Rev Ian Altman, Team Leader 

2020 has been (to use a cliché) an unprecedented year for the Church Health Team.   Like many others, we had to pivot and adapt to a constantly changing environment.  We have had to learn how to deliver our Church Health Consultancy Training online, run church engagements and meetings with church leaders over Zoom and connect with regions in new ways.  Covid-19 has certainly provided both challenges and opportunities to rethink and reimagine how we engage with churches and provide training.  

Church Health Consultancy currently has 5 trainers and 29 Specialist Consultants.  A further 9 people have completed all the workshops of the 2-year training course in 2020 and the next cohort, which also comprises 9 people, will graduate at the end of 2021. A new cohort will commence the training in March 2021 with a focus on engaging regional participants.  

The challenges of 2020, along with growing compliance requirements, saw a significant increase in Church Health engagements. Several of our smaller churches either closed or required significant help with leadership and governance.  We also saw several churches pivot and respond to the challenges in innovative and creative ways.  

Our focus on regional restructure was also halted a little by the events of 2020. We did however appoint Wayne Spencer from Molong Baptist Church in an Interim Regional Facilitator role and we will continue to work with our regions so they can push into our Gen1K vision of seeing 1000 healthy churches, and engage locally in the areas of Mission, Leadership and Church Health.  

The Church Health Team remains committed to serving our family of churches and providing assistance, training and resources to foster and develop health and vitality across our movement.   

Rev Ian Altman, Team Leader GEN1K Church Health, on behalf of Rev Frank Farag, Cross-Cultural Ministries Facilitator 

As we reflect on the past year for our Cross-Cultural churches, which are better understood as either ‘Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD), or ‘Languages other than English’ (LOTE), it has been a somewhat difficult year due to COVID-19, as it has been for many of our Association churches.  However, our CALD and LOTE churches, have had to contend with additional issues of language, significant lack of resources and lack of access to facilities, as many rent spaces from existing churches.  

Despite all these challenges, our CALD and LOTE churches have thrived and responded in healthy ways. It was very encouraging to see a growing number of leaders from CALD and LOTE churches engage in the regular updates and COVID-19 briefings throughout 2020.  

It has also been particularly encouraging to see the growing number of CALD and LOTE churches engage the Church Health Team for positive and proactive reasons, including; for guidance in the areas of restructuring, setting vision and healthy pastoral review processes. 

Our greatest encouragement has come from seeing churches that have been historically western and mono-cultural, intentionally moving to become Culturally and Linguistically Diverse so that they better reflect the communities around them. Eastwood Community Baptist and Yagoona Baptist are two churches that have made this significant shift. This is a shift that several of our churches will need to make if they wish to have a Kingdom impact on the culturally diverse communities in which they now find themselves. 

Please join us as we continue to pray for and serve our CALD and LOTE churches.