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FINANCE & OPERATIONS TEAM  

Heidi Tak, Associate Director 

 

The Operations team continues to support our local Baptist Churches in relation to finance, employment, administration, compliance, governance, reporting, stipends, remuneration, taxation issues and much more. 

During the year, we have continued to support churches navigate the impacts of COVID through assistance with JobKeeper, other government support and helping churches keep up with changes. We have continued to see and support an increasing number of churches with employment related issues as a flow on effect from COVID over the last two years. 

In addition, we have reviewed our technology needs as an Association and have started a journey on an IT Roadmap which will see technology enhance our ability to serve our churches and also the delivery of our vision and mission over the next three years. This includes a comprehensive database of our Baptist network in NSW and ACT, exploring a long-term data management solution for our churches, development of new websites based on the needs of our churches and creating further efficiencies through the integration of existing systems. 

We look forward to continuing to support our churches and working alongside them in 2022. 

GODSPACE  

In 2020 the redevelopment of GodSpace SRE materials commenced to ensure that GodSpace remained a relevant resource to introduce the Good News to 4-12 year olds in schools. A GodSpace Writing Team and Creative Team were formed, and they have been creating lessons to complete a new curriculum which is fully compliant with current Department of Education policies while taking into account current classroom practices and the skills of our volunteer teachers.  

The major focus of the Writing and Creative Teams were to create GodSpace as a modern and relevant teaching resource for use in today’s classrooms. This has meant a major update to the content, including content in the student’s magazines and also suggested teaching activities and multimedia resources so Teachers can share the Good News in a new and exciting way. 

The new GodSpace Green (Year 1) is now in the midst of being distributed for use in classes this year in 2022 with Purple (Year 2) on track for use in schools in 2023 and Yellow (Year 3) in 2024. Please visit the website www.godspace.org.au for sample lessons. 

This project has been funded through the generosity of donors including individuals and trusts. As at 31 December, a total of $772k (being 77% of our target of $1m) has been raised including commitments from trusts. 

Also, ongoingly we work to support our SRE teachers who use GodSpace with relevant teaching support materials, product support and events. A recent example of this is our Product Launch in September 2021 which was attended by more than 300 people. 

Please pray for us as we continue with the rewrite and distribution of GodSpace Purple and Yellow, we value your ongoing prayers and support. 

The feedback from the GodSpace online launch on 30 Sept 2021 was overwhelmingly positive, both from within NSW and beyond. Teachers, coordinators and pastors expressed excitement at the new media. Trainers are glad that everything in new GodSpace is fully compliant with government policy. 

Many inside and outside the Association have expressed appreciation that the Association is prepared to invest considerable funds into GodSpace. It shows commitment to the future and to bringing the hope of Jesus to kids outside the church. 

All 6 writers say that the development process has been formative for them both in their writing and their Christian growth. 

‘It’s been a wonderful experience to work in a team like this. I’ve learned so much, not just as a writer, but for my Christian life.’ 

‘What a privilege to work with Uncle Boydie on the lesson for NAIDOC week. It was truly wonderful.’ 

‘I have a bigger view of who God is and what he can do. It’s given me more faith that people can come to him… GodSpace curriculum writing has given me that’. 

‘It was hard, but it’s been good. Gods opened the way many times when we thought there was no way to do what was needed.’ 

BAPTIST INSURANCE SERVICES
Tim Williams, Manager 

Baptist Insurance Services Ltd (BIS) is a ministry of Australian Baptist Ministries and is our national Baptist insurance scheme. BIS organises insurance on property and other assets in excess of $5 billion and on behalf of over 1,350 constituents. In NSW & ACT, the scheme currently has insured assets totalling more than $1.3 billion. 

Services offered by BIS include: 

  • Handling claims 
  • Providing advice 
  • Delivering risk management workshops, education, and resources 
  • Conducting insurance information sessions for all Association members 
  • Visiting clients to assist in understanding insurance and risk management 
  • Providing online Work Health and Safety Training. 

2021 was a very interesting year due to the continuing impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. Many church properties were unoccupied for a period of time, but insurance continued to be important to protect people and property. 

A severe storm in March 2021 impacted many church properties, which resulted in many claims being made. Property claims were also made during the year for theft, fusion, accidental damage, fire, glass breakage, hail damage, water ingress, and impact by a motor vehicle. 

Besides impact to property, claims were also made for other types of incidents – unfair dismissal; ransomware attack; bullying; slip trip & fall; volunteer & student injuries. 

Insurance renewal presented another challenge for churches. Significant losses in numerous classes of policies, combined with insurers losing business due to COVID-19, caused premiums to increase nationally and globally. Certain insurers also refused to underwrite certain classes of insurance. This included our previous Cyber insurer. 

After significant work, BIS was able to obtain insurance cover for most of our scheme policies at a competitive rate. We continue to offer comprehensive cover to protect the church family and the church leadership. 

The BIS Work Health & Safety (WHS) online training resources were well utilised in 2021. The training is offered for free online and may be completed at your convenience. There is no limit to the number of people in your church who can participate. In addition, BIS also has a free ‘Identifying Hazards’ training module. 

To access the WHS Training, as well as many risk management and insurance resources, please go to the BIS website: http://www.baptistinsurance.com.au/ and follow the links at the top of the page. 

If you have any insurance questions, please do not hesitate to contact the NSW & ACT Insurance Manager, Tim Williams, on 02 9868 9213, 0403 615 033 or tim.williams@baptistinsurance.com.au 

BALANCE MINISTRY SERVICES
Sylvia Groves, Senior Bookkeeper  

Balance Ministry Services (BMS) has continued to be a valued resource to many churches in NSW & ACT. Throughout 2021 BMS experienced growth in both numbers of churches signing on for full-service bookkeeping and in other interactions. BMS offers financial administration support through qualified staff 

Throughout 2021 BMS 

  • Grew to 30 churches utilising full-service bookkeeping 
  • Interactions with over 15 churches in accounting, payroll, and financial support 
  • Through our close relationships with churches, we were able to assist in providing real data to support the advocacy that occurred regarding Covid19 government financial assistance 
  • BMS was able to offer guidance for many churches regarding the application for Covid19 financial support. 
  • Assisted churches to close well – financial closure of an entity can be a lengthy and confusing process. BMS was able to provide clear direction and action for closure. 

We often receive feedback from churches that affirms our purpose: to support ministry with accounting and bookkeeping services. Our understanding of how churches operate and the legislative requirements around employment, GST and financial reporting means we provide excellent support.