Hi everyone, and welcome to the August edition of Pastors and Leaders eNews!
A friend and I were recently in conversation about sharing Jesus, particularly in the context of some of the issues currently under discussion in our wider community. It’s certainly a time of both challenge and opportunity for bearing witness to Jesus.
We find ourselves as a society in a process of deciding whether to redefine marriage. You will already have received a statement from myself on this issue and how we might engage with this. Of course, other significant issues are also current. It is expected that in mid September the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill will be introduced into the NSW Upper House (information in this Enews). We watch increasing international political tensions and wonder where it is all heading. We continue to be aware of natural disasters and famine in different parts of the world that impact huge numbers of people, and seek to understand how best to respond.
In all this a wonderful reality persists: Jesus is still on the throne! He still calls us to bear witness to that reality, and the life and hope that can be found in Him alone.
In the midst of of this we come together as an Association of Churches at Narwee Baptist Church on Saturday 16th of September to celebrate Jesus and discern his will for us.
A particular focus of this Assembly is PRAYER. Next year is our 150th anniversary as a movement (more details on that soon!) – wouldn’t it be fantastic to experience it together as a year of focused prayer for revival and renewal across our churches and throughout NSW & ACT! We will hear more about this, and workshop and discern together about how the priority of prayer can be further lifted up in our movement at this strategic time. And we will pray!
Our collective vision as a movement continues to develop and the world we live in continues to change and demand new responses from us. So at this Assembly we will also begin to workshop together what it should mean to affiliate together as churches of our Association, and how we might best live this out in the future.
Assembly day will also include our 2017 Accreditation Service after lunch, where people will be set aside for ministry. I encourage you to be part of the ongoing life of our movement on 16th September at Narwee!
Finally, if you have specific prayer needs, our prayer Coordinator Carolyn Altman would love to hear from you – details on how to connect are in this enews. Please know that the team and I at the Baptist Ministry centre continue to pray for you and your church as you seek to minister the love and truth of Christ in your community.
Euthanasia Bill going before NSW Parliament in September.
The Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017 is expected to be introduced into the NSW Upper House in September. The Bill would give a person over the age of 25 the right to request assistance to end their life. It involves allowing a substance to be provided for self-administration, but also explicitly allows another person to give the substance if the patient is not able to do so.
While we acknowledge that the issues around end of life and how to best support people with terminal illness are complex, our convictions of human life as a gift from God and the inherent worth of all human beings made in his image means that this Bill will raise alarm for many of us. This legislation constitutes a fundamental change to the nature and goals of medicine, a practice that relies on deep trust between doctor and patient and that has been tasked with preserving life, not taking it. The bill also contains very thin reference to palliative care, thus largely ignoring the value that palliative care adds to alleviating suffering at the end of life.
In a society where elder abuse is increasingly recognised, the long-term possible impacts of this Bill are deeply concerning. I encourage you to make your views heard on this complex but important issue.
What can you do?
Some of you are asking for more information about this bill and how you can respond. We will be looking further at this in the time ahead. However in the immediate term, here are some ways forward:
- NSW & ACT Baptist Churches produced a statement on the Ethics of Life Sustaining Treatment in the mid 1990’s. You can read it here https://nswactbaptists.org.au/ethics-life-sustaining-treatment/ . While it should be read in light of the fact that it is 20 years old, it highlights a number of the critical issues in this general area.
- A helpful general statement on Euthanasia can be found on the CMDFA (Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia) website at http://www.cmdfa.org.au/Resources/Ethics/euthanasia-statement
- You can view the Bill itself here: https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/bills/fbb47772-6378-42e0-9ce8-fc5cd330699c
- A summary of what the Bill involves, written by Professor Michael Quinlan of the School of Law, Sydney of the University of Notra Dame, can be viewed here: https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/what-you-need-to-know-about-nsw-voluntary-assisted-dying-bill/.
- You could contact your local state member regarding this Bill. Discuss not only your overall position but include some of the particular issues you have with this bill.
- For those who would like to participate in a petition, there are instructions and a form available here: BAPTIST Petition Instructions Euthanasia & Petition NSW Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill 2017. Note that there is a very short turnaround time and these would need to be returned by Thursday 7th
Can we Pray for you?
If you have any specific prayer requests for you or your Church, I encourage you to email our Prayer Coordinator Carolyn Altman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please state if you want this prayer request shared with the wider Baptist community through the fortnightly Let’s Pray Together email, or if it is confidential. Carolyn spends time in the Prayer Room at the Baptist Ministry Centre each day praying through any confidential requests.
The Let’s Pray Together email is a refreshed fortnightly format for communicating prayer matters out through our churches. You can ask to receive these either for yourself or for wider distribution at your church by emailing Carolyn.
Spiritual Care Series
When: 4 x Wednesdays 20th September, 27th September, 4th October, 11th October
Where: Baptist Ministry Centre
Time: 9am – 4pm each day
Included: Training, Course Workbook, Lunch and snacks
Throughout 2017, BaptistCare has partnered with the Health Television Network (HTN) to produce a series of eight programs for volunteers, family and friends of older Australians to gain key practical knowledge to offer quality voluntary pastoral and spiritual care. The title is the Spiritual Care Series. Each episode involves a two hour session including:
- Thirty minutes of video content (approx. 3 x 10 minutes/episode) – hosted by Leigh Hatcher. He describes this as the best project he’s done in 40 years a s a journalist
- Time for facilitators to utilise the video content with participants engaging in practical exercises (in pairs and groups) and personal reflection. A 180 page spiral bound workbook is provided which includes pre-reading for each episode.
Topics include Understanding the ageing journey; Spirituality in ageing; The power of storytelling and Grief, loss, death and dying. An ideal course to equip people for local church pastoral care. To discover more, watch the short video promo at http://inspire.acctv.co/ learnmore or read more on the BaptistCare website here: Click Here
BaptistCare are offering a special discount to churches to run this course for the cost of the workbook for a limited time. Contact Ross Wakeley RWakeley@baptistcare.org.au for more information or join in the Baptist Ministry Centre training over Sept/Oct.
‘Jesus the Game Changer’ Easter 2018 Campaign
According to the recent Faith & Belief Research released by McCrindle and Olive Tree Media, the majority of Australians are warm towards Christian faith, they want to feel they belong to a community group but surprisingly 56% don’t know anything about their local churches. As church leaders, we need to change that! This campaign will give your church the opportunity to connect with your local community.
The campaign will use 6 of the 10 episodes of Jesus the Game Changer – a documentary series on how the life and teaching of Jesus changed the world and why it matters. Topics will include the person of Jesus, the equality of all people, women & children, care, democracy and wrapping up with a look at forgiveness on Easter Sunday. Final list of topics are to be confirmed. You can take a look at the Jesus the Game Changer trailer here.
Olive Tree Media will be raising funds to run a national Christian radio campaign to link communities with churches
Here is a message from Karl Faase to church leaders about the campaign.
The Jesus the Game Changer Church Campaign will be run over 6 weeks leading up to Easter in 2018. The campaign will be run so the course will conclude with the topic “Forgiveness” at Easter. Registration fee of $120 will include:
- One copy of the entire course (ten topics) on DVD and discussion guide
- One FREE downloadable sample week.
- Printable pdf Invitations for personal use and letterbox delivery
- Artwork for social media
- Additional six short videos (5-10 mins each) to be played in services, made specially for the campaign
- Six weeks of sermon suggestions by Karl Faase
- Inspirational ideas on how to make the most of the course from Karl Faase
- Suggestions on how the course can be promoted throughout your community
Extra resources that may be purchased as needed from Olive Tree Media include:
- Extra copies of Jesus the Game Changer (either stream or DVD)
- Banners for your church building
- Extra discussion guides books (Discussion Guides can be downloaded for free).
Here are the five things you need to do now:
- Talk to your church leadership and decide to get involved
- Set aside the dates – 25th February to 1st April
- Register at www.jesusthegamechanger.com/campaign
- Form a team
- Pray for your community and your church
If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
Youth Pastors Conference 2018
Each year our youth and young adult pastors head away together to connect, grow, dream and be refreshed for the year ahead. This is not simply a conference for paid staff, but also for key volunteers and leaders your church is wanting to invest in. Over the last couple of years we have seen this conference grow to be impacting more than 150 pastors and leaders from over 50 Baptist Churches, reaching from Moree to Menai, Tamworth to Toongabbie, Grafton to Gymea, Thornleigh to Taree, Bathurst to BelAir.
For more details or to register, head over to http://youthpastorsconference.org.au/
Life Coaching Training Opportunities
Introduction to Life Coaching
- Wednesday, 6 Sep 2017 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM
- 330 Keira Street, Wollongong, NSW 2500 AU
Coaching is the process of ‘coming alongside’. There are many times when it would be helpful to have someone alongside to help you define your vision, clarify your goals and develop action plans.
Coaching is a powerful approach to unlocking and releasing God’s dream for each of us, no matter what stage of life we are at. Whether in ministry, in our families or in our workplaces, the skills of asking powerful questions are key to empowering those around us.
This stand-alone 3 hour seminar explores the foundations for healthy coaching and mentoring, the unique features of each, and introduces the basic skills and resources in the GROW coaching model. It is also the launch pad into additional coaching training.
If you register 4 or more people from the same church together, the price drops to $30pp.
Foundations of Life Coaching
- Saturday, 14 Oct 2017 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
- 3 Carlingford Road, Epping, NSW 2121 AU
Coaching is the process of ‘coming alongside’. It is often helpful to have someone alongside to help you develop your vision, clarify your goals and keep you accountable for the action plans you make.
Coaching is a powerful approach to unlocking and releasing God’s dream for each of us, no matter what stage of life we are at. Whether in ministry, in our families or in our workplaces, the skill of asking powerful questions is key to empowering those around us.
This 2-day training course provides many immediate and ongoing opportunities to engage with the principles and practices of coaching through discussion and peer practice. It builds on the foundations for healthy coaching and mentoring discussed in the Introduction seminar, reintroduces the GROW coaching model, and gives attendees opportunities to develop and hone their coaching skills through practice. Attendees will develop intuitive listening skills, learn how to ask powerful questions, and practice helping others convert ideas to actions.
An essential component of this training includes a HeartLife profile. HeartLife gives insight into why we behave the way we do and provides opportunity to journey with God and others for continual growth and lasting transformation. This will need to be completed online between the training days.
This is a 2 day event, taking place on Saturday 14 October AND Saturday, 28 October. You are required to attend both days.
You must have completed an introductory training course prior to attending this course.
The cost covers all the training, materials, a Heartlife online profile, as well as lunch, morning and afternoon tea. Please email Krystyna here to advise of any dietary requirements.
The cost also includes the purchase and postage of the course text Leadership Coaching: The Disciplines, Skills and Heart of a Christian Coach by Tony Stoltzfus. Please ensure your mailing address details are accurate, peruse the book prior to the course, and bring it with you on the day.
Get Access to Free Alpha Resources
Many of us will be aware of the Alpha course and may have used it in your own local context. Alpha has recently decided to provide the newly created version of the course FOR FREE to churches. Visit the Alpha Run website for more information (http://alpha.org.au/run)
Same Sex Marriage Postal Vote
Earlier in August I sent out information regarding the Same Sex Marriage Postal vote. Below is a summary:
As I’m sure you are aware, pending the outcome of a High Court challenge a postal vote will be conducted between September and November on the issue of same sex marriage.
I have personally conversed with a number of you who are seeking to equip your congregations to engage well with this issue, both as a faith community and in their personal relationships. I’m sure this is the case across many of our churches in NSW & ACT.
Click here for a letter regarding the postal vote and our Association’s response.
Thank you for the faithful leadership you give in your local context and all the prayer and thought that is undoubtedly going into your own reflections and leadership responses on the issue of same sex marriage. Please know that I, the Assembly Council and the team at the Ministry Centre are praying for you as you lead in your church and wider communities at this time.