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Pastors eNews - October 2018

 

Welcome to the October 2018 Pastor’s eNews

 

Hi, fellow pastors and leaders,

One image Jesus uses, recorded in all 4 gospels, is that of the harvest. Matt 9: “The Harvest is plentiful”. This is a real encouragement to see the world the way God sees it. As we head into the final months of the year full of opportunities for ministry and witness, let’s be mindful of that reality – everywhere God looks in your context and mine, he sees gospel opportunity.

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In the same verse Jesus also instructs us to pray for labourers. The bottleneck, it seems, is not the harvest (though we need to see it as God does, not with only human eyes), but those prepared to reap it. This reminds me again of the significance of praying for and seeking to raise up people in our churches to be on mission, and grown in what it means to make disciples. Let’s continue to keep the main thing the main thing!

I was so encouraged to be at our movement’s Church Planting and Evangelism conference last week where leaders gathered there committed to planting new churches, renewing churches and forging evangelistic cultures within our churches. God spoke powerfully into people’s lives as they surrendered to his call to lead in mission. Great stuff!

There have been a fair few communications from the Association lately! There’s a lot going on and I want to draw your attention to some key things.

Firstly, so far almost $200K has been received in donations to our Drought Relief Response, which is fantastic. Churches in impacted regions have begun to distribute these funds amongst people in need in their communities. We thank God for the answers to prayers for rain which has come in some areas. More is needed. Let’s continue to press in to support our farming communities in prayer.

Then, a reminder that at our recent Assembly we decided unanimously that our Association would Opt-In to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme, as representative Entity for our group of Association churches and organisations. This makes it possible for your church to opt-in as part of the group and have the administrative processes taken care of by the Association. Our Assembly decision is a strong encouragement to each church to opt in. But each church needs to make its own decision. If your church wants to have access to the Redress Support Pool being set up, you need to return the declaration to Opt-In which you received recently, by 30 November. Please call us if you need assistance with this, we have extra staff on hand to assist you with the process.

Recently your church also received a letter outlining some changes in the operations of our national Baptist Insurance scheme. This has resulted in a decrease in real terms of the insurance premium renewals recently charged to our churches, but also an ending to the contribution of Baptist Insurance to our overall Association Budget. This is causing unsustainable pressures on our finances. Can I ask you to consider your church’s response to this, both in terms of it’s current giving to our combined work, and as you prepare your next church budget. There is a growing sense of momentum for what God is doing among us as we work together for his Kingdom. We look to continue to sustain and expand our shared ministry through the support and resourcing of leaders and churches across our state and territory. You can find a link to my communication to our churches about this HERE.

Finally, a heads up. 2nd May 2019 will be the date for The Gathering – our movement’s new main annual event for connection, inspiration and equipping. It will build on the success of Celebrate150 this year, with a further refreshed format and a commitment to replicate it regionally in partnership with interested regions in the years ahead. Please stick the date in your church’s 2019 calendar now. It will be a day not to be missed!

God bless as you continue to serve him in your context in this end of year season!

Save the Dates - 2019

Reflecting on Redress

Immediately following our decision to opt in to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme at last month’s Assembly, Sylvia Collinson led the assembly in prayer. The text of her prayer is reprinted here as a tool for reflection.

Father,

We acknowledge that as your people we have all sinned & fallen short of giving glory to you. We acknowledge that some of your so-called people have done unspeakable things to others, that have caused enormous pain & lifelong suffering. We acknowledge that others of us have not spoken up for the weak, nor have we pursued justice, loved mercy, or walked humbly with you. We humbly repent and ask your forgiveness. We thank you that Jesus died on the cross for all humanity & that includes us, and that no sin is too great for you to forgive.

Father we pray for all those who, as innocent children were sinned against, by people who named your name. We ask that each one will recognize the evil done against them as not coming from you, and that your loving arms will enfold them, bringing healing & wholeness to their lives.

We ask that as friends, family, churches, charitable organizations & counsellors seek to show your love to these people that we will have great wisdom & compassion in knowing how best to listen, understand & minister to them & their needs. Lord, for those amongst us, who have suffered such abuse we pray that receiving tangible evidence of our repentance will bring healing & the possibility of being able to forgive those who harmed them. Father we pray that your justice & truth will prevail in our churches & our land.
Finally, Lord, we pray for our churches which will be considering this matter & deciding whether they bear the cost of this restitution. We ask that concern for our money & our possessions will not stand in the way of our doing what is just & right in your sight.

And as you bore the enormous cost of our salvation, by sacrificing your only Son, may we be willing to pay the cost of the sins of commission & omission of our churches & our people.

And we ask all this in the strong name of our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ.

Youth Pastors and Leaders Conference

New name, same fantastic gathering.

What is Youth Pastors and Emerging Leaders Conference?
The Youth Pastors and Emerging Leaders Conference is 3 days designed to support and equip leaders in our Baptist churches across NSW and ACT.

It is a intentional time focused on building relationships, fostering community, praying together, sharing of ideas and resources, inspiration, and refreshment, with and for, youth and young adult ministry workers and younger leaders from all over NSW & ACT.

It’s about calling leaders and emerging leaders up to all that God wants for and from us for the year ahead and into the future.

Who can I expect to see?
The Youth Pastors and Emerging Leaders Conference is for people who lead youth and young adult ministries, including younger leaders, current and emerging leaders, interns and student pastors that your church is seeking to invest in.

This is not simply a gathering for paid ministry workers but is also designed to nourish, inspire and equip volunteer leaders who work with young people in churches, schools and universities.

Over the last couple of years we have seen this conference grow to impact more than 150 pastors and leaders from over 60 Baptist churches, reaching from Moree to Menai, Tamworth to Toongabbie, Narara Valley to Narwee, Wyong to Windsor, Grafton to Gymea, Thornleigh to Taree, Bathurst to BelAir.

www.youthpastorsconference.org.au

Beyond Festival – November 23-25

Beyond Festival is a Christian-based event open to people of all kinds of traditions and backgrounds. It is built on the twin concepts of community and justice and features leading musical artists like Katie Noonan, Gungor and Paul Colman, alongside leading thinkers and teachers in Mike Frost, Brooke Prentis and Prof Ruth Powell.

Held in Kangaroo Valley over the 23-25th November, the camping festival includes kids and youth programs, workshops, arts, music, a village, poetry and much more. Children 12 and under are free. It is a very safe place to invite friends who find attending a Church service or Christian activities a little daunting. A gentle mission pulse beats through the festival, though the platform is not used to present the full gospel message (there is, however, a festival Church service on the Sunday). There are many opportunities to explore faith and life matters in relational ways.

Several of the key leaders of Beyond are Baptists, and Baptistcare is a key sponsor. You can visit www.beyondfestival.com.au to find out more, or download a promotional plan and resources for your church below that can be adjusted as required:-

BYM Survey for Pastors

We’re conducting a survey and your input would be appreciated.

We would love to hear your thoughts on your youth pastor or youth leader to help us to continually improve our Youth Pastors & Emerging Leaders Conference coming up in February 2019

Click Here for Survey

Franklin Graham Tour 2019

Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) will be in Australia early next year as part of a national tour celebrating the 60thanniversary of the 1959 Billy Graham Crusade that so significantly impacted our nation.   He will be speaking evangelistically in Sydney on 23 and 24 February.  The heart of the tour is to provide opportunities for Australians to respond to the gospel.

Baptist Churches were among those most strongly connected with Billy Graham Crusades in the past and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (Australia) continues to be served by a number of Baptist leaders.

Details about the tour and downloadable promotional resources can be found at: https://grahamtour.billygraham.org/where you or your church can also sign up to stay informed of the planning and the events.  In particular, free evangelism and discipleship training is available across churches in Sydney throughout November – Dates and venues at https://grahamtour.billygraham.org/christian-life-witness-course/clwc-sydney/.

Pastoral Care Volunteer Newsletter

Please find attached the Pastoral Care Volunteer Newsletter

& the below training

Balance Ministry Services

And finally, you may have heard about a new initiative being launched out of the Association to assist churches – a bookkeeping service tailored to the needs of churches, provided at cost. If your church would like to explore alternative ways of maintaining its financial records and reporting rather than having to do this all in-house, this new service may be of help.

Leading and Facilitating Change

Local churches have always needed to negotiate two tracks simultaneously: preserving the message and mission of the gospel and adopting new methods for communicating the gospel to diverse cultures and changing societies.

Today this is even more complicated because of the current rapidity of change. Yet churches often find it difficult to adapt and change, especially when they are stalled or in decline. While the essence of pastoral ministry is all about helping people to be transformed (via discipleship and sanctification) pastoral leaders are often ill-equipped to successfully lead corporate or institutional change at a local church level.

This workshop will look at the theoretical principles, inevitable challenges and practical resources for change leadership by local pastors and church leaders.

Presented by:  Ian Altman, Jamie Freeman and Vivian Grice
When: Thursday, 1 Nov
Venue: Baptist Ministry Centre or Webinar