Hi fellow Pastors!

A few weeks ago I read an article that reminded me that time is a profoundly theological issue, reflecting our understanding of our relationship with God and our sense of vocation. It suggested, while we can’t manage time, we can intentionally slow down time and align our experience of time with God’s everlasting and abundant life. We don’t have to live as the White Rabbit from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, who races about without clear direction, repeating the mantra, “I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.” We can have the time of our life, recognizing that life is filled with unexpected occurrences, by living our lives more gently and intentionally, and claiming small Sabbaths every day.

A leisurely attitude toward time is essential to having a healthy and life-changing ministry regardless of the tasks and appointments on our calendar. ‘A leisurely attitude toward time helps us savor the moments of ministry and relationships and creates a spacious environment for those who seek our pastoral care. Too often when people encounter their pastors, the pastor gives the impression that he or she is being interrupted and wants to conclude the encounter as quickly as possible to get onto something more important. Such busyness, however, sends a negative message to congregants and visitors — you really aren’t that important to me, your problems really aren’t that serious, and I, the pastor, must focus on what really matters!’ As pastors we can make friends with time and transform our encounters with congregants and visitors.


Following the election at Assembly of Steve Bartlett to succeed me as the Director of Ministries we have put together a transition process which has been approved by the Assembly Council. In summary, I will be continuing in the role of Director of Ministries until July 4 when Steve will commence in the role. During this time I will continue to implement our strategic plan for 2016 while Steve continues to oversee our church planting strategies while putting in plans to transfer out of this role and orientate towards the new role as well as taking a 4 week break.

Once Steve assumes the role, I shall remain around the office for a couple of weeks to continue the handover and orientation for Steve before taking a couple of week’s leave. I will return to finish some particular projects and to document much of the corporate knowledge I have in my head. I anticipate all this may take me to the end of August or early September after which Judy and I will take some holidays before considering the options regarding future ministry. This will be during a period of spiritual discernment under the guidance of a spiritual director.

Thanks for all the support that many of you have given me over these past years. It has been a privilege to serve our churches and pastors. I’d value your prayers as Judy and I transition through this season and as we seek what God may be calling us to. We have a love for pastoring in remote areas and would like to return to this but we need to discern whether this is what God wants. Also pray for and support Steve (and Louise) as he transitions from his church planting role to being our Director of Ministries.


This week the Assembly Council appointed Jamie Long as the Chair for the next two years and Scott Morrison as the Deputy Chair. Pray for these two colleagues as they take up these extra responsibilities.

We also express our appreciation to the many years of service that June Heinrich and Rev Matthew Arkapaw have given to serving on the former Baptist Union Executive and the Assembly Council. It was through June’s leadership and drive that Directions 2012 was accomplished which has provided the Association with the foundation upon which we have been able to transition and revitalise our Baptist movement in NSW and ACT.

Details and video of the Assembly can be found here.


We are seeking to discern God’s leading for the appointment of a Church Planting Facilitator/Associate Director to replace Steve Bartlett. The role is responsible for overseeing the establishment of new church planting initiatives and the support of church plants.  The successful applicant will champion the Association’s focus on church planting across the denomination as part of the Gen1K Vision.  They will oversee the support of church planters, lead the development and implementation of strategies for pioneering work, facilitate the commencement of church plants and consult with churches desiring to pioneer new work.

The successful applicant will possess a passion for church planting and (preferably) personal experience with it, and a deep commitment to the vision and values of the Association.  The role requires strong team work ability, the capacity to relate positively across diverse churches and a proven capacity to inspire and empower leaders and pastors. The Association is committed to resourcing this role to the equivalent of a full-time position, and the position is prima facie full time.  However, quality applicants who sense a call to apply but may only be able to commit to a part-time role are still encouraged to submit an application.

The role title and accountability will be finalised with the successful candidate in the final stages of the discernment process. A copy of the position description is available on request by contacting Carolyn Altman at caltman@nswactbaptists.org.au.  Interested applicants are invited to submit their CV, along with a covering letter and a statement addressing their suitability for the role based on the Position Description.  These should be forwarded to Carolyn by email. Enquiries or questions regarding the role may be directed to Steve Bartlett on 0412 921 932 (after 8th May) or Ken Clendinning on 0421 287 917. The closing date for applications is Monday 16th May, 2016.


Following the ANZAC Day march and service in Hyde Park, Sydney, the Redfern Aboriginal ANZAC Day Commemoration will be held by the Redfern’s Aboriginal community to honour those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and servicewomen and those who served in non-military support roles. Interested persons can find details here.


As you would be aware, Assembly last year approved the adoption of a completely revised set of guidelines for accreditation of pastors. Apart from changes to how applications to become a candidate are handled, there are two changes that will affect all of us as pastors:

  1. the requirement for us to sign off on a Code of Ethics and Conduct
  2. the proposal that all pastors be required to link up with what has been labelled at this stage a “professional supervisor”.

In regard to these the second issue in particular, but also the total revised set of guidelines, Viv Grice makes three quick comments. First, the implementation of all the guidelines will happen gradually over the coming eighteen months or so.  At present we are focussing on implementing new and, I believe, more effective processes for considering those who apply to become candidates.  Second, the implementation panel, which consists of pastors and skilled non-pastors from our churches, want to work in dialogue with pastors and churches about aspects of the guidelines.  They welcome your comments, questions and feedback.  Third, they acknowledge that some have expressed concern about terms such as “professional supervisor”, and the requirement to sign off on a Code of Ethics and Conduct.  The implementation panel is working to make clear exactly what is meant by this concept of “supervision”, and what is not meant, as well as the rationale for a signed Code of Conduct in an effort to allay fears of too much red tape or central control that undermines important  biblical principles or Baptistic values.  They invite and welcome your feedback and comments on these and other issues.


The digital age has made porn more ubiquitous and accessible than ever before. In a landmark study, the Barna Group interviewed American teens, young adults and older adults about their views on and use of pornography, and here are ten of the most compelling findings. While this is an American study the findings of 10 trends are helpful in considering the challenges we face in dealing with the prevalence of porn in our society, including our churches. The study can be found here: CLICK HERE.


The Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN) has been formed to provide pastoral care for people in traumatic situations, particularly following major emergencies where people and communities are affected by trauma. DRCN training courses to be held in NSW between March and July. The dates are:

  • May 10-11     Tamworth
  • June 7-8         Goulburn

These two-day training courses are open to ministers (or equivalent) and those employed in institutional commissioned chaplaincies (such as jails, hospitals and schools).

The training is extremely helpful in understanding the nature of emergencies and disasters, how communities and people are affected by these, and practical ministry skills to assist in these circumstances.  If successful, the aim is to have these people join the network to enable an organised, government-instituted, response to emergencies to evacuation and recovery centres to provide comfort and spiritual care to disaster-affected people.

To apply, you will need you to fill out a nomination form to support your application. This link: CLICK HERE connects to a dropbox with forms which include:

  • Information on the process of application
  • Information about the DRCN and its work
  • An Application form (for the applicant to fill out and return to the organisation)
  • A Nomination form (for one of the Association Leadership Team to fill out and return.)


A Just Cause is a delegated ministry of Australian Baptist Ministries. To support churches, A Just Cause has produced a briefing paper which provides background to the current issues surrounding Asylum Seekers in Australia, and an overview of the type of actions churches may like to consider. You can access the Briefing Paper at https://nswactbaptists.org.au/sanctuary-nauru-and-jesus/.

Further to what is suggested in this briefing paper there are a number of further practical actions that our churches could take:

  • Places of welcome
  • English classes
  • Free accommodation and board through our Baptist HomeStay Program.


In my last newsletter I invited pastors to send me details of what they were reading over the Christmas break and would like to recommend to their fellow pastors. I received the following suggestions:

  • Jamie Dunlop – ‘The Compelling Community: When God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive’.
  • ‘Unbroken: Survival, Resilience, Redemption’ (the story of Louis Zamperini).

I’d welcome any other suggestions to pass on.

If you also have an article or link that you would like to share with your colleagues in ministry, please pass it on so that I can include it in further newsletters.

Ken Clendinning – Director of Ministries – kclendinning@nswactbaptists.org.au