The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the world into a crisis that is unprecedented for many nations in the post WW2 era. For many people across the world, it will be nothing new, as they live in a state of perpetual disruption thanks to war or famine or both. It is nevertheless a significant shock to many Australians who have grown up with the comfort of living in the land of plenty. This is exactly a time for the church to step up and continue in the tradition first established by the Early Church of sacrificial service and living out the love of God in the face of crisis. (more…)
Christmas 2017 is upon us with all its accompanying celebration, connection and cheer for many and its tensions and loneliness for others. When we consider the effort exerted in present buying, food preparation and events organisation, the question hovers like a helicopter parent, “Why do this? Why go to so much effort? What’s to be gained?” (more…)
When accomplished academic and author Graham Hill was told by his family that nobody wanted to read his books he knew that he had to learn new media skills in order to connect with people and pass on critical information that can help shape mission. That determination has led to an epic global exploration that is unearthing a treasure trove of interviews and perspectives. (more…)
Rev Allan Demond spoke at the induction of Rev Bill Brown as Chairman of the National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries in May 2015. He has adapted his talk into an article, reflecting on what it means to be a Baptist in Australia. Who are we?
It is a worthwhile read for all those within our movement, and particularly Pastors, to help us form an answer to the question ‘What is a Baptist?’.
Did you catch the look of incredulous surprise on the face of the guy sitting on the park bench in our recent Easter video? He suddenly realizes that God has chosen to use him to reach others for Jesus.
Why is he so surprised?
What has happened to our understanding of mission that realising that all Jesus followers are “sent” by God is a new revelation?cYes we have too often outsourced mission and outreach as the video suggests and have diluted down the call to mission to just a select few.
This stands in such sharp contradiction to our Baptist story in Australia and overseas. A story of creative witness in many diverse contexts that is such a rich one. We trace our inspiration to being sent out to bear witness with creativity back to way of Jesus, the early church and the creativity of our God as demonstrated in the Scriptures.
Being sent is at the core of God’s mission, highlighted in the sending of His own Son and so clearly understood by the early church. Of the multiple examples let just highlight one.
Luke in his inspired account of the sending out paradigm of the early church in Acts 11:19f provides an understated narrative of a local church in action at Antioch.
As Luke records it, some unnamed people, ”men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.” Understanding that their commitment to Jesus meant they had to go out, they were instrumental in the establishing the first non-Jewish local faith community.
This ‘sending out’ paradigm is so imbedded in the ethos of this local faith community, that it comes as no surprise that they participate so energetically in another significant “sending out” moment in the mission of God.
As Luke records in Act 13, this same community of believers – inspired by the prompting of the Holy Spirit affirmed Barnabas and Saul in their call to be sent out – “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
And this initiated another stage in the movement that was to see the transformative message of Jesus impacting “all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
The Church when it is authentically the Church is always a sending community. Sadly however the guy in the park bench characterises the lack of awareness of many believers of God’s purpose to use them to share the message of Jesus.
I find myself asking the question, what would it take for my local church to help believers like him understand that as s/he goes out into their daily life activities at work, in the community – s/he is in fact being sent as an agent of transformation?
What would it take? Let me offer five suggestions that would be part of the list:
1. A commitment by the local church to make mission its core business as directed by the Holy Spirit.
2. A strategy by the local church to strengthen the local believers to believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. To fortify their confidence in the Gospel.
3. A strategy by the local church to equip the local believers to be more competent in sharing the Gospel.
4. A process as a gathered community to affirm local believers in their engagement as agents of transformation in their everyday worlds.
5. A celebration of the stories of transformation in the local community and beyond which have occurred because the local believers have “gone out” on mission.
For more on being ‘Revitalised in Witness’ please read the other posts in this series:
All around Australia in local Baptist churches are connecting with youth and providing a safe context within which young people can grow and encounter faith. Luke Bartlett, Youth Pastor of Narwee Baptist Church explains the strategic approach to working with young people and developing leaders. This video was shown at REVIVE Conference.
Often when we think of evangelism we think of strategies, programs, leading people to Jesus courses, massive outdoor events, preaching the gospel. But how often do we think of prayer in that mix? We pray for our family, our church, our work, our health but how often do we focus on and spend extended periods of prayer for those who are not yet Christians? Check out our resource for churches to mobilise their people into evangelistic prayer here.
This years Crossover Easter Offering video features people from across our movement of churches engaged in various forms of evangelistic ministry – who have all been invested in thanks to the generosity of people and churches in the annual Easter Offering. These people represent a sample of the tangible outcomes of how Crossover invests funds donated each year.
The 2011 Census showed that, at a time when many of the denominations were experiencing decline in numbers, the Baptists have continued to grow in numbers. Furthermore, the 2011 National Church Life Survey shows that Baptist churches are generally growing and showing signs of vitality. It will be interesting to see whether there will be continued growth in a culture which enjoys its informality, but at the same time has a strong sense of community developed through high levels of involvement. In their new e-book Darren Cronshaw and Philip Hughes examine the state of the Baptist church in Australia and indications for its future. (more…)
After a successful tour of Australia sponsored by Crossover and Lifeway Publishers in 2010, Crossover is pleased to announce a 2013 tour. Dennis will be conducting a range of meetings with church leaders and churches in WA, VIC, TAS, NSW and QLD. In addition Dennis is our guest speaker at our first Emerging Evangelists Conference in Melbourne on 5-6 August. (more…)