Changing Tasmania, one person at a time
Being mission-shaped is becoming the "new normal" for Tasmanian Baptist Churches. The cultural shift from mission (overseas), to mission (in our backyard), is happening around the state.
In this issue of ADVANCE | step by step the activities of two of our churches are featured.
What is God up to? Click through to see how He is working in our communities.
Do you have a special missional activity you would like to tell everyone about?
Contact Jenny Baxter to tell your story: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gateway Baptist Launceston
The Studio and Cafe is a ministry of Gateway Baptist Church in Launceston which seeks to use artwork and hospitality as a means of drawing other community members onto the church campus, enabling members to interact with them.
It is open between 11am and 3pm Tuesday to Thursday of each week, and offers a display of almost 100 pieces of artwork, as well as stimulating conversation with artists and live music while a light lunch is served. The plan is to offer lunches by donation one day a week, and then extend to all three days as the weather warms up.
Using the open fire during the colder months, comfortable seating, Christian music, beautiful displays and friendly fellowship, the aim is to create a wonderful, attractive and peaceful atmosphere in which visitors feel relaxed and welcome. The artwork is used as a means to an end - that of building relationships, overcoming loneliness, showing interest in people's lives and 'chatting the Gospel'.
Pieces of artwork are for sale, with part of the money raised going towards missions work both here in Launceston and overseas.
It is planned to feature guest artist exhibitions from time to time.
Ps Noel Eagling
Below: Artway Studio opening; and main exhibition space
Citywide Baptist - Mornington/Lenah Valley
When COVID-19 shut down workplaces in Hobart, some of the people most seriously affected were the many foreign students who were depending on part-time jobs to supplement whatever money they received from families at home. For most, COVID-19 was a double whammy, as jobs disappeared and families could no longer afford to send money.
Because so many students from Nepal lost their jobs and were stranded with no government support, Pastors Paul and Suraj from the Citywide Nepali congregation, immediately responded to the need they were seeing, and started organising food parcels from their own funds. As they began doing this very simple thing, it became clear that the need was massive.
Paul and Matt Garvin recorded a brief conversation on Facebook to alert our whole statewide online church family to the need . . . and the bags of rice started flooding in.
One of the people who saw our conversation was a friend who works for Samaritan's Purse. The organisation ended up providing $30,000, which we were able to turn into vouchers at the local Nepalese store for the students and families (see photos below).
All this has meant that the little Nepali congregation, led by former refugees, has moved to a significant position of leadership in the broader Nepalese-speaking community, and some families have started attending the church as a result of the care they received in their time of need.
Senior Pastor, Citywide
Below: Presentation of food vouchers to Nepali students