Pastors eNews - June 2020
There is much going on in our country and world that captures our attention and prayers at this time, and rightly so. We give thanks for the continued improvements in Australia with respect to the COVID pandemic and the consequent opportunity there is to gradually ease restrictions. Yet we also realise that this is far from the case in many other parts of the world, and in some countries the situation continues to become more desperate. We grieve at recent events unfolding in the US, and yet acknowledge our own deep challenges as a nation with respect to relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. We struggle with how to best express our thoughts and what is appropriate and not appropriate at this time of COVID restrictions. Each of us comes to these issues with our own experiences (or lack of them) and convictions.
In the midst of these challenges we are called to work for peace and reconciliation (Matt 5:9). This is a call neither to acquiescence or belligerence. It is a call to listen carefully to one another, to be prepared to have our paradigms challenged, and to listen most importantly to the call of God to work for justice and right relationships even when that means acknowledging our own need to change or act. It also acknowledges that peacemaking is often challenging and long-term.
This work is gospel work. It is so because Jesus died so that you and I might be reconciled to God, and thereby have capacity to also be reconciled to one another. Engaging it is part of living out the call of Jesus to love God and love one another.
The gospel reality for the church of course is that as God’s people we are, across our racial diversity, one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3, Eph 2). May that reality permeate our own actions and thoughts and focus our prayer and energies to further lasting reconciliation. May it cause us to wrestle with what that might look like for each of us personally, for our churches and our movement, and also our country as a whole.
Director of Ministries
COVID restrictions updates for churches
Updates are regularly being released from the government and the FAQs on our COVID webpage are regularly updated to reflect these. See https://nswactbaptists.org.au/covid19/. A new Health Order is expected very soon and also clarity around other matters including community use of church facilities, church use of public school facilities, and other things. In particular, the Education Department has advised on 11 June that schools are able to welcome back Community users to their premises from Monday 15th June. Social distancing restrictions of course remain in place.
The national Cabinet has also flagged further easing in weeks to come.
Stay tuned and stay up to date at https://nswactbaptists.org.au/covid19/.
3 Weeks until - Leadership Conversations Online
Leadership Conversations is about continuing to equip Christian leaders in their roles on topics that are timely for the current season. Just as times have changed, our approach to leadership needs to also adjust.
The Association shares the conviction that leadership both today, and into the future, needs to be far more conversational. We need to listen well to the needs, concerns, hopes, and ideas of those around us rather than make decisions in isolation. As leaders we need to be in conversation, and we need to foster ministries, churches, and organisations that see this approach develop in the leaders around us.
This year Leadership Conversations is joined by Steph O’Brien, Lead Pastor at Mill City Church in Northeast Minneapolis to unpack the theme of ‘Curiosity’ and speak into our formation as leaders. Steph will lead us in two sessions on ‘The Power of Curiosity’ and ‘Developing Cultures of Curiosity’ before joining us online for a LIVE Q&A Session. Our intention is that you leave challenged, provoked and encouraged by others as you go about influencing those around you in all that God desires.
Join us from the comfort of you own home for this discipleship and growth opportunity or gather your Church Ministry Team for a Developmental Planning Day on July 1!
Wednesday, 1 July 2020
9:45am – 12:30pm
Want to join from the comfort of your own home?
Why not use this as an opportunity to fellowship and development. We have created a variety of group registration packages to give you the perfect opportunity to gather together and unpack curiosity in leadership conversationally! Each of these options provides you with one link to view the livestream and a resource package to help promote discussion!
3-4 people = $90
5-7 people = $150
8+ people = $250
11:59pm on the 29th June
Introducing OurStory - The next iteration of Together Magazine
We are excited to launch 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 will share stories from our journey towards our goal of becoming a movement of 1,000 healthy churches in a generation (2050) and how we are growing into our vision pictures of becoming healthy churches, with healthy discipleship, community, growing leadership, engaging in mission and seeking justice. 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
Bushfire Relief & Recovery Update
There are wonderful stories emerging from the work our churches are doing in bushfire and drought affected areas. We would like to extend a massive thank you for the effort churches have put in to see individuals and families helped in these difficult times, all in the loving name of Jesus. We would also like to thank our Baptist family for donating to our drought and bushfire campaigns and offering support.
“At a time where emotionally I have been struggling and trying to support my son and grandson financially, I got a card in the post today. No words can express my gratitude for what I found in it. I have never felt so moved in a long time. Thank you; words fail me except that I am grateful for the love I feel from you all and know that God guided me to the friendship and fellowship I have found with you all.”
To read some of the stories that have emerged from our bushfire affected communities visit the Bushfires Special Edition of OurStory here: https://ourstory.org.au/category/special-edition/bushfires/
Annual Report & Financials Statement now available
Share the 2019 Annual Report with your church:
BDC Web Conference for your church!
Learn about the BDC process and find out how you can bring genuine change to your church. Register for this event by clicking here.
The Healthy Relationships Video Project - ABM
- Significantly increased time together
- Great disruption to normal routine
- Isolation from friends and extended family members
- Restrictions on activities and access to outside spaces
- Loss of income and financial distress
As leaders who were interacting with individuals and families in these challenging times, we noticed a pressing need for short and digestible resources that help families, couples and individuals to first manage and then flourish in their relationships.
We wanted to present messages that were grounded in biblical truths and that presented quick ideas to help families reconnect with one another, to recognise and use love languages, to practice compassion and empathy, to deescalate conflict, to assist children to cope with emotions, to be ok with the in-between space and more.
These messages are for your church and for individuals to use and share on social media, websites, newsletters, and more. Please share them widely as you encourage individuals and families to grow and flourish in their relationships with one another. The take home messages ring true, whether Covid-19 restrictions stay or continue to be loosened.
Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
- Using Love Languages to Reduce Tension: Carolyn Cousins
- Practicing Love and Compassion: Yvette Cherry
- Flipping your Lid for Parents: Carolyn Cousins
- Struggling with Covid-19 and Negative Thoughts: Elliot Keane
- Living in the Liminal Space: Julie Gardiner
Find out more here: https://www.baptist.org.au/about-us/healthy-relationships-project/
These videos can be downloaded from vimeo and uploaded to your church webpage, your social media accounts or directly into newsletters.
Suggestions for social media captions are included with each video below. We encourage you to encourage others to share through their own networks.
The material has been developed by a team of Baptist women from around Australia with expertise in:
- Social work, family health, domestic and family violence, child welfare
- Theology and pastoral care
- Communications and project management
Register for the next Live Q&A - 17/6
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/
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 James Deaton, James has been supporting the staff and inmates at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre facility during some very difficult times, especially during the covid time. James is highly regarded, not only in the jail but with the other chaplains and the CCAC leadership team. He is also a highly regarded member of the chaplaincy team at BaptistCare.
- I conduct 5 chapel services each week and while many of the men can’t mix with each other, about 30-40 men come along. Many of them don’t know the grace and mercy found in Christ.
- I see a number of inmates throughout the week in a 1 to 1 discipling relationship, reading the bible and praying.
- Thirdly and most importantly, I spend time with the officers and staff building relationships (without a good relationships with staff it can be very hard to see inmates).
Creating Safe Spaces (now available online!) and Safe Church Health Check
COVID-19 has had some impacts on how we operate Creating Safe Spaces courses and the implementation of Safe Church Health Check within your church.
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).
The Values Project - A small group resource for your church by ABM
The Values Project by Australian Baptist Ministries is a resource that promotes conversation about our Baptist 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:
SRE Update for Pastors
Winter Edition of PRAC from Crossover - Coming Soon!
Positions Vacant: Creative Lead & Project Manager and Writing Team
Creative Lead and Project Manager
Reporting to the Team Leader – Operations, this hands on role is responsible for driving the creative vision and managing the project. The main responsibilities are:
Creative Vision Leadership
- Forming a Creative Team for the GodSpace Project.
- Leading and managing the Creative Team for the Project to meet deliverables on time in line with the Creative Team Brief.
- Supporting the team with lead generation and contacts for partnerships.
- Works closely with the team to develop regular communications
- Documenting all aspects of the Project
- Managing the budget within their delegated authority
- Oversight of the deliverables to ensure timelines are met
- Design a risk mitigation plan
- Reporting to the Team Leader – Operations on a regular basis
- Creative and strategic thinker
- Strong people management skills
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- Able to work under pressure
- Attention to detail
- A passion for SRE in schools
- A minimum of 5 years’ experience, particularly with but not limited to web, social and emerging technologies.
Writing Team – GodSpace Project
Reporting to the Head of Writing Team – GodSpace Projects, Working with other members of the writing team to meet deliverables as per the GodSpace Project – Writing Team Brief. The successful applicant will meet:
- A deep and growing relationship with Jesus
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills
- An open and consultative style with excellent teamwork skills
- Able to work under pressure
- Attention to detail
- Contributing to a climate of trust, acceptance and respect
- Maintaining integrity in all interpersonal actions both within the office and in contact with church leaders and others
Qualifications and Experience
- A mature and committed Christian who has a sense of calling to serving God in this role.
- Holds to the Association Statement of Beliefs
- Commitment to the Association’s vision, values and objectives
- Understanding and working knowledge of SRE in primary schools in Australia
Experience (essential) and qualifications (desirable) in one or more or the following areas:
- Education in primary schools
- Curriculum development
- Compliance in SRE
- Experience in working with children