Pastors & Leaders eNews - August 2020
If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Cor 12:26-27
As this enews hits your inbox, Victoria will be just over halfway through the 6 week lockdown that, while necessary, is bringing significant hardship to many. I was speaking yesterday with the pastor of one of the largest of our Baptist churches in Melbourne and was reminded again of the toll this season is taking on people. The Association has been regularly connecting with and praying for our Association of churches south of the border, on behalf of our wider movement in NSW & ACT.
I’m reminded what a privilege it is to journey hard times with fellow believers, to be prayerfully lifting each other up to God and showing practical support. With drought, fires, floods, and COVID there have been many opportunities to live this out over the last 12 months both within our own Association and beyond, and those opportunities continue.
It is good to be reminded that we are one body in Christ. This is not merely nice thinking. The wonderful spiritual reality is that because of our union with Christ, we are also in fellowship (koinonia) with one another. We share a common life in Him. The challenge therefore is to live out experientially this spiritual truth.
Let’s press in to the biblical call to koinonia in these remarkable times.
May you know God’s ongoing empowering in your life and ministry!
Director of Ministries
Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
State Youth Camp - Locally Delivered (regos close 30 Aug!)
LOCAL CHURCH BASED SYC EXPERIENCE
We know that 2020 has not gone to plan, we know that this is a year like no other, and we also know that the need for young people to engage with gathered youth ministry, meeting with Jesus and growing in discipleship is more important than ever.
So this year, instead of a large camp in one location we are making the SYC experience available for youth ministries at the local church level. This will involve youth groups gathering safely in their church context and utilising technology connect with other youth groups meeting in their own church context! All across NSW and the ACT we will have youth groups gathering on Sept 25th and 26th for a unique opportunity to belong to something bigger, but stay safely in the smaller group where they need to be right now. The SYC20 event will include a mix of online, livestream and small group teaching content, pre planned and resourced activities, worship from the SY Band, prayer, fun and fellowship, as well as our epic SYC FEST short film festival.
We’ll be welcoming Kiran Skariah who some of you will know as Pastor Skar from the incredible work he is doing on Twitch, and Allyson Beddoe. Allyson has been actively engaged with BYM for some time and earlier this year MC’d BYM State Conference. Alyson leads Kiama Baptist Church’s ON3EIGHTY youth ministry.
Find out more or register your church here!
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Find out more about our 2020 SYC Speakers here!
Annual Assembly - 31st October
You are invited to be part of the 152nd Annual Assembly Meeting to be held on 31 October 2020!
We recognise that our 2020 Annual Assembly will look different this year, given the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in with COVID-19. However, our hope is that this Assembly will be an opportunity to celebrate the ministry of our movement in 2019, and to look to the future with the affirmation of the next season in our Association’s strategic plan, the ongoing outworking of our Gen1K Vision. It will also ask for your discernment and affirmation of God’s leading for several elected positions, further discuss some significant matters and to keep you up-to-date with important activities. Find out more here.
It is vital for all voting church representatives to pre-register for one of the locations by Friday 23 October 2020, for catering and to ensure we have adequate seating. It is strongly encouraged for people to register ASAP to guarentee a seat at your preferred venue. Unfortunately we are unable to provide space for non-voting church representatives at the Ministry and Learning Centre, Southern Sydney and Hunter venues. Please register and purchase your lunch (lunch available at Sydney venues only) online here.
WHEN: Saturday 31 October 2020, 9.30am (sign in available from 8:30am) The program will commence at 9:30am with Worship and Prayer. Lunch will be provided following the Assembly for a cost of $15 at the Sydney venues For those attending at the Macquarie Park venue, the official opening of the Ministry and Learning Centre building will follow immediately after Assembly, prior to lunch.
Accreditation Service, 3:00pm (Macquarie Park venue only – reserved for family and friends of accreditands. Will also be livestreamed)
Level 1, the Ministry and Learning Centre
5 Saunders Close, MACQUARIE PARK NSW 2113
100 attendees maximum
Georges River Life Church
23 Stanley Street, PEAKHURST NSW 2210
79 attendees maximum
Wagga Wagga Baptist Church
156 Tarcutta Street, WAGGA WAGGA NSW 2650
71 attendees maximum
Dubbo Baptist Church
251 Cobra Street, DUBBO NSW 2830
80 attendees maximum
Grafton Baptist Church
Corner of Queen and Oliver Street, GRAFTON NSW 2460
34 attendees maximum
Mayfield Baptist Church
Corner of Hanbury and Highfield Streets, MAYFIELD NSW 2304
66 attendees maximum
If restrictions on gatherings due to COVID-19 were to prevent Annual Assembly from occurring face to face on 31st October, essential elements of Annual Assembly business will be conducted in an online format on 31st October.
Who is able to attend Assembly?
Everyone who is in fellowship with our churches is invited to come and be part of our Assembly. Please let us know in advance who will be the official voting church representatives from your church and any other attendees from your church who intend to be there. Due to COVID-19,
The Constitution allows for 2 voting church representatives regardless of affiliated church size, plus an additional voting church representative for each 50 members (or portion of 50 members) after the first 50. This is in additional to any Accredited Ministers or non-Accredited Lead Pastors registering from your church. Church representatives and Alternative Church representatives must register before Friday 23 October 2020 to vote, as per the Constitution. Accredited ministers, non-accredited lead pastors, other members of Assembly and non-voting attendees can continue to register until 31 October 2020.
Information and forms regarding nominations to fill the vacancies on the Assembly Council, Morling College Council and the Baptist Churches of NSW property Trust is on the Association website here. Please prayerfully consider nominating suitable people for these vacancies. All nominations submitted earlier in the year are required to be re-submitted.
NOMINATIONS CLOSE on Thursday 17 September 2020 and details of those nominated for election to these positions will be placed on the Association website.
We recognise that during this season, some may feel uncomfortable attending large group gatherings. Our 2020 Annual Assembly will be livestreamed over the internet for those unable to attend an Assembly Venue in person and/or are unable to travel to one of the available locations. Please note, however that this is viewing access only and voting will not be possible.
What will happen if COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings prevent Annual Assembly from occurring on 31st October?
We trust this will not happen! However if it does, essential aspects of the Annual Assembly business (voting on positions, affirmation of Accreditation Candidates etc) will occur in an online format on Saturday 31 October. Deadlines for nominations of positions etc will remain the same. We look forward to seeing you at our Assembly as we share and discern God’s will for our movement.
Bushfire and Drought Recovery and Relief Update
Bushfire and Drought Recovery and Relief Update
In 2019 and early 2020, close to $350,000 was contributed from across our movement for bushfire recovery and relief. Around $170,000 of these funds have already been expended over the last 6 months on targeted assistance in the impacted communities through local Baptist churches. Support is ongoing and will continue well into 2021 as the impacts of the devastating fires in NSW/ACT continue to be worked through.
Kelly Crawford, our Recovery and Relief Coordinator, has been managing these initiatives alongside local churches and it has been inspiring to see how the funds given and the commitment of local Baptists are continuing to make a real difference on the ground.
Here’s a snapshot of what’s currently happening:
We are continuing to support bushfire affected areas on the South Coast and have recently been awarded a Commonwealth Bank Grant that allows us to continue providing mental health support through the placement of a counsellor until Easter next year. This allows us to ensure the community has access to counselling over the 2020/2021 bushfire season and importantly, over the anniversary of the 2020/2019 bushfires. We are also continuing to enable local Baptist Churches to provide support where they identify needs. One of the main ways this is currently happening is through vouchers to local shops that are provided to local families in need.
In mid August Kelly Crawford and Trevor Wight went to the Riverina to meet with Wagga Wagga Baptist Church and Gundagai Baptist Church to discuss their bushfire and drought response and the additional support/resource they need. These churches have been supporting people within the region since the beginning of this year following the bushfires and earlier for drought relief.
Kurrajong Baptist Church near Bilpin continues to support families through assistance with land clearing and community support including a recent Christmas in July event and gifts to local school students. They are even considering a community garden.
Funds given for drought relief are also being channelled to communities in need and we recognise that, though some rains have come, the financial and other impacts of the drought are still acute.
We thank all of the churches who are assisting their local communities through these challenging times. Thanks also to everyone who has donated to the Bushfire Relief and Drought Relief Funds. TOGETHER we are making a real difference!
Refresh, Reconnect and Reimagine with Kiah Ridge Christian Conference and Camping facility
‘Kiah Ridge’, your Baptist Association’s Conference and Retreat venue would like to extend an invitation to you and your church. We realise that we are in a tough season and would like to offer you some support to help refresh you and your family, provide a space where you and your leadership can reimagine church post Covid and give you an opportunity to reconnect with your community.
With all this pandemic… Is it worth getting away together?
Well, we think so. And not just because we have big rolls of toilet paper and copious amounts of hand soap and sanitiser. It’s also not because we think it’s important for people to doff their pyjamas and Ugg boots and get out of their house.
Whilst those things are true, why we really believe it’s worth getting away together are the same reasons we had before the corona virus was a thing. It’s about supporting churches and ministry organisations to be healthy – relationally healthy.
Coming away together is an opportunity to build new relationships with each other, strengthen existing friendships and networks and overall create stronger and healthier communities. In the context of the local church it’s the opportunity to do all of this connecting with Jesus as individuals and a community; and exploring what it means to Be the Church together.
If you need to be convinced by statistics, then consider a study from a few years back:
- 1 in 10 make a first faith decision at a camp or conference;
- 1 in 5 make a re-commitment at a camp or conference;
- 58% say that camps are important for strengthening their faith;
- 15 – 29 year olds, a Christian Camp is among the top 5 activities that contribute to coming to faith;
- 37% said that camps help by giving them time away from general busyness to focus on their relationship with God;
- 39% said that camps help to foster and build relationships with others in Church.
Kiah Ridge is a CovidSafe registered business, operating within government directives, and also a NARTA Accredited Venue (National Accommodation, Recreation, and Tourism Accreditation Program).
Refresh YOUrself… –Take a break from the everyday with your family and enjoy the comfortable facilities, recreational activities and peaceful setting. Kiah Ridge has four 2 bedroom lodges equipped with self-catering facilities that make the ideal space for a getaway.
Pastors & Family for $175 per weekend per lodge, self-catered – a saving of over 50%.
Reimagine with YOUR team….
The COVID season has presented an unprecedented disruption to the normality of everyday church life and ministry. Take some time to gather with your team and explore creating a roadmap, new opportunities, or how to rekindle and restart different ministry initiatives.
Bring your church pastoral staff, or your entire leadership team, and take advantage of a unique opportunity to not only reimagine, but also be refreshed for the next part of the adventure before us.
Special Offer#1 – Self-guided Pastor and Leadership Team Retreat utilising the facilities at Kiah Ridge and build your own program around a day retreat. It’s a great opportunity to spend some focused time away from the everyday.
Catering is available from $25 per person including m/tea, lunch and a/tea. Facility use at no charge.
Special Offer #2 – Facilitated 2 Day Pastor and Leadership Team Retreat with overnight accommodation available. Gather your leadership team together with a coach for two days of dreaming, planning and of course refreshment amongst the Kiah Ridge setting. The Association team will work with you and your leadership team to help you unpack the challenges you are facing and support your journey moving into the new normal.
$75 per person for meals, $25 for overnight stay per person.
1 Day facilitation at no charge.
Reconnect with your community – Take the opportunity to reconnect in groups at Kiah Ridge.
One of the difficulties of this season is not being able to meet together in the one space, not being able to gather around a meal, or struggling to run programs and activities in our own spaces. Kiah ridge has developed a special Church Camp environment with multiple gathering spaces, dedicated dining areas and a team that’s keen to continue to overcome the challenges that are before us. With such a flexible venue and team, there’s ample opportunity to reconnect with your faith community in a fun, relaxing and picturesque location – even if it’s just for the day!
Catch up with the Kiah Ridge team to begin working together on your next community building opportunity at firstname.lastname@example.org or 4683 1111
COVID restrictions updates for churches
Updates are regularly being released from the government and the FAQs on our COVID Page are regularly updated to reflect these. We are also collecting data at each of our fortnightly Live Q&A sessions which can be viewed here.
Stay tuned and stay up to date at https://nswactbaptists.org.au/covid19/.
COVID19 prayer – praying with our brothers and sisters in Victoria
Over the last few weeks the Association team have been connecting regularly with the Baptist Union of Victoria, and joining in prayer and encouragement for them in the midst of the most severe lockdown in the history of Victoria. Across our churches there are many connections people have with friends and family in Melbourne and Victoria more broadly. The Baptist Union of Victoria has called the Baptist movement in that state to prayer this coming Sunday 30th August for this situation, and invites us as fellow believers to stand with them in this.
All the details are here with particular mention of a responsive prayer Daniel Bullock, Director of Mission and Ministries, has recorded for BUV churches. I invite you to view it and consider how it could be relevant to your church’s ongoing prayer for COVID19, and commend this opportunity to stand with our brothers and sisters in Victoria at this time.
Religious Freedoms & Equality Bill – NSW Parliament
This bill, introduced into Parliament by Mark Latham, has been referred for inquiry to a parliamentary Joint Select Committee, and submissions closed recently. The Association made a submission, and also strongly supported the detailed submission made by our partner, the Christian legal think tank Freedom For Faith. You can read their submission here: https://freedomforfaith.org.au/library/submission-on-anti-discrimination-amendment-religious-freedoms-and-equality-bill-2020
Register for the next Live Q&A - 9/9
Over the past few months we have developed a healthy rhythm of meeting together as leaders within our movement and sharing updates on the current COVID-19 situation. This time together have been instrumental in sharing stories from across our movement and spending time in prayer with each other. If you have not yet joined in on one of these sessions why not set aside some time and make next wednesday’s session a part of your fortnightly rhythm.
The feedback we have recieved from Pastors and Leaders as they have engaged with these sessions has been highly encouraging. For many this has been the first time that the reality of Greater Together has hit home.
If you have missed a session or you would like to register, please visit https://nswactbaptists.org.au/project/live-qa-recordings/ We also record the data we capture each week and this can be viewed here as well.
BaptistCare NSW & ACT - Spotlight on Chaplaincy
In our wider Baptist family we have numerous leaders faithfully serving God in a beautiful variety of contexts. Sometimes its good to get a glimpse of what God is doing through them. In BaptistCare we have chaplains sharing the love of Jesus to people in the community in many contexts. This month we are going to meet Aileen Wong, Aileen has been supporting the staff, patients and carers at Westmead Hospital during some very difficult times, especially during COVID-19.
My husband Lawrence and I migrated to Australia in 1995. Lawrence became a pastor in 2000. My son Samuel is now studying 2nd year nursing at Sydney University.
I love sports. Going to the gym and playing tennis has been part of my healthy life style. Recently I have started to learn acrylic painting and ceramics. It is so much fun. Blue Mountains is my favourite retreat in Sydney. I enjoy coffee break with my friends. I treasure my relationship with the Lord and my family and friends.
I started working as a BaptistCare chaplain in 2018 at Westmead Hospital, which is a principal referral hospital for western Sydney.
My main roles as a chaplain is to:
- do routine visitation to Baptist patients; and patients in the assigned wards on a daily basis
- conduct 2 chapel services every month
- respond to ALS requests to emergent patients (roster base)
- respond ON CALL requests during after work hours (roster base)
- upload an encouraging message on our Facebook page (once a week)
- respond to SMS messages sent from the patients (still in trial period)
- collaborate our chaplaincy services in our team of 8 chaplains
I enjoy my role as a chaplain as this is a meaningful ministry. My passion is to attend to the patients at their bedsides; sharing Jesus’ love through my ministry of presence.
Research Funding Opportunity
Baptist pastors are being encouraged to consider research into the connection of faith and work within the Australian faith and work movement. The Lawrie Styles Travel Fellowship will be providing travel costs up to $25,000 in 2021, post COVID, for appropriate and accepted applicants.
Contact Lindsay McMillan, Reventure for further information regarding application.
Creating Safe Spaces (now available online!) and Safe Church Health Check
In the context of restrictions on meeting in person, the important work of Safe Church training has continued with Creating Safe Spaces workshops being held via Zoom.
Creating Safe Spaces is a valuable tool for improving awareness of Safe Church principles. Topics covered in Creating Safe Spaces include prevention of harm to children, ministering to vulnerable adults, risk management, reporting requirements and legal responsibilities. Anyone in leadership and anyone involved in ministry with children, young people or vulnerable adults should do Creating Safe Spaces every three years. Participants in Creating Safe Spaces complete a self-paced online module, covering important information, before attending a workshop at which that information is explained, discussed and applied. Feedback suggests that the discussion of practical scenarios in the workshop context is particularly helpful.
Due to the importance of the training to our churches, we moved quickly to transition Creating Safe Spaces workshops from in person to the Zoom platform. The enables the crucial discussion aspect to continue, without jeopardising the health of participants or presenters.
A number of presenters have now been trained to present Creating Safe Spaces via Zoom. In addition to addressing Covid related restrictions, the zoom workshops have also provide useful for parents and regional participants. Contact Joseph Lam email@example.com to arrange a Creating Safe Spaces workshop for your church or arrange for new volunteers to attend a general registration workshop by registering at www.creatingsafespaces.org.au .
We are very encouraged by the number of churches engaging with the Safe Church Health Check. More than ten churches have already submitted applications and many more are working through their applications. Engagement has been spread across a diverse range of churches in our movement, including suburban, regional, simple, small, large and CALD churches. Some regional ministers have arranged meetings to discuss Safe Church issues and facilitate churches sharing resources and ideas as they address the Safe Church Health Check.
Look out for the second issue of the Safe Church Team newsletter, which will be sent early next week. If your church needs support regarding the Safe Church Health Check please contact our Safe Church Coordinator Katie Watson (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Baptist Insurance Services Update
If you haven’t already seen it, please take the time to read the urgent insurance update email sent on Tuesday evening 11 August. There are a number of important matters that need attention. The matter of critical importance is in relation to the insurance molestation declaration.
Thank you to all those churches that have returned the insurance molestation declaration. Unless you have heard directly from me, there is nothing further you need to do.
For those churches who have yet to complete and return the declaration, just a reminder that this needs to be done by 30 September 2020 at the very latest. Whilst the deadline is 30 September, it would be appreciated if it is able to be returned as soon as possible due to our reporting requirements in the lead up to insurance renewal.
Please note that if the declaration is not completed, should a molestation claim be directed to your church, there will be no cover. All claim and defence costs will be borne by the church.
If your church has a ministry that is separately insured with Baptist Insurance Services, the ministry will also need to complete a separate molestation declaration.
If you require another copy of the declaration or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or 02 9868 9213.
Thank you for your assistance.
Manager Insurance NSW & ACT
Baptist Insurance Services
The Values Project - A small group resource for your church by ABM
Are you looking for a new series or small group resource for your church? Here’s an option that’s ready to go.
The Values Project by Australian Baptist Ministries is a resource that promotes conversation about our Baptist values.
In a post-institutional and post-denominational era, many leaders, staff and members of Baptist organisations and churches are unaware of the values that underpin the historical and cultural backbone of their organisations. Others, especially those who have been around Baptist circles for a while, may struggle to identify and articulate these values.
The Values Project addresses this gap by enabling a conversation that informs, inspires and embeds the values deeper into our organisations and churches.
When the values are well-grasped, we experience many benefits, including:
- strengthening our shared identity as a diverse movement,
- developing our capacity to make thoughtful, focused decisions,
- enhancing our connectedness and unity.
All of these contribute towards our organisations and churches being vibrant, healthy and focused on the mission to which God has called us.
Videos – The four episodes are between 4-5 minutes.
The episodes can be viewed online or downloaded.
For videos with subtitles click here
Discussion Guide – The accompanying discussion guide provides a dot point summary and five discussion prompts for groups.
A PowerPoint presentation of the key ideas and discussion questions.
Script – For those who would like to follow along with the videos, or pre-read or re-read, the scripts are available for download.
OurStory - The next iteration of Together Magazine
Earlier this year we launched our new website ourstory.org.au. ‘Our Story’ will build on the work of ‘Together Magazine’ as we share stories of our wider Baptist movement.
We have begun sharing stories from across our movement as we journey towards our goal of becoming 1,000 healthy churches in a generation (2050). There are stories of church revitalisation and rebirth, growing and expanding during COVID-19, engaging in mission and seeking justice and gathering together through the use of our christian conference centre Kiah Ridge.
We will need your help to tell stories of how Baptist Churches in NSW & ACT are navigating key issues (such as the bushfires and Covid-19), as well as stories from our affiliated groups.
Stories will be published on the OurStory website, and will be shared on social media through our Association Facebook and Instagram along with regular emails (use the sign-up form below to update your email preferences or join our mailing list!) and a free printed magazine to those who subscribe.
Sharing stories is vital so that we can learn from each other, be encouraged to persevere in our ministries, and witness how God is working amongst his Church. We hope that Our Story will be an inspiration for you and your church.
To ensure that we are able to paint a broad picture of what God is doing amongst our churches, the Our Story team needs to hear your stories. If there is something encouraging or inspiring happening within your church, we would love to hear about it and share the story on your behalf. Please feel free to to fill in an OurStory Submission here or contact our Content Creator, Emily Christoforou, any time via email (EChristoforou@nswactbaptists.org.au) – preferably with the following information:
- The gist of the story (what has happened/what is happening)
- A quote from yourself about why this story excites you (optional)
- Contact details for anyone else involved (that I could interview/cross-check with)
- Any images/video/audio content that goes with the story
NCLS results released to help during unprecedented times!
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
Click here to read more and access these resources.