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Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT – 2022 Annual Report

Rev Dr Steve Bartlett, Director of Ministries

Welcome to your Association’s 2022 Annual Report!  Again this year the full version, including our governance and Affiliated Groups reporting, is online. 

2022 was the final year of our current strategic plan and significant time was spent reviewing, seeking feedback and discerning directions for the next phase of our Gen1K vision from 2023-25.  It is noteworthy that the entire period of this plan was lived in the midst of COVID or its shadow.  This necessitated strategic directional changes as we adapted to support churches and our movement in extraordinary times.   

In 2022 we were able to assist churches and leaders as ministry routines were re-established. It has been particularly encouraging to observe a deeper interest in disciplemaking across our movement, and to support churches in this journey.   

2022 was also an opportunity to re-imagine how best to serve our churches in a post-COVID environment.  Various team reports will share about this, but one example of a new initiative launched was our State Kids Camp at Kiah Ridge.  Envisioned to provide a peak experience for kids in school years 4-7, it also develops future leaders through its embedded junior leadership programme.  SKC was a resounding success and will be expanded to 2 camps in 2023. 

In collaboration with sister Baptist organisations we hosted a series of First Nations Listening Workshops across the year, considering what further steps we should take in playing our role in the process of indigenous reconciliation. This conversation will continue in 2023. 

Our churches responded with prayer and generosity to the devastating impact of the floods in the Northern Rivers and Western Districts. $287,000 was donated to the relief and recovery work in these regions during the year. 

2022 saw the 2nd of 3 years of extra contributions to our Gen1K Vision via generous external grant funding.  These funds are targeted particularly towards the development of multiplying leaders and the commencement of new churches and assisted with the planting of 12 churches during the year! 

The year was also marked by ongoing challenging discussions around affiliation, Baptist values, and marriage across our movement.  This has impacted areas of our Association team’s ministry and I also note it as a risk factor for our ongoing Gen1K Vision.  We continue to need to listen to the Lord and to one another well. 

As of 2022 all our regions now operate as Affiliated Ministries under the umbrella of the Association, rather than as separate entities.  Each region over time has chosen this, plugging in to the operational support of the NSW/ACT Association and allowing the region to focus its attention on mission and ministry priorities. 

During the year we said goodbye to a number of gifted Association staff who have made huge contributions.  This included our 2 longest serving staff members – Andrew Palmer, and Kim Hall, who between them served our Association in various roles for over 35 years!  We are thankful to God for the giftedness of each of these people and the privilege it has been to share ministry together.   

A number of new staff also joined the team in 2022.  In the midst of challenging times for ministry recruitment, I am continually amazed at the calibre of staff God brings to serve in our Association ministry.  We have much to be thankful for. 

God is present and working across our movement, and the stories of this are numerous.  I encourage you to read the various sections of this report and be inspired and encouraged! 

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”    Eph 3:20-21