“This year it was exciting to hear about the range of models of church planting that are happening across the country. To meet church planters from the front line and work with them on the issues that they are facing. To see the common threads within the models. It is exciting to be with people who understand that the church is first and foremost centred on Jesus.”
Philip Bryant reflects on the recent Crossover Church Planter’s Consultation in March, and also discusses why church planting is needed in Australia. “We need new expressions of church to reach the myriads of cultures that exist in Australia… ”
Evangelism is often a taxing calling. Where can we turn to for Revitalisation as leaders? Keith Jobberns – our National Director shares why ACTS 17 continues to inspire him.
In the western suburbs of Sydney there is a shopping centre that has been badged the ‘Carnes Hill Marketplace’. They suggest to those in the area that they are “Your Place to Meet, Your Place to Shop, Your Community Square.”
This is a widespread trend – modern shopping centers marketing themselves as ‘marketplaces’.
Back in the first century marketplaces fulfilled these meet, shop and community functions BUT they were so much more. They were the places of ideas. Places where big questions were asked and debated. The marketplace was an unpredictable and unsanitized gathering place.
I had the privilege last year of standing on Mars Hill looking down over the Athenian marketplace of Pauls’ time. Overshadowing Mars Hills is the architectural grandeur of the Parthenon. This is the scene of Paul’s ministry in Athens as recorded by Luke in Acts 17. A plaque of the Acts 17 passage is now attached to a rock face at the entrance to the area.
The Acts 17 passage has long been an inspiration and a challenge for me personally. There are two things I find revitalising from this passage:
What stands out to me is Paul’s confidence in the Gospel in engaging with the religious plurality of the Athenian world. His confidence in the Gospel no doubt grows out of his transformative experience of faith in Jesus. It is a salutary reminder to reassess our confidence in sharing the good news of Jesus in our contemporary scene.
How is my connection to Jesus? Am I giving time to nurturing my experience of Jesus?
The other sticking feature for me is Paul’s competence in sharing the good news of Jesus in a variety of different contexts. Paul took the context of the people he was engaging with very seriously. He sought to find appropriate bridges to connect with the worldview of his audiences. In Luke’s abbreviated record of Paul’s ministry in Athens, he highlights his engagement with the Jewish community in the synagogue, the commercial traders in the marketplace and the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers of the Areopagus.
I am challenged to think how I engage intentionally and contextually with a similar cross-section of people in my world.
Believing Jesus is the answer, that’s the issue of confidence.
How might I engage in a helpful way – that’s the issue of competence.
In conclusion, I ask what might my confident and competent engagement look like with 3 groups in my “marketplace”?
A. The religious people in my world. Most communities in Australia today present people from all of the worlds religions. The mission field has come to us and the challenge is how might I – how might you take an ACTS 17 approach to these seekers in our midst.
B. The local commercial community. What bridges am I building with my local business owners – be it informally or via membership of Rotary or the like?
C. The thought leaders. How can I connect with and influence in a helpful way local politicians, local radio and local newspaper journalists and bloggers?
After 30 years Crossover is relaunching and refocusing on our mandate to partner with Australian Baptist churches in sharing Jesus with the people around us, in the unique contexts we find ourselves in. Here our Director Keith Jobberns outlines succinctly why we have chosen to relaunch. (more…)
For the last 3 decades, Crossover has been a catalyst and resource support to Australian Baptist churches. In 2015 you will notice a new look arising out of our mission.
The new visual identity seeks to give expression to God’s workings among us in three ways:
Our story: The Baptist story in Australia and overseas for creative witness in many contexts is a rich one. We walk in that tradition and trace our inspiration to witness with creativity back to the early church, the way of Jesus and the ways of our Creator demonstrated in the Scriptures.
Positive Progress: We have seen real progress across Australia in fostering evangelism that takes specific context seriously. As a result of Baptists witnessing creatively the Baptist movement is growing.
So Much More: As Australian Baptists we have always been a risk-taking movement. We innovate in sharing Jesus – we dream dreams of what could be as whole communities understand the gospel of grace and have the opportunity to respond. We believe God is calling us to reach even higher in helping missional and creative witness.
Moving forward Crossover wants to continue the strong bonds it has with churches across our movement and reach out to those who don’t know too much about us. When we collaborate and share resources as a movement we are more potent in our evangelism and mission.