Rev Tim Burns – Team Leader
It was with varying degrees of optimism that many of our churches waved goodbye to 2020 only for those hopes to be dashed as the pandemic continued, lockdowns returned with a vengeance, and those in leadership found themselves pivoting more vigorously than Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever.
Notwithstanding the challenges of 2021, the Church Health Team kept its head; or at least it did so in the proverbial sense! Part way through the year it did lose its fearless team leader, Rev. Ian Altman, who had led the team since 2014. Ian was caught up in the Great Resignation when he accepted the invitation to become State Director, Scripture Union NSW.
Despite such a significant change the Church Health Team continued to provide support to many churches. This included:
- consultancy help to 18 churches
- engagements with more than 50 other churches
- working with 6 congregations that expressed interest in affiliation.
The Consultancy Training Program continued throughout 2021. A group of 9 pastors and leaders completed the training while 24 others formed two new cohorts, one of which is based in the Mid/North Coast and Northern Rivers.
Ongoing specialised consultancy training was also provided to approximately 20 people who are members of the Consultancy Team.
Towards the end of 2021 a restructuring of the Baptist Ministry Centre Team allowed the Church Health Team to expand. Yvonne Zheng joined as the Gen1K Process Coordinator with responsibility for helping churches proceed to affiliation, and Rev. Nick Barber was appointed as a Church Health Facilitator. They join Rev. Tim Burns (Team Leader), Rev. Steve Hales (Church Health Facilitator), and Ted Bell (Volunteer Senior Consultant) in supporting our churches towards improved health and multiplication.
It has been a privilege for the Church Health Team to interact with our churches throughout 2021. One of the churches we engaged with has written: “The help of the Church Health Team was sought and much appreciated We can say without reservation that their leadership support and guidance for over 12 months been invaluable and enabled us to continue and increase and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. We cannot speak highly enough of the team. Their encouragement and continued help are appreciated by all of the present congregation.” We were humbled to read this, and trust that it is also the experience of the many other churches that we interacted with.