Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World

Jan 31, 2024
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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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Reason for Great Hope in a Broken World

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