Rev Dr Steve Bartlett – NSW & ACT Representative 

The Australian Baptist movement includes over 1,000 churches plus a number of agencies and bodies that work in cooperation with local Baptist churches, in extending God’s Kingdom in Australia and across the world.  Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) is the key body for the conferencing and cooperation of the various expressions of this Baptist life and witness at a national level.   

COVID-19 significantly impacted the operations of ABM in 2020.  The National Council normally meets twice per year in-person, but these were held online due to travel restrictions. ABM also facilitates collaborative meetings of state and territory leaders in key areas including operations, children & youth ministries, cross cultural ministries, ministry standards managers, pastoral development, mission and evangelism (through Crossover Australia) and the state leaders group.  These gatherings were also curtailed, and some went online to maintain connection and for mutual encouragement. 

Australia has strong representation into the Baptist World Alliance, of which ABM is a member Convention, and again those who served at this level did so by electronic means this year.  The BWA Congress, scheduled every 5 years, was to occur in Rio de Janiero in July, however this was postponed for 12 months.  It was subsequently decided to convert it to an online Congress which will take place in July 2021.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to access worship, reflection, teaching and connection from across the worldwide Baptist family.