Tasmanian Baptists Gather for Assembly
ABOVE Scenes from May Assembly held at Newstead Baptist, 5th/6th May 2023
We are Tasmanian Baptists
Well-Grounded . . .
. . . is the Theme for2023
The Gospel mission, Baptist structures, our changing society, our church responsibilities, our challenges as Christians and the escalating needs of our world were all highlighted at the May Assembly.
There was a strong sense of looking at how the here and now will affect the ongoing and future function of mission. There was an emphasis on harmony, working together, following Jesus and making him known.
What’s happening in the world
Strong messages about exploitation, the complexities of mission and current social attitudes were given by Paul Manning (Baptist World Aid), Geoff Maddock (Baptist Mission Australia), and Tas Baptists’ Mission Director Stephen Baxter.
Each invited us to consider what is happening in our immediate contexts and in the global context of social thought and business practices.
The changes in our society and world challenge the work of churches
Stephen Baxter spoke of the vacuum that is left in society when there is a deliberate move away from the values that formed it, a rejection of the idea of a higher authority, and no concept of God. He presented the heartbreaking outcome of this decline in terms of an increasingly individualistic society where there are rising levels of anger, violence, broken relationships and children in care.
Stephen challenged us to be Jesus-centred, committed to mission, building community and operating in freedom to be the best that church can be.
We heard elements of these principles in reports from the churches. It is always encouraging to see how people are addressing the issues in their context, working with what they have and seeing growth in attendance, ministries and impact.
[Continued below slideshow …]
Get a Glimpse with the Assembly Slideshow
God is good!
There was talk of sowing seeds of hope, faith, discipleship and the breaking down of generational and social barriers. The general message was that the work is hard and never ending but God is good. Geoff Maddock’s idea of inhabiting and living out the treasure of the Gospel is highly motivating and relevant to all of us as followers of Jesus.
There was a strong sense of looking forward
Throughout the day, there was a chance to catch up with others and hear about their journeys. There was a strong sense of looking forward, of continued commitment to mission, and of operating in the freedom of the gifts that we have been given for service.
Kairos education opportunity
It was good to hear about the planned Theological Education course through Kairos University, specifically structured for our Tasmanian context, to equip people for ministry. This also is consistent with the views expressed by the speakers of looking for a new approach to meet needs and building the strength of our spiritual witness in our State by enabling students to pray, plan and learn together.
We pray that this localised training will be transformational and, as Stephen said, that Tasmania will be, “not fragile because of numbers, but agile because of courage.”
Let’s boldly speak the name of Jesus
It was reassuring to see that the strategic plan that has had many hours of analysis, planning and discussion poured into it is leading us into a new phase described by Matt Garvin as ready to “…stop talking deconstruction and talk construction; move from closed to open; move from ideas to actions”. For what purpose? To speak the name of Jesus into poverty, rejection, abandonment, loneliness, disappointment and grief and to see healing and life emerge from the darkness.
Thanks to all involved in Assembly for the encouragement to stay well-grounded and outward looking.
This report of the May Assembly 2023 was written by Linda Guy, Gateway Baptist Launceston
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