Leadership in complex times

 

Hi pastors and leaders and welcome to the April/May edition of InsightsNews!  I trust you find this helpful in your ministry journey. 

A core part of Christian leadership is following – following Jesus, living in faithfulness to his commands and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  Core business for the Christian leader is the ongoing responsibility to dream, plan and strategise well, but to do so with an open hand acknowledging God is in charge and not us.  Add to this our hugely uncertain and everchanging ministry environment, it’s no wonder leadership can feel complex at times!

Learning to lead in unchartered territory, undertaking responsible ongoing planning, training ourselves to be open to the opportunities God brings across our path, and doing it in community are all important aspects of Christian leadership. Here are some resources that may be helpful in these spaces: 

  • Canoeing the Mountains – Christian Leadership in Unchartered Territory by Tod Bolsinger. (Tod has recently released another title Tempered Resilience – How Leaders are Formed in the Crucible of Change, which is a helpful text around the personal journey of leading in complex and changeable times)
  • Church Unique – How Mission Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture and Create Movement by Will Mancini – a few years old now but still a refreshing look at planning strategically with a continual ear open to the prompting of God through His redemptive community the Church.
  • Pursuing God’s Will Together – A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups by Ruth Haley Barton.  (Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership is another excellent one of her texts.)
  • Opportunity Leadership by Roger Parrott – a new title that explores what it is like to lead grounded in actively waiting for God-given opportunities that match with our mission, gifting and capacity – and cultivating a culture that is ready to respond.

 

What are you reading/listening to and reflecting on in the area of Christian leadership and ministry that you are finding lifegiving at this time?  Please feel free to email myself or Craig Corkill (ccorkill@nswactbaptists.org.au) who leads our Association’s Discipleship and Leader Development group.  We look forward to sharing further resources in future editions of InsightsEnews!

 

Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

Hi everyone,

Welcome to the pre-Easter addition of InsightsNews!  I trust its helpful to you in your ministry.

Some of the immense needs of our community, nation and world are in full focus at the moment and I find myself asking: “How can I respond?”

I was struck recently by these verses from 1 John 3:17-18:
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

As leaders we use lots of words.  In part that comes with the territory – well used words are important tools for leaders. So there is a special sense in which we as leaders need to hear these verses – love shows itself not as much in our words as in our actions towards our sisters and  brothers in Christ and towards a world in need of grace and truth.

I’m grateful that there are opportunities for me to respond in action to some of the current needs – our Flood appeals, and support for Baptist Churches on the ground in Ukraine through BWAA.  And of course there are a myriad of ways I can choose to live a lifestyle of generosity to those in need, to love those around me.

But as we approach Easter, I am reminded again of the model of loving others. – v16 of 1 John 3:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Christ laid down his life for me. I pray this is what energises my love for others; what motivates my generosity; what inspires my leadership.  And as we approach Easter, I pray that might be the case for you too.

Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

What do you see? 

You probably know the story from 2 Kings 6 where military forces from Aram surround the Israelite city of Dothan in order to capture Elisha the prophet.  In the morning Elisha’s servant gets up to the scene of Arameans surrounding the city and cries to his master, “What shall we do?”  Elijah asks the Lord to open his servant’s eyes to see the huge host of angels covering the surrounding hills: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (v16).  The servant needed help to see things as they really were – God was with them, and in the end that was all that mattered.

It’s an important reminder to lift our eyes to see how God is at work and be strengthened by his presence.  Many of us are leading into a new year where the spiritual battle is as real as ever.  World events continue to remind us of the pervasive impact of human brokenness.  And we live with the ongoing impacts of a waning pandemic and all that means for people’s energy and outlook.  It’s a good time to ask: “what do you see”?  Jesus invites us to see again that he is with us – and that this is more than enough – as we continue to press into the mission he has given us (Matt 28:20).

I am praying for us as pastors and leaders that we may lead out of a strong conviction of the strong presence of Jesus with us, and confidently move forward in that this year!

Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT

Come and Connect – Celebrate – Collaborate! Join us for The Gathering incorporating the Annual Assembly

You are invited to be part of The Gathering incorporating the Annual Assembly to be held on Saturday 14 May 2022 from 9:30am-4pm at one of our venues across NSW & ACT.

This will be an exciting time to gather together with inspirational worship, prayer and messages from key speakers Kimberly Smith and Steve Bartlett.  Throughout the day we will also be hearing stories of how God has been at work across our movement over the last year, and collaborating in decisionmaking together.

This will be an exciting time to gather together to ConnectCelebrate & Collaborate on the direction of our movement.

The deadline for registration for delegates (& alternate delegates) is this Saturday 7th, check out the video below for more information.

Click Here to Register.

 

WHAT WILL BE HAPPENING AT THIS ASSEMBLY:

Our 2022 Annual Assembly will be an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the ministry of 2021 and to look to the future as we continue the outworking of the GEN1K Strategic Priorities we adopted at our 2020 Assembly. It will also be a time of discernment and affirmation of God’s leading for several elected positions, an opportunity to further discuss some significant matters and to keep you up to date with important activities.

During the day, the following matters will be put to vote:

  • Receiving the 2021 Annual Reports and Financial Statements
  • Affirmation of the 2022 Association Budget
  • Affirmation of new affiliated churches and ministers proceeding to Accreditation
  • Approval of revised Guidelines for Accreditation and Recognition of Ministers
  • Procedural changes to the Association’s Constitution
  • Elections for Assembly Council, Morling College Council and the Baptist Churches of NSW Property Trust

 
We will also receive an update and progress report from Assembly Council on the work of Taskforce 1 and other matters being progressed following our February 2021 Special Assembly and celebrate the recipient of the David Brown Scholarship for 2022.

Taskforce 1 continues its work in liaison with Assembly Council.  An update of feedback to the taskforce and the progress of its work to date is provided here.

Check out www.thegathering.com.au for more information and to download the Assembly documentation.

Come and Join the Association Team!

The Association is seeking to discern God’s leading for a number of new appointments to our team.  Have a look and please pass these opportunities on through your church or personally to people who you know may be interested!

 

Details of all of the positions below can be found on our website at https://nswactbaptists.org.au/adverts/

 

EA to the Director of Ministries and Secretary to the Association’s Assembly Council.

A permanent full time senior administrative position with two main focuses: providing advanced administrative and secretarial support for the Director of Ministries and governance and administrative support to the Association’s Assembly Council and the Assembly.

 

Communication and Events Administration Support
A 0.6 FTE (3 days a week) permanent part-time position. This new role forms part of the Communications and Events team, providing administrative support to the team members as necessary, overseeing data management for our CRM and being part of the wider Baptist Ministry Centre administration team.

 

Events Coordinator (12 month maternity leave contract)
A fulltime role responsible for planning and organising Baptist Association events.

Baptist Historical Society of NSW Meeting + do you know about our Archives?

The Baptist Historical Society of NSW (BHS) provides information and historic resources about NSW Baptist churches people and organisations.  It also provides a key research role in Baptist history in our movement.  You can find out more about the Society here.

Our movement also has an Archives located on campus at Macquarie Park, containing an extensive collection of Australian Baptist material in both paper and electronic form.  Churches are encouraged to deposit material of historical significance with the Archives if they are unable to care for this information themselves.  Details of a church’s history, insurance and governance information are some examples of the types of material that is critical to keep for future reference.  The honorary archivist Ernest Windschuttel is assisted by a small team of volunteers. Access is available by contacting Ernest at archives@morling.edu.au

 

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

From Craig Corkill, Associate Director – Discipleship & Leadership Development

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”  Winston Churchill. No one likes a crisis (least of all me). Yet my experience over almost 30 years of pastoral ministry is that crises have the potential to bring about the most catalytic and needed change in a short period of time….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's April/May Update

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” Winston Churchill

No one likes a crisis (least of all me). Yet my experience over almost 30 years of pastoral ministry is that crises have the potential to bring about the most catalytic and needed change in a short period of time.

There are few who would challenge the idea that the events of the past 3 years have provided significant points of crisis, yet in the Discipleship and Leadership Development area, we’re seeking to help pastors and leaders not let this season of crisis go to waste.

Whether it be:

  • equipping pastors and leaders to curate cultures of peace using the resources of Peacewise
  • inviting Kim Smith to cast vision of how to develop emerging leaders
  • championing Morling College’s Trauma Informed Pastoral Care workshop, which seeks to provide practical equipping in a trauma-full ministry context

we’re seeking to assist you in leveraging the challenges of this season for Kingdom purposes.

Looking forward …
If you are keen to see discipleship become foundational to the local church you are a part of can I strongly encourage you to join me at the ‘Building A Discipleship Culture’ (BDC) Conference on May 19th, which is being hosted by Padstow Baptist Church. Having done significant research in this area, it’s my view that the discipleship approach used by BDC is ‘best practice’ nationally. This training comes from practitioners and has been extensively tested in Australia. To register click here.

Long before those in business and sports learned about the value of someone coaching them, a myriad of biblical characters received effective coaching. Think of Moses/Joshua, Mordecai/Esther, Elijah/Elisha – each of these pairs knew the importance of being coached. To further equip you in your unique ministry context, we have trained Gen1K coaches who can assist you in developing as a pastor/leader. For more information, click here.

Currently two Baptist churches are piloting the development of a ‘Leadership Pipeline’ in their contexts. These churches are wanting to adopt an intentional strategy to multiply healthy leaders at every level with a view to not only leading existing and new ministries in their own context, but ultimately planting churches in a sustainable way. It is hoped that the lessons learned from these two pilot churches will assist many more churches in the near-future. If you would like further information about developing a Leadership Pipeline in your context contact me by clicking here.

Certainly these past three years have been crisis-full, however I am convinced that this season has the potential to bring about much-needed change. I’m genuinely excited about what I see God doing across Baptist churches in NSW and ACT.

Every blessing, Craig.

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's March Update

I remember last year being a meeting of Regional Ministers and asking the question: “What’s the biggest potential impediment to us seeing our Gen1K Vision come to fruition?” The collective wisdom in the room quickly crystalised that the greatest potential impediment was in the areas of discipleship and leadership development. Put simply – if we’re not engaging in effective discipleship and developing an abundance of leaders, we won’t see 1000 healthy churches in a generation.

 

That conversation continues to occupy much of my headspace, however the good news is that increasingly in Baptist churches we’re seeing greater traction in these areas.

Almost 100 leaders gathered online for our March ‘Insights’ session were encouraged and equipped by Bruce Burgess from Peacewise in the area of conflict management. With increased levels of stress & anxiety in our churches because of: fires, floods and COVID (not to mention pre-existing stresses), there is a higher possibility of that stress leading to conflict. Bruce’s content was practical and timely equipping. If you missed it, check out Bruce’s content here.

 

I warmly commend to you the Trauma Informed Pastoral Care workshop which Morling College is offering on 27th April. This training is vitally important for pastors in our current context as it further equips you to develop greater health in your ministry context. To register for this workshop click here.

 

Currently two Baptist churches are piloting the development of a ‘Leadership Pipeline’ in their contexts. These churches are wanting to adopt an intentional strategy to multiply healthy leaders at every level with a view to not only leading existing and new ministries in their own context, but ultimately planting churches in a sustainable way. It is hoped that the lessons learned from these two pilot churches will assist many more churches in the near-future. If you would like further information about developing a Leadership Pipeline in your context contact me by clicking here.

 

I’m deeply encouraged to see more churches investigate how ‘Building A Discipleship Culture’ (BDC) might equip them to more effectively make disciples. If you believe that the church you’re a part of could get sharper in the area of discipleship, click here to get information about BDC.

 

As I reflected last month, I’m genuinely excited about what I see God doing across Baptist churches in NSW and ACT. Yes, it’s a season with many challenges, but in the midst of it all are incredible opportunities to partner with what God is doing in each of our unique contexts.

 

Every blessing, Craig.

Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's Feb Update

Regularly over the past four weeks since stepping into the role of Associate Director for Discipleship and Leader Development, my wife has asked “How was your day?”. My response almost every time has been “It’s a steep learning curve … but WOW God’s doing some amazing things in this space!”

 

Without question the past two years have been some of the most stretching and challenging times for leaders. Now, as we seemingly are stepping into a post-COVID world (am I allowed to even say that out loud yet?!?), there appear to be fresh challenges and opportunities before us.

 

Over the past month, more churches (like Blacktown and Westview churches) have either commenced Building A Discipleship Culture (BDC) training or are beginning to investigate how BDC might equip them to more effectively make disciples. If you believe that the church you’re a part of could get sharper in the area of discipleship, click here to get information about BDC.

 

Leaders gathering at our February ‘Insights’ session were encouraged and equipped by Grae McWhirter’s input regarding the journey of ‘Recovery, Rethinking and Refocusing’. Grae’s material was “leadership gold” – if you missed it, check out Grae’s content here.

 

We’re hearing regularly about increased stress levels in society and churches, which can easily spill over into conflict. To better equip you for potential conflicts ahead, we’ve organised for Bruce Burgess (National Director – Peacewise) to speak at our next Insights session on March 16th. You can register here for this time together.

 

As I reflected earlier, I’m genuinely excited about what I see God doing across Baptist churches in NSW and ACT. Yes, it’s a season with many challenges, but in the midst of it all are incredible opportunities to partner with what God is doing in each of our unique contexts.

 

Every blessing, Craig.

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

In April, the Simple Church Network Steering Group, along with the Gen1K Church Multiplication Team, held a Simple Church Taster online event. Mike Frost shared on ‘Dinner Church’ what this expression of Simple Church looks like and how others have used this format of church to reach and serve their communities. …… Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Mission's April/May Update!

This month we want to bring your attention to the Simple Church Network, which is part of our GEN1K Movement. 

In April, the Simple Church Network Steering Group, along with the Gen1K Church Multiplication Team, held a Simple Church Taster online event. This was an opportunity for church leaders to explore the Simple Church concept. Mike Frost shared on ‘Dinner Church’ what this expression of Simple Church looks like and how others have used this format of church to reach and serve their communities. You can find the link for this talk here.  

As a follow up to the above taster event we will be running an online interactive Simple Church Foundations Event on Tuesday June 14 from 7:30pm – 9pm. This is for those keen to explore Simple Churches further. The Simple Church Foundations will work through the theological basis for simple church, give you the essential building blocks and the “nuts and bolts” of starting a Simple Church. You can register here

We’re also looking forward to the 23rd Annual Tinsley Lecture being held on Monday, 9 May 2022. Our keynote speaker will be Bree Mills. The lecture will be on The Micro Churches: Remembering the Past to Shape the Future. Bree is an Anglican minister, director of Micro Churches Australia, and doctoral student in the area of Missional Leadership, focusing on innovative leadership in the Australian context. Bree is passionate about spiritual formation, catalysing change, raising leaders, and contextualized mission. We’d love you to join us!  You can sign up for the lecture here.

Click here to view Gen1k Mission's March Update!

This month we’re getting behind Crossover and their Easter Appeal – a national ministry focused on Helping Australian Baptists Share Jesus.
Crossover supports outreach and evangelism by providing:
Encouragement – Because sharing the great news of God’s kingdom should be as important to the church as it is to Jesus
Training – To reach out with Christlikeness – love, gentleness and respect, not manipulation or argumentation
Resources – Not all of us have creative and innovative ways and words for reaching out, but some do! Crossover puts their tools in our hands. To check out PRAC magazine, the Sacred Agents blog and a heap of useful resources – and to donate – hit www.crossover.org.au

 

Checkout this letter from Director Rev Andrew Turner below and consider how your church could partner with the incredible work they are doing.

  • Nothing has the power to transform lives—and in turn families, communities, cities, nations, the world—like people coming to know Jesus. When people come to hear about what he has done for them, and what he’s inviting them into, it makes a world of difference. It’s this transformation of the heart that unleashes the kindness, mercy, justice, honesty, peace, love, creativity and goodness that our world needs so much more of.

    Crossover is passionately focused on Helping Australian Baptists Share Jesus by providing: Encouragement to spur us onwards and outwards—e.g. the Sacred Agents blog and PRAC magazine. Training to help us connect in a Christlike way— e.g. the new ‘Plan A’ evangelism training course. Resources for outreach and evangelism—e.g. our ‘Greatest. News. Ever.’ Easter resource.

    See our newly refreshed website for these and a whole lot more. 

    There’s so much to do, but we rely entirely on the grass roots support of donating churches and members. If you want to see the sharing of Jesus and welcoming of new disciples, be a real strength of our movement, please support as you are able. Together we can make that world of difference. 

    Hit the website for more info and how to give at www.crossover.org.au

    Please, keep praying for us – pray with us that many many more Australians will get to hear about Jesus, be transformed, and change the world.

     

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Rev Andrew Turner – Crossover Director for Australian Baptist Ministries

Click here to view Gen1k Mission's Feb Update!
Our Simple Church Network is an integral part of helping our Gen1K vision come to life so why not come and hear Mike Frost lead A Conversation on Dinner Church at our first ever Simple Church Taster on the 5th April from 7:30-8:30pm.

The Simple Church Taster is a new online event we are launching in 2022. We will be joined by Mike Frost, founding director of the Tinsley Institute, co-Founder of the Forge Mission Training Network, and one of the leading voices of the Missional Church movement in the world today.

It will culminate with an opportunity to discover how to begin the process in your own setting and allow you to commit to the Simple Church process if you choose to give it a go. But let’s wind back to the earliest space in this journey: the wonderful chance for you join us and taste something, just taste it and contemplate the possibilities.

Mike will be sharing about Dinner Church and there will be time for discussion and the asking of questions. See you at the dinner church table!

To register and find out more please click here.

If you would like to find out more about our upcoming events check out our website, or connect with the Simple Church Network Steering Group by emailing hello@simplechurch.network.

From Tim Burns, Church Health Team Leader

GOAL! It has been suggested that there is great power in embracing one’s vulnerability. I’ll leave you to reflect on that in your own time! For now, I’m going to embrace my vulnerability by confessing that I have watched GOAL the movie, and more than once!….. Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1k Health's April/May Update

GOAL!

It has been suggested that there is great power in embracing one’s vulnerability. I’ll leave you to reflect on that in your own time! For now, I’m going to embrace my vulnerability by confessing that I have watched GOAL the movie, and more than once! The first time was together with one of my children, and if it were not for the aforementioned then that would be my defence. However, I also watched it for a second time, while on my own, and enjoyed it.

GOAL is the story of the fictional Santiago Munez, an impoverished Mexican immigrant who dreams of being a professional footballer. One day, while playing for his local team, he is spotted by a former Newcastle United star who arranges for him to have a trial. Munez does well and eventually starts off the bench for the first team. In that game he comes on and wins the penalty kick that secures victory for his side. However, there is a sting in the tail when the manager criticises his failure to pass the ball enough. Munez had tried to do too much and so the team’s overall performance had suffered.

Why do I begin like this? Because recent Church Health contributions to Insights News have been based on some of the values our family of churches share, and which also include a common life that is people empowering.

When I think of such a life I am immediately drawn to the words of Jesus, who told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the gift that His Father had promised. Jesus continued saying “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1: 8).

Here is how Christian people are “empowered”. It is only with the Spirit’s help that a person’s God given potential can be unleashed. And it is only with the Spirit’s help that a church can nurture the sort of disciple making culture that encourages, shapes and releases every person to glorify God in all of their life.

It’s such a culture that our churches need. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). Commenting on this, Leon Morris says “To each one is important; everyone has some gift from God”. Here is a reminder that “church” is a “team sport”. Everyone has some gift from God and so must be encouraged, shaped and released. And all gifts are given, by the Spirit, for the common good.

Nurturing such a culture will require both leaders and those they lead to embrace the vulnerabilities that come with it. But remember, someone has suggested there is great power in embracing one’s vulnerability. And don’t forget that the Baptist Ministry Centre Team exists to support your church towards reaching its God given potential.

Click here to view Gen1k Health's March Update

In recent editions of Insights News, reference has been made to how our family of churches values a common life that is both Christ-centred and relationally committed. These are two of several core values that also include a common life that is mission shaped.

Generally speaking, the word “mission” is defined as “a specific task with which a person or a group is charged” (Merriam-Webster). As such it may well conjure up memories of the Mission Impossible movies, starring Tom Cruise, or even the considerably older television series, which began in 1966 and immortalised the phrases, “Your mission if you choose to accept it…” and “This message will self-destruct in five seconds”!

Our family of Baptist churches values a common life that is mission shaped because we recognise that the Lord Jesus has charged us with a specific task. The last few verses of Matthew chapter 28 tell how “the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go” (v16), and how “Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (v19-20).

The task in view here is the making of disciples or followers of Jesus Christ. It has long been referred to as the Great Commission because it requires the whole Church to go to the whole world. However, someone has rightly pointed out that it is also the Church’s “Everyday Commission”, in the sense that it represents what every Christian should concern themselves with every day.

One of the marks of a healthy church is that it has made mission mainstream. Its members are actively engaged in this Everyday Commission and there is evidence of people coming to faith, growing in their faith, and sharing their faith with others.

A healthy church will have a clear vision for advancing the gospel and for the transformation of individuals, communities and nations. It will be well engaged with its local community. A culture of releasing and sending people and resources will prevail. A vision for multiplication will be widely shared and plans will be in place to see this happen.

Reading the last paragraph may have produced a sceptical reaction in some who are members of small churches where resources are thin. So, let us all take encouragement from how the Everyday Commission was originally given to just eleven disciples, and yet less than two weeks later more than three thousand people had been added to the church (Acts 2:41), and within the lifetime of that first generation of believers the Church managed to spread across the known world.

Would your church appreciate help as it reflects on how to best fulfil the Everyday Commission? Then know that the Baptist Ministry Centre Team exists to support your church as best we can, and please get in touch.    

Click here to view Gen1k Health's Feb Update
COVID, CONFLICT and QUITTING

In the last edition of Insights News, reference was made to how our family of churches values a common life that is Christ-centred. This is one of several core values that also include a common life that is relationally committed, and here, perhaps, is the value our churches need to focus on most as the COVID pandemic enters its third year.

The first year of the pandemic was tough for our churches but most managed to cope and there was widespread optimism about 2021. Then came Delta – the variant, not the singer –which piled on the pressure with a lockdown that ran to more than 100 days in some places, and was quickly followed by Omicron, which saw the return of masks in indoor settings and a continuing nervousness about gathering in person.

Now as the third year of the pandemic unfolds the Church Health Team is observing two recurring themes. One is an increase in conflict within local churches. The other is a growing anxiety on the part of pastors and leaders over who remains committed to the life of the church and who has either moved to another church or given up on church all together.

Perhaps the number of people who appear to be moving churches ought not to surprise us. Early in 2021 US Economists forecast what has become known as the Great Resignation, and in the month of July some 4 million Americans quit their jobs. Since then, the phenomenon has spread to several other countries including Germany and the UK. According to Federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, Australia has not witnessed a “great resignation” but rather a “great reshuffle” as evidenced by how the rate at which people are taking up new jobs is almost 10% higher than the pre-COVID average.  This is not the place to discuss the reasons why people have been changing jobs but simply to say that a great reshuffle also seems to be happening across our churches. Why? Well, to attempt a comprehensive answer would require an article of its own and in this one I only have space to highlight the crucial importance of relational commitment. If our churches are to retain their people during any stiff challenge, pandemic included, then internal relationships must be strong. People must experience a deep sense of belonging and have love for one another. Creating such an atmosphere is, of course, to be encouraged by the leaders but is the responsibility of the whole congregation and what every church needs is an abundance of loving words and actions.

The increase in conflict ought not to surprise us either. The people in our churches have been under tremendous pressure for a full two years now and the capacity to cope is wearing thin. Some of the frustrations that might once have been absorbed now prompt angry reactions resulting in the breakdown of relationships. This is understandable but requires a response. Left unchecked conflict can do untold damage and in keeping with the teaching of the Bible every effort must be made to maintain the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:3).  The Church Health Team can help, here, with trained consultants able to mediate and resources that encourage reconciliation. We can be contacted at the Baptist Ministry Centre and would welcome the opportunity to assist where we can.

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

It’s that time: political advertisements on television, photo ops in marginal seats, and the latest candidate’s gaffe on the front page of the newspaper.  Time for an election. But what do Baptist’s care about?…… Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Gen1K Justice's April/May Update

Towards a More Just Australia

It’s that time: political advertisements on television, photo ops in marginal seats, and the latest candidate’s gaffe on the front page of the newspaper.  Time for an election.

In 2021, Australian Baptist Ministries with BaptistCare Australia, Baptist World Aid Australia and the state Baptist Associations/Unions released the Justice 2021 Report: Towards a More Just Australia.  The purpose of this report was to highlight eight key areas of justice that Baptists around the country have been working on and care deeply about. It is by no means an exhaustive list, but it does cover a range of national and international issues of justice.

These issues include:

  • Justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Justice for People Seeking Refuge and Asylum
  • Justice for Women Experiencing Domestic Violence
  • Justice for People Unable to Secure Safe and Affordable Housing
  • Justice for Older Members of our Society in Need of Support and Care
  • Justice for People Vulnerable to the Impacts of Climate Change
  • Justice for People Living in Extreme Poverty
  • Justice for People Subject to Modern Slavery, Forced and Child Labour

The report was written to help Baptists advocate for these issues with their local MP’s and to provide background information for people in our churches.  The report also enables us to track with issues over time to see if policy asks have been implemented and if there is improvement in outcomes for people impacted by each issue of justice.

As you encounter talk of policy during this election season, we encourage you to check out the report and meet with your MP about the issues you care about.

You can read more about the background to the Justice Report here and you can access the report here.

Sign the petition: Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill NSW

As you may be aware, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill NSW is in it’s final stages of voting before NSW Parliament.  We have become aware of a petition being circulated by Right to Life NSW and the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney.  If you would like to circulate the petition in your church, please download the form from this link

You can make this petition available in your church until 20 May 2022. The petition needs to be signed with the name of person and address of the person (who need to be over the age of 18).

 The petitions can be sent back to:

Archdiocese of Sydney

The Polding Centre

133 Liverpool Street

Sydney  NSW  2000

Click here to view Gen1K Justice's March Update

Baptist Churches across NSW and the ACT continue to respond to the disasters of recent times: effects of prolonged drought, destructive bushfires, and now the recent flooding in NSW.  Our churches have provided for the immediate needs of disaster-affected individuals and families, supported local businesses, replaced damaged items, enabled access to mental health services, cleared trees from properties, and much more.  We are grateful for the local expression of support that our churches have provided and how they have also tried to look after the longer-term recovery needs of their communities.

The Baptist Association understands that its churches are uniquely positioned to support communities for the long-term and that best practice in disaster relief is to work through local players at the local level. There is a strong commitment from the Association to do disaster response and recovery work through the local church as that church engages in local mission.

Disasters come and go but the effects of those disasters linger for a long time. If communities are not supported, these effects can create long-term issues for the communities, placing them in very unique and vulnerable situations.  Our desire as the Association of Baptist Churches is to enable our churches to respond to disasters in their local communities using their strengths and in ways specific to the needs of their communities.  In doing so they are “carrying one another’s burdens and fulfilling the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

Our Disaster Relief Fund has enabled great work to happen across our network and is available for any church within the Baptist Association to access who is assisting people in need because of a disaster.  No doubt as the coming weeks unfold, this will include responding to the recent devastating floods.

Your generosity towards our Disaster Relief fund means we can be engaging in disaster response and recovery work where it’s needed most. Visit OurStory to learn how our Disaster Relief Funding is being used by churches across NSW and the ACT thanks to your support and generosity!

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.

From Ministry Standards Team:

Join us on the 24th May for equipping and an opportunity to connect with other Safe Church Teams, share resources and support one another. The evening will feature a keynote presentation from the NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer sharing about the new Child Safe Scheme. This event is designed for.… Keep reading by clicking below!

Click here to view Ministry Standard's April/May Update!

Join us on the 24th May for equipping and an opportunity to connect with other Safe Church Teams, share resources and support one another. The evening will feature a keynote presentation from the NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer sharing about the new Child Safe Scheme.

The Safe Church Network Evening is designed for Safe Church Teams, it is an ideal environment for these Safe Church Teams to gather. If your church does not yet have a Safe Church Team, then we would encourage church leadership attend so that they are equipped to develop their Safe Church Team after the event.

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday 24th May
  • Time: Registration and refreshments from 6:30pm for a 7pm start.
    The evening will wrap up by 9:30pm
  • Location: The Auditorium at The Ministry and Learning Centre
    5 Saunders Close, Macquarie Park NSW 2113
    Cost: Free

*Livestream is available for Safe Church Teams from churches in regional areas*

 

Register Here

 

Click here to view Ministry Standard's March Update!

Join us on the 24th May for equipping and an opportunity to connect with other Safe Church Teams, share resources and support one another. The evening will feature a keynote presentation from the NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer sharing about the new Child Safe Scheme.

The Safe Church Network Evening is designed for Safe Church Teams, it is an ideal environment for these Safe Church Teams to gather. If your church does not yet have a Safe Church Team, then we would encourage church leadership attend so that they are equipped to develop their Safe Church Team after the event. 

Event Details
Date: Tuesday 24th May
Time: Registration and refreshments from 6:30pm for a 7pm start.
The evening will wrap up by 9:30pm
Location: The Auditorium at The Ministry and Learning Centre
5 Saunders Close, Macquarie Park NSW 2113
Cost: Free 

*Livestream is available for Safe Church Teams from churches in regional areas*

Register Here

Click here to view Ministry Standard's Feb Update!
You’ve likely completed our Creating Safe Spaces course, but have you ever wondered if there was a way for you to be further equipped and greater understand how you can protect the vulnerable members of your church community and fulfil your legal obligations?

Our Advanced Creating Safe Spaces course is here to help! Over 2 days you will dive deeper into important issues, growing and strengthening your understanding of:

  • Pastoral challenges in preventing and identifying harm
  • Theological foundations of developing a Safe Church culture
  • The best ways to help care for victims of abuse
  • The complexities and challenges of dealing with risks in a ministry context
  • Reporting obligations

We will also hear from industry and ministry leaders with experience in child protection, risk management, legal obligations, investigations and church culture.

 

Event Details
The Training is delivered across 2 days. Attendees must attend both days!

Day 1: Saturday 26th March
Day 2: Saturday 2nd April

Cost: $100 for your churches first attendee
$5 for every addition attendee from your church

Register Here

If you would like to know more about this event, please email Joseph Lam jlam@nswactbaptists.org.au. We look forward to seeing you at our first session on March 26.

Please note that we are offering a second session of Advanced Creating Safe Spaces training in person at the Ministry and Learning Centre Macquarie Park on Monday August 8 and August 22.

 

 

The Children and Family Ministries Team are excited to announce that registrations for the new State Kids Camp (July 4-7) at Kiah Ridge are open! Designed for kids in years 4-7 at school. This 3 night 4 day camp during the school holidays is sure to be a peak faith experience in the lives of kids from your church. We are also offering a limited number of leadership development opportunities for young people. Check out the website www.statekidscamp.com.au for more info and registration links!

Click here to view Children & Family Ministries March Update!

The Children and Family Ministries Team are excited to announce that registrations for the new State Kids Camp (July 4-7) at Kiah Ridge are open! Designed for kids in years 4-7 at school. This 3 night 4 day camp during the school holidays is sure to be a peak faith experience in the lives of kids from your church. We are also offering a limited number of leadership development opportunities for young people. Check out the website www.statekidscamp.org.au for more info and registration links.

Click here to view Children & Family Ministries Feb Update!

Is your church joining a local Connect Day?
From Southern Sydney out to the Western plains and up to the Northern Rivers there are 9 sites taking place in Connect Day this year!

Connect is a day of encouragement and equipping for anyone ministering with children and their families, SRE teachers, kids program leaders, playtime team, pastors. Leaders under 18 attend free. It’s a local collaborative day looking to see opportunities for justice and evangelism and nurturing of faith amongst children and their families. A space to equip and encourage each other.

Saturday March 19 2022, 8:45am-1pm.

 

There will be fun and food and workshops including one on seeing children with additional needs welcomed and included in churches.

Take a look https://baptistcfm.org.au/connect-day-2022/ to find a site nearest to you. Don’t see your region represented?! It’s not too late to see Connect happen in your region later in the year. Get in contact with Drew (dharrison@nswactbaptist.org.au) to make it happen.

 

Over the last few years, the ongoing pandemic has had a huge impact on young people and their mental health. Statistically 1 in 4 young people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in 12 months. There are many more who go undiagnosed and churches, as well as the community, can play a vital role in supporting young people with their mental health. Have you considered undertaking Youth Mental Health Training?….Click below to keep reading

Click here to view BYM's April/May Update!

Over the last few years, the ongoing pandemic has had a huge impact on young people and their mental health. A report compiled by Headspace stated that:

  • 74% of the young people surveyed said that their mental health was a little worse (47%) or a lot worse (27%) since the breakout of COVID-19.
  • 86% of young people said their mood, wellbeing and sleep had been negatively impacted. 75% reported a negative impact on their mood and 59% reported their sleeping had been negatively impacted.
  • 70% said that their relationships with friends had been negatively impacted.
  • When it comes to work, study and their financial situation, 77% reported a negative impact. While 45% reported a negative impact on their home and living situation.
  • 12% of young people postponed seeking help due to lock down and wait lists for services.[1]

Statistically 1 in 4 young people will be diagnosed with a mental health condition in 12 months. There are many more who go undiagnosed and churches, as well as the community, can play a vital role in supporting young people with their mental health.

It has been a great start to the year with leaders from Cherrybrook Community Life Church partaking in the 2 days of Youth Mental Health First Aid Training. It is always such a great couple of days connecting with people who are passionate about young people and are invested in equipping themselves around the topic of mental health. It can be a challenging topic to cover, but so important.

Some feedback from the training:

  • “The course was very helpful for our context working with High School Youth on a weekly basis. The material was extensive but easy to follow along and access through the Mental Health First Aid Manual provided.”
  • “Really practical information that I feel I could comfortably put into practice. Engaging, new and eye opening.”
  • “This course helps raise awareness of mental health. As many teenagers are just labelled as going through a faze which might not be true. Due to this course, you can identify whether someone’s behaviour is concerning or not.”

 There will be 2 days of training occurring at South Coast Life Church on the 21st and 28th May. If you would like to know more information about this training, book a ticket (there are limited spots) or organise training for your own church, please email me at fgardner@nswactbaptists.org.au.

Click here to view BYM's Feb Update!
Is it time for a Reboot?

The events of the last two years, I have been asked by a number of people “Is it time to rethink our approach to youth ministry?” That is to rethink our approach to discipleship, mission, and learnership development?  Essentially is it time for a reboot?

I don’t know but here’s some things I think will be worthwhile….

1. Stories (and facts)

Stories matter to young people. Stories matter to all of us. Consider how prolific the consumption of Netflix has been during the pandemic. People want to engage with stories and these stories shape who we are. The same can be said about the Bible – our G.O.A.T.

Some have described the story Bible through a four-fold framework of creation, fall, redemption and restoration.

Essentially that God created the world in perfection, that humanity messed it up and created a divide between the Creator and the created, that by God’s grace in the person and work of Jesus provided a way back to Himself, and that He is invites us now to join him in making all things new.

  • This is a story that’s bigger and long lasting than any virus.
  • This is a story that all people need to hear.
  • It’s also a story that young people need to hear and re-hear.
  • But don’t miss the facts along the way.

In the age of postmodernism, relevitisim, skepticism, and fake news, the notion of ‘facts’ has been disputed, undervalued, disregarded and even denied.

Covid has forced people to reconsider the facts – how and where did this whole thing start, how many people have been impacted, what are the most effective preventative measures, when is a vaccine coming, and will it be effective.

  • Young people need to know the story of the Bible.
  • Young people also need to know the facts of the Bible.
  • Young people need to know the fact that God knows what we are facing.
  • Young people need to know the fact that God is present in their struggles.
  • Young people need to know the fact that God can be relied upon in every season.
  • And young people need to know the fact that they are loved by God.

As you reboot youth ministry may you give attention to reminding young people of the big story of the Bible (and its facts) – and in particular that it is their story too.

 

2. Smaller (with a touch of the larger)

Gatherings of people need to be on the smaller scale.

As many continue worry about their health and the possibility of being infected with Covid, we need to continue to provide safe opportunities for people to meet with one another.

We were created for community and connection but this needs to take on some very different shapes in this current season. This will require more people to take hold of leadership and caring roles for the sake of the ministry. No doubt this will create new tensions to manage but the more people concerned for others and having regular times of interaction the greater the impact on the lives of young people.

In many youth ministries, before Covid the emphasis was on the gathering of the masses (often on a Friday night) – with a nod to midweek small groups and more individual times of care. While this had some merit, the new season of youth ministry requires a reversal of things – with a greater emphasis on knowing and caring for individuals and small groups.

As you reboot youth ministry think smaller but make sure you don’t throw out bigger gatherings completely.

 

3. Slower (but still urgent)

Adjust your expectations knowing that things will be travelling at much slower pace for a while to come. That doesn’t mean we do nothing – but it does shift our thinking in terms of how quickly things will take to grow and change.

Young people tend to want things to move fast – fast Internet, fast food, fast fashion – help them to appreciate and savour the gift of slowing down.

Yes there’s an urgency to the Gospel, and we need to respond to people in need with haste, but we are in the marathon business here and we are required to journey with young people over the long term. This will require increased stamina.

How is it that you can use the slower pace of life to develop new appreciations, connections, awareness and skills? How can you be encouraging and supporting others in leadership roles with young people to be doing likewise?

In what ways do you need to be preparing the youth ministry for what is to come?

The spiritual disciplines (or rhythms of grace as I have them referred to more recently) are a great way to slow down. May you slow down as you reboot youth ministry.

I don’t claim to have all the answers to all the questions – but I do know that those in leadership need to create a safe places for people to re-examine their beliefs (Christian or otherwise), as well as offering faith-filled ways forward.

To reboot anything takes intentionality, faith, and patience.
Take what you know and start moving toward the future God has in store.
Have fun rebooting youth ministry in your context.

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.

23rd Annual Tinsley Lecture

23rd Annual Tinsley Lecture
May 9 // 7-8:30pm // Morling College Sydney Campus

Micro Churches: Remembering the Past to Shape the Future with Bree Mills

Micro churches, missional communities, and house churches are on the rise in Australia. As Australians seek authenticity and connection these more innovative forms of church seem to connect well, but, are they new? Isn’t that the way the early church lived? Many movements have been born from small communities seeking to be conformed to Christ and love their neighbours, but where are they today? Will this movement in Australia last, or is it just the latest fad in church growth?

Bree Mills believes micro churches are going to increasingly become a part of the Australian church landscape. Micro churches are adaptable, lightweight, and lay-led communities that live out their missional identity in a particular network or neighbourhood. If we are willing to learn from biblical and historical examples, Bree suggests that micro churches can co-exist with existing churches, working in partnership to reach all the nooks and crannies of Australian society.

This event is a free event being hosted by the Tinsley Institute on May 9 and is supported by our Baptist Association.

Register Here

May Mission Month is coming!

May Mission Month is coming!

The theme for 2022 is ‘Crossing the Street’. Through this four week series we will explore stories of Jesus from the Gospels, learn from His example and see how passionate people in Australia and around the world are living it out.

Let’s unite in partnership with our intercultural teams and get excited about all that God is doing through His people in neighbourhoods near and far.

We can only do it together! Explore May Mission Month: www.baptistmissionaustralia.org.au/MayMissionMonth 

 

Want to talk to someone?
If you would like to chat about resources or how you and your church can engage with Baptist Mission Australia’s May Mission Month, then contact your State Leader here or our Communications Manager, Teagan Dwyer-Riviere on tdwyerriviere@globalinteraction.org.au

Offer Hope and Help across Eastern Europe - Stand with Ukraine

EAA Launched First Appeal with ABC Concert

The Emergency Action Alliance—comprised of 15 member organisations including Baptist World Aid—is launching its first appeal.

Over four million people have fled conflict so far in Ukraine, many without even a change of clothes. To help raise funds for those who need it most, the Emergency Action Alliance— comprised of 15 member organisations including Baptist World Aid—is launching its first appeal through a televised concert with the ABC.

‘ABC Gives Ukraine Appeal’ in partnership with the EAA aired Wednesday, March 30 at 8:30pm on ABC TV Plus. The two-hour concert showcases musicians such as Ed Sheeran, Manic Street Preachers, the Kingdom Choir and Camila Cabelo performing from England. All money raised complemented the recently announced $2 million Federal Government contribution to Emergency Action Alliance’s Ukraine Appeal, as well as proceeds from existing EAA member Ukraine appeals.

‘A refugee crisis is an inevitable outcome of tragic conflict, and this is a creative and unified response from members of the Emergency Action Alliance to support Ukraine,’ said Melissa Lipsett, CEO. ‘Baptist World Aid Australia is Standing with Ukraine, supporting Christian Partners throughout the region as they care for an influx of people seeking safety. And we’re tuning into the ABC for this generous response from such talented musicians.’

Baptist World Aid Australia joined 15 other disaster relief organisations in August of 2021 to unite in emergency appeals for immediate humanitarian care, forming together the historic Emergency Action Alliance. The EAA brings leading aid charities together to improve on how Australians can support and donate when large scale overseas disasters take place.

‘This is the moment when we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine who have had to flee a terrible conflict,’ said Kerren Morris, Executive Director at EAA. ‘Our members believe this is the moment where we come together to raise more funds and have even greater impact during the recovery and rebuilding phase. We are excited to partner with ABC on this major appeal.’

The humanitarian crisis across Ukraine is escalating as people leave their homes in search of safety, crossing the border to neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova. Many are women, children and elderly leaving loved ones behind to defend Ukraine.
‘As the situation continues, more families will be displaced, exacerbating the already urgent need for food, medical care and refuge,’ Lipsett said. ‘Gifts today will provide support for food, hygiene items, medicine, generators, blankets and necessary items for displaced people as well as shelters set up for them.’

The all-star musical event spread a message of hope and support while raising funds for EAA members to address the immediate needs of people fleeing the conflict, and in the long road ahead.

Offer Hope and Help across Eastern Europe. Please give today: https://baptistworldaid.org.au/appeals/standing-with-ukraine/

Thank you for your generosity

Thank you for your generosity

A big thank you to all the people and churches who have donated so generously to the BaptistCare Flood Appeal. Thanks to your generosity, we have raised nearly $200,000. Our teams on the ground are distributing funds to deliver vital support to the local communities of the Northern Rivers, including our residents, clients, tenants and staff. So far, we have provided food, water, and essential items to where they are needed most.

Unfortunately, our two homes in the Northern Rivers were again cut off and experienced minor damage in April’s second round of flooding. The staff who work in these homes are incredibly dedicated and went out of their way to get to work each day, some even coming in by boat!

While the situation in the Northern Rivers will fade from media attention and has already done so, the devastation and clean up will continue for many months. We ask you to keep praying and if you’re able, to donate to the ongoing flood appeal. https://baptistcare.org.au/baptistcare-nsw-flood-appeal

Please pray for:

  •  The mental and physical wellbeing of all our staff, residents and clients in the region
  • The ongoing cleanup efforts
  • The provision of government support for the region

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ESSENTIALS SRE FULL COURSE for new Teachers

online- zoom NSW

This course is for new teachers needing to complete the full course as part of their authorisation. This is not for current teachers that may be asked to update Modules […]

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