Small Church, Big Challenges; Great God, New Vision

Broadview Baptist is an inner-suburb church in Adelaide with a congregation of mainly seniors, that has recently struggled for critical mass. They are alive to God and have not been afraid to ask the big questions! Signalling to the rest of the SA Baptist movement a willingness to host and assist with a new congregation, they were surprised by a number of enthusiastic responses. What might God be up to?

Darryl Bishop is an experienced Baptist Pastor coming to the end of an interim ministry at Holdfast Baptist. What might the Lord have next for him? He had long had a passion for Indian culture and people, and tentatively put forward a dream for an “intentionally multicultural” church. He saw Broadview as the perfect location – at the heart of a fast growing South-Asian and Middle Eastern population in Adelaide.

Could it ever work? Lovingly and sensitively pastoring a small, aging congregation and planting something very new and very different? Darryl seemed a literal God-send on both counts. Enormously experienced in pastoral care for the aged, he has a decade’s experience as chaplain with Baptist Care’s residential aged care services.

But what might an “intentionally multicultural” church look like? All those involved are continually discovering just how much the Bible has to teach us about “race relations”. Of the wealth of examples and instructions, the vision of Revelation 7 is the captivating vision for Darryl and the church: “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb … and they cried out in a loud voice “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.

A multi-racial church, they feel, is like inviting people of all nations to an Aussie meal and saying “If you can hack our tucker, you’re welcome.” A multicultural church however, is like a feast where the nations are invited; offered our tucker, but also asked “What sorts of foods can you cook?” The anticipation is that, whilst very challenging, it will be a very rich and blessed feast indeed.

It’s early days, still months away from launch. Please pray for Broadview Baptist, for Darryl Bishop and others getting involved. The church is not wealthy, and they are taking a big risk going “all in” to follow Jesus and his mission, and this vision of the new humanity God is calling to be the bride of Christ.

Report from Andrew Turner, SA Church Development Facilitator.