Christmas lights are big in Australia. Every Christmas hordes of Australians go in search of the best light displays, and increasingly they end up at a church. Churches are starting to invest large amounts of time and money into impressive light displays along with creative ways to connect and interact with the people who come to see the lights. Is it all worth the effort and money that is involved? Crossover has gone in search of some churches who clearly think it is. In the first of our series we talk to Stafford Heights Baptist Church who are in their 8th year of putting up the lights. (more…)
If you do a straw poll in your church amongst adult believers to find out how many people either came to faith at a camp, or had the initial foundations of their commitment and subsequent growth as young believers you may be surprised at just how many of those encounters happened whilst at a camp. The missional debate has tended to overlook some of the traditional ways in people have encountered God over the years through the ministry of our churches. Christian campsites host a large amount of school groups and other groups made up of people totally outside of the church. We’ve seen plenty of of christian campsites fall by the wayside as the focus of the church turns towards other fronts, or campsites who haven’t quite worked out how to mix business with ministry and seen their campsites emphasize the dollar rather than the Gospel as a matter of survival. (more…)
The recent change of leadership resulting in Australia’s first female PM changed the landscape as far as the church is concerned. Prior to the clinical assassination of Kevin Rudd, both the incumbent PM and the contender were by their own confession men of faith. On accession to power Kevin Rudd nominated Bonhoeffer as an inspiration and more often than not held a press conference outside church every Sunday. Tony Abbott is a catholic and has not shied away from his faith and his convictions, particularly on the issue of abortion. The new PM has nailed her colours to the mast (to her credit) and confirmed that she is not a woman of faith. She revealed that the Baptists came close to claiming her, saying in an interview with John Fain: (more…)
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. Coffee Chaplaincy is a ministry to patients in the mental health wards at the hospital in Nambour, Queensland. Our teams of Coffee Chaplains visit the ward one morning a week to serve beautiful cappuccinos and designer coffees. (more…)
I am a product of what is euphemistically called the charismatic movement that swept through a number of Western countries in the 1970s, 80s and early 90s. Along with my first steps as a follower of Jesus came wind gusts of renewal, blowing through the branches of the Christian family tree. It was a great time to come to faith: a rediscovery of biblical teaching on the Holy Spirit’s contemporary activity in the life of every Christian, empowering and enabling them with spiritual gifts (charismata) for service. Ministry was a prerogative of all, not just the professional clergy. (more…)
Is your church achieving it’s GDOs? God Desired Outcomes? Or are you behaving like the third servant in the parable? (more…)
There is no rear-vision mirror in a pre-Christian society – only a front windscreen. The starting point in evangelism is very different.
In a post-Christian society, the church calls on its government to address lapses in moral legislation or inadequate care for the poor. Churches see themselves as political prophets provoking the conscience of a nation . . . In a pre-Christian world, the approach is different. We cannot talk about gaining back that which we never had . . . (more…)
When Christians make a splash in the media, the cause is often less than honourable.
We’re renowned for what we’re against rather than what we’re for, and perceived as several paces behind the leading edge. A court-reporter friend of mine once heard a police prosecutor say that when he hears terms like lawyer or accountant he immediately thinks “fraud;” when he hears the word clergy his first thought is “sexual abuse.” Ouch! Is that how they see us? Imagine for a moment that communities of faith caught the attention of our nation – for good reason. We believe the gospel is still relevant, right? It is still the power of God for the salvation of all who believe? (more…)
Prac interview with Garry Billing; General Superintendent for Tasmanian Baptists in 2010.
PRAC: Tell us a bit about your life and ministry experience prior to becoming GS for Tasmanian Baptists.
I sensed a call to pastoral ministry at the age of 16 and commenced studies at age 20. I had anticipated pursuing a musical career, but instead have found fulfilling opportunities to use these abilities within the churches I have served. I was ordained at Ulverstone in March 1969, two months after Wendy and I were married. We commenced ministry in Launceston where our two boys, Andrew and Shane, were born. When our hopes of going as missionaries to Bangladesh didn’t work out, we focused on pastoral leadership.
At the end of November 2008, the Presidency of the Baptist Union of Australia passed to Rev. Dr John Beasy. John is also Chairman of the Crossover Task Force, so PRAC decided to throw a few questions his way to help us get to know something of his vision for the future. (more…)