People responding to the game changing news of Jesus is at the heart of the Gen1K vision and our ‘why’ as Baptists, which is to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ in word, sign and deed, together. As we head towards National Baptism Week on the 15-22nd October, there are a few things we want to share with you! Below you’ll find everything you need to partner with us in pursuit of our mission to see more people follow Jesus, together.
Seeing More People Baptised in Jesus
National Baptism Week is an opportunity to talk about and offer baptism, it’s a prompt to be on the front foot in inviting people to take a step of faith, and it’s a moment to remember, celebrate and pray for baptisms across our movement. To be held on the 15th-22nd October, we’ve created a baptism hub with all kinds of great resources to help you, both specifically in engaging with National Baptism Week and more generally in helping Aussie Baptists to share Jesus. The hub includes a service guide for the 22nd October, resources for those exploring baptism, suggestions for baptisers, a way to share good news stories and more. Check it out here:
Seeing More People Invited to Follow Jesus
In term 3 and 4, alongside National Baptism Week, we are inviting every local church across NSW and the ACT to be intentional in evangelism. Olive Tree Media and Alpha are two of our partners that we’d encourage you to check out. Consider how National Baptism Week could complement a course like Alpha, Jesus the Game Changer or Faith Runs Deep, perhaps by providing a ‘next step’ opportunity for those exploring faith through a course. Churches regularly running discipleship courses saw 4 times as many people start a faith journey than those who didn’t (Witness + Evangelism Report 2021).
Olive Tree Media have partnered with Crossover and Baptist churches across Australia to resource and equip you for National Baptism Week. This Baptism Week Pack is a 4-week video course called ‘Next Steps’ plus digital resources to run the series. It’s designed so that you can run it at any time within your church to share stories of faith, invite discussion and give people an opportunity to consider their next steps when it comes to faith and life with Jesus.
Each of the 4 studies opens space for people to hear stories of faith, hear from God and accept his invitation to new life. Part of this series is also opening up the conversation around baptism, and inviting people to consider baptism as a next step, if they haven’t already.
This short series will be an invitational opportunity and prepare your church for National Baptism Week – where we hope to see thousands of people across Australia make a public declaration of faith and get baptised.
Alpha offers a video series resource about exploring faith with a focus on hospitality and discussion. They offer a range of versions to suit any context, including one designed for youth and one recorded fully in Mandarin. Check out Alpha.
Seeing More People Trained to Disciple like Jesus
What does it look like to put the mission of God in the hands of ordinary people? In his research, George Barna discovered that we do not need new models for evangelism, but we do need to understand the basics of disciple making based on the heart, passion and life of Jesus. The next step is to “just do it”. Building a Discipling Culture (BDC) and PLAN A exist to help your church do exactly this.
Building a Discipling Culture
Building a Discipling Culture is the rediscovery of how to be a disciple who knows how to make disciples that make disciples. Through a two-year journey, BDC coaches a pastor with their core team to shape culture and practice in their own context. Consider attending a taster event or get in touch with them about how they can help your team begin to model discipleship culture and promote it within your church. Check out BDC here.
“PLAN A: The Great Commission for Every Christian” is a training resource created to inspire and equip Christian with a “why” and “how” that is applicable to their season of life, gifts, and personality. PLAN A is going back to the basics of disciple making with five basic principles that can be explored by Church Communities. By exploring and learning the principles of PLAN A, Christians and churches can adapt and live out the PLAN A principles based on their neighbourhood and situation. Check out PLAN A here.
Following Jesus is for Everyone
Children and young people are an important part of our faith communities and research shows that the majority of those who come to faith are under 18. Witnessing and experiencing peak experiences such as Baptisms contribute greatly to faith development, and we’d love to invite you to make the most of the opportunities presented by National Baptism Week. Consider how your church can involve people of all ages in the story telling and physical expression of faith encapsulated in baptism.
Baptists hold a position of believers only baptism, so for Baptists an often-asked question is: How old does a child need to be before they can be baptised? And then if a child is considered old enough, how do you talk about baptism with them? Are there any good resources out there for families and church leaders to use? Be part of the conversation in this interactive webinar where we will chat about these questions and more.
Let’s talk – Children and Baptism
Webinar – 1pm-2:15pm AEDT Thursday 19th October during National Baptism Week.
Want to chat with someone about any of this? Get in touch with Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org
National Baptism Week is a huge opportunity for any youth ministry and can be applied in a lot of different ways, but here are some thoughts:
If nothing else, check out the “Count Me In!” Baptism Explainer. It was designed with young people in mind and is an awesome tool that can be given to youth, or even better, be used as the basis of discussion between a youth and their leader. We’d encourage you to sit down with your leaders and run them through it in preparation. You can download your own to print or request free commercial quality prints sent to your church by contacting email@example.com. And if you have a youth up for reading something a bit longer, then we’d highly recommend the short book “Taking the Plunge – Baptism and Belonging to Jesus”, perfect for youth – again, get in contact and we will give you free copies!
National Baptism Week is the perfect prompt each year to run a teaching series on what it means to put your faith in Jesus and baptism. Run the series in advance of Baptism Week and, at its climax, invite youth to put their hand up (metaphorically or literally) if they want to talk about baptism with a leader. When any youth decides to get baptised, encourage them to do so in the Sunday service to share their story with their new family, and use the event as an excuse to invite the rest of the youth to participate on the Sunday. Acknowledge from the front that the youth group is joining church this week, making it an opportunity to give the rest of the church a glimpse into ministry that they may not otherwise see whilst giving youth who don’t normally go to church the opportunity to try it out.
In terms of content, Olive Tree Media’s bespoke ‘Next Steps’ 4-week series is a great place to start if you’re looking for content. Each week has a 10-15 minute testimony-based video with a short unpacking of Scripture and accompanied by discussion questions. Another awesome option is Youth Alpha. If you haven’t used Youth Alpha before then you have to check it out – it’s an awesome evangelistic tool to promote discussion and its blend of video and discussion suit a wide variety of contexts, from youth groups to school lunch clubs.
Got questions or ideas? Hoping to find a particular resource? Get in touch with Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the heart of every Simple Church is the desire to see people make the transformative faith decision that baptism represents, and regular growth is vital to strengthen the family-sized faith community. Yet while Simple Church is always relational, it doesn’t always feel so ‘simple’.
Organic conversations about faith are our bread and butter but at times it can be hard to teach about committing your life to Jesus and baptism without individuals feeling like targets. National Baptism Week is the perfect opportunity to explore faith and baptism with your community, where an outside voice can offer challenge and hope while you sit side by side with those you’re investing in.
Olive Tree Media’s tailor-made 4-week series ‘Next Steps’ is an awesome tool that we would recommend for exactly this reason. Each week features a roughly 10-minute video that is focused on testimony, unpacks relevant scripture and comes with discussion questions. A great way to run this is to set aside 4 weeks for ‘Next Steps’, the 5th week being National Baptism Week. Explain that National Baptism Week will be reserved for baptising anyone interested and praying for those your community is connected with who don’t yet comprehend God’s love for them. Whether you have your own baptisms or not we would also suggest that you get in touch with the nearby Baptist Churches and ask them to provide the names of anyone who is going to be baptised at their church for your community to pray over.
It is also worth think through non-confrontational ways to invite people to express interest in putting their faith in Jesus and getting baptised. Many Simple Churches won’t have an ‘altar’ to call anyone to, and asking for a show of hands can be awkward in an intimate group, yet we don’t want to limit the work of the Spirit by only enabling baptism for those we ask directly. Consider strategies like inviting people to stay back if they want to talk to you about baptism or ask for expressions of interest in a Baptism discussion morning tea. Prepare for God to exceed your expectations!
Speaking of preparation, how will you baptise those who are ready? Being a Simple Church provides the opportunity for a more organic and relational approach to baptism than is often practical in a traditional church. Is there a local pool or beach that would suit? And how can you prepare your community to engage with interested members of the public who are around and curious?
If you’d like to chat through these questions with other Simple Churches, if you have any queries or suggestions or resources to share, then get in touch with Mission Catalyst Jen at email@example.com!
Culturally Diverse Church Communities
Shared mission is what unifies the global church, our NSW & ACT Baptist Churches and those within our local churches. The importance of rallying around our shared commission to make disciples is never more apparent than when different cultural and ethnic groups seek to reflect the unity of God’s coming kingdom. National Baptism Week is the perfect opportunity to remember what we share just as baptism is the perfect demonstration of God’s work among us.
If your church has multiple services, consider combining to better share the joy of seeing God’s transformative work in baptism. If your church is primarily one ethnicity (whether Anglo, Chinese, Korean, etc.), then we would encourage you to consider reaching out to neighbouring churches of other ethnicities to request the names of anyone being baptised for your church to pray over.
If there are those in your church for whom English isn’t their first language, there are still several resources on offer for helping your church share the good news. If you hadn’t heard, Alpha now has a course fully written and recorded in Mandarin… Here I’ll put notes on what OTM & Alpha offer by way of language options and subtitles.
If you want to chat to someone about this opportunity and discuss ideas, then Marbz is your man! Marbz is the Intercultural Lead at the Association and is keen to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.