By Michael Henderson, Mission Leadership Development
Tasmanian Baptists continue to share a desire for our churches to embrace the key strategies of RE-ENGAGE, RE-IMAGINE and RE-ALIGN.
We believe this is the best way for us to realise the social change God desires in Tasmania. The work Jenna Blackwell and I do with churches is focused on assisting Baptist churches to realise this vision.
Applying the Basics
Taking steps to reengage, reimagine and realign can sound complicated, risky and mysterious. However, the basics always apply. And the basics for us are to love our God who loves us; love our neighbours as God loves us; and go into all the world to help people to understand the first two. From this base, it is possible to achieve the rest.
Taking steps to reengage, reimagine and realign can sound complicated, risky and mysterious.
Because here is the thing: when saying re-imagine, it is not speaking about ideas. Instead, it is re-imagining people, relationships and the communities our churches are immersed in. It is not about innovating products, or ideas, or programs. On the contrary, we, like God, are focused on people, communities, and ultimately the social change that happens from this.
Trust is Key
One of my guiding principles at the moment comes from a quote by the Rev. Jennifer Bailey: “Relationships are built at the speed of trust, and social change happens at the speed of relationships.” That is, without trust there are no healthy relationships. And without healthy relationships, there will be no social change.
“Relationships are built at the speed of trust, and social change happens at the speed of relationships.”
Rev Jennifer Bailey
In my experience, people often want to jump over re-imaging trust and relationships and pursue the re-imaging of social change. But, if you do not start with trust, there will be no lasting social change.
So, how do we re-imagine trust-building and relationships? It starts with getting close to people.
This sounds simple, but with re-imagining, and a desire to create new things, it is possible to lose sight of people. They can disappear into the group of “people out there”. That is, people you have heard about but don’t know personally; people we have seen on television or YouTube but have never met.
Moving Into the Neighbourhood
Here is another quote I love, from Bryan Stevenson, “People are hard to hate up close, so move in. People are easy to notice and understand and build trust with up close, so move in.”
With people close by, you notice when you have built trust. And when you have broken it, you notice relationships go missing.
“People are hard to hate up close, so move in. People are easy to notice and understand and build trust with up close, so move in.”
What does it mean to move in? Find ways to be vulnerable with people:
To be authentic and consistent, being the same person in all relationships.
To be accountable to people.
Do this over time, and you build trust and relationships.
Do this as a church with the community around you and you build trust and relationship with your community.
This might be what re-imagine means for you as a church, and for you as a follower of Jesus.
But, it all has to start with trust. You can achieve lasting social change through trusting that God loves you; trusting your neighbour in relationship; and trusting that God can empower you to go into all the world and make disciples (which includes the house next door!)
If you would like to discuss how your church can achieve lasting social change, then please send me an email! firstname.lastname@example.org
DEEP THOUGHT: A new bi-monthly feature in ReCharge
Embrace your brokenness as you live in close proximity to others
By Michael Henderson
Over the summer I read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, an American lawyer who works with people on death row. It is a beautiful and brutal read, full of heart-breaking stories of injustice and prejudice right beside stories of grace and mercy and redemption. The book is powerful, but the podcast interview with Stevenson on the “On Being Podcast” is more accessible (and free).
Something Stevenson repeats is being a human-focused leader. This thread is also a priority for Tasmanian Baptists this year, including at our March Muster.
Being a human-focused leader feels obvious. A leader helps humans. It feels so obvious that we shouldn’t need to think about it. Stevenson, as a lawyer and his work within the justice system, seems geared toward humans. Yet what he found was a justice system that was often set up to deny people their humanity, that lacked compassion and mercy, and ultimately justice.
Are we becoming more like Jesus, full of hope and grace and redemption for all?
Churches, in practice, can end up in a similar position. Our theory is we are human-focused and God-focused. Love God and love your neighbour as yourself. However, what we can end up with are events and programs and Sunday services and an organisation that has lost sight of humans.
Yes, humans are present, just like they are in the justice system, but are they helping humans? Are we becoming more like Jesus, full of hope and grace and redemption for all? Are we carrying that out into our towns and cities? The way many in our culture view the church suggests the answer is no.
WE CAN CHOOSE
Stevenson’s solution: Embrace our broken natures and live in close proximity to people. He believes we have a choice. We can deny our brokenness, deny our humanity, which results in a lack of compassion and mercy. Or, we can embrace our brokenness, our humanness, our shared vulnerability and imperfection, and let it fuel our capacity for compassion and mercy, and how much we rely on Jesus for everything.
And, when we live in close proximity to people, we see people, and it fuels our ability to be human focused leaders. At a distance from people we can lose sight of compassion and mercy and love, and focus more on just getting things done. Because, with a busy life, it is actually very easy as a leader to forget about humans. But the call of Jesus is to live in close proximity to the people in your church, AND in close proximity to those in our community who are currently far from Jesus.
OBVIOUS AND EASY?
Embrace our brokenness, and live in close proximity to others.
It seems obvious and easy. Yet, that is not Stevenson’s story. Nor is it ours. But, with purpose and being intentional, and allowing Jesus to empower us into it, it can be done, and done so that humans actually benefit.
Just Mercy is available at Koorong for $32.99 (plus postage). JUST MERCY is the #1 New York Times bestseller and now a major motion picture, starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix a broken system of justice; from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time.
On 22nd November 2021, Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) released the Safer Spaces Toolkit. This is a resource to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.
The Safer Spaces Toolkit is an endorsed project of Australian Baptist Ministries aimed at resourcing pastors and church leaders to address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy communities.
The project working group is made up of Baptist women from around the country who have expertise in pastoral leadership, theology, teaching, domestic abuse and project management.
This project started because ABM recognised that domestic abuse resources were often available only by region, and wanted to create a resource that could be accessed by any pastor anywhere, with access to the Internet.
The Safer Spaces Toolkit is a work in progress and feedback and suggestions are welcome. To get in touch please send an email via the CONTACT PAGE
Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
READ MORE: NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step
18th November 2021
Big Hearted Gifts
Gifts that end poverty
Baptist World Aid (BWA) Big Hearted Gifts do much more than meet immediate needs like clean water, food, health and income. At their heart, these gifts are an expression of God’s extraordinary love at work in the world. They allow people to live with dignity, and they end poverty. Not just for individuals, but for whole communities. These are gifts that give hope.
Each gift supports the community-driven work run by BWA’s Christian partners. It’s about making a bigger, lasting difference by helping individuals and families develop long-term livelihoods, health, education and leadership skills.
Thanks to the lasting impact of your Big Hearted Gifts, along with the wonderful work of people on the ground, you help end poverty.
How it works
When you select a gift card for a family member or a loved one this Christmas, you’re also making a donation to a community development project. Your tax-deductible donation will fund vital community development projects that include the activity featured on your card.
You can give an eCard, a Gift Card (which is mailed to you for your use), or do a last-minute-dash and print your own as a PDF file.
Perhaps you need help working out what sort of gift to give? Use the Gift Generator to help you pick the perfect gift card, and make a difference on behalf of your loved one.
Tasmania Celebration Launch
Launceston and Hobart moments
A Time to Dedicate the Outreach Events with Will Graham, in 2022
LAUNCESTON: 6:30-8pm Friday 19th November Door of Hope Christian Church South Launceston
HOBART:6:30-8pm Saturday 20th November C3 Convention Centre South Hobart
On the 17th August, 23 Tasmanian Baptist leaders from around the state met in Longford to prepare to speak out for the needs of the global poor, refugees and survivors of domestic violence.
Our church has been talking for some time about what it means to actively engage in issues of justice in the broader community. Ten of us made it to the Converge conference because we saw when Baptist churches work together in areas like these, we’re much more effective. The work the different Baptist agencies have done in putting together the JUSTICE 2021 Report gives us a credibility and tangible way forward we simply could not do on our own.
Pastor Matt Garvin (Citywide)
Since then, Tasmanian Baptist teams have visited the local member in each of our five federal electorates, and to as many of our 12 senators as possible as part of Converge 2021. At each meeting they have discussed big issues, and presented each one with a copy of the Australian Baptist Justice 2021 report.
Check out the slideshow! Below there are photos of only five of the ten visits that took place.
Mr Brian Mitchell (ALP) Member for Lyons
Rodney Marshall, Jacinta Sinclair (BaptCare) and Jeff McKinnon
Mrs Bridget Archer MP, (Lib) Member for Bass
Ed Love, Kay Hunter, Maddy Svoboda, Jenna Blackwell, Karlin Love
Sen. Jonathon Duniam, (Lib) Clark
Stephen Baxter, Matt Henderson, Liam Conway, Michael Henderson
Sen. Peter Whish Wilson, (Greens) Bass
Jeff McKinnon, Kay Hunter, Stephen Avery
Sen. Helen Polley, (ALP) Bass
Kay Hunter, Ed Love, Karlin Love, Jeff McKinnon
Mr Andrew Wilkie MP, (Ind) Member for Clark
Michael Henderson, Stephen Baxter, Liam Conway
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) Franklin
Michael Henderson and team
Hon. Julie Collins MP, (ALP) Member for Franklin
Matt Garvin and team
Mr Gavin Pearce MP, (Lib) Member for Braddon
Nicholas Alexander and team
Sen. Anne Urquhart, (ALP) Braddon
Nicholas Alexander and team
Converge Tasmania Team visits to Politicians 2021
READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | step by step
Finding God in Brazil: Personal stories to amaze and inspire
Author: Dr John B Dyer Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, ISBN: 978-1979439817 Available: $15AUD from Amazon >>>
Dr Dyer describes this book as a series of stories about his experience of living and working in Brazil over a period of 33 years. His story involves the stories of other people, and both become interwoven into a single fabric.
I found this book to be easy to read as it written in everyday language without the use of theological jargon. There is humility in Dr Dyer’s sharing. His sense of humour is evident as he tells of the lighter moments of being a missionary in Brazil. Clearly, he has an obvious love for the Brazilian people.
I am struck by the tenacity of both Dr. Dyer, and his wife Maria. They persevered through many hardships that come with living in a different culture. As well, there are difficulties with many subcultures, and a varied terrain and climate throughout Brazil. They also experienced personal tragedy with their first child being stillborn, and their second child dying 24-hours after birth. There is also adventure and danger. For example, John was hit by a car, and held at gunpoint in his own home!
A young child is miraculously healed of malaria in an Amazonian rainforest. And also a young man with cancer, given two-years to live in 1985, continues to serve God to this day. Yes, God still performs miracles.
John describes his book this way; “The aim of the book, written from the perspective of a Christian missionary working in the most remote parts of the country, as well as in some major urban centres, is to show how God is perceived to be involved in our everyday affairs.”
In my opinion, he has been successful in this aim!
Faith and the Arts is an awesome annual conference held in Poatina, Tasmania, targeting creatives of all disciplines and skill levels. The aim is “to come together to give time and space to their faith-art journey.”
I have always got heaps out of it, both personally and within my creative practices. There are always great speakers, highly skilled teachers, and a heap of fun. I especially appreciate the chance to try practices I am not familiar with.
This year it is online (Covid! they hope to return to normal in person in 2023). I am leading an afternoon workshop on Monday this year, called “Small Prophetic Art”. Hope to see you there.
Michael Henderson, Mission and Leadership Development Coordinator Tasmanian Baptists
Ethical Fashion Guide
Baptist World Aid’s 2021 Ethical Fashion Report finds lingering gaps in wages, sustainability
People, planet or profit? What’s most important to consumers in purchasing the brands they like?
Today you can find out. The 2021 Ethical Fashion Guide/Report is now on the Baptist World Aid website, along with some great new features for consumers to communicate directly with brands. This year’s report also explores the impact of COVID on garment workers; slavery/exploitation of all workers in the supply chain; and the environment.
The grades of the brand companies within the report/guide reflect some progress, but we have a long way to go!
About the 2021 Ethical Fashion Report
With its mission to end poverty, Baptist World Aid Australia has published the Ethical Fashion Report since 2013. As one of Australia’s leading publications on ethical fashion, the Ethical Fashion Report and Guide helps consumers make better choices based on thorough data from almost 100 companies representing more than 400 brands.
READ MORE IN THE NOV/DEC 2021 ADVANCE | STEP BY STEP
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!