At the May 2021 Assembly Michael Henderson and Jenna Blackwell spoke, describing their new positions with Tasmanian Baptists from 1st July.
Tasmanian Baptists are now described as “mission-shaped”. But in the real world, how do churches do that?
Community engagement is the answer! For churches and leaders, it’s either a new way of thinking, or else, shifting 20th Century concepts into 21st Century form.
Mission and Leadership Development
Thankfully help is at hand! From 1st July, Michael and Jenna are set aside to serve you and your church with mission leadership and development.
Michael with Mission and Leadership Development
Jenna as Mission and Leadership Coach
At the recent Assembly, they both spoke about how they can serve you and your church. Their talks were interesting, informative, and gave a glimpse into the ways in which Tasmanian Baptist churches can “skill-up” to connect with the community where God has placed them.
It is important to realign our investments of time, energy, finances and resources to reimaging and reengaging afresh with what God is doing in Tasmania.
One of the major ways to reengage with our communities is a focus on coaching leaders, disciples, followers of Jesus, missionaries, and people of God. It is a call to let our finances reflect our values and priorities.
We often do all we can to protect what we think is good. But when it looks like a fruit tree has died, there’s a dilemma – to graft or to uproot? My avocado tree earlier this year suffered damage and I had to face this very question.
A question was posed to me:‘Are we afraid to give up Sunday church gatherings because we don’t trust that something new might arise?’
This is an uncomfortable question that raises different things in each of us. Our reaction will be different based on personality, values and experiences.
If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.
Act and reimagine
Tom Northup says, “All organisations are perfectly designed to get the results they are now getting. If we want different results, we must change the way we do things.” So, if we want different results, we have to be courageous enough to act and to reimagine.
Tasmanian Baptists want to realign for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for the sake of Tasmanians, and for the sake of member churches and faith communities.
Support the development of new faith communities
Improve communication – both from Tasmanian Baptists and to member churches and faith communities
Train and empower servant-hearted leaders, disciples and missionaries to walk the intersection of worship, community and mission
Help people discover their unique calling and to reimagine with God what this could look like in everyday life, and reengage with others as they walk this out
One major way we are realigning is through coaching.One day a week, I can now coach anyone in our churches, but particularly women and young adults. Tasmanian Baptists cover all costs to recipients through my employment.
This is massive! By way of comparison, most coaches charge a minimum of $100/hour.
About Christian coaching
Christian coaching is “an ongoing intentional conversation that empowers a person or group to fully live out God’s calling,” suggests Keith Webb.
Coaching enables the journey of spiritual transformation. As a participant-owned activity, it results in action. Coaching can be short term or long term, project or individual based. For example, focus on:
General growth and transformation – developing self-understanding of personality, strengths, gifts and values …
Role/missional engagement and initiatives
Problem/project to work on solutions and outcomes
Now is the time to act,! To try new things and to decide how to graft or uproot. We don’t want to still be talking about it in five years’ time, with no growth.
Here’s my avocado tree more recently, starting the new growth process.
It’s time to reimagine getting involved with what God is doing in Tasmania. And to reengage, welcoming our communities to experience the presence of God afresh, with cultural understanding.
Please get in touch with me to discuss the benefit to you and your church through coaching!
I see my role as holding hope for you, the leaders, and churches, of Tasmanian Baptists.
Holding hope, that our God has not abandoned us. That he is with us, that he is always doing a new thing in our midst, and that he is trustworthy to his promises of grace and beauty and love going out across our state and world.
Hope, despite the challenges and events that surround us. I hold hope, and try to give hope and courage, that we can respond to the challenges, and see people in our communities grow in their awareness of God and what he can do in our world.
See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Noticing, with Courage
God is always taking us beyond the horizon. He is always doing a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19), and our role is to notice it and join in with courage. If this requires us to reimagine what is possible, then that is what I, and our Tasmanian Baptist leadership, are here for. Here is my list of priorities and ways that I, and we as Tasmanian Baptists Leadership, can support your church:
Love your community’s heart … so you can join your community’s story and what God is already doing there. Because church can’t be defined as good church people saving bad community members.
Listen to and support pastors and leaders … where you are at, understanding your challenges and opportunities and helping you succeed. This includes helping you understand and implement the new state strategy around the new vision of church.
Inspiring your church
Church measures that tell your story … because every church measures things, and sometimes they are terrible measures that reinforce a negative story. But if the measurements reinforce a positive story, change is possible.
Listening prayer and innovation in the church … because finding out what God is already doing changes everything.
Young leader development … especially around leadership.
Rethinking finance and giving … because there are contemporary fundraising methods, used by other non-profit organisations, that are culturally appropriate to church.
I am so looking forward to what we can do together. Looking forward to hearing from you!