How Did We Do in 2022?

How did we do in 2022?

Leadership and Growth

Wins for Tasmanian Baptists

During 2022, the Mission and Leadership Development Team were very busy, supporting Tasmanian Baptist churches.

So … how are Tas Baptists going? Read on to find out.

Click for a MaLD Reflection
    Mission Director

    STEPHEN BAXTER

    On the Front Foot

    As I look forward to 2023 it is with great hope and with a deep sense that significant challenging times lie ahead of us. These challenges are reflected in the significant change to the religious landscape of Tasmania over the past 20 years.

    • The latest Census figures show how those nominating as “Christian” has dropped from 69.9% in 2001 to 38.4% in 2021; and over the same period, those nominating as “no religion/secular belief” has risen from 17.2% to 49.9%.
    • In the five years between the 2016 and the 2021 Census, those of “no religion/secular belief” overtook “Christian” as the largest religious grouping.

    This is such a dramatic change, I’m sure I cannot fully appreciate what it means for our mission and ministry. Nevertheless, I’m convinced God has been preparing us for this moment.

    God has been preparing us for this moment. Stephen Baxter
How did We Do in 2022?
    How Tasmanian Baptists are responding

    These changes have not caught us by surprise. More than a decade ago we deliberately embarked on transitioning to become a mission-shaped movement. More recently, our focus has been on building a team of new generation pastoral leaders. Although there is still more to do, we are making significant gains.

    So, where to from here?

    The Tas Baptist Council is currently in the middle of a review. They want to listen to our churches in this moment, and hear from God, to clarify our next steps. It is hoped a report will be ready to present to next year’s Mid-year Assembly in May.

    My encouragement to us all is the words God spoke to Joshua, “be bold and courageous”.

    Given the changing nature of society, complete with some significant economic challenges thrown in, I suspect the years ahead will be quite demanding and tough. Yet, God is with us, and this turns any threat into an opportunity. We are not caught on the backfoot, but are instead progressing with confidence.

    So let us move ahead full of faith, hope and love.

    Stephen Baxter

    Stephen Baxter
    stephen@tasbaptists.org.au


    Mission And Leadership Development

    MICHAEL HENDERSON

    Focus on Joy

    Every year feels big (and small) when thinking about church, community, and leadership.

    It’s like thinking about family. There is no winner. Just the time-period of a year spent sustaining a community, growing leaders, deepening relationships, and dealing with setbacks.

    I find it simultaneously rewarding, and challenging. As well, it is easy to let the setbacks dominate any discussion, because they are the easiest to remember. 

    Which is why at the end of every year I focus on what brought me joy. 

    Tas Baptist Pastors and LEADERS’ Musters

    Courage | Presence | Proximity

    I loved our March get together in Hobart, and our discussions on Courage. They set me up for the year in so many ways. I particularly loved our end reflections, and conversations I had with many, as we mutually encouraged one and other.  

    As the year has gone on, our conversations around Presence (Burnie) and Proximity (Launceston) have felt large. It feels like it is a constant conversation at the moment, where we are calling each other into presence and authenticity.

    We are calling each other into presence and authenticity. Michael Henderson
How did We Do in 2022?

    It brings me joy to spend time with you.

    How we have carried courage, been present, and responded to our calling is something that gives me great hope as we head into 2023.

    Blessings and Grace and Peace to you this Christmas.

    Michael Henderson

    Michael Henderson
    michael@tasbaptists.org.au


    Mission And Leadership Coach

    JENNA BLACKWELL

    God’s Invitation to You

    As I reflect on 2022 …

    There is a deep, quiet, and joyous sense of gratitude in my spirit about our Tasmanian Baptist community and what God is doing among us.

    This year I have had the privilege of noticing an increased sense of team among our pastors, and walking alongside people as they courageously choose to follow God and his ways. I have seen an increase in bravery and vulnerability, understanding of self and of God, and a willingness to listen to and follow the promptings of Holy Spirit.

    There is a stirring that God is doing something fresh, and we get to participate and co-create. No doubt there will be more challenges ahead, but what a privilege this is!

    God is doing something fresh. Jenna Blackwell.
How did We Do in 2022?
    As we turn to 2023 …

    I sense an invitation for us to know God better through the presence of Holy Spirit.

    There is an invitation to find guidance for better ways of engaging. To find guidance to better engage with our communities and those around us with hospitable love and transformational grace.

    I sense courage (bravery + vulnerability) and deep friendships will be integral to leaning into the kingdom of God, with patience and perseverance. I also sense an invitation to lovingly and prophetically speak into younger generations. To pull down the barriers in ourselves and our faith communities as we learn to know God and each other afresh.

    Questions for you to ponder …
    • What is God’s invitation to you for 2023?
    • What does it look like for you to carve out time to dwell in God’s presence?
    • Who are the safe people that you can increase vulnerability with?
    • How can you build relationships with people of different generations?
    Jenna Blackwell

    Jenna Blackwell
    jenna@tasbaptists.org.au


    FIND OUT MORE about the Mission and Leadership Development Team and how they can support you and your Tasmanian Baptist church.


    Read ReCharge

    November/December 2022

    Christmas Events Tasmanian Baptist churches celebrate! (from 14th December)
    Deep Thought Dec 2022 The Change Makers by Melissa Lipsett BWA
    CROSSOVER Christmas Resources Helping Baptists share Jesus at Christmas
    AROUND THE CHURCHES November 2022 Find out what’s been going on!
    ANNUAL ASSEMBLY Anthea Maynard reports
    FAMINE In the Horn of Africa Be Informed by Baptist World Aid

    NEWS: November 2022 | December 2022

    Printable (PDF) Issues of ReCharge

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    How did We Do in 2022?

    How did We Do in 2022?

    ADVANCE | step by step – Jul/Aug 2021

    My plan for your future has always been filled with hope.
    Advance Header

    My plan for your future has always been filled with hope

    Based on Jeremiah 29:11

    Request Print Version via Mail

    DOWNLOAD PRINTABLE PDF

    HOPE. Across the globe this Covid-19 season, we hope like birds in cages.

    We HOPE the virus will dissipate; that vaccinations will help; that loved ones are kept safe.

    How important to remember Jeremiah’s words:
    “God has plans to give us a HOPE and a FUTURE”.

    Take hold of hope by joining the National Prayer Gathering for the Covid Situation on Tuesday 31 August. Find out more below.

    This issue includes . . .
    FROM THE MD: Stephen Baxter with treasures new and old
    INTERVIEW: Liam Conway Ministry Apprentice at Hobart: he is a gift!
    HOSPITALS IN PNG: Prayers answered to avoid closure (a gift of PPE)
    FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Jenna Blackwell wrestles with being a missionary in Tasmania
    CHURCH PROFILE: LifeWay Devonport, now ministering in the South!
    MERGE YOUTH: Citywide are kicking goals
    REGIONAL ROUNDUP: City, Latrobe, Westbury, Claremont, Citywide and Hobart
    NATIONAL PRAYER GATHERING: Nationwide prayer against COVID-19
    CONVERGE CONFERENCE: Advocating to our government leaders
    NEED TO KNOW (news):
    GATEWAY turns 145! | EmpowHer Northwest walk | Request from Library Aid International | Tas Baptists’ website | Fostering Hope devotional-zoom | Australian Christian Literature Awards | Baptist Basketball Grand Final | Stand Sunday | Farewell PETER CUTHBERTSON | Ray’s Poem

    You can read all these in the download-able version

    Be blessed this week!

    Jenny

    Jenny Baxter, God's love poured in to you

    Jenny Baxter
    Communications Manager
    Tasmanian Baptists
    jenny@tasbaptists.org.au

    Treasures New and Old

    Treasures new and old
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    comment:

    From the Mission Director

    Stephen Baxter

    Treasures New and Old

    After seven parables in succession, Jesus asked the disciples if they understood. When they replied, “Yes,” Jesus responds with a one-sentence-long parable.

    “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.” (Matt 13:52 NIV).

    It’s a comment on his teaching of the Kingdom. Jesus explained how his teaching drew on the rich tradition of the Hebrews and the scriptures of the Hebrews, yet was also full of fresh, new insights that he brought.

    EVERY TEACHER . . . brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old

    Matthew 13:52

    His teaching on God’s kingdom through the parables did not ignore or reject the past, rather he built upon them to explain how God rules in new and engaging ways.

    And then . . .

    To illustrate the point, Matthew explains what happened next. Having finished this teaching session in parables, Jesus journeyed to his hometown and taught in the synagogue. The people were astounded and wondered where all his wisdom and miraculous powers came from. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son,” they asked, “Isn’t his mother’s name Mary?”. (Matt 13:53-56 NIV)

    No wonder Jesus resorted to parables. What he taught was just too hard for some people. The final verse of the chapter notes the outcome: Jesus “did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” (Matt 13:58 NIV)

    Treasures New and Old

    They thought they knew Jesus, but their familiarity was a stumbling block. Their inability or unwillingness to see it was an act of unbelief and they missed out. The “wisdom and miraculous powers” of Jesus promised them a new future but they were unable to receive it.

    The Kingdom Comes

    The heart of all Jesus taught was about the rule of God on earth. He taught his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10). Then, as they prayed, Jesus demonstrated what it looked like. The “blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor” (Matt 11:5).

    Every healing changed people’s future in an instant.

    This was the kingdom coming and it made a profound difference. Every healing changed people’s future in an instant. And not just for themselves, but for the whole community. A healed leper, once shunned by family and community alike, could no longer be treated as an outcast. Their life, and the life of the community, was changed forever, and everyone needed to adjust to the change. Sure, the old familiar ways of living were there, but something new was in the air. Every healing was a small social revolution. Life could never be the same.

    A Call to Believe

    Treasures New and Old

    Everything Jesus did and taught was a call to believe in the possibility of a new and open future for both individuals, and their communities. He called us to trust that things can change, newness can come, and inexplicable gifts will be given. Yet, the people of his hometown took offence. They settled for the familiar and dismissed the new, fresh kingdom transformation Jesus was bringing. Their “lack of faith” meant they missed out.

    Your Choice – to be like Him

    At the Tasmanian Baptist May Assembly this year we introduced, and received, a new strategic plan. Its key strategies of Reengage, Reimagine and Realign are a call to our churches, and everyone in them, to exercise our faith in Jesus. It is an invitation to trust in God’s goodness and power, and not be content with the familiar. God is not mute or impotent in the face of our current realities of decline, decay and death.

    But do we believe it? Will we embrace the new things Jesus Christ is bringing into our world through his church? Like the people of Jesus’ hometown, we have a choice.

    Our lack of faith will limit what God does in and through us, but it does not limit God. Despite the “unbelief” of his hometown, Jesus was not deterred. He went on to fulfil all that God called of him despite their lack of faith.

    May we be found faithful in life and ministry, just as he was. And may we continue to listen to his treasures, new AND old.

    Stephen Baxter

    Stephen Baxter
    Mission Leadership Director, Tasmanian Baptists
    stephen@tasbaptists.org.au


    Read more in the July/August 2021 ADVANCE | step by step