Reflections on Refocus
The NCLS has plotted the Australian Baptist movement over many years. Over the last decade the survey has highlighted the increased involvement of local churches in their local communities as they have purposed to be more missional. However over the same period the survey has also highlighted that our engagement in sharing the good news of Jesus has decreased. Over the recent weeks Crossover, in partnership with the state Baptist associations, has sponsored Refocus events in Perth and Brisbane. The aim of the seminars grew out of the conviction that as local Baptist churches we need to continue our commitment to the Gospel as deed but the challenge we must embrace is the need to rediscover our commitment to the Gospel as word.
The keynote presenters were Karl Faase and Dan Paterson.
Karl has recently resigned from his position as Senior Pastor at Gymea Baptist Church, where he served for over 20 years, to devote more time to his media work through Olive Tree Media. Olive Tree Media’s latest production is Towards Belief, a 10 part documentary-style DVD/TV series where Karl interviews over 30 international speakers and academics on the belief blockers to faith in western countries.
Dan is a pastor at Ashgrove Baptist and a part-time lecturer at Malyon College. Dan’s study included completing bachelors and masters degrees in ministry and theology, Dan pursued further training by heading with his wife to Oxford in the UK, where he completed RZIM’s one-year course at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics.
The seminar content included:
• Refocus on the Gospel as word – seeking to balance the missional approach of both word and deed.
• The need for thoughtful, targeted cultural change in our churches – revitalising the local church will take organisational thinking and focus.
• What does the community think of the Church & Christian faith?
• Creating an effective Gospel event.
• Communicating the Gospel & asking for a response.
• What are the questions the community is asking and how do we respond?
In Perth over 50 church leaders attended the day event held at Yokine Baptist Church and over 70 were present in Brisbane at Ashgrove Baptist Church.
Phil Bryant the WA Church Health Consultant commented
Refocus in WA was a huge success. I have had many attendees contact me to compliment us for hosting the event. Both Karl Faase and Daniel Paterson were articulate, relevant and passionate about assisting churches to reclaim evangelism in both word and deed as our priority. Karl and Dan brought a good blend of experience and teaching that will be a huge help to all that attend. I would encourage every pastor and church leader to attend – especially Senior Pastors.
Stephen Ball the Qld Regional Minister commented
The Refocus seminar held at Ashgrove Baptist on Wednesday 24 June was well supported with about 70 pastors and leaders involved. The key theme, of the place of the Gospel in word and deed with a special emphasis upon being able to share the gospel in word, resonated well and was a timely encouragement. Our speakers Karl Faase and Dan Paterson were clear, relevant and motivating as those present were encouraged to continue to live and speak out the gospel in the Queensland Context.
In addition to the seminar an evening evangelistic event was held where both Karl and Dan spoke and included a Q&A session.
A Refocus seminar has been planned for Adelaide in February 2016. Crossover will keep you updated via our website and social media.
Keith Jobberns – National Ministries Director