Pastors eNews - June 2020

Hi everyone,

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.

Steve Bartlett
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 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

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. 

As always, our program reflects our theological convictions and as such we have invited a number of experienced, learned, and faithful individuals from a variety of different contexts to speak into our formation as leaders.

Theme: Curiosity
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.

Are you interested in unlocking the power of curiosity in Ministry or fostering curiosity as a leader in your Church?

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

Individual Registration
Want to join from the comfort of your own home?
Group Registration
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

 Registrations Close: 
11:59pm on the 29th June


Introducing OurStory - The next iteration of Together Magazine

We are excited to launch our new website ‘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 ( – 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

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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.

This quote sums it up:
“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.”
The overarching lesson learned is while the financial assistance is greatly appreciated, the relationships built help with longer term recovery: those people that offer a listening ear, allowing a forum for people to share their stories, checking-in on those who are isolated, and offering to make phone calls to insurance companies.  Churches are well-placed for this kind of work.
And yet as the NSW Bushfire Inquiry begins, we are reminded of the level of devastation our summer of bushfires caused.  We are also reminded of the toll that devastation continues to take on individuals and communities.
Please continue to pray for our churches in bushfire and drought affected areas as they minister and serve in challenging circumstances.  Please pray for their strength and protection.  Mental health concerns are exacerbated by Covid-19, many bushfire affected properties have yet to be cleared, some people are living in tents, and businesses are struggling.  Please pray that there would be speedy processing of insurance claims, an increase in availability of temporary accommodation, recovery for businesses, and a path through social isolation and grief.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
Bushfire recovery efforts continue.  Please continue to pray for bushfire affected communities and individuals.

To read some of the stories that have emerged from our bushfire affected communities visit the Bushfires Special Edition of OurStory here:


Annual Report & Financials Statement now available

As 2020 began our Annual Assembly was planned for early May.  One of the great opportunities presented by the Annual Assembly is time to recount together the story of how God continues to be at work across our movement.  To share the joys and the challenges, and to continue to commit ourselves to live out our purpose together of Advancing the Gospel of Jesus in word, sign and deed.
However, this year isn’t unfolding as any of us anticipated!  And although we haven’t yet been able to hold our Annual Assembly it doesn’t mean that we can’t continue to remind one another of God’s faithfulness to us.  In fact, at a time like this when we cannot meet and encourage one another face to face, hearing the stories of God at work among us is more important than ever.
One of the tools for doing this is our Association’s annual report. The report is intended to provide you encouragement so you can appreciate the big picture of how God is at work.  Through growth in new church plants, strengthening regional leadership, missional initiatives and training, support through drought and bushfires, innovative events that have involved thousands of people over the year, and a whole host of other ministry, we are seeing the Gospel advance through our movement.  The Report also shares stories from our various affiliated groups like Morling College, BaptistCare, Global Interaction and others – and allows us to grasp the breadth of what God is doing among us.
To access the report simply visit this page to receive an electronic copy of the Annual Report. If you would like the summary of the Association’s finances, you can find a one-pager in the annual report. Also on the webpage you will find details about accessing Association’s financial reports in the combined financial reporting package containing the financial statements of our movement and its affiliated groups.
If you would like a printed copy simply use the form on the webpage and we will post one out to you, free of charge.
Below is an example of text you can use in your communications with your church.
Our intention is still to gather in person in an Annual Assembly this year.  Saturday 31st October has been set aside for this, and further details will be coming out soon.  In the meantime, please be encouraged as you read the report of God at work among us.  And please, use it as an aid to your ongoing prayer for us all as a movement, that in this challenging season we may continue to know God’s strengthening and enabling as together we advance the Gospel of Jesus in our local contexts, NSW/ACT, and beyond.

Share the 2019 Annual Report with your church: 

Sample Communication to Church 
The Baptist Association of NSW & ACT have released the 2019 annual report. The annual report would normally be presented at the Annual Assembly however this has not been possible due to COVID-19 restrictions. This report is a great opportunity to to recount together the story of how God continues to be at work across our movement.  To share the joys and the challenges, and to continue to commit ourselves to live out our purpose together of Advancing the Gospel of Jesus in word, sign and deed. To view the 2019 Annual report please visit or Download Annual Report Video Here

BDC Web Conference for your church!

Over the last decade Crossway Baptist have implemented an evangelism and discipleship strategy that is putting the mission of God in the hands of ordinary people.  The fruit of this strategy has been first time conversions, baptisms and the formation of missional community groups.   A few years ago, Crossway Baptist senior Pastors Dale & Edi Stephenson, felt the Lord’s nudge to take what they’ve learnt to the wider church of Australia, so they launched Building a Discipling Culture (BDC).
A small number of our churches have already embarked on the BDC process but The Baptist Association is now partnering with Crossway to promote BDC amongst our family of churches.  To begin with, Crossway are offering fully funded scholarships to 12 more of our churches to engage in the two year coaching process.  This is able to continue even during social distancing as the coaching is a fortnightly 1 hour zoom session.
We are inviting senior pastors and their key leaders to attend an interactive information session and Q&A that is being held specifically for NSW and ACT Baptist Churches.  The 90 minute BDC Web Conference will be held on Tuesday 23rd June at 11am.  You will hear from Dale Stephenson, learn about the BDC process and find out how you can bring genuine change to your church.  And because BDC believe so strongly in equipping your church, there is no cost to attend this event.

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

The Healthy Relationships Video Project originally grew out of a recognition that Covid-19 presented challenges for families and individuals that we have never seen before including but not limited to:
  1. Significantly increased time together
  2. Great disruption to normal routine
  3. Isolation from friends and extended family members
  4. Restrictions on activities and access to outside spaces
  5. 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.”

  1. Using Love Languages to Reduce Tension: Carolyn Cousins
  2. Practicing Love and Compassion: Yvette Cherry
  3. Flipping your Lid for Parents: Carolyn Cousins
  4. Struggling with Covid-19 and Negative Thoughts: Elliot Keane
  5. Living in the Liminal Space: Julie Gardiner

Healthy Relationships Intro from Crossover on Vimeo.

Suggestions for use:

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:

  1. Social work, family health, domestic and family violence, child welfare
  2. Theology and pastoral care
  3. 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



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.

To find out more about chaplaincy with BaptistCare and opportunities to be trained or serve, contact Trevor Wight (
James Deaton
My name is James Deaton, my wife Roz and I have two children and we currently foster another two. We moved up to Kempsey 5 years ago from Sydney as I received the position of prison chaplain at Mid North Coast Correctional Centre through BaptistCare. There are currently 600 inmates here in Kempsey which is growing by another 440 beds in early March.
I think that prison chaplaincy is the best kept secret in Christian ministry! The opportunities to show the love of Christ by action and through His word are plentiful. I spend my time doing 3 main things:
  1. 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.
  2. I see a number of inmates throughout the week in a 1 to 1 discipling relationship, reading the bible and praying.
  3. 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).
My passion is for inmates to grow in their relationship with Christ and continue to grow once released into the community. This is best done when they have a relational link from prison into their local church.


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 to arrange a Creating Safe Spaces workshop for your church or arrange for new volunteers to attend a general registration workshop by registering at .

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 (




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.

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:

o   strengthening our shared identity as a diverse movement,
o   developing our capacity to make thoughtful, focused decisions,
o   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.
The Resources:
Videos – The four episodes are between 4-5 minutes.
The episodes can be viewed online or downloaded.
Session 1 –  Jesus-centred      with subtitles
Session 2 –  Community          with subtitles
Session 3 –  Mission                with subtitles
Session 4 –  Freedom              with subtitles
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.
All the materials are available for download here

SRE Update for Pastors

As you may be aware Special Religious Education (SRE) has been paused in the public schools since March. We are currently working with the Department of Education on a timeframe of when our teachers can return to face to face teaching.
If you have SRE teachers in your church it will be important for you to provide some practical and pastoral support for any teachers who may fall in a vulnerable category and what it will mean for them returning to their classes. It will also be likely that in several cases classes may not have teachers not able to return and classes left without a teacher. It will be great for pastors and ministers to be able to support their SRE teams in the local area. They may need to find creative ways to raise new teachers who can help in an interim capacity for any teachers unable to return straight away.
We have prepared a PDF document for any pastors that would like to have some practical and pastoral guidance in helping SRE teachers return to school safely. Download this document here.
If you have any questions, please contact our SRE Coordinator Shelley Ashton 
**Important update 11/6; THE NSW Education department has confirmed SRE will recommence in public schools in beginning of Term 3. Keep watching the SRE website for the most up-to-date information regarding return to school.



Winter Edition of PRAC from Crossover - Coming Soon!



NCLS reports highlight that over the last 10 years Australian Baptists have increasingly engaged with communities outside the local church’s walls. This edition of PRAC features the stories of four people who have engaged in very strategic ways to share Jesus outside the church community through chaplaincy.
The articles cover ministry in a variety of contexts from an elite AFL football club, at sea with the Royal Australian Navy, behind bars in prisons, on inner city streets, and at the local surf lifesaving club.
The common feature of all the chaplains was their sense of God’s call in spite of their reservations. There is also the shared wisdom of adjusting to the situations they find themselves in and the value of long-term connectedness matched with good listening skills. These are key ingredients for us all as we connect with our neighbourhoods.
Not all of us have the privilege of being official chaplains. However, the review of Warren Crank’s book “The Unofficial Chaplain”, points to the simple steps outlined in the book that can help us as we engage in our communities.
Finally, thanks for your partnership with Crossover through the 2020 Easter Offering. The COVID-19 restrictions have had a significant negative impact on the level of support we normally receive. Any additional support would be greatly appreciated.
Keep an eye out for the latest copy of PRAC coming in the next week or so and Download the latest copy of PRAC here

Positions Vacant: Creative Lead & Project Manager and Writing Team

The Baptist Association of NSW and ACT are looking to fill the role of Creative Lead & Project Manager and roles in the Writing Team for an exciting new SRE project.
Please see below for more information about each of the roles.

Creative Lead and Project Manager

The role
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

Project Management

  • 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

Essential Criteria

  • 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.

Find out more about Creative Lead & Project Manager role

Writing Team – GodSpace Project
The role

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:

Key Competencies

  • 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
  • Theology
  • Curriculum development
  • Compliance in SRE
  • Experience in working with children

Find out more about Writing Team – GodSpace Project role