topics such as suffering, free will, justice.

Questioning the bible – its authenticity and its relevance to 2021 life. Questioning how to engage with the world around them as a Christian. Questioning what God has planned for my adult life. Questioning their connection to church community. What encourages me (and should you) about these questions is that our young adults are clearly seeking after God and seeking where their faith fits into their future. How exciting to see them working out their salvation, and asking really important questions that will help them grow and develop into adulthood. As church leaders or those who minister to young adults, what a privilege we have, to walk alongside them as they ask big questions and help create space for them to discover more about God, themselves, the world and the kingdom of God. However as church leaders I am sure we can all acknowledge that sometimes discipling young adults in church community can be complex.

This is why I am really excited about our new 1 year IMPACT Gap Year program that is available for young adults (17-21). If you haven’t heard about it yet I encourage to you check out our website for details. The IMPACT Gap year has been created with these big questions in mind, and we hope to serve as a partner to the local church to see young people grow in their faith formation, understanding of community, develop in personal maturity, and seek out ministry opportunities in the local church. Praying for you as you seek to support and disciple young adults in your local contexts, can I encourage you to ask them, “What are their BIG questions?” And prayerfully share with them about IMPACT Gap year as an option for 2022.

Blessings, Sarah Alarcon IMPACT Gap year Director.
www.yourimpact.org.au 
www.instagram.com/discoveryourimpact

 

Click here to view BYM's September Update!

 

2021 has been all about casting a new vision for what an internship experience could be! I have been connecting with a variety of church leaders across the state and listening to their needs, hopes and dreams for ministry. Pete and Rach (BYM Regional Youth Support and Engagement) have provided amazing guidance for developing the internship to be practical for those living in regional areas. I have also been working closely with Louise Bartlett (Baptist Children’s and Families Ministries) to extend the internship beyond youth leaders to kid’s ministry leaders too! 

This has led to rebranding the ‘SYC Internship’ to be the IMPACT Internship: a 1-year program for those who are passionate about youth or kids’ ministry. The Internship is designed to equip for leadership, invest in the individual’s children’s or youth ministry and provide opportunities for further growth. The program consists of weekly content to engage in, fortnightly video calls, monthly cluster meetings and various in-person events. We are still developing the details of the internship, however are planning the program to be a flexible experience for the individual to complement how they are currently serving in their church, contribute to their spiritual growth and connect them to other Christian leaders. 

These are a few of the topics we will be covering.

  • Engaging with & teaching the bible
  • Fostering community
  • Mental health support
  • Discipling & mentoring
  • Christ-focused leadership
  • Evangelism & outreach

If you are a pastor who wants to further invest in your ministry leaders or a leader looking for further development, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to chat to you about how we can partner with your church in strengthening your ministry! 

You can get in touch with me at: ependleton@nswactbaptists.org.au 

AND watch this space for more information https://yourimpact.org.au/ 

We are so excited to be launching a new Baptist Kids Camp in 2022!  This will be an opportunity for the primary aged kids in our churches to gather together to connect with God and with one another.  The camp will be hands on, creative, interactive, and a whole lot of fun!…… Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Children & Family Ministries September Update!

We are so excited to be launching a new Baptist Kids Camp in 2022!  This will be an opportunity for the primary aged kids in our churches to gather together to connect with God and with one another.  The camp will be hands on, creative, interactive, and a whole lot of fun!  Peak experiences are so important in faith formation, and this will be a highlight week for young people to grow in discipleship and leadership.  We’ll be heading to Kiah Ridge from 4-7 July, so pop the dates in your church calendar! 

We’ll also be continuing our Connect Days next year. The Connect Day is a day of community, inspiration, ideas, equipping and leadership development.

It’s an opportunity to be connected with other ministry leaders and local churches in your region. We believe those connections strengthen each of our local faith communities as we encourage, support and share ideas.

Whether you are a volunteer or in a paid role, Sunday kids program leaders, volunteering in kid’s clubs, playtimes, SRE teachers, holiday programs or intergenerational ministries there will be something for you.

Connect Day takes place across multiple locations with a mixture of locally facilitated and video content.

We are looking forward to hosting Connect Day again in 2022! Read more about past connect days here

 

Like us on Facebook for regular Updates, Articles and Links!
For information about SRE click here
For information about Creating Safe Spaces click here

Click here to view Children & Family Ministries August Update!

Across NSW and ACT Covid has prevented face to face kids programs at this time. Programs are only one space where faith can be nurtured for children. This season though tough is also an opportunity for families to grow in faith together, for generations to connect and care for one another and for community and a sense of belonging to be created. It takes creativity but Kids and Family ministry leaders are often gifted by God with significant creativity. We are seeing some excellent and inspiring ideas being lived out from church wide online fun nights, regular family faith practices being picked up, encouragement and support for local schools, financial support of BaptistCare’s Domestic Violence services among many ideas. The buildings may be closed but the church can be alive and active welcoming children as fellow disciples.

If you want to engage with fresh ideas for ministry with children and their families in this unique time, then head to https://baptistcfm.org.au/ and contact the team here  https://baptistcfm.org.au/about-us/

 

Like us on Facebook for regular Updates, Articles and Links!
For information about SRE click here
For information about Creating Safe Spaces click here

Click here to view Children & Family Ministries May Update!

Relationally investing in families is a powerful tool when it comes to lifelong discipleship. When we engage with parents and children, develop friendships with them and invite their input, we are one step closer to sowing seeds of lifelong faith in Christ. 

We know that Mums and Dads have the greatest influence on their children’s faith in Jesus……so with that in mind, when was the last time you met up with a parent to listen to their concerns and their families’ needs as well as discovering the great ways they are nurturing faith? How often do we reach out to parents to ask them questions, rather than providing them information? 

Consider ways you can partner with parents, and connect families with each other for friendship, support and a sense of belonging in your church setting. 

Involve the kids! What gifts, skills and interests do the children bring? Perhaps those who are artistic could develop a mural to display in the church, or children with developing musical strengths be given opportunity to serve in the worship band once a month? Are there kids who would enjoy helping serve morning tea or an end of term BBQ lunch with their parents, alongside another family? Look for ways you can affirm each child’s value and help them feel like they belong to the whole church not just the program.    

Kids & Families Pastors Retreat
An opportunity to escape the routine and reflect on the ‘why’ of ministry and connect with other kids ministry team leaders to share ideas and be inspired. 

More details to come. 

August 30 – 31
Kiah Ridge 

Like us on Facebook for regular Updates, Articles and Links!
For information about SRE click here
For information about Creating Safe Spaces click here

Discover OurStory

Have you heard about OurStory? The purpose of OurStory is very simple: To tell the story of Baptist Churches in NSW and ACT as we journey towards the Gen1k Goal, becoming a movement of 1000 healthy churches in a generation. OurStory is a powerful reminder that we are “Greater Together” and that by God’s grace, as a family of faith communities; we can achieve incredible things for His Kingdom. 

OurStory is available as a hardcopy magazine (released quarterly) and online with additional articles, videos and interviews! Keep up to date with the latest at OurStory.org.au and share the site with your church. 

Updates from Affiliated Groups

Find out what’s going on with our Affiliated Groups. 

Study with Morling

At Morling we share our passion, collective knowledge, and 100+ years of experience to equip people, so that our students are better prepared to invest in the lives of others. We believe that learning happens best in community and that authentic faith impacts all we do.

We want to meet you where you are with flexible study options. Enabling you to study on-campus, online, in the semester breaks or over the summer holidays. If diving into full study isn’t possible with your workload or family commitments, then let us support you in part time study, one subject at a time.

Get in touch with our Future Student Advisor, share your passion, calling, and where you think God is leading you, and we will find the right course for you. Or, join us at our upcoming Open Night, online or on-campus.

Baptist Financial Services - Invest with Purpose

Are you passionate about ending poverty? Wish your career could be your calling? Want a job that means more?

Are you passionate about ending poverty? Wish your career could be your calling? Want a job that means more?

At Baptist World Aid we long to see a world where poverty has ended and all people enjoy the fullness of life God intends.

We believe that by living our faith, and loving with action, we can end poverty. Work for Baptist World Aid and use your God-given talents to be love as you serve in the name of Jesus.

Baptist World Aid is a Christian aid and development agency.

The head office is located in North Ryde, Sydney.
https://baptistworldaid.org.au/our-story/career/

BaptistCare Annual Report

BaptistCare Annual Report

BaptistCare recently published their 2021 Annual Report, highlighting their year in review and opportunity to refresh, rebuild and regrow throughout 2021. This report is a great snapshot of the resilience and passion of the team at  BaptistCare and I encourage you to take a look at the ways they are serving their community.

Please remember to uphold our partners in prayer as we journey together, caring for and serving our local communities. 

View the full Annual Report for BaptistCare here 

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