Release of a 12-part video series, exploring stories of faith across Australia, through Olive Tree Media
Faith Runs Deep unearths stories of more than 40 Australians, past and present, who have been impacted by Jesus and have gone on to have a significant influence within the Australian community.
Production company Olive Tree Media also made the award-winning series, Jesus the Game Changer and Towards Belief. Olive Tree CEO Karl Faase, worked with his experienced production team. As well, Karl’s wife Jane produced the series. They filmed some of the material as they drove across Australia in an iconic Australian Holden ute.
The series tells stories that few know about, and unearths the deep influence of Christian faith in the Australian culture.
Karl commented, “This is a unique video series, with high production values telling stories that few know about and unearthing the deep influence of Christian faith in the Australian culture.
“We need a shift in the narrative around Christian faith in our country. Telling inspirational stories of people who have had a deep influence in our country and culture is what we are seeking to do.”
The series has three plots. First the historical and academic reflections. The second is personal stores from today of people with lives impacted by the Gospel. These include musician Colin Buchanan, ex-deputy PM John Anderson, bull rider Tim Kelly, indigenous artist Narelle Urquhart, AFL premiership winner Shaun Hart and Olympian Eloise Wellings.
Lastly, stories of the host and producer behind the series, Karl and Jane Faase. They will introduce viewers to some of the unique and untold stories from their lives and journey of faith.
“We see the series being used in churches and ministries across Australia as a demonstration of where faith runs deep in our nation. It will serve as an inspiration and encouragement to the church.”
Karl Faase is a well-known Australian Christian communicator. He is the CEO of Christian media company Olive Tree Media and host of Jesus the Game Changer TV/DVD series. As well, he is the presenter of the Daily Nudge radio spots. Karl is also the Board chair for Samaritans Purse and BGEA Australia.
Pictured Above: Citywide helped organise ANZAC Day in the Park, in Lenah Valley
Table of Contents
Family Faith Rhythm Cards
The Australian Baptist Ministries Next Gen team have created a set of cards families can use to dig deeper in discipleship practices.
“It’s a really good resource for households.”
Jenna Blackwell, Tas Baptists’ Mission Leadership Coach
This set of cards has been designed for families of all types and stages.
The twenty included activities fall into four broad categories – discovering God’s big story, experiencing Jesus, showing God’s love and remembering and celebrating.
GET HOLD OF A SET!
Download Here > OR Order printed cards from the Tas Baptist office: (03) 6391 2202; firstname.lastname@example.org
BWA Annual Gathering, 10-15 July 2022
It’s less than two months until the 2022 Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering, hosted in the United States for the first time in 40 years, and the first in-person event since 2020.
Gathering on the beautiful campus of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama (USA), Baptists will unite July 10-15 for a strategic time of prayer, fellowship, learning and planning together with a special emphasis on racial justice.
Committed to make participation possible for as many Baptists around the world as possible, the event includes:
1) Affordable Accommodation: Through BWA’s partnership with Samford, convenient and affordable lodging includes meals on campus. However, space is limited, so it’s important to reserve your spot today. The deadline for accommodation reservations is May 31.
2) Virtual Registrations: Understanding that travel is still difficult for many, the Annual Gathering is planned to be the first hybrid BWA event. There is a virtual registration option, which includes streaming access to key corporate sessions, the online event networking platform, and unique on-demand content. ONLINE REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE on June 30, 2022.
A unique 12-part video series unearthing stories of faith that have impacted Australia was released by Olive Tree Media on Wednesday, 4th May.
Faith Runs Deepunearths stories of more than 40 Australians past and present who have been impacted by Jesus and have gone on to have a significant influence within the Australian community.
The series is produced by Olive Tree Media, makers of the award-winning series, Jesus the Game Changer and Towards Belief. Olive Tree CEO and former Senior Pastor of Gymea Baptist Karl Faase, worked with their experienced production team, as well as Karl’s wife and series producer Jane Faase.
Don’t miss the Tasmania Celebration with Will Graham, a free, family-friendly event.
Musical guests will perform, and Will Graham will offer a message of hope. Will, the grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham, has shared the truth of the Gospel with more than one million people on six continents.
INVITE YOUR FRIENDS! The main event is preceded by Kidzfest and Youth events.
KIDZFEST Launceston: 10am 28 May
Tailored for primary school kids but the whole family is welcome! All children must be accompanied by an adult/carer.
Featuring: Dan Warlow: a leading Australian Christian Kids’ Music artist and entertainer performing in schools, churches, festivals and community events. The Quest: A new, 20-minute interactive video Gospel presentation, that combines live action and animation to share the hope of Jesus with children.
YOUTH! Launceston: 4pm 27 May (Friday)
For Highschool kids up – suggested age range (12–25). Youth under 16 years must be accompanied by a responsible person 16+.
Featuring: PlanetBoom – a Youth band and ministry of Planetshakers. + Youth activities | FREE food and more! Youth ticket (Hobart) includes main Celebration with Cass (Cassandra Kanda), The Afters and Evangelist Will Graham.
Attendance for the Hobart Celebration: (Kidzfest | Youth | Celebration) was OVER 2000!
Over 220 people responded to the call for salvation.
Almost 50% of responses were young people (10-25 years)
Over 70% of responses were 1st time salvation
Plus over 1100 viewed online with 24 responses so far!
This week, Churches are being contacted to start the process of follow-up.
Support Refugees in Kyev
The main Evangelical Free church, in Kyev Ukraine, is one of many hubs assisting refugees out of danger zones.
Refugees are brought to the hub, fed and tended to medically if necessary. Then they are taken on buses to various other cities in Ukraine.
Director of City Networks, Kelvin Smith (Hobart Baptist) is friends with Anton, a pastor with the Evangelical Free denomination. Anton’s father, Antonoli, is Bishop of that denomination which represents about 80 churches. Both men have remained in Kyev throughout the invasion.
Thankfully, the church was donated two 51-seater buses, and have two drivers and a van to aid their efforts. A free medical service is stationed at the hub. More than 3000 refugees have been moved in this manner.
The cost of fuel for continually running the buses is about USD$1500 per week. The cost of food at the shelter is about USD$1000 per week.
If you contribute, 100% of proceeds will go to fuel and food for refugees.
Tas Baptists would like to make you aware of a new resource from ABM called the Safer Spaces Toolkit. A team of Australian Baptist women created the toolkit to equip churches to address domestic abuse, and help build relationally healthy cultures.
Domestic abuse continues to be a significant issue for our nation, and it’s an issue that doesn’t discriminate. Sadly, domestic abuse occurs in every ethnic, social and economic group throughout Australia, and it also occurs within our churches.
Domestic abuse continues to be a significant issue for our nation, and it doesn’t discriminate. It occurs in every ethnic, social and economic group throughout Australia, including our churches.
Despite this, we are not a people without hope. Churches can be (and often are) at the forefront of providing safe and caring environments for victim-survivors of abuse and can build cultures that model healthy and respectful relationships.
We are grateful for the work our churches have already done to address domestic abuse in their churches and communities. The Safer Spaces Toolkit helps pastors and church leaders continue on that journey.
Sermons: A trauma-informed preaching lens Videos: Subject matter experts on various topics related to domestic abuse and building healthy relationships Training modules created specifically with church leaders in mind Resources: Links to a number of other resources
As followers of Jesus, he calls us to cross the street, step out, build bridges and meet people where they are. The call is to live alongside our neighbours with the hope of Jesus. That’s what our intercultural teams around the world do! And it’s what church communities in Australia are called to as well.
The theme for May Mission Month 2022 is ‘Crossing the Street’.
Resources are available for your faith community to engage with mission and Baptist Mission Australia’s ministry in a new way.
On the weekend of 6-7 May, I attended a Tasmanian Baptist Assembly for the first time.
I must confess to not being a big fan of conferences, and my expectations of Assembly were not high. However, I ended up being pleasantly surprised by how much I took away from the experience.
Tasmania is a highly regional state and there are very few opportunities for pastors and leaders from the different regions to come together as one collective group. Assembly provides this opportunity.
Midyear Assembly 2022 – slideshow
Friday Night – Three Chats
So Assembly was great, but also challenging. On Friday night at dinner, we heard three short talks: Scott Pilgrim, about Baptist Mission Australia; Paul Manning of Baptist World Aid; and Jenny Baxter of Tasmanian Baptist Women – EmpowHer. She spoke about the changing nature of women’s ministry in the 21st Century. This includes the ongoing effort to raise up and recognise women in leadership across Baptist churches.
Myself, and I’m sure many others, took to heart the challenge for us to do better in this space.
On Saturday morning, we heard about some of the exciting community partnerships that Baptists in Wynyard have built. As well, we watched a video from Citywide. It told the story of their ongoing partnership with the Lenah Valley RSL in putting on a special day for the Lenah Valley community on Anzac Day.
We heard from and formally recognised myself and three others as Pastoral Leaders.
It’s great to hear these stories, as they are both inspiring and challenging to the rest of us to find ways to support and ally with other churches doing valuable community engagement. It also shows us the kinds of things that are possible if we do the work and build the relationships.
It was very exciting to hear from Maddy Svoboda about how much things have changed during his time working pastorally across Tasmania. During the morning session, we heard from and formally recognised myself and three others as Pastoral Leaders. This was really exciting and humbling.
One significant moment during Assembly was the vote agreeing to the inclusion of Hobart Vision Church within our Union of churches. Pastor Samuel was present to represent the Korean-speaking church, which meets on Sunday afternoons at the Hobart Baptist building.
Stephen Baxter, TB Mission Director
On Saturday afternoon, we heard more from both Baptist Mission Australia and Baptist World Aid. I found it important to get these updates, as it helps us to not just be completely fixated on our local context, but to see and think globally about the ways in which God is working right across the world.
The opportunity to build networks which are not just regional, but state-wide, is a something very valuable. Our Mission Director, Stephen Baxter, and the entire Tasmanian Baptist were named and applauded during the day on Saturday. The team has done a tremendous amount of work particularly over the past two years – during a pandemic – to keep the networks and lines of communication for Baptist churches and leaders in Tasmania working, and healthy. It was good and right that their work was recognised and commended at Assembly.
The Midyear Assembly 2022 was a valuable experience, certainly a more important experience than I expected to have. I’m glad I went along, and I will look forward to the next one.
Matt Henderson is the Associate Pastor at Hobart Baptist Church. He is married to Kylie, and they have three boys, one daughter-in-law and a baby granddaughter!
City Baptist in Launceston has been heavily involved in discussions with Launceston Council and the Tasmanian Government regarding the housing crisis as it relates to the street community, those fleeing domestic violence and refugee settlement. Our street chaplain, Stephen Avery works hard amongst our street community. And Associate Pastor Kay Hunter relates to a number of women at risk.
Ethnic community update
Our Hazara community garden at St Leonards is flourishing, pictured at top. Sadly we have not been able to hold combined services with our Nepali congregation due to Covid. We hope these can resume soon.
The “Makeover” continues
Anthea Maynard and Jenna Blackwell have been seeking to build connections with young adults and considering what model of being ‘church’ our Makeover process might lead us to. This is still a work in progress. Our Do N Chew craft program was celebrated in April when it decided to close after 34 years in operation.
Steve Cooper continues to lead our worship times most Sundays, pictured below. Settlement for the sale of our current property falls in mid-September. Around that time we will consider relocation in earnest.
Our Easter services were very encouraging with strong attendance at both our Good Friday and Easter Sunday Services. On Easter Sunday we had a community Easter egg hunt and morning tea before our service.
We are gearing up to get as many from our community to the Tasmania Celebration with Will Graham. We’re inviting the community to meet us and travel with us to the Sunday service, and then come back to our Hall for supper. We are praying for a good response.
David Madden was welcomed to Gateway Church Council and commissioned in prayer during Sunday morning service recently.
Our Stay and Play Playgroup began for 2022 on Friday May 6 for children aged 0-5 years and their mums/carers.
Associate Pastor Liam Conway and Hannah are hosting a young adults group every Tuesday evening in their home, and Liam has started a once a month youth group at Riverlands on Friday nights.
At the end of February we held a dedication service for Boaz Daniel Hutchison, pictured at top.
At Easter, many attended our Good Friday service and our Son-rise outdoor services. It was a day to celebrate the greatest news ever!
We have also turned on our Jesus lights to be a beacon to the community as the nights get darker. Pictured below.
Food, fellowshipand Easter
After our Sunday church services over the summer months, we frequently joined together at Fairway Park for church family picnics. This was a great time of enjoying each other’s company in the open air. Now, as the weather is cooler and with the easing of Covid restrictions, we have resumed our regular post-service morning tea.
Over the Easter weekend we reflected upon the events of the cross, Jesus’ love for each of us and His gift of salvation. Our own Nerrelie Cann and Carolyn Smith shared their hearts and brought us the word on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. And of course, we enjoyed hot cross buns and Easter eggs with our tea and coffee after the services.
Over the course of the last few months, we were challenged and encouraged by Pastor Louis as he preached his series titled “Spiritual wholeness”, and “How to be certain in uncertain times”.
In March we celebrated with Cameron Hingston and Abbey Cunningham as they became husband and wife, We also welcomed Greg and Helen Venz into membership.
Lower Barrington Church had a time of encouragement on Sunday 3rd April, with the baptism of Helen Phillips after our Church service at the indoor pool at Silver Ridge resort Sheffield.
This was followed by Lunch, with a great time of fellowship and sharing. Praise God.
Reaching the needs of the Wynyard and Cooee communities
The Wynyard Baptist Church and the local Lions Club ran a Food Drive to raise food and donations for the Community Food Hub that runs out of the ROC hall (formerly known as the church hall). For those enquiring minds ROC stands for Redeeming Our Community.
Over the two-day period, 21 crates of food were collected, as well as $1,239 in donations. This was a great achievement and will support the continual work of the community food hub. Wynyard Baptist took on the program after they were approached to take over “Grow, Gather, Give”.
Since then, they changed the name to the Community Food Hub, and the church has experienced continued growth in the program. The local community supports the food donations as well as farmers, Woolworths supermarkets and local bakeries. The hub runs out of the ROC hall on Mondays and Fridays, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays from the Uniting Church Hall in Cooee.
A group of volunteers from the community as well as the church runs the Food Hub. The church has found this to be a wonderful outreach to the community and it has given many opportunities of witnessing for Christ
At our recent AGM, the Levendale fellowship was formally embraced as a church plant under the umbrella of Citywide. We are in process of establishing Wi-Fi and IT functions there to enable streaming and sharing in our services.
Pastor Paul Rai from our Nepalese congregation spent February in Nepal visiting family, re-connecting with his former refugee camp and encouraging rural pastors and outreach missions. We are in discussions with Baptist Mission Aust to partner with them and formally bring our mission endeavours in Nepal under their covering.
For Clean Up Australia Day (pictured, top), we closed our Mornington service and encouraged our people to join in three different community clean-up areas (Warrane, Lindisfarne and Lenah Valley). Over 80 of our people joined in. Some older folk prayed together in homes, and others met at Lenah Valley campus where link-ups with the sites were shared and streamed online.
Again focussing on the community, our Anzac Day Celebration in the Park in Lenah Valley (pictured below). This year, with Dan Evenhuis’ encouragement, we ‘stepped up’ the event and served the community with a range of free activities and food to enhance the Anzac Day spirit. An event very welcomed and enjoyed by the Lenah Valley community.
Prayer and dedication
Prayer has been a growing focus at Citywide. We have recommenced our monthly Prayer and Healing services. We have joined with all the Eastern Shore churches in a combined prayer time – well attended and participated in – our unity growing – and ministry interactions developing. There is a work of grace God is growing among us.
Here at Claremont Baptist we are delighted with our recently completed outdoor entertainment area. We enjoyed our first BBQ in beautiful weather, and look forward to many more opportunities for eating and sharing outdoors. Hopefully, in time, our neighbours will also want a piece of the action as the smell of onions wafts out!
Many thanks to Alan Firth for his hard work in making this project a success.
Harmony Day and Easter services
In March, Hobart celebrated Harmony Day. To encourage and affirm our ethnic diversity, people dressed in various national costumes (pictured, top) and the Karen choir sang.
We held two very special Easter services which included a guest singer on Easter Sunday, and a moving montage displaying some Easter themes (pictured below).
Dan Evenhuis recently began working at Citywide Baptist as the Executive Pastor.
I hail from Smithton,and I spent my early years with my four siblings on a cattle farm. My family had a strong Christian focus, with Bible readings and prayer at mealtimes. Currently, I am Executive Pastor for Citywide Baptist Church. My job is to help the smooth running of our church. I’m also focusing on worship, pastoral care, and outreach.
We lived in Melbourne when I was between the ages of four and 12, while Dad ministered to the Melbourne Jewish Community. Then, when I turned 13, we returned to Smithton. I found the transition very difficult, although it was during this period I met Jesus, who became my best friend. I was constantly aware of His presence and a natural friendly relationship developed, and I was very conscious of God with me. As I rode my bike to the milking shed at 5:30am, I’d talk to Jesus along the way as though it was the most natural thing.
As an adult, I have loved working with the Youth and Community organisation Fusion, with committed godly communities around the world, seeing others being saved. I loved to see the effect no matter what the denomination.
Reaching our communities is the long-game.
My most recent experience with Fusion was in Oxfordshire UK, bringing the community together in a three-day festival. It was an amazing few days, ending a quite depressing year. I felt people were feeling something like, “I respect and admire these people and know they are Christians. They’re smart and don’t seem deluded, but they really believe in this God stuff. I must be missing something.” Reaching our communities is the long-game. It’s a lot of work and investment, but so worth it.
Family and the BIG move
Danni and I have been married now for 21 years. Back in the UK she taught and did dance instructing. Now, she’s teaching at Calvin Christian School in Kingston. We have four children aged from 11 to 17 years old. When I am asked how I do spend my time, I say: “I have four kids!”
Last year, we decided to come back to Tasmania after 18 fulfilling years of ministry in the UK. Back in 2014 a few of us in Oxfordshire started a less formal, and more welcoming, family-friendly Church. It continued to grow due to its unique ministry and had become stable. Now that the church is sustainable, Danni and I thought it’s time to go back to Tasmania. Family is important, and yet for 18 years we’d been doing mission on the other side of the world. It was time to expose our English-born children to Aussie culture as well as give them time to get to know their cousins, grandparents, uncles and aunties. Slowly, they’re beginning to settle into Tasmanian life. It’s going to take a lot of time though for them to feel like they belong. Please pray for them after this big international move.
In Tasmania, we love the nature and the outdoors, the beauty, and the stunning surroundings. We always thought Hobart was one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and now we live here! My family also enjoy having extended family around. It’s different to being in a country on our own. I remember on a holiday here seven years ago, my kids were surprised someone had a photo of them up in their loungeroom. It was my Auntie from Burnie. Family is like that.
I am really looking forward to getting to know the Citywide family, and other Christians across the state. I think the church seems to be struggling a fair bit here in Tasmania, and I’m so keen for us to work with God and throw all we have into His ministry.
Life Challenges for Dan Evenhuis
The best advice I have received is: “A calm sea never made a good sailor”. God does not ask us to cram our Christian mission beyond our busy life. We decide how much time to allocate. I’m keen for the church to be a source of enlightenment in our community – for us not to be in our Christian ghettos, but to bring Christ within reach of those around us.
I have many challenges in everyday life. Running a church is busy work and I want to be careful that we manage how much of our effort goes into a Sunday Service. Many churches invest around 80% of their time and resources into that one Service. I would instead love to say, if you want to get to know our church, don’t just turn up on a Sunday, come and see us through the week as well. For example at Citywide, there is an amazing craft group which meets on Thursdays, with about 100 attendees. Our purpose is to stay outward focused because we exist for those who are not in the church yet!
I’d really appreciate your prayers for me, that I can stand back and have some time with God regularly so I can work out what he wants me to work on. There are no end of jobs to do, but I want to do what he has for me today.
I am looking forward to … bushwalking with my family.
I am worried about … many struggling churches across Tasmania.
I am confident that … I’m where God wants me.
I am joyful about … being around family.
I would like to change … church being performance- and sermon-driven. I’d love to see the church becoming a vibrant, God-centred community of believers involved in whole-life ministry.
I am at my best when … I am close to God and aware of His love for me.
Fostering Hope Seeks Assistance from Tasmanian Baptists
Tasmanian Baptists have a strong relationship with Fostering Hope, who are intentional about supporting foster carers. Together, we look toward a better future for Tasmania by recruiting suitably trained foster carers, placed in supportive church communities.
Fostering Hope partners with radio stations ultra106five and Way FM with a state-wide awareness and recruitment campaign for respite foster carers.
There is a huge shortage of respite carers in Tasmania and Fostering Hope believes this is a need the Christian community can rise up to meet. Respite care gives full time carers a break AND offers extended family and community for foster children.
The best respite care situations are where the respite carers are on the team around the child, and the children don’t even realise they are going to respite, but look forward to hanging out with their friends, ‘foster grandparents’, ‘cousins’ etc.
Respite carers can be any age or stage of life, and get to be the fun people in the kid’s life!
Full Training Offered
To ensure safety for foster children, respite carers receive the same formal training as full-time carers. Fostering Hope is there to support people through the training and next steps.
Each term a ‘Preparation for Fostering’ course is offered. As well, new carers are buddied-up with existing carers. Of course, all carers join Fostering Hope’s awesome group of existing carers. Carers agree that one of the best parts about the carer journey is getting to hang out with other carers!
Training will be provided by BaptCare on Saturdays 7th and 14th May at Wellspring Anglican, Sandy Bay. Attendance by Zoom is also available.
Led by Denise Stephenson (LifeWay) and Jenny Baxter (Hobart), this retreat will focus on sheltering in God’s presence.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
If you are weary and burdened with life, and need some time to enter God’s presence to reflect, restore and rest, then come along!
INFO: The retreat is non-residential, and will be held in Blackmans Bay. COST: $45/person NB. There are other ways you can contribute if money is an issue – so get onto us! ARE YOU IN? Call or SMS to reserve your spot, and we will send you more info: 0401 652 566 BROCHUREDownload here
Ministry Training at WEC
Cert IV Christian Ministry and Theology
Eastern College Australia are offering accredited units at its delivery site in Launceston. Worldview Centre host evening classes where you can complete units towards a Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology.
The Tuesday evenings include catered meal breaks.
Unit Costs $300/unit
Where Worldview Centre for Intercultural Studies, 41 Station Road, St Leonards, TAS 7250
5pm-8:30pm 14 June-30 August (10 weeks): Christian Ethics 5pm-8:30pm 13 September-29 November (10 weeks): Discipleship
Since 1950, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has held Crusades across the globe to proclaim God’s love to people who need Jesus Christ. Today, Will Graham Celebrations continue this life-changing mission.
A Celebration is not just an evangelistic event; it is a process of prayer, training, outreach, and follow-up that takes place over a 12-month period—and it begins and ends with the local church.
Perth Baptist is running a bus to attend the 29th May event at the Silverdome. For more info, please email email@example.com or call 0418 130 221.
Advocating for the Most Vulnerable
Micah Australia is a coalition of Christian aid agencies who lobby the government on behalf of the world’s poor, vulnerable and oppressed. Micah Australia’s Executive Director, Tim Costello, is one of Australia’s best-known community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics.
The 2022 federal government Budget, released on 31st March, revealed some major wins. This included the announcement that the government will increase the intake of Afghan refugees.
Watch the video from National Director, Matt Darvas, to find out more:
There were also some incredible outcomes for Micah’s End Covid For All campaign. This is the direct result of months of campaigning for Australia’s neighbours in crisis.
Through Micah’s latest campaign, A Safer World For All, the momentum will be sustained in the lead-up to the federal election. It’s an unmissable opportunity to call on Canberra to support our neighbours in crisis.
Since the formation of the Asia Pacific Baptists Federation in 1975, and the first historic gathering of Baptists in 1979 in Hyderabad, India, the APBF Congress has met regularly every five years. As a result they have touched thousands of Baptists through the Congress.
APBF has witnessed the faithfulness of God in Asia and the Pacific over the period of 40 years as the Baptists of Asia and the Pacific has grown to almost 40,000 churches today.
The 10th APBF Congress again calls Baptists to gather with the theme “Stronger Together” in its first Hybrid Congress (available to both in-person and online attendees). Attendees will witness yet again God’s faithfulness. In-person will allow you to interact face-to-face with the speakers, while online will provide a seamless flexibility to join the Congress from your location.
STOP PRESS! Due to an overwhelming response, all registrations for in-person attendance have now closed.
Here’s some exciting news: if you stop by the Baptist World Aid website, you’ll find a new look and a new visual identity. The look might be new, but they are still committed to ending poverty so all people can enjoy the fullness of life God intends.
(Even now, BWA’s Ukraine appeal is helping Christian Partners care for displaced families.)
BWA will also print a new quarterly 16-page magazine for supporters, Better World Magazine, which will hit mail boxes in the next few weeks and includes news updates, inspiring features and even a column on ‘Curly Questions’.
A heads-up that our next Tasmanian Baptist Assembly will take place at Riverlands Longford on Friday night 6th May, and Saturday 7th May.
As always, Assembly will be an inspiring time of challenge, encouragement and connection.
On Saturday, Scott Pilgrim of Exec. Director of BMA will speak. “Business” is kept to a minimum, and the focus will be our theme for 2022: (en)Courage.
If you are not a regular attendee and would like to attend you are very welcome. It is important to note, however, that only official church representatives have voting rights.
Church Secretaries watch out! Information for Assembly, will soon come your way to distribute to delegates.
Crossover Easter 2022
History has shown that nothing transforms lives, communities, the world, like people coming to know Jesus. Sharing Jesus is so vital, what if we had more confidence, more wisdom, suitable methods and more really useful resources. Crossover passionately focusses on helping Australian Baptists share Jesus.
Since the The Point* Baptist’s inception in 2006, we have endeavoured to hold many outreach events to reach our town of Beauty Point. The message is always about who Jesus is, and why it’s important. These events include men’s dinners, women’s dessert nights, concerts, kids’ clubs, and an annual visit by Texan missionaries who do all the above, and more.
We, as a church, long to share the hope Jesus offers.
At the beginning of last year, we were feeling disappointed that international borders were still closed due to Covid-19. It meant our Texan friends could not come out to hold their mission outreach. As well, watching social media, it was clear our town had a number of people experiencing varying levels of anxiety, grief, depression, loneliness, confusion and hopelessness. We, as a church, long to share the hope Jesus offers.
A timely visit
When I was visiting Newstead Baptist Church, I was taken with the personable and articulate way Wendy Marston led the service. Her voice conveyed a particular sense of love and care. And her words conveyed her love for the Lord and the people and activities of the church.
After the service I asked her if she’s ever shared her story. At first she said no. Then remembered she had shared it once before. I asked if she would be willing to share her story again to a group of ladies in Beauty Point, and without hesitation she said yes, she would.
So we planned another women’s event.
And the response? Outstanding!
We decided to host a 3-course meal in The Cormorant Cafe, cooked by our chef. Wendy would be our speaker, and I invited a musician – guitarist and singer/songwriter Briar Marshall to bring some music. Wendy titled her talk “Undervalued or Super Loved?” and this went out on all the invitations.
The event was soaked in prayer, and was run by a team of women helping the logistics.
The responses came flooding in. We were all floored when 54 people RSVP’d to come, with 26 of these not currently attending church. On the night, we announced we were about to start a new Bible study, designed to introduce people to the life and love of Jesus.
From this initial night, seven ladies became part of the Bible study. A follow-up Bible study is currently underway, with most of the same ladies plus some new ones.
The debrief – Reflecting on what happened
We consider this outreach meal particularly successful. What made it so, compared with many events we’ve held which were all equally prayed over?
Timing – it was June 2021 and people (especially mums) were keen to get out of the house
Offering a free meal in a café, which was neutral territory
The title of the talk “Undervalued …. Or Super-loved?” resonated with a lot of the attendees. This can not be stated enough, as a number of women commented that it sounded like something they “really needed to hear”.
Having the follow-up bible study planned, with flyers to hand out, which allowed the ladies to respond on the spot, by expressing interest in a bible study.
Beauty Point still has a whole lot of people who need to hear of the hope and forgiveness that Jesus offers, and the lengths he went to, to purchase it. We hope 2022 brings more opportunities to share His love.
Jesus died because sin is killing us
Undervalued and super loved
The important thing, in my view, is to recognise that without the forgiveness of Jesus, people all around us are heading for eternity without him. We, at the Point Baptist, feel the burden of telling that message clearly.
So whether that’s through personal/friendship evangelism or inviting friends to events such as the Tasmania Celebration with Will Graham. Perhaps by investing in people’s lives, getting to know them and showing a genuine interest in them. Or events like the one described above.
All these create opportunities to explain Jesus died because sin is killing us. His life and death was God’s plan to deal with our problem of sin and death. What an exchange!
Once someone accepts Jesus’ free gift of forgiveness, they have a restored relationship with the God of the Universe. Even more than that, He comes and lives inside them to guide, shape, convict and counsel them, and to transform them into the likeness of Jesus for the rest of their life!
That’s one heck of a deal that people living all around us don’t even know is offered.
Rachelle Hawkins grew up in rural NSW and studied science at Newcastle University. Immediately after marrying Craig, they moved to Tasmania where Craig took up a job as a forester. Here she studied aquaculture and was employed as Senior Biologist at the newly starting seahorse farm in Beauty Point. Six children and many thousands of seahorses later, Rachelle loves nothing more than coffee with friends, time with family, her involvement with the Point Baptist Church, local soccer, and driving the taxi for her kids.
* The Point Baptist Church in Beauty Point is a small congregation in a small town. We meet at 5pm every Sunday in The Cormorant – Café on the Pier, which is upstairs in Seahorse World.
Gratitude and thankfulness for the World, the Universe, and Everything!
Recently, I interviewed a young man who had been struggling with addiction since the age of 12. He had completed a program at a Christian rehab centre, and while he was there, he encountered Jesus.
“The first thing I noticed,” he said, “was that I could feel the breeze on my skin. I’d never experienced it before, even though it had been happening the whole time. I was finally able to feel it.”
So, what had changed?
Romans 12:2 explains that you’re transformed as you renew your mind. But how does one go about doing that?
‘You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.’
Matthew 5:8 (MSG)
Awe and Wonder
Have you ever watched a newborn discover their hand for the first time? It’s mesmerising. They slowly turn their wrist, then watch in wonder as each finger, one by one, moves by the power of their mind, their eyes as wide as dinner plates at the sheer wonder of it. Then they discover their feet and toes and the slow, awe filled dance continues.
But then one day, their hands and feet are just ‘there.’ No longer mesmerising, just existing without fanfare.
A while ago, a friend severed the top of his finger and it had to be surgically reattached. His whole finger was wrapped up tight for weeks while it healed. When it was finally unwrapped, his fingertip was so sensitive to touch, like electricity running through his hand, he had to get used to it all over again. I imagine that’s what it feels like for newborns; every touch like electricity, until their brain and senses adapt.
Auto-pilot vs High alert
The fact is, if we spent our days staring at the wonder of our hands, and feeling electricity at every touch, we wouldn’t get very much done. So our brains have a ‘block out’ system, ensuring we only notice what’s ‘necessary’ at the time. It’s why you can drive home from work and have no recollection of the journey.
Your brain is on ‘auto-pilot’ in familiar surroundings. But it’s on high alert, taking in every street name and landmark when you’re driving in unfamiliar territory. Put simply; if we took in every piece of information thrown at us each day, our brains would not cope.
It means that noticing things which have become familiar doesn’t come easily. We have to consciously make an effort to notice, and strive not to lose the wonder in the familiar. Being transformed, as it were, by the daily renewing our minds (Romans 12:2).
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
So, what does a breeze have to do with seeing God? Well, what if I told you that God is speaking to you every day through His creation?
‘See the marvels of God! He plants flowers and trees all over the earth… “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”’
Psalm 46:8-10 (MSG)
Your whole outlook on the world changes when you literally stop to smell the roses. Stand under a canopy of trees and recognise the creativity that went into designing each leaf, and the delight God must have felt as he crafted each of the colourful birds chattering amongst the branches, and taught them to weave elaborate nests, miraculously engineered to survive summer storms.
I explain more about the science behind ‘God encounters’ in my book, ‘The Simple Joy of Seeing God.’ But when the Bible says, ‘Be still and know that I am God,’ here’s what it really means…
A while ago, I was struggling with anxiety as I walked through a particularly stressful season in my life. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders, literally causing pain in my back and neck. My heart racing, tears flowing, I stepped outside and lay on the thick carpet of grass in our backyard.
As I lay still, gazing upwards, slowly, the thoughts in my head quietened, and for the first time in a long time, I started to hear birds happily chirping as they flittered to-and-fro, and the wistful hum of bees as they gathered around a tree bloom. A sense of peace and lightness came over me.
“Now,” His familiar voice gently whispers, “now I have your attention.”
‘Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence. Remember the world of wonders he has made.’
Have you ever wondered why, if our churches are so full of old people, we often have so much difficulty finding the wisdom of elders? You would think all that life experience and Christian living would make us smarter, deeper, wiser.
If that were true, the world would be awash with wise elders. We’re living longer than ever. Our retirement villages and nursing homes are full. The aged are all around us.
I’ve concluded that becoming an elder in our society doesn’t happen automatically.
But younger people regularly tell me they can’t find elders they look up to, women and men who can pass on their wisdom and insight. Many older Christians come off as narrowminded, fearful, and suspicious of change.
I’ve concluded that becoming an elder in our society doesn’t happen automatically. It takes intention and focus to become one.
Growing in wisdom
Sure, the Bible teaches us that, “Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old” (Job 12:12). But such wisdom and understanding aren’t automatically conferred by drifting into some easy agedness.
It takes a plan.
As comedian Matt Black once quipped, “We always romanticise that our elders are wise because of their years of experience, but you know what? Stupid people get old too.”
We need older women and men to be humble enough to remain open to God’s ongoing work in our lives – to embrace courage, serenity, peace, gentleness, and to see the work of our late years to be a blessing to others in their contribution to God’s kingdom.
As we age, we do well to see that growth can still occur, but the growing we undertake in our later years is the humble, expansive work of mentoring, coaching, championing, and celebrating others.
Moving into the future
True elderhood is concerned with being poised and willing to be better stewards of what God has taught us and to provide emerging generations with wisdom and models for how to traverse the challenges that confront them.
As the planet bakes, and nations clash, and public discourse breaks down, younger generations rightly swing between anger and confusion over being left with a world that is so deeply scarred and broken.
Where will they find the wisdom to traverse the future?
NON-ANXIOUS: To be a non-anxious presence in stressful times.
SYSTEMIC THINKING: To practice systemic thinking in order to resist the temptation to blame others when things go wrong.
GRATITUDE: To practice gratitude — even in difficult circumstances.
COURAGEOUS: To engage in courageous micro-actions that counter the inclination towards neo-tribalism and fragmentation rather than social cohesion (e.g., the conversation that Jesus has with the Samaritan woman at the well).
IMAGINATION: To imagine ways of breaking out of the constraints of circumstances and have the motivation and discipline to persist with intentional behaviour.
CONFIDENCE: To gain confidence in the viability of the economy of abundance and generosity that Jesus inducts us into, rather than being beholden to the economy of scarcity.
GOING LIGHTLY: To practice sitting more lightly on the planet in recognition of our thoughtless abuse of the creation.
FRIENDLY: To practice compassion and conviviality.
AFFIRMING: To draw on the enriching memories of eras past in order to affirm the human capacity to repent and correct our errors.
That’s a pretty decent set of objectives for elders to embrace. And it jives with New Testament teaching on wisdom: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere” (Jas 3:17).
It’s a skill!
Wise elders must commit themselves to the task. We need a plan for developing elders to embrace the things Ann Morisy lists. We need the wisdom that comes from heaven. And we need training programs in elderhood.
As Stephen Jenkinson writes, “Getting older is inevitable, becoming an elder is a skill.”
Michael Frost is the founding director of the Tinsley Institute, a mission study centre located at Morling College in Sydney. He is an internationally recognised missiologist and one of the leading voices in the missional church movement.