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.
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!
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)!
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.
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW & ACT
NCLS - Baptist Association investment means Church Census, Leadership Survey and Church Life Survey are FREE for your church!
Dear Pastors, Leaders and Church Administrators,
In 2021, we mark 30 years since the first National Church Life Survey in 1991. The continuing mission of NCLS is to encourage church vitality, health and effectiveness within the Australian context.
Our Association has had a strong connection with NCLS over its life. We believe that participation in NCLS is of great benefit for the local church in assessing mission and ministry, resourcing good reflection on the present and creative thinking about the future.
Because of this we are making a major investment in the 2021 survey. We will be offering the Church Census, Leadership Survey and Church Life Survey free of charge to all NSW&ACT Baptist Churches, fellowships and church plants.
Can I strongly encourage every church to participate in this unique opportunity to provide insight into ministry, tools for leadership at the local church level, and a cohesive snapshot of our movement as a whole at this significant time. Each of the surveys can be translated into at least 10 different languages and a child survey is also available for church attenders between 8 and 14 years of age.
NCLS are also offering a new Local Community Survey this year, which is another valuable tool for the local church. The cost of this survey is $200 and I strongly encourage churches to engage in this practical, missional and strategic research.
The survey is scheduled to take place between October and November this year, with results available in 2022.
To register your interest, please visit https://www.2021ncls.org.au/ for further information. If you have any further questions, please contact the NCLS office or our Association NCLS Coordinator, Steve Hales, at email@example.com.
We look forward to partnering together.
Rev. Dr. Steve Bartlett
Director of Ministries
Baptist Association of NSW and ACT
Free online Registration – be part of the first ever Online Baptist World Congress in July
What you need to know – the Top 10 points!
- The Baptist World Congress is held every 5 years somewhere on the globe… but in 2021 for the first time it is being held everywhere – online!
- It is a one-of-a-kind experience for worship, fellowship, prayer, spiritual challenge and standing together led by Baptists from across the world.
- The Congress is being offered FREE for all Australian Baptists due to the financial partnership of Aussie Baptist organisations & associations.
- Online registration gives you live access to Congress and its Pre-Conference content on 7-10 July, PLUS on-demand access for 7 days.
- Explore Congress programme and information at BWA2021.org
- Online registration closes 30 June.
- See here, for an online video invitation from Elijah Brown, General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance.
- See below for more information
- See below that for instructions to get your FREE registration!
- Please put this information in your church’s enews or bulletin so those in you church can also hear about this amazing opportunity.
The Baptist World Congress is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Baptists worldwide to stand TOGETHER. For the first time in our history, Congress will be offered as a fully virtual event, making it more accessible than ever before. Join us online as the BWA family continues to stand TOGETHER during this critical time – celebrating our unity across borders, languages, and ethnicities.
Our time TOGETHER will include:
Help make history TOGETHER by joining us online July 7-10 for what we anticipate will be the most globally diverse gathering of Baptists in 400 years! Visit BWA2021.orgfor more information or click below to register today!
How to Register for free
- Go to the Congress registration page at https://bwa2021.org/register/
- Select the $70 “Congress Registrant + Pre-Conference” option
- When it comes to the payment section, add the coupon code ABM and press Apply and the registration costs will reduce to zero.
- After you have registered you will receive your access code by email, which you can use to access the Congress
Note that the conference Schedule times are US Eastern Daylight time which is 14 hours behind Sydney time. Log on at the right time to watch live or come back up to 7 days later to watch on-demand.
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census - Indicate Baptist
14th June 2021
Australian Bureau of Statistics Census to be held on Tuesday August 10, 2021.
The Census is your moment to make a difference.
The information you provide in the Census helps estimate Australia’s population, which is used to distribute government funds and plan services for your community – housing, transport, education, industry, hospitals and the environment. Census data is also used by individuals and organisations in the public and private sectors to make informed decisions on policy and planning issues that impact the lives of all Australians.
In this census (as in previous census) there is a question regarding religion.
How to answer: What is the person’s religion?
Why should I tick the Baptist Denomination box on the Census?
Because this is the church I identify with as part of the Australian Christian community.
Because the research that is derived from the Census will:
- Help us better understand the size and diversity of our Australian Baptist movement;
- Strengthen our capacity to lobby State and Federal Governments on issues of freedom of religion and other faith-based issues;
- Help us appropriately represent our Baptist involvement in overseas aid and development, social services and aged care, Christian education and the charity sector networks; and
- Better reflect the strength of the denominations that represent the Christian sector of the Australian community and their place in Australian society.
I want to encourage all Australian Baptists to tick the Baptist box (or write in ‘Baptist’). Without a doubt ‘Christian’ is the correct response to the question of religion, however the Government thinks in terms of denominations and our representation on various committees and agencies is based on how many people identify as Baptist.
I believe it is important that Baptists make their voices heard and this is one definite place we can show our unity and presence.
Rev. Mark Wilson
National Ministries Director
Find out more about what’s going on across different areas of our Gen1k & Association Ministries
We’re looking forward to our inaugural “That Thing in July” coming up in July. It’s a retreat at Kiah Ridge specifically for Associate Pastors in our movement – and should be great! We are also looking ahead to ….Keep reading by clicking below!
Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's June Update
We’re looking forward to our inaugural “That Thing in July” coming up in July. It’s a retreat at Kiah Ridge specifically for Associate Pastors in our movement – and should be great! We are also looking ahead to August where Kylie Bulter (who was our speaker at June Insights) will be speaking live. We continue to undertake the rewrite of the accreditation process and we are on track to complete that by the end of this year. We have also been advertising for director and coach for a new Gap Year program which is a partnership between the Association and Morling College. You’ll hear more about that soon as we launch that in the weeks to come so the program can kick off in 2022. Our BYM, CaFM and SRE teams continue to support and develop leaders in the youth, children and families spaces. Together we continue to encourage our pastors, leaders and churches to be recognising, raising, releasing and resourcing leaders across our movement as we journey towards a thousand healthy churches in a generation.
Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's May Update
Interviews for leaders seeking to be accredited and recognised in our movement have commenced and we’re excited about the group of leaders God is raising up! We will have a record 55 interviews to complete this year. So to help us out, Krystyna Kidson has joined the Leadership Development team as a psychologist to help make sure we do our best in caring for and empowering leaders in the process.
We’re looking forward to our inaugural “That Thing in July” coming up in July. It’s a retreat at Kiah Ridge specifically for Associate Pastors in our movement – and should be great! We continue to undertake the rewrite of the accreditation process and are on track to complete that by the end of this year. Our BYM, CaFM and SRE teams continue to support and develop leaders in the youth, children and families spaces. Together we continue to encourage our pastors, leaders and churches to be recognising, raising, releasing and resourcing leaders across our movement as we journey towards a thousand healthy churches in a generation.
Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's March Update
Leadership Development Team continues to work towards recognising, raising, releasing and resourcing leaders in our movement as we pursue our Gen1K goals.
We’re excited as Louise Bartlett and our Children and Families ministry team run our Connect Conference at various venues last weekend. Shelley Ashton and our SRE team continue to work hard in this season of authorising many of our ongoing SRE teachers, while numerous new teachers are undertaking training in this key ministry.
Jenny Casey and team have started interviews of around 55 different people who, this year, are entering the accreditation or recognition process as leaders called in to pastoral ministry. Steve Dixon and team continue to connect with youth pastors and leaders and we are working towards a mid year Associate Pastors retreat too.
There’s lots more going on, so please pray for us as together we serve God and others.
Click here to view Gen1k Leadership's February Update
It was great to launch our Insights Zoom this month as the new iteration of the Pastors Q&A of 2020. It was exciting to share online with youth pastors and leaders across our movement at the BYM State Conference. We are hopeful that Covid restrictions will ease enough for our live events to get back to full swing.
It was exciting to share online with youth pastors and leaders across our movement at the BYM State Conference. It was sad not to be able to do this face to face, but we are hopeful that Covid restrictions will ease enough for our live events to get back to full swing. But we’re grateful for Steve Dixon and the BYM team who were able to connect over Zoom to youth pastors, leaders and teams across NSW and ACT for encouragement, inspiration and input.
Meanwhile Louise Bartlett and our Children’s and Families’ Team are gearing up for Connect Days in March to network and encourage people in our churches ministering in this key area. Keep an eye out to register.
It was great to launch our Insights Zoom this month as the new iteration of the Pastors Q&A of 2020. If you weren’t able to join us on Zoom on the day, look for the recording and try to join us on 17th March.
SRE teachers are getting back in to classrooms after a disruptive year. Please pray for Shelley Ashton and her team as they look after and are busy authorising our almost 700 teachers across NSW.
We’ve got a big year of interviews for leaders pursuing recognition and accreditation this year. Jenny Casey and team are busy guiding men and women in this process with some great leaders being raised as they pursue God’s calling on their lives. We’re also finalising a new process of recognition and accreditation during 2021 – so please pray for us.
Please continue to pray for us as a team as we continue to recognise, raise, release and resource leaders within our goal to see 1000 healthy churches in a generation.
Are there people in your church or network who are interested in evangelism, church multiplication, social-enterprise and global mission? FORM is the key event, motivating people to impact our society, culture and world. ……. Keep reading by clicking below!
Click here to view Gen1k Mission's June Update!
Are there people in your church or network who are interested in evangelism, church multiplication, social-enterprise and global mission? FORM is the key event, motivating people to impact our society, culture and world. You can find out more and register here: www.4m.org.au
Another significant opportunity to equip your people to have an impact beyond the walls of the church is the Transforming Vocation Conference.
This conference will provide an opportunity for participants to engage at the highest level in theological and practical reflection on the nature of work, the changing cultural and economic landscape in which we now operate as workers, and how churches and their leaders can more effectively equip their members to think well and live faithfully as workplace Christians.
The Transforming Vocation Conference: Working in the Presence of God will consider the issues around how Christian faith intersects with everyday work. It will bring together theologians, Christians in the workplace and church leaders to both receive teaching, and to join in conversation.
The theme of the conference is Working in the Presence of God, based on the book by the main speakers, Denise Daniels and Shannon Vandewarker. They will lead participants to ponder how spiritual practices can enhance our ordinary working, as well as addressing the biblical background, and opportunities for churches when considering how to work in the presence of God.
There will be panels of workers, church leaders and theologians, and also ten research papers presented at the conference canvassing issues as diverse as vocation, biblical concepts for working in the presence of God and the universal basic income.
The conference will be held at Morling College in Sydney, as well as hubs in Melbourne and Brisbane, and online. You can find out more and register here: https://www.morling.edu.au/events/Working-in-the-Presence-of-God-2021/
Click here to view Gen1k Mission's May Update!
Forming Church Podcast
Season 2 of the Forming Church Podcast has launched. In episode 1 Benj and Will chat with speaker, author and podcaster Jo Saxton about women, leadership and lament. Jo has a bio to make any leader blush…having spoken at the Global Leadership Summit and on platforms around the world. She is a truly international guest, and this episode is pure gold.
Forming Church Podcast is all about exploring what mission, leadership, church planting and evangelism could look like in our rapidly changing world. We want to create content that generates learning and conversation around these areas, while resourcing the next generation of planters, church leaders, urban missionaries and followers of Jesus in contemporary Australian contexts.
With feedback from you, the format of the podcast has changed this year. There are longer interviews with our guests and stand-alone roundtable episodes with leaders wrestling with what the topics look like in their context.
Season two will cover topics like adaptive leadership for ever-changing contexts, autopsy of a dying church, different models and expressions of church, how to disagree well and so much more!
Find it anywhere you listen to podcasts (apple, google, Spotify etc) or go to http://www.gen1kmission.org.au/formingchurchpodcast/.
Don’t forget that the FORM Conference is coming up on the 5th-7th of July in Sydney and online. Check out this video and website for more information.
Click here to view Gen1k Mission's March Update!
This month we would love to extend an invitation for you to join us at Form conference in July 2021. It will be an exciting opportunity to join with Baptists from around Australia for the inaugural Baptists in Mission conference!
Date: 5 – 7 July 2021
Time: 12pm – 6pm
We’ll start each afternoon together as the Form you know and love, around sharing and sparking ideas, storytelling, networking, team building as we seek God together for the Gen1k vision of 1000 healthy churches in NSW & ACT. Then we’ll connect in with our national movement, through the Baptists in Mission conference where speakers in other states and around the world will be livestreamed to us.
We’re excited to broaden the content at Form and participate in this event alongside our Baptist brothers and sisters around the country as we seek to be one movement, every place; sharing Jesus where God has placed us.
More information will be released through the Form website soon at www.4m.org.au! We are excited to collaborate with Baptists in Mission conference, make sure you put the 5-7 July in your diaries, we can’t wait to see you there.
Click here to view Gen1k Mission's February Update!
The Gen1K Mission Team are working with the Tinsley Institute and Morling College to put the gospel at the centre of the college. As part of Community Week at Morling, our Evangelism Consultant, Belinda Lakelin, is running a workshop with all students called Plan A: The Great Commission for Every Christian. Plan A also has an online small group series and other FREE resources you can use with your church. In partnership with Morling, we are also relaunching SENT, which is a one year experience that equips missional leaders for ministry in our rapidly changing world. Greater West for Christ are using this certificate as a yearlong intern program to train and release emerging leaders throughout the western suburbs of Sydney.
Another way our collaboration with Morling College is designed to partner with you in God’s mission is through the delivery of Mission in an Urban Context. This subject is a great opportunity to think about doing mission in the places where most people live: cities. Each week we’ll be exploring what the Bible has to say, considering the wisdom of those who have walked the journey before us, and hearing from a variety of contemporary urban mission practitioners around the world. We’ll also be having regular time away from the classroom to participate in an urban church planting team here in Sydney, helping them with their work and learning alongside them. It’s a unique course that require need a Bible, an atlas, and some walking boots too.
It’s not too late to enrol! You can contact Morling College for more information on how to do this.
The Forming Church Podcast continues to grow its influence, reaching an audience of over 3500 people. Season 2 is currently in development with a great list of guests lined up. You can join the online community on Facebook as we discuss the future of the Australian church.
To be inspired about how God can use anyone and everyone check out this story on how the good news of Jesus is transforming Cootamundra and growing a new church.
From Tim Burns:
Having volunteered and worked in the area of church health for several years, now, one of the elements I most appreciate is the consultancy training program. This was originally pioneered many years ago .…. Keep reading by clicking below!
Click here to view Gen1k Health's June Update
Having volunteered and worked in the area of church health for several years, now, one of the elements I most appreciate is the consultancy training program. This was originally pioneered many years ago and, over those years, various pastors and lay people completed it, but under Ian Altman’s leadership numbers increased greatly, and this year not one but two new cohorts commenced; one in Sydney and the other in northern New South Wales.
The training, which comprises 8 workshops spread over two years, reflects on a number of elements that are key to church health, and provides participants with resources and tools that they can use both in their own church context and in formal church health engagements. Those elements involve:
- Identifying the values a congregation shares
- Developing a mission statement
- Casting a vision
- Implementing a strategic plan
- Creating a church governance model that fits the size of church
- Introducing a system for healthy pastoral review
- Managing change and transition
- Resolving conflict
- Much more besides!
Having thoroughly enjoyed completing the training, myself, I now help to provide it and am struck by the positive feedback that is offered by those who undertake it. Nearly all of them can be found employing the tools and resounces in their own churches and some enjoy it so much that they opt to continue in the specialist consultancy stream, which sees them taking on consultancy engagements with churches that request assistance.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the training need only email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the Church Health Team will get in touch. Equally, any pastor or church leader who would like to find out what is involved in having a consultancy engagement should get in touch.
Click here to view Gen1k Health's May Update
The Church Health Team recently farewelled both Ian Altman and Frank Farag. Ian, who had been Team Leader since 2016, left to join Scripture Union as State Director – NSW, and our loss is undoubtedly SU’s gain. Ian’s leadership of the Church Health Team was greatly appreciated by both staff and volunteers alike. Over the years he has made an invaluable contribution to our family of churches and will be greatly missed. We wish him well as he embarks on this new chapter in his ministry life and look forward to his ongoing involvement with our family of churches.
Frank, who was the Association’s Cross-Cultural Ministry Worker, left this role to focus both on the Crest Church where he is Senior Pastor and the planting of new congregations, which is undoubtedly a great passion of his. Frank will also be greatly missed and we are glad that his wealth of cross-cultural experience is just a phone call away.
Cat Nugent, who worked as Ian’s personal assistant, will also move on from the Church Health Team. Cat, who has long worked across several Association teams has decided to focus on her work with Crossover Australia. The Church Health Team wants to pay tribute for the great support she has been. We will miss her and are glad that she will work for Crossover out of the Ministry & Learning Centre where we will continue to see her.
Consequent to these changes, the BMC Leadership Team is reviewing the structure of the church health ministry with a view to shaping a Team that will support and promote the health of our churches well into the future. During the interim, Tim Burns, Monique Eisenberg and Steve Hales will continue to work closely with the growing team of volunteer specialist consultants who are well equipped to offer advice and help.
Click here to view Gen1k Health's March Update
Evaluating programs and ministries through the lens of Mission & Discipleship.
As I read through the New Testament it seems to me that Jesus made it very clear that those who call themselves followers of Jesus (Disciples), and those who gather in the name of Jesus (the church), are called by Jesus to, at the very least, do one thing and be one thing. The one thing Jesus specifically called us to do is Make Disciples. Jesus said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28: 18 & 19).
There are many ways to make disciples, there are lots of different programs, different ministries and different approaches. The real question we need to ask of ourselves and our ministries is, are we actually making disciples? Are our ministries, programs or approaches actually (literally) making disciples? Can we list the names and point out the people who have become disciples (followers of Jesus) as a direct result of our efforts?
When Jesus calls us to be his witnesses, he means that we would give witness (testify to; give or afford evidence of) to the Lordship and universal reign of the resurrected Jesus, the impact that he has on our lives and the purpose and direction which he gives us for life (and everything else). Our actions, our words, the ministries we engage in, the programs we run and the way we interact with those around us (inside and outside the church) is meant to give witness to Jesus, all that he is and that that he has done. Because we are called by Jesus to be His witnesses, one of the most important questions we need to ask ourselves and of all the programs and ministries we run is: “Does it reveal Jesus?”
These two questions, “Does it make Disciples?” & “Does it reveal Jesus?”, form a helpful lens through which we can view and evaluate a church’s ministry and programs. They also help us be honest about the extent to which a church’s ministries and programs are in line with Jesus’ call to make disciples and be a witness.
I am reminded of a playgroup ministry that was part of a church I was leading. It had been running for more than 17 years and it was a strong and healthy ministry, it had a good team, a great program, over 30 families regularly engaged, and it was well regarded and respected by the wider community. The only issue was that after 17 years no one could point to a single person coming to know Jesus in a real and personal way, nor could we identify anyone joining the church or attending the church – ever!
While a good ministry, it wasn’t making disciples and it wasn’t revealing or raising an interest in Jesus. There were many reasons, but the two that stood out were 1) everyone in the team were so busy running the program there was no time to build relationships with the very people they were trying to reach; and 2) there was no training or equipping in evangelism or faith sharing for team members, so that they had the skills and confidence in sharing their faith or giving witness to Jesus. With essentially no fruit (no witness to Jesus and no disciples), we made the decision to close the ministry and begin training and equipping people so that they could share their faith and have the room to connect relationally with those connected with the ministry from outside the church. Over the next few years, we saw people come to know Jesus, be baptised and join the church.
So here is the challenge, and it will take some courage. List all the ministries, activities and programs that happen in your church on any given week throughout the year and ask these two questions of everything:
- Does it make disciples?
- Does it reveal Jesus?
Click here to view Gen1k Health's February Update
Covid-19 has certainly provided both challenges and opportunities to rethink and reimagine how we engage with churches and provide training. We have had to learn how to deliver our Church Health Consultancy Training online, run church engagements and meetings with church leaders over ZOOM and connect with regions in new ways.
Like many others, we had to pivot and adapt to a constantly changing environment throughout the last season. We have had to learn how to deliver our Church Health Consultancy Training online, run church engagements and meetings with church leaders over ZOOM and connect with regions in new ways. Covid-19 has certainly provided both challenges and opportunities to rethink and reimagine how we engage with churches and provide training.
Church Health Consultancy currently has 5 trained trainers and 29 Specialist Consultants. A further 9 people have completed all the workshops of the 2-year training course in 2020 and the next cohort, which also comprises 9 people, will graduate at the end of 2021. A new cohort will commence the training in March 2021 with a focus on engaging regional participants.
The challenges of 2020, along with growing compliance requirements, saw a significant increase in Church Health engagements. Several of our smaller churches either closed or required significant help with leadership and governance. We also saw several churches pivot and respond to the challenges in innovating and creative ways.
The Church Health Team remains committed to serving our family of churches and providing assistance, training and resources to foster and develop health and vitality across our movement.
To find out more about your church’s Regional Minister, upcoming training, church health consultancy or personal/group coaching visit https://nswactbaptists.org.au/healthy-church/ or email us at email@example.com
From the Public Engagement Group:
There are two initiatives for your churches to get involved with this month: Domestic Violence and the Safer Spaces Toolkit & Disaster Recovery Grants…. Keep reading by clicking below!
Disaster Recovery Grants
The Baptist Association NSW & ACT has put together the opportunity for churches in drought and bushfire affected areas to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for a project that assists a community to recover from the drought and bushfires. For further information and the grant application visit:
The applications will close on 24 June 2021 and we will look to fund up to three projects in bushfire-affected areas and 8 in drought-affected areas. If you have any questions, please email Kelly Crawford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Safer Spaces Toolkit will launch in the second-half of 2021. Baptist Insurance Services and Baptist Financial Services are generously funding the development and initial roll out of the project. The Safer Spaces Toolkit also received some funding from the Baptist Association NSW & ACT and the Baptist World Alliance.
(1) AIHW. 2019. “Family, domestic and sexual violence in Australia: continuing the national story.” p. vii. Accessed at https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/b0037b2d-a651-4abf-9f7b-00a85e3de528/aihw-fdv3-FDSV-in-Australia-2019.pdf.aspx?inline=true
(4) Hickey, S. 07 April 2021. “Domestic violence workers plead for adequate funding.” Accessed at: https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=9c7a1bbe-7c85-45ba-b51c-e5d74dfdcd8c
Flood Relief - Disaster Recovery Fund
Recent floods in NSW saw thousands of people evacuated and many homes badly damaged. Some homes were entirely destroyed, and caravan parks in flood-affected areas were devastated by muddy waters. Baptist churches throughout the affected areas assisted in evacuation centres, provided supplies in the immediate aftermath of the floods, and are currently helping with clean-up efforts.
One such church is North Haven Baptist Church on the Mid-North Coast of NSW, who has been reaching out to some of the worst-affected people in the Camden Haven area. They are assisting families in the church who have had damage to property and are reaching out to the local community, particularly to two caravan parks where people had to abandon their homes and relocate to temporary accommodation while their homes are drying out. As the clean up efforts continue, they are letting people know they are there to assist with what is needed, including helping to replace damaged items. Owners of the caravan parks even offered to host morning teas so the church could get to know some of the people who had been affected by the floods – a great way to build community connections.
In the Hawkesbury Valley, Linnah Hahn was recently appointed in a temporary Emergency Relief role to coordinate church response in flood-stricken areas of Greater Western Sydney. It is Linnah’s desire to connect volunteers with the needs that aren’t being met by other agencies as well as to identify people that may be falling through the cracks. She has already made valuable connections with local agencies, who are beginning to refer people to her for support and assistance. In addition to meeting material needs, Linnah desires to provide a ministry of presence listening to people’s stories and letting them know that those stories are valuable and that people care.
It will be a long road to recovery but the Association is encouraged by the proactiveness of our Baptist Churches in identifying people whose needs are not being met through other means. Please pray that meaningful connections will be made.
We would like to thank all of the generous donors who have made this work possible including Mrs. Law and Gordon Baptist Church who have collectively raised over $12,000 for flood relief. Inspired by an English veteran in his 90’s in the UK, Mrs. Law offered to walk laps around her property in order to raise money for the Baptist Association’s disaster relief fund. What an amazing way to show love to people affected by recent crises!
If you would like to donate to the Association’s disaster relief work, please visit https://nswactbaptists.org.au/disaster-relief-fund/
Images: Volunteer from Hawkesbury Valley Baptist Church helping a couple to clear flood-damaged rubbish from their property.
Click here to view Uluru Statement of the Heart
Submissions to government to support a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament
We would like to encourage you to familiarise yourself with the Uluru Statement of the Heart and consider making a submission to show your support for an enshrined Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. Your voice is needed to show that this practical change is supported by the Australian people.
Please visit *https://fromtheheart.com.au/ to learn more about the campaign. It is as simple as saying you support the following three things:
1) The government must honour its election commitment to a referendum once a model for the voice has been settled;
2) Enabling legislation for the Voice must be passed after a referendum has been held in the next term of Parliament; and
3) The membership model for the National Voice must ensure previously unheard Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have the same chance of being selected as established leadership figures.
As Baptists, we care deeply about the autonomy of the local church and its ability to make decisions on issues that affect it, within its local context. We know the value of having authority over the decisions that affect us. This is what an enshrined Voice to Parliament will do for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The From the Heart campaign says,
A Voice to Parliament provides the foundation for better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They are the ones that have the best understanding of the challenges facing their families and communities. They know the strengths of their communities and what can be achieved when they are involved in designing programs and services meant for them.
A Voice to Parliament will empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, allowing them to take ownership and responsibility for the challenges that they face, and work constructively with governments from any political party to develop the laws and policies needed to Close the Gap. (https://fromtheheart.com.au/)
For resources for your church on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice visit Common Grace at: https://www.commongrace.org.au/aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_justice
*”From the Heart is an education project created to show Australians that an Indigenous Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution is fair, is practical, and that it is time that we make this change in the interests of our shared future. From the Heart is administered by the Cape York Institute and made possible through the generous support of our partners.”
Click here to view “It’s time to care about aged care”
“It’s time to care about aged care”
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recently released the Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report. This report highlighted a number of concerns with the current system of aged care (aged care includes the Commonwealth Home Support Programme, Home Care Packages, and Residential Care). The cost of aged care, of which the government is the main funder, is projected to increase by 4% per year over the next decade. It is one of the largest service industries and is a system that is often difficult to access and to navigate. As you may know, My Aged Care doesn’t have all the information needed to compare services and providers and therefore it is difficult for people to make the right decision about what services they need. The waitlists for home care are extensive which means that during that waiting period there can be carer burnout, preventable hospitalisation, a decline in function, premature entry into residential aged care and sometimes death. Commissioner Lynelle Briggs highlighted that 1 in 3 people are receiving substandard care in residential aged care and home services.
Thanks to a new campaign backed by six aged care peak bodies and national organisations including BaptistCare Australia, you can do something about the aged care system. The campaign, called “It’s Time to Care about Aged Care” is calling on all of us to ask the government to overhaul the design, objectives, regulation and resourcing of aged care. Here are some steps you can take:
a) Visit https://www.careaboutagedcare.org.au/ to learn more about this campaign and sign the petition to government
b) Follow the campaign on social media and share social media posts (you can do this from BaptistCare Australia’s Facebook page)
c) Visit your MP to tell them your story and why you care about reforming the aged care system. For information on visiting your MP go to: https://www.baptistcareaustralia.org.au/news/article/its-time-to-care-about-aged-care-how-you-can-help/ and look at Step 4
We encourage you to lend your voice to this important campaign.
Other Ministry Updates
Following our recent Ministry Survey, we reported on these findings. Watch the recording from the session for more info (from 45mins) or if you are a Leader or Pastor in a NSW or ACT Baptist Church; join our Facebook Group (Pastors and Leaders) to unpack these results together over the coming month.
We also briefly revisited the Cycle of Discovery. More information about the Cycle of Discovery can be found here: https://nswactbaptists.org.au/project/cycle-of-discovery/
Advanced Creating Safe Spaces Training will take place in August, with options for online or in-person participation. Advanced Creating Safe Spaces is mandatory for accreditation candidates and highly recommended for all Safe Church Team, members, church leaders and any Pastoral leaders who have not already completed the training recently.….. Keep reading by clicking below!
Click here to view Ministry Standard's June Update!
Advanced Creating Safe Spaces Training will take place in August, with options for online or in-person participation. Advanced Creating Safe Spaces is mandatory for accreditation candidates and highly recommended for all Safe Church Team members, church leaders and any Pastoral leaders who have not already completed the training recently. This training includes hearing from subject matter experts and considered more detailed and complex scenarios than are covered in the standard Creating Safe Spaces training. Bookings can be made at https://creatingsafespaces.org.au/events/
Support and Advice
With increased reporting and documentation requirements for churches, it is important to contact Jonathan Bradford, the Ministry Standards Manager, if you need to (or are not sure if you may need to) make a report to the Reportable Conduct Scheme or to the Department of Communities and Justice. We also ask that you contact Jonathan if you have received any allegations or disclosures which may relate to an accredited or recognised minister. The Ministry Standards Hotline (1300 647 780 or https://nswactbaptists.org.au/ministry-standards/) is an important resource provided by the Association to support local church ministry and an excellent example of how we are Stronger Together.
Creating Safe Spaces
Our revised Creating Safe Spaces training is receiving excellent feedback from participants, with many people expressing appreciation for the updated audio-visual elements in the online module and the engaging scenarios in the workshops. Bookings for CSS can be made via the website creatingsafespaces.org.au
Safe Church Health Check.
We are pleased to report that there are now eleven churches who have completed the Safe Church Health Check, with another ten churches within weeks of finalising the last details and more applications arriving regularly. If your church is just starting out with the Safe Church Health Check, please see the information at https://creatingsafespaces.org.au/where-do-i-start/. If you are preparing to submit your application, please be sure that your safe church register includes all staff and volunteers and that you double-check your answers to be sure that you have included all necessary documents (PoC declarations and details of Pastors are frequently omitted). If you have any questions or concerns please contact Katie at email@example.com
Click here to view Ministry Standard's May Update!
Our first Safe Church Team Network Evening, held on Tuesday 11 May, was a great success. Thank you to each of the 250 people who attended, whether in person at the Ministry and Learning Centre or online via Zoom. Thank you also to Matt Willis from Gymea Baptist, James McCleary on behalf of Forbes Baptist, and Barry Nelson from Gordon Baptist for sharing about how the Safe Church Health Check has been helpful in their contexts. These three churches represent some of the diversity of our movement; the small rural community in Forbes, managing hundreds of volunteers in Gymea, and navigating safe church issues across multiple languages in Gordon. We are encouraged to see the number and diversity of communities across our movement engaging with these missional critical issues. A recording of the event can be found on our recently updated Creating Safe Spaces website. The Creating Safe Spaces website is also regularly updated with news and resources.
We have a high volume of Creating Safe Spaces workshops planned in person or via zoom in the coming months and are therefore pleased to recently welcome a number of new presenters to join our Creating Safe Spaces presenter team including Michelle Cuthbertson (Georges River Life Church), Erica Noonan (South Coast Life), Mark Watson (Erina) and Gareth Hadfield (Westview). To book a CSS workshop for your church visit our CSS webpage.
Legislation requiring churches to implement the Royal Commission’s Child Safe Standards was introduced to NSW parliament last week. Regulation of the Child Safe Standards will be managed by the Office of the Children’s Guardian, which also manages WWCC and Reportable Conduct.
• The legislation has now been expanded to include organisations providing sporting or recreational programs or services to children. The inclusion of recreational organisation is significant as it is likely to encourage the government to better address the needs of volunteer-based organisations.
• The Office of the Children’s Guardian will have the power to require an organisation to undertake a self-assessment or to undergo investigation.
• There are significant fines for an organisation, or head of organisation, that fails to comply with the Child Safe Standards.
• We expect that the legislation will pass parliament shortly with a start date in mid-2021.
We encourage churches to take this opportunity to review the Child Safe Standards. Our Safe Church Health Check and Safe Church Packageresources already address the various policy and procedure needs of churches.
Click here to view Ministry Standard's March Update!
Over the past month, several high profile issues have served to remind us of the critical importance of building Safe Church culture. To help support and resource our churches, we are hosting a Safe Church Team Network Evening on May 11 at 7:00 pm at the Ministry and Learning Centre in Macquarie Park (with Livestream available for those in regional locations).
The NSW government has recently released a draft of the legislation that will soon make the Child Safe Standards mandatory for churches. We have been in communication with the Office of the Children Guardian to seek further clarification of the details and timeline of implementation and will provide information as soon as it is available. We have also invited Sam Burnett to the Safe Church Team Network Evening to speak on this new scheme to regulate compliance with the Child Safe Standards. Sam Burnett is a member of Northside Baptist Church and a Senior Associate at Prolegis Lawyers. Prior to working with Prolegis, Sam was a senior lawyer with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, where his responsibilities included contributing to the volume of the final report on religious institutions. Sam is well placed to provide further insight on the development and implementation of the Child Safe Standards.
We are celebrating with Cardiff Heights Baptist Church, Mosaic Baptist Church and Forbes Baptist Church who now join Heartbeat Church, Warners Bay Baptist Church and Beverley Hills Baptist Church in having satisfied the Safe Church Health Check. Many more churches have just a few final details to go, so we expect this cohort to grow quickly.
Our top tips for applications are:
1. Use our model documents – www.creatingsafespaces.org.au/resources
2. Engage the church with the missional purpose of Safe Church Culture
3. Make sure you have included all the relevant documents – including your procedures, PoC declaration and completed Safe Church Register
4. Contact Katie Watson firstname.lastname@example.org if you need additional guidance
5. Make sure your church leaders join the Safe Church Team Network Evening at 7:00 pm on Tuesday 11 May.
We would like to remind church leaders that *any allegations* that a staff member or volunteer has caused harm to a person under 18 *MUST* be reported to the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian (or ACT Ombudsman) and then be investigated by the church. This includes historical matters and applies even if the Police are not pressing charges. Churches face fines for not making these reports in a timely manner. In addition, any allegation against any church attender of a sexual offence (against an adult or a child) must be reported to the Police, and may require a Persons of Concern risk management response, including appropriate investigation of the allegations, even where the Police do not press charges.
Oh hey there, We’re so glad you’re here. Welcome to our BYM monthly newsletter! This edition is packed with awesome goodies;
- Meet our new BYM team members
- Spotlight on Digital Ministry
- Catch up on everything SYC and the SYC Fest signature item for 2021!!
- Do you want to hear what’s happening with Impact Gap Year?
- Have you heard: What’s coming up next?
……. Keep reading by clicking below!
Click here to view BYM's June Update!
Oh hey there,
We’re so glad you’re here. Welcome to our BYM monthly newsletter! This edition is packed with awesome goodies;
- Meet our new BYM team members
- Spotlight on Digital Ministry
- Catch up on everything SYC and the SYC Fest signature item for 2021!!
- Do you want to hear what’s happening with Impact Gap Year?
- Have you heard: What’s coming up next?
We are excited to announce the appointment of four new team members this month. Our purpose as Baptist Youth Ministries in NSW and ACT is to support those overseeing youth and young adult ministry in our Baptist family of churches and our values outline that we do this in is a relational manner. As part of this we have identified the need to provide more intentional support to our youth pastors and leaders across Sydney though the appointment of four part-time volunteer roles to help facilitate greater connection, training, and combined experiences for young people.
We are grateful not only to these four individuals, but also their churches who have generously released them for a couple of hours each week to be able to do this. Please join me in welcoming Annie from Springwood, Jas from Georges River, Steve from Windsor, and Will from Thornleigh.
We trust this will provide greater awareness of needs and opportunities for ministry, as well as increased pastoral support and investment in those serving in youth ministries across Sydney.
Digital Ministry with Kiran Skariah
Kiran Skariah here (or PastorSKAR if you prefer haha) with a quick update for you from the land of online ministry!
This month I had the pleasure of hosting a gaming tournament with around 50 competitors from around the world, and many more cheering them on from the sidelines as a way of reaching out and connecting with our audience.
The event was a huge success and right before the Grand Final we got Dan Waugh (Discipleship Pastor at Swansea Baptist) to share the gospel and some of his story – it was awesome! We ended up having 5 people from various countries decide then and there to make a decision to follow Christ! A huge win for the Kingdom!
We’re also excitedly working on many “behind the scenes” pieces as we continue to build a leadership pathway program, focus more on discipleship in the online space, and plan and prepare for the things God has in store ranging from key evangelistic events, to local church partnerships and building a proper framework to help the Ministry continue to move consistently forward, and for the long term.
It’s also been a huge blessing having a variety of pastors and leaders join us as guest speakers, from various Baptist Churches from a variety of contexts and physical locations, speaking into the lives of many online. God is certainly at work!
Please continue to be praying for the pioneering work and the many decisions and much prayer that goes into an (almost) entirely digital form of doing ministry, especially with the people that simply can’t / don’t go to any physical Church. The opportunity is huge, and we’d love your continued support!
Feel free to reach out to me at any time if you need help connecting in digital spaces or would like to be more involved in any capacity in what we do.
Rev. Kiran Skariah
Digital Ministry Consultant for the Baptist Association of NSW & ACT.
Growing Young Together.
If you’re interested in learning more about Growing Young and how you can use it in your ministry context, this is for you!
We’re launching a group coaching cohort that will take place online and go through the book together. We’ll spend time in the second half of this year reading and discussing the book, and we’ll have several follow up calls in 2022 to track progress and celebrate wins together.
State Youth Camp
State youth camp is only 90 days away!!!!
We hope you are getting excited!
If you have not registered your youth group to attend make sure you click the link below to register, and get your youth to start registering their tickets.
Every year at SYC we host our own short film festival, the SYC Fest gives youth groups and young people the chance to get creative, have fun and make a short film. Then we all get to watch a screening of the movie with popcorn, judging and awards! It is a great night and a great way for all our amazing creative young people to use their gifts and talents!
Check out the promo for SYC Fest announcing the signature item to be included in the film here: https://vimeo.com/563941105
Click here to view BYM's May Update!
Impact Gap Year
With the conclusion of Plunge at the end of last year, we have been working with Morling College on a new expression of a Gap Year. We know how tricky the early adulthood years can be for people and as such we are developing a one year experience for school leavers looking at being formed in faith, life, and ministry.
As part of this we are looking to appoint people into roles to oversee the program and provide coaching support for participants. For more information about these roles please visit our Association website here.
Stay tuned for some exciting updates on this new initiative in the coming months
State Youth Camp
State Youth Camp is a 3 night camp from Sept 17-20 designed for youth groups from NSW and ACT to gather together as one big community of young people of God.
Coming into its 7th year SYC is developed each year by making decisions looking through the lens of the question “how can we support and resource youth groups and grow community and discipleship opportunities for the local Baptists churches in NSW and ACT.”
SYC is designed so that Youth Pastors and Youth Leaders can spend maximum time with their young people and don’t have to concern themselves with the details of duties as we provide the catering, activities, workshops, worship, teaching program etc
For 2021 our theme is ALL and together we will be exploring ALL that Jesus did for us on the cross, what it means to love Jesus with ALL of ourselves, and how we are ALL together part of a big community called the Kingdom of God!
HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT STATE YOUTH CAMP? Great Question and here are some options!
If your church has a youth group are they coming to SYC this year? They can register through our website and join the amazing group of churches already registered. (this year we are hoping for 40 churches!)
Can your church send volunteers to SYC? There are so many ways to volunteer from camp shop and kitchen to activities, production, prayer or even first aid and security! If you have a heart for young people why not volunteer to serve!
Would your church consider making a financial donation to support the ongoing administration and operations expenses of SYC? This enables us to keep SYC going each year enables more young people have the opportunity to engage in a potentially life changing experience with Jesus.
For more info about how you can do these things check out our website www.stateyouthcamp.org.au or contact SYC Director Sarah Alarcon: email@example.com
Click here to view BYM's March Update!
I have never worked in retail but I am familiar enough with the need for business to do stocktakes – that is ensuring accuracy on what is on the shelves compared to what is in the computer system. Do we really have 3 of those and 9 of that other thing?
I also know that this is not simply about having accurate records but looking to understand purchasing trends, forecasting, and making decisions around what is needed.
It might seem a little early to do a ‘ministry stocktake’ but I have found that March provides a window of time to check in with leaders and to reflect on how the year has started. Additionally, I am conscious that Easter is around the corner and so is next term.
So can I suggest the following over the coming weeks –
Write down 3 things that your grateful for and 3 things that are concerning you
Look around and take note of who is here and who is not
Make contact with a fellow worker to check in on how they are
Consider how you will help young people engage with Easter – on their own and in the context of what your church has in planned
Ensure that the things you have in mind for the coming months are moving along – events, messages, etc.
State Youth Camp
State Youth Camp 2020 was a new and exciting space for our team as we stepped into the online space delivering a local church SYC experience where youth groups gathered in their own church to engage with live streamed content, activities, our own short film festival and resources that were delivered to each church. With 26 churches and over 400 young people gathering across NSW and the ACT, while we weren’t all physically together our sense of belonging continued to grow. We have heard many stories from the churches of young people growing in their relationship with Jesus at SYC!
In 2021 all signs are pointing towards the exciting opportunity of gathering together again at Cataract Park Appin NSW, for State Youth Camp! Our theme for this year is ALL, and as our youth ministries gather together from Sept 17-20 we will explore ALL that God made us to be, ALL that Jesus did on the cross for us and how we can ALL be a part of something bigger!
We will continue to keep churches updated as restrictions change, so look out for info on our social media on how you can register your church to attend SYC 2021
What’s happening next?
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?……. Keep reading by clicking below!
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
Click here to view Children & Family Ministries March Update!
The story of Easter is woven throughout the Bible. A message of hope for children and families to carry wherever they go. Here are some resources to share and help everybody carry the story. Praying that this season Jesus’ death and resurrection brings hope to you and your community.
Easter @ Home
Purchase this resource from our online store here. $1 each
“A Sense of the Resurrection: an Easter Experience for Families contains 12 fun, hands-on, easy, meaningful activities to help your kids come face to face with the Easter story. It’s easy enough for all ages, but meaningful enough for parents and kids to have a new understanding and appreciation of the greatest gift God gave us–Jesus, his sacrifice, resurrection and eternal friendship!”
OurStory Monthly Pastor's Bio: Badil Oweis
Badil is the pastor of Graceway Church, a new church plant that launched in October 2019. He is the son of Rev. Said Oweis, who planted the first Arabic Baptist Church in Australia in 1971. This is the same church that Badil attended for 48 years, which later merged with Crest Community Baptist Church.
Coming to Christ at a young age, Badil always felt a call to serve the Lord. From the age of 14 he was teaching Sunday School, preaching at 17 and spent over 25 years in Youth ministry; this was mainly to second-generation youth and young adults from an Arabic background.
Badil spent most of his working life ministering alongside his fulltime job as a pharmacist. Although he enjoyed his profession, he sensed that God was increasingly calling him to make a more eternal impact with his life. In 2018, as the English ministry of Crest expanded, he became the associate pastor, before being sent out in 2019 to plant a church in the nearby suburb of Yagoona.
Becoming a lead pastor was not on the radar for Badil until 6 months before the church plant, but with the encouragement of his pastor, Frank Farag, and clear guidance from the Lord, Badil knew that God’s hand was on this move. Despite extensive lay ministry experience and his studies at Morling College, this was still a major leap of faith with a huge learning curve. Badil appreciated and benefited greatly from the support of Transform Southern Sydney, the Gen1K and New Start teams, who helped and encouraged him through the process of this exciting new stage of ministry.
Badil and his wife Sukoon request prayer for wisdom, strength and the guidance of the Holy Spirit as they continue to follow God’s calling to see lives transformed for His glory and the expansion of His kingdom.
View Past Bio's Below!
March: Bob Dennis
My name is Bob Dennis, Pastor at Merrylands Baptist Church for 8yrs (Pastoral Ministry 33yrs).
After my sudden conversion at 28 I was told I had a ‘pastors heart’ and ought to consider going to college. After a lot of soul searching and God moments, I commenced training at Morling College for pastoral ministry. I think it was really God opening the doors and leading me step by step along the way through prayer, people, and circumstances, that I found myself in pastoral leadership.
God himself has been my real sustainer. Prayer and meditation in the word has played a big part in my life. There are times when I have been prostrate on the floor praying desperately for answers and seeing God come through. I also went through a time of inner healing where I was set free from the wounds of the past. Investing in our marriage and family life has been crucial to providing emotional support through the ups and downs of ministry.
Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT has provided me with sound theological grounding and leadership training through formal courses, training programs, and meaningful connections with many amazing people. To cite a few examples, I remember how my first pastors renewal retreat powerfully reinvigorated me for ministry during a time of discouragement. A leadership training course came at the right time when I was in much need of development in that area. Last year the excellent leadership provided by the association kept me well informed and equipped to lead during the Covid crisis.
Please pray that I would be encountering Jesus in fresh ways and being open to the opportunities that he provides.
March: Scotty Daniels
My name is Scotty Daniels and I’m the Youth and Young adults pastor at Community Life Church Cherrybrook, I’ve been in my role here for almost 6 years.
As a teenager I was away on a camp at 15, my journey with Jesus had been growing deeper and deeper, and while away on this camp I was overwhelmed by the impact that Jesus was having on my life, the love, the hope, the joy that had come into my life through knowing him. It was at that camp that I felt the clear call to use my life to help other teenagers hear about Jesus and experience the same life changing salvation that had impacted me.
From there it was very much God who continued to open doors into many different roles, courses and opportunities that helped grow and develop my leadership to where it currently is today.
Working amongst our Baptist association has been an incredible blessing for me, allowing me to get to know other youth pastors and leaders and allowing us to grow and encourage each other.
Its also given me the opportunity to serve as part of the state youth camp team for the past few years, something I’m extremely passionate about. Camp for me helps to bring not only youth but also youth ministries together from all across the state to worship and grow together in Jesus and shows young people that their faith in Jesus is not just something at a local level they are a part of something so much bigger, something that had a huge impact on my faith as a young person. Taking part in camp reshaped our ministry when I first started.
Also taking part in our annual youth ministry conference has had a transformational effect on how we as a church engage all ages of our church congregation with our youth and young adults to help them be able to both see and interact with others as they journey with Jesus through all stages of life in the hope that they too will follow Jesus all life long.
If you haven’t been engaging much with the association activities…DO IT, you wont regret it.
Please pray that God will continue to equip me to grow faithful leaders, that together we may teach our youth and young adults, both churched and no churched, what it is to follow Jesus all life long.
February: Ty & Sarah Soupidis
Church on the Hill, Gloucester
Sare, Xavier, Samira, Eli and I (that’s the Soupidis family, by the way) planted Church on the Hill in Gloucester in 2013 after God spoke to us through conversations with people around our town. Though it is a small town, Gloucester has 8 different churches who work together quite happily. The “flavour” missing in the Gloucester area was a church community for those who have no understanding of church culture.
We felt God was calling us to kick off a community for those people, the church “misfits” or the people we used to glamorously call the “Spiritually Homeless.” We longed to see a place they could talk about Jesus and explore faith without having to know anything about the process. So we opened our home and then other spaces to start a Simple Church Community.
One word which accurately describes our church space is “messy”. For most of our church life, children and youth have been a significant part of our church, usually more than 50%. Sare and I resonate so strongly with the message Louise Bartlett has been sharing about kids in church. If you haven’t heard her speak on this topic, do everyone a favour and listen to it today. For her, and us, kids are not a ministry of the church, they are the church. They are part of who we are, and have things to give to as well as things to learn. We have tried so many different things to allow kids and youth to shape our community, through having a band of Primary School-aged children (when they began 5 years ago…still on board today!), to having kids give prophetic words to the adults through prayer, and heaps of other fires and misfires. Messy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s been a work in progress, but so worth it to have a church of all ages. Possibly it has beenan easier journey because of our style as a Simple Church.
Until coming on board with the Association of Baptist Churches, we hadn’t even heard of Simple Church. And while it is still hard to define, we found the fit was perfect for us in this network. We were hoping to start a church which avoided formality, and the Simple Church is committed to this process. I want to honour people like Elizabeth and Keith Ward, Ben and Anne-Marie Thow, Les and Lyn Scarborough who have inspired and encouraged us in the journey. We have also been so blessed by those in the leadership roles at Baptist HQ. From the days when Steve Bartlett was head of church planting and would talk and dream with us, to the encouragement of Jamie Freeman, Pete Davies and many others. We weren’t Baptist people historically, but have loved being with you guys for this journey, and have made lifelong friends here.
The thing I think we all need as leaders is encouragement and inspiration. So many of us feel like we are carrying a heavy load alone. And even though we know God is with us, we really do need family on the road as an outworking of God being with us. Church is always a “together” journey. The Simple Church Network have been a really encouraging mob. And from the first days, the FORM conference has been a major encouragement and inspiration. In my earliest days, I leaned heavily into AJ Cole as a leadership mentor and Ben Thow as a coach. These relationships were the difference between sinking and swimming. Thanks everyone who has believed in us and encouraged what God is calling us to do- it has not been an easy journey for most of the time, but God is in it and some of you have seen that and called it out in us. We are so grateful.
Our ongoing prayer would be twofold. Firstly, that we would keep pushing into the cracks and seeking to love spiritually homeless people and help them seek Jesus. This is why we planted. It is not always “fruitful” labour, so prayers for joy and faithfulness would be really appreciated. Secondly, and almost as importantly, that those who come would move forward and take an active part in the life of the Church on the Hill community. We want to release and encourage leadership for all ages, and again this is not a simple or easy process but it is so worth it.
Thanks for standing with us, and hearing this part of our story. If you’d like to connect up or hear more about our story, find me at
Updates from Affiliated Groups
Find out what’s going on with our Affiliated Groups.
Baptist World Aid Australia - Volunteering at BWAA!
Volunteering at Baptist World Aid Volunteers are an important part of Baptist World Aid’s rich, 60-year history. It was a group of committed volunteers who first began this poverty ending work, and for our first 20 years, Baptist World Aid was run solely by generous volunteers. But volunteers are not only a part of our organisation’s history… they’ are also a vital and incredibly valued part of our operation today! Baptist World Aid is currently blessed by around 35 regular volunteers, who give generously of their time and talents to help fulfil our shared mission to end poverty. They consistently help to minimise our administration costs so we can maximise the funds we invest overseas.
When you volunteer with Baptist World Aid, you’re volunteering for an international Christian development organisation working in 18 countries. You’ll be part of important work that empowers communities to lift themselves out of poverty and that, last year, directly benefited 332, 391 people.
Who is this opportunity for? If you’re aged 16 years or over, then this opportunity is for you! Your research skills, proficient computer skills, and strong written English skills will help you to perform well. You’ll volunteer 1-2 days per week. Hours and days are flexible (weekdays only). It may also be possible to negotiate online volunteering opportunities.
Before volunteering you will need to complete a Police Check (paid for by Baptist World Aid) and a free Working With Children Check. For available volunteer roles, please follow the link to our website: https://baptistworldaid.org.au/our-story/volunteer/
Morling College - Need a week off? Our faculty members are happy to visit your church to deliver a sermon!
BaptistCare - HopeStreet & Chaplaincy
BaptistCare HopeStreet, the Community Services division of BaptistCare, offers unique services that meet the local needs of disadvantaged communities and people living on the margins, including as a consequence of relationship breakdown, domestic violence, homelessness, mental health, addiction and domestic abuse.
HopeStreet releases a quarterly print, eNews and online magazine called Hope Magazine. If you would like to receive the online Hope magazine, please click on the link to go to the signup form. You can always unsubscribe or resubscribe to the eNews at any time.
Stories from previous Hope eNews can be found online here https://hopestreet.org.au/about-us/newsroom/
My name is Edgar Reyes, I am married to Mayra; we have two daughters and a grand-daughter. We recently moved to Bathurst after living 12 years in Perth, WA. I was offered the position of prison chaplain at Bathurst Correctional Centre through BaptistCare at the beginning of this year. There are currently more than 600 inmates in Bathurst, and in a few months a new section will be open with capacity of around 200 inmates.
I have worked in different kinds of ministries but I think prison ministry is an amazing place to show God’s love to people. I witness how the love of Jesus Christ changes the lives of inmates every day.
I spend my time doing four main things:
- I conduct 8 chapel services every week, 20 inmates come along to every chapel service. Many of them have never attended a church before and in prison they found themselves listening about the good news of Jesus Christ.
- One to one spiritual guidance. During the week I conduct between 15-20 one to one spiritual guidance and Bible Studies. This is probably the activity that I enjoy the most as they either ask for guidance, prayer or Bible study.
- Develop a relation with officers and staff. Create a good relationship with the officers and staff is very important to be able to develop a great ministry inside the prison.
- Support Chaplain assistants as they organize programs for the inmates. We don’t have a Muslim chaplain therefore I need to supervise Friday Muslim prayer.
My passion is to present the “good news” of Jesus Christ in a simple way and to witness how the Holy Spirit is moving and changing the lives of people. It reminds me of the words of Jesus: “the wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” I get to witness every day how the “wind” is moving in the lives of the inmates.
Crossover - NCLS results released to help during unprecedented times!
National Church Life Survey recently released some valuable information for church leaders from their latest Australian Community Survey results in response to COVID-19 restrictions. NCLS offered five clues to inviting Australians to church and allowing churches to continue to connect with their local communities. They are presented as a series of short videos.
NCLS also launched a wellbeing check for church leaders which is an invaluable tool in these unprecedented times.
Click here to read more and access these resources.