reCharge NEWS February 2024


    Being Human Webinar

    What does it mean to be human?

    In this webinar, Karl Faase is being joined by Jo Frost to look at the question, What does it mean to be human. Jo Frost is Author of the book and video series, ‘Being Human’ and will grapple with the idea of what it is to view the world through the Being Human lens. She will consider questions such as What is Jesus on about when he offers us ‘life to the full’? And look at the cultural stories are shaping our identity. Also, what makes humanity unique and what is the invitation that God extends? 

    On Tuesday, 12 March 2024 at 7pm  


    Trauma Recovery Course

    Reboot Trauma Recovery

    This three-day, faith-based course is focused on healing from trauma.  While aimed at Service-related trauma, REBOOT courses are being offered to the wider community suffering from all forms of trauma. This includes victims of crime, DV, childhood trauma, disability, grief and ongoing illness.
    One veteran on average dies by suicide every 2 weeks, making suicide amongst our service community is at an epidemic.

    Free to attend. Childcare is not available. For more info contact Andy & Zoe Cullen: 0420 462 845 or email:

    From Wednesday 13, March to Friday, 15 March
    9am to 2pm
    (Graduation Ceremony on Friday night, 6pm – 8pm)  

    At Wrest Point Hotel Hobart, Drysdale Room – 410 Sandy Bay Road, Sandy Bay 


    Heartlands Summer 2024 – out now

    By Women, for Women

    Heartlands is the quarterly email for EmpowHer – a network of Tasmanian women growing and encouraging each other in their God-given potential.

    Read more…

    Heartlands News

    New College Roadshow

    Frank W Boreham College launch

    The Frank W Boreham College will be launched on 5 March at Hobart Baptist Church.  It will provide ministry and theological education, training, and reflection for our pastors, leaders, and members across Tasmania. Realising this exciting vision means Tasmanian Baptists now have the capacity to provide qualified training within the State.

    The new college is made possible by a partnership with both Kairos and Whitley.

    David will visit the state in early March and travel to all three regions to discuss what further theological education can look like, from diploma to doctorate. He will explain the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning. This model surrounds each student with a team of mentors who, along with the student, determine the student’s education and formation pathway.   

    The following informal evenings are open to anyone. 

    • Wednesday 6 March 7.30pm at Hobart Baptist Church
      Hosted by Stephen Baxter, 0417 313 273  
    • Thursday 7 March 7.30pm at Newstead Baptist Church
      Hosted by Dan Hutchison, 0457 765 907  
    • Friday 8 March 7.30pm at Burnie Baptist Church
      Hosted by Matty Coppin, 9484 064 490  

    Please contact Stephen, Dan, or Matty, ASAP if you plan to attend. 

    Hear about the Kairos subscription-based education model of learning

    Have you thought of Mentoring?  

    Fostering Hope Info Session for Mentoring

    Interested in being a mentor for a child growing up in foster care?
    Do you know someone in your church community who would be a great mentor?  
    Fostering Hope is a Tasmanian Christian organisation caring for children growing up in out-of-home care (foster and kinship care) and currently has children waiting for mentors. 

    Mentoring online information session: Tuesday, 27 February at 12:00pm.  

    This short movie explains how mentoring can make a difference and could be perfect to show at your Sunday service or small group meeting.   

    The Mentoring Program is for children growing up in care. The program recruits, trains, screens and then matches Christian mentors with a child.  

    For children growing up in care, there are lots of adults in their life who are paid to be there. Mentors are someone who chooses to turn up and be there for a child regardless of what’s gone on for them. It is powerful for both the child and the mentor.  

    Every relationship is designed around the child and mentor. The regular time commitment is dependent on the mentor’s availability.  

    Upcoming training days are Saturday, 2 March in Launceston and Saturday, 16 March in Hobart.

    Register online here  or email if you have questions.  

    Interested in being a mentor for a child growing up in foster care?

    City Prayer

    Church Together Prayer Meetings for Hobart

    Church Together invites all Christians to attend their monthly prayer meetings for the city in 2024. 

    Upcoming Church Together prayer meetings for 2024:  
    – 28 February at Hobart City Church of Christ (8 Goulburn St, Hobart) 
    – 27 March at Hobart Baptist Church (282 Elizabeth St, Nth Hobart) 

    Arrive at 7.15am for a 7.30am start. Finishes at 8.30am.  

    Prayer meetings will continue throughout 2024 on the last Wednesday of the month. Contact Sharyn Hill on 0409 855 880 or email 

    Plan to pray and gather together as His Church across Hobart

    Workshop for churches on CYSOF

    New Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework legislation 

    Olive Road and Fostering Hope are running a workshop on Child and Youth Safe Organisation Framework (CYSOF) legislation. 

    The workshop is on Thursday, the 14 March 2024 at the Grace Centre, Rokeby,  from 9.30pm to 2.30pm. 

    The workshop will provide an opportunity for attendees to grapple with the new CYSOF legislation and to share resources and ideas to develop the required policies and processes that will ensure ongoing compliance with the new Framework.   

    Anyone from not-for-profit organisations and churches in Hobart would benefit from this workshop to gain a better understanding of the new legislation.

    Time will be given to the new Reportable Conduct Scheme and new strict timeframes on reporting to the regulator. The workshop will also focus on how organisations or churches might comply with the ten Child and Youth Safe Standards.   

    If you, or someone within your organisation or church, are keen to attend, or if a weekend or evening session would suit better, contact Mary Blake, Exec. Officer, Fostering Hope on m. 0423 365 988 or email

    There’s more information about the Child and Youth Safe Organisations Framework here

    Kids playing outside
    Working for a Child and Youth Safe Organisation

    Gaza Crisis Update

    From Baptist World Aid Australia

    Around 1.9 million people in Gaza have been displaced since the war started three months ago, when Hamas launched a terrorist attack on innocent civilians in Israel. 

    People are sheltering in overcrowded school buildings, churches, and medical centres; some are even pitching tents on the street. This has left families vulnerable as winter hits, with temperatures dropping down to 10 degrees at night. 

    Gaza is also experiencing a healthcare crisis.  

    Baptist World Aid Partners in the region are distributing aid to families, including medical items, medicines, hygiene kits, mattresses and blankets, and food packages. They are also continuing to provide medical supplies and other essentials to families in the West Bank and Lebanon, where civil unrest and violent attacks are rising.  

    Here is a lament written late last year as preparation to pray for protection and relief for families in the Middle East.  

    If you’d like to consider giving, visit Baptist World Aid here. 

    Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners
    Gaza war damage photo by Mohamad Zaanoun, International Health Partners

    New Pastor Welcome

    Matu Christian Church welcome Rev Kosen

    Rev. Maddy Svoboda from Summerhill Baptist welcomed Mr Kosen to Matu Christian Church on Sunday, 4 February.

    Matu Christian Church meet every Sunday afternoon at Newstead Baptist Church at 2pm. 

    Free One-Day Workshop

    S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y approach to family violence

    The Anglican Diocese of Tasmania is offering a free one-day workshop for Church Leaders and Pastoral Carers. The S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y approach to domestic violence is a guide for churches that offers a theologically-informed lens on domestic violence and how individual churches can create safe spaces for women and children who have experienced domestic violence.  

    The intention and prayer of the workshop is that Tasmanian churches reflect God’s care for the abused and vulnerable and that churches be places of safety.  

    S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y Sanctuary logo

    The S.A.N.C.T.U.A.R.Y training can be taken either an person or online and is open to church leaders and pastoral carers from any denomination for use within the local church context. All training materials will be available to those who attend. 

    The workshop is on Saturday, 17 February 2024 at Wellspring Anglican Church, Hobart or online on Saturday, 2 March 2024.  

    Both workshops run from 9:30am to 3pm and include: 
    – Comprehensive information relating to domestic violence 
    – Tactics used by abusers 
    – Impact of family violence on children: brain development, trauma etc. 
    – Spiritual abuse and misuse of scripture to justify or maintain coercive control 
    – Potential theological blockages to reporting domestic abuse 
    – Theology and Biblical messages of love, justice, respect & equality 
    – Exploring what Sanctuary might look like in your church. 

    Ann Herbert is facilitating the workshops. An experienced facilitator and Elder at Citywide Baptist Church, Ann leads Citywide Baptist’s Sanctuary Care ministry. She has previously managed the Social Policy Unit in the Tasmanian Government Department of Premier and Cabinet and oversaw implementation of a wide range of social policies, including the Tasmanian Government’s Family Violence Action Plan. 

    Register here or for more information contact Kristy Crouch on 0403 957 106 or email

    Tasmanian Baptist Calendar 2024 

    Tasmanian Baptist Council24 February
    Pastors and Leaders Muster (Hobart)5-6 March
    Launch of Frank W. Boreham College5 March
    Roadshow (North)7 March
    Roadshow (Northwest)8 March
    Mid-Year Assembly   11 May
    Tasmanian Baptist Council15 June  
    Pastors and Leaders Muster, Family-friendly (Devonport)9-11 July
    Tasmanian Baptist Council7 September
    Pastors and Leaders Muster (Launceston)10-11 September
    Annual Assembly19 October
    Tasmanian Baptist Council16 November

    Foundations Course

    Burnie Baptist hosts one week discipleship course in January

    On Sunday 21 January, Burnie Baptist church welcomed people from all over the world as they hosted a one-week discipleship course called “Foundations.”  Along with Burnie Baptist, four other Tasmanian Baptist Churches, as well as students from India, Indonesia, Japan, Brazil and Canada, joined the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course, which is run as either a one week intensive or 10 week course (one night a week, plus two Saturdays). The strongly Bible-based course concluded with a highly successful community festival.   Afterwards, feedback from participants was very positive. Some participants, who had been in the church for many years, said that Foundations gave them a new way of seeing both faith and mission.

    Watch our video of participant reflections here.  As a result, both Citywide Baptist and Burnie Baptist are hoping to run 10-week version of the course later this year. 

    Participating students in the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course.
    Participating students in the ‘whole-of-life’ discipleship course.

    SU Schools Sunday in February

    Encouraging students and school staff

    Schools Sunday in February is an excellent way to encourage Christian students and school staff members at the beginning of the year. It’s an opportunity to remember that God goes with students and teachers everyday as they attend school. The day provides churches with an opportunity to set aside time during a Sunday service in February to focus on schools and support young people and the local school community. Scripture Union runs the initiative and also provides resources to support churches as they celebrate the day. Resources are available on the SU website or in their PDF Resource Pack. Additionally, the pack provides different ideas for either a complete intergenerational Sunday service or a short segment within a regular service.  Churches can choose a date early in the school year to celebrate and encourage students and school staff members.

    Schools Sunday supports young people and the local school community.
    Schools Sunday supports young people and the local school community.

    Position Vacant

    Youth and Children’s worker wanted

    Citywide Baptist (Mornington/Lenah Valley) are searching for a Youth and Children’s worker with the ability to think outside the box, lead teams and mentor young people. Click here for details.

    Citywide are looking for someone who wants to make a difference for kids and young people.
    Citywide are looking for someone who wants to make a difference for kids and young people.

    Read More ReCharge

    February 2024

    The Turning of the Tide?

    book with pen and graph for sacred agents crossover

    Sacred Agents

    Andrew Turner of Crossover reflects in his Sacred Agents blog.

    I blinked and had to look at the number a second time: 34 percent! Each year we gather the number of baptisms reported by Australian Baptist state associations, and there was a 34 percent increase from 2022 to 2023. Wow! But what to make of it? 

    It could be a whole range of things. Perhaps Australian Baptists got a whole lot better at reporting! (I imagine plenty of baptisms go un-counted, and while that’s frustrating for statisticians, it’s rather how things should be in a decentralised movement like ours.) 

    Or was it a post-Covid bump? Possibly, but I’m not convinced. Was it our National Baptism Week initiative? No, given the six-month lag in collecting the numbers, they’ll show up next year. I had been expecting a rise of over 20 percent simply based on what I was hearing anecdotally from pastors and leaders. But 34 percent is remarkable – what could possibly explain it? 

    Is the wave of baptisms another indication of the ‘turning of the tide’?

    Could It Possibly Be Jesus?

    Well, I think the answer could possibly be Jesus. Why on earth would so many people want to be baptised? Hang on, why would they not? Let’s remember that belonging to God’s family through faith in Christ is the normal and sensible thing given the unfolding of his kingdom, the place in it he offers, and the promise of his Spirit! We can get lost in studying the tea leaves of culture and economy to see whether people will or won’t like Jesus – and find that we believe more in the power of culture and economy than in the power of the gospel to captivate people of all cultures and economies. 

    That said, I do wonder whether wave of baptisms is another indication of the ‘turning of the tide.’ The church in the West has long been adjusting to the end of Christendom and the loss of (mandatory) popularity that entailed. Many have become resigned to endless decline – a narrative that’s entrenched itself even as church participation has increased. 

    New Theist Movement

    As Western culture increasingly becomes a spiritual desert, however, should we be surprised that spiritual thirst increases?

    As Western culture increasingly becomes a spiritual desert, however, should we be surprised that spiritual thirst increases? Along with stories of baptisms, I’ve been inundated with stories of ‘gate crashers’ – people (especially young adults) walking into churches that neither advertised nor invited them – and asking to be introduced to Jesus and Christianity.  

    Ten years ago the ‘New Atheist Movement’ held the floor among Western intellectuals, but it has died much faster than any church it mocked, and in its place we now see the ‘New Theist Movement’ – including such opinion-leaders as Jordan Peterson, Tom Holland and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (now openly a Christian). For more on this see Justin Brierley’s The Surprising Rebirth of Belief in God book and podcast.  

    So are we seeing the turning of the tide – even the beginnings of revival? It’s 20 years too early to say. But keeping our heads – indeed keeping our eyes on Jesus – our confidence to live for and witness to him should be based on him, rather than the fickle fashions of our culture.

    Let’s be absolutely confident in Christ, and in pointing people to him, regardless of whether they’re likely to applaud or imprison us. 

    Andrew Turner, Director of Crossover.

    Andrew Turner is the Director of Crossover.
    Crossover exists to Help Australian Baptists Share Jesus.

    This article appears on his Sacred Agents blog

    Please support the Australian Baptist Easter Offering – which funds Crossover to Help Australian Baptists Share Jesus. For information on how to participate and run the offering, see

    Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash.

    A turning of the tide?

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    February 2024

    When is a person ready for baptism?

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    An Ode To The Shepherd

    An Ode to the Shepherd

    For you to Ponder – Psalm 23

    By Frans Ammerlaan, Sassafras Baptist 

    Throughout our lives, events just seem to happen apparently at random. God teaches that there is nothing random about our lives and that He is always in control. 

    In times of weariness rest comes ‘beside quiet waters’, always aware that the purposes of our lives are to be accomplished.  

    It soon emerges that strength and struggle are the means by which we become capable of growing up and gathering character. 

    David, the future king of Israel, was led through a shepherd’s job, to acquire skills and character traits which would prove extremely useful to him in later life.  

    He was aware of this as shown in Psalm 23. In awe of God’s input into his life and affairs, he wrote ‘The Lord is my shepherd’.  This was his Ode to the Shepherd.

    Of all the people in the world, he could speak with authority of this fact. Seeing the defeat of Goliath, in front of the Israeli army and King Saul.  

    He was just a lad then, a teenager. How could the pebble slung from his sling hit Goliath exactly in the right place, with such force as to kill him instantly. Such a strong and huge man! The major threat at that time to the baby nation of Israel. David instinctively knew the God of Israel had enabled him.  

    More than anything he began to think that the anointing he received was the new reality in his life. That the power of God was released in his declarations before Saul and his army. Somehow the words he spoke empowered the actions he took. 

    A resistless force!

    A force that operated flawlessly without his trying. He realised it was the power of God almighty. His confidence grew enormously at this demonstration of power. Hereafter he was never again the demure youngest son of Jesse. Never again to be bullied by Eliab or any of his older brothers. He now had power in his spoken words. 

    David knew that the job of a shepherd was to totally care for sheep.

    It taught him responsibility as he learnt to deal with their wayward natures. (Just as he had to deal with the men of Israel later when he was their King.) 

    Even though sheep often got in trouble by walking off on their own, he loved their gentle and placid nature. As their shepherd he provided for all their needs and kept them safe. Especially at night when predators were about in the dark. These sheep were not even his. They were his father, Jesse’s. 

    This psalm finds its source in that experience. I suspect he realised that the Lord was doing the same for him, in his life, as he did for his sheep, and he was grateful. No doubt reminding himself that the anointing he received was for God’s purposes and it made sense that everything he experienced was in accord with those. 

    The Creator of the universe wants to be an intimate friend with us.

    At times when David was exhausted and weary of the whole job he would cry out to the Lord. Then he would be reminded that the hardships he endured now would prepare him for an extraordinary destiny! That is true for all of us. 

    He grew up in this relationship with God, which became intimate, mature and personal. They became good, trusted friends. He, the created, with the Creator.  

    Since Jesus opened the door for us, such an amazing relationship is now available to all of us believers. Difficult as this may be to accept, truly the Creator of the universe wants to be an intimate friend with us. A relationship such as David’s!  What a thought! What a vision! 

    Even though David strayed a number of times from the ‘straight and narrow’, his friend the almighty God of the Universe never abandoned the relationship. David was only corrected by Him when it was absolutely necessary. 

    All of his needs were always met and provision for him was abundant.   This impressed him to the point of declaring:  

    He makes me to lie down in green pastures; 
    He leads me beside the still waters. 
    He restores my soul… Psalm 23:2-3 (NKJV) 

    In trusting, he must, like us, have wondered often where he was being led to. 

    This special relationship with God, based on the evidence, found expression in his whole life and affairs. He then lists many of the major events in his life where the road ahead looked awful, but then saying in the next verse: He restores my soul

    God kept him morally upright for His name’s sake; though David was reluctant at times. When threatened by having to walk through the ‘valley of the shadow of death’, he feared no evil.  

    He knew that God was with him as he says, ‘Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me’.
    The rod and staff being a means of support and defence.  

    Before we wish that we were David, remember he was exposed to extreme life events which would have taken all his acumen to survive. (We are reminded of him being pursued by King Saul and having to hide from his continual jealous wrath). 

    David then notes, in wonder, God’s preparing a table before him though surrounded by enemies. Historically, this happened literally many times. Ever since he was anointed with oil by the prophet of Israel, ‘You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5 (NKJV) 

    He could not be happier at that moment and is prompted to say:  

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 (NKVJ) 

    This is all we ever wish to do! 

    The Lord is involved in every aspect of our lives.

    You could say: How could this apply to us? He was anointed and God seemed almost visibly present and looking after him!  

    We can and do say that with Jesus in our hearts we have the equivalent and an even better provision. All the things David said are now equally true for us. Of course, he was one of the very few who could experience God’s presence at all times before the Messiah came. 

    Whilst God had to be ‘about’ David; Jesus is actually in us and will never forsake or leave those who have accepted Him as their Saviour. Really a much better deal!  

    This psalm does show us how involved the Lord is in every aspect of our lives although perhaps not as often as demonstrated with David. Maybe we are not as physically surrounded by enemies who seek to devour us, but even so, we are surrounded by enemies we cannot see but which can be, and often are, equally deadly.  

    The most poignant observations David makes come at the end of this wonderful Psalm. Acutely aware of God’s presence in every aspect of his many struggles, he is moved to cry out:  ‘You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Psalm 23:5 (NKJV) 

    Such an expression of awesome and exceeding joy. I often wonder why we do not declare that more often. For us it is equally true. We just have to accept it by faith and then have it! 

    He ends with an exultant exclamation:  

    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 (NKJV) 

    A confident statement. A confidence based on experience. 

    For us who are still here, we should find real encouragement and even peace in this public declaration. An awareness of similar life experiences and a Presence, which makes it often obvious that He has intervened in our lives. To save us from ourselves, most likely.  

    What David said had direct bearing on the outcome of his actions

    Often overlooked is the fact that David was quite aware that what he said had a direct bearing on the outcome of his actions. Classic is the case of the actions he took and what he said when he took on Goliath. Then follow a series of events so invaluably instructive for us now. Nothing has changed much since then in human attitudes and beliefs. 

    Firstly, his brother Eliab, apparently suspicious of his baby brother saying that he knew David to be proud and insolent and that the real reason he came was to see the battle (1 Sam 17:28).  

    Eliab did not know that this was the beginning of David’s ministry to the state of Israel. That he was really led by the Lord God. David’s confidence, particularly for one so young, is led to say to those just standing about: 

    What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” 1 Sam 17:26 (NKJV)

    King Saul said:  

    You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” 1 Sam 17:33 (NKJV) 

    King Saul was quite unable to scare David into abandoning this ‘silly’ adventure in his eyes. 

    A sense of abandonment to a positive outcome rests entirely on trust

    Our life lessons come from what David then said, in faith, to the King: 

    Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”

    Moreover, David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.
    1 Samuel 17:34-37 (NKJV) 

    This demonstration of sheer faith in his companion the Lord God, should not be any different in its application to our lives now. We too have this presence within us to be utterly relied on. This is a sense of abandonment to a predictable and positive outcome rests entirely on trust. A reliance, a faith or trust we have guaranteed within each saved believer in Jesus.

    The process: David spoke it; he believed it absolutely; he did it and the result was what he expected, was there.  

    This whole historical saga is recorded for our benefit as an example to follow: Say it; Do it; Receive it; Tell the world. Now, do so likewise! 

    The whole of this psalm is testimony to the wonder of His grace, love and kindness. 

    May God bless you always, 



    Frans Ammerlaan attends Sassafras Baptist. He is a published Author, Linguist, Journalist and Student. He plans to publish a book of devotionals he has written, this one included.

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    February 2024

    When is a person ready for baptism?

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    Intercultural Australian Baptists 

    Baptist Mission Australia

    God’s mission in the world

    A world that God so loves!

    Greetings from the Baptist Mission Australia team. We are so grateful for the partnership of Tasmanian Baptist churches as we share in God’s love for the world together. 

    As a state leader and missiologist for Baptist Mission Australia, I am keenly aware of cultural diversity throughout the world. What I am learning about, however, is the significance of our rising intercultural Baptist family right here in Australia. We believe this presents us with a significant opportunity to join with God in mission across cultural difference here and abroad. 

    Here’s the wonderful news.  Our gospel does not need to be understood in English to be authentic.  Sounds obvious, but how often we really contemplate the multicultural genesis of our faith?  Unlike many other faiths and some religious traditions, we have no holy language reserved for our spiritual message. The Good News for us as Christians is the fact of the incarnation – God meeting us in our own places, cultures and languages.

    This world altering Christmas event has profound implications for our mission.   

    Jesus arrives in a diverse context, layered with different languages, world views and mythologies. Jump forward in the story and Pentecost is a breakthrough in human religious experience. 

    “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” Acts 2:4 (NIV)

    Imagine the scene when, in this multicultural setting,  

    each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?  Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” Acts 2:6-12 (NIV)

    We are Intercultural Australian Baptists

    What does this mean for us in Australia as we pursue mission near and far?  Just last month the leaders of the Baptist State Intercultural Communities met together. They confirmed that the growth and vitality of these communities is part of the transformation of Australian Baptist demographics.

    Here are some numbers to illustrate the percentage of Intercultural Communities in state Baptist churches: 

    Tasmania: 18% 
    Victoria:  42% 
    NSW & ACT: 21% 
    QLD: 20% 
    WA: 29% 
    SA & NT: 26% 

    More research needs to be carried out across our Baptist communities, but these numbers should pique our interest about what God is up to in our movement.   

    We may well echo the question asked by those present at Pentecost – What does this mean?  I’m coming to the belief that it means we have an opportunity to learn from our non-English background brothers and sisters about how to meaningfully engage their kin here in Australia and in their countries of origin. It means we have an opportunity to trust new pathways of mission partnership that increase sustainability and impact. It means we can all better anticipate – and perhaps even experience a foretaste of – the magnificent future described in Revelation: 

    I looked again. I saw a huge crowd, too huge to count. Everyone was there—all nations and tribes, all races and languages. And they were standing…and heartily singing: Salvation to our God on his Throne! Salvation to the Lamb!  Revelation 7:9-10 (Message)

    We celebrate the fact that God has given us family across diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We look forward to learning together about what all this means for God’s mission in the world – a world that God so loves!  

    Geoff Maddock from Baptist Mission Australia

    Geoff Maddock is the State Leader for Baptist Mission Australia in Tasmania and Victoria

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    February 2024

    When is a person ready for baptism?

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    Aboriginal Sunday 2024

    On 21 January this year, Citywide Baptist Church held Aboriginal Sunday at Risdon Brook Dam.  This is the third year where Citywide has come together to further understand and acknowledge the hurt caused to Aboriginal peoples right up to now.  It continues a Christian tradition that began in 1938.

    This year’s service, held on the Sunday before 26 January, was at Risdon Brook Dam.  

    “Choosing to meet at Risdon Brook Dam is significant. Less than one Kilometre from the site was the first massacre of over 50 Aboriginal people by white settlers in 1804,” said Paul Dare, Aboriginal member of Citywide Baptist Church. 

    “But with God there is always grace and hope. Grace to move forward and hope for what Jesus is doing,” he said. 

    “Through the service we encouraged the congregation to create space, listen to and research Tasmanian Aboriginal history. But also, to be aware of the injustices and inequalities many of our Aboriginal communities face in our nation still,” he said.

    Image of people from Citywide Baptist Church at Aboriginal Sunday on 21 January 2024 at Risdon Brook Dam
    ABOVE: Citywide Baptist Church recognises Aboriginal Sunday at Risdon Brook Dam on 21 January 2024

    Aboriginal Sunday is not new. On 26 January 1938, Aboriginal leaders including William Cooper, met for a Day of Mourning, seeking equality and full citizenship. Consequently, Australian Churches set aside the day as Aboriginal Sunday (previously called Aborigines’ Day). This is for Christians to act in solidarity with the injustices Aboriginal peoples have experienced. 

    This year over 490 local churches and faith communities marked Aboriginal Sunday and joined in taking up this call to act in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples, according to Common Grace

    Today, the Common Grace movement encourages congregations to reclaim the Day. They provide free Church Resources developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders to equip churches and faith communities to act in solidarity. 

    Citywide welcomes other Tasmanian churches to join them at their event in 2025.  

    Alternatively, churches and faith communities can sign up on the Common Grace website to receive links to resources for next year. 

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    Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World

    Tas Baptists Mission and Leadership 2024 Stephen L. Baxter

    Mission and Leadership Development

    By Stephen L. Baxter, Mission Director, Tasmanian Baptists

    Being a church leader in Tasmania is challenging. Whether a pastor or part of a leadership team, in either a paid or volunteer capacity, the issues faced can feel overwhelming. Yet, there is great reason for great hope.  

    People do not think about or relate to the church in ways they used to. Where once they may have looked to the church for guidance and support, today most look elsewhere. 

    In fact, for many, the church is the last place they expect to find welcome and care. Yet, across many of our Baptist churches in Tasmania, that is exactly what many people are receiving. There are so many opportunities. You can read about many of them in articles released via reCharge. 

    Despite the good things happening, there are still challenges. Significantly, Tasmanians remain the least religious people in Australia according to the last census figures

    There is great reason for great hope
    There is reason for great hope

    Many, no doubt, have been repelled by some of the extreme and reactionary versions of Christianity portrayed in the media. Despite representing only a small minority of people, every church is tarred with the same brush.   

    While many have rejected religion, this does not mean they no longer believe in God. Religion is often associated with an institutional or external moral framework as a means to relate to God. In a very individualistic world, many don’t see the need of religion to go to God. 

    These and many other influences mean that most Tasmanians are unlikely to come to our churches of their own accord. So, we must go to them. This is exactly what many of our churches are doing in many different ways.  

    Their approach is to begin with a focus on the needs of their community and find what can be done to address them. There is a focus on building relationships, in one-on-one meetings, small groups and other activities where connection and community are the focus.  

    This is why there is reason for hope. Our churches are adapting to the challenges of the Tasmanian community. The good news of Jesus still brings hope to the chaos of people’s lives.  

    By being in the community, rather than waiting for them to come to us, we can be on hand when the moment arrives.  

    For it is in times of significant life change, challenge or loss, that people are more open to hearing about truth, hope, meaning and purpose. The challenges before us in 2024, and beyond, call for adaptability and creativity.  

    We have already begun the journey and God continues to guide us. May we have an openness to new ideas, to new ways of doing things, and to new ways of thinking so that “he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6). 

    Stephen L. Baxter

    Stephen L. Baxter is Mission Director for Tasmanian Baptists

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    February 2024 News

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    Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World

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