Rev Jamie Freeman – Associate Director
As part of the restructure of the Baptist Ministry Centre, the Gen1K Mission and Church Development Group was created to bring greater alignment in how the Association supports churches towards the goal of a thousand healthy churches in a generation. This reflects our belief that new congregations are the fruit of healthy churches that work together to witness to the good news of Jesus Christ and make disciples to that end.
The Group includes the Church Health Team, the Church Witness Team, the Church Multiplication Team, and the Global Mission Team, who work alongside the rest of the Group to provide expertise and support through their areas of specialisation e.g., intercultural work. The Team Leaders are Kelly Crawford (Church Witness), Tim Burns (Church Health), Ken Kamau (Church Multiplication and Global Mission (Andrew Palmer).
During the challenges of a global pandemic, in 2021 the key outcomes for the Group include:
- 68 churches supported through church health consultancies and engagements.
- 9 leaders completed the consultancy training, with 24 new leaders commencing the 2-year training in 2021.
- 6 churches supported as they explore Affiliation with the Baptist Association.
- 30 churches mobilized for evangelism through BDC and Plan A.
- 80 students trained in evangelism principles through a partnership with Morling College.
- 14 Baptist leaders from NSW and the ACT trained at Converge on justice issues to advocate with their local MPs.
- 7 Baptist organisations formed a learning community to grow together in an understanding of walking in justice with First Nation peoples of Australia.
- Over $50,000 in donations to our disaster relief fund were distributed in flood-affected parts of NSW.
- 9 new congregations endorsed and supported for church planting.
- 10 individuals trained for church planting through a partnership with Morling College and the Tinsley Institute.
- 2 new collaborative networks of churches established to work together towards the Gen1K vision pictures.
The following Annual Reports from each of the Team Leaders contain further detail around the projects, objectives and milestone that led to the key outcomes and progressing the 2020-22 Implementation Priorities of the Association.
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.
Rev Ken Kamau – Team Leader
The Church Multiplication Team (CMT) is part of the bigger Gen1K vision with the primary focus of helping our movement move towards multiplication. The CMT primarily focuses on seeing new churches planted across NSW and the ACT. We have a blended Ecology approach to this. We believe in a diversity to kingdom expressions to reflect the different giftings and context we plant churches in.
From large resource and regional churches reaching across a wide geographical area, to those neighbourhood churches that have a specific call to a specific place, to the simple churches that are fluid and reach those in the margins, we champion them all.
We primarily work within our Baptist Movement structure of Regions and Network of churches within the Regions. We also work directly with local churches that are looking at multiplying and individuals who are seeking plant churches.
We provide a discernment journey for both individuals and churches that helps the clarify their call to church planting, develop a mission plan, build a core team, and answer the structural, operational questions that will make the church plant sustainable.
Given the last two years have been very unpredictable and with many churches having to constantly reinvent themselves, it may be hard to see anyone planting a new church.
However, it became very clear that during this time of disruption, some people started asking questions around faith and hope. A number of our churches saw more engagement with the community and a greater up take in discipleship tools like ALPHA.
As a team we saw:
- 10 individuals go through the discernment process and get approval as Newstart Church Plants.
- We saw new team members join the Church Multiplication Team bringing years of experience and new energy.
- Joel Noonan- Church Multiplication Facilitator
- Jen Trevena – Mission Catalyst – focusing on our Simple Churches
- Yvonne Zheng- Gen1K process coordinator
- We have seen more churches both small and big step up to be Sending Churches or ask how they can partner and support those that are looking at starting new kingdom initiatives.
In 2021 Chinese and Australian Baptist Church (CABC) a predominantly Asian church took a step of faith to plant a new multicultural congregation.
What is exciting about this, is that CABC a large church with a regular attendance of over 500 adults across four services in three language groups (Cantonese, Mandarin and English) came together around this vision.
The church leadership set aside two of their key emerging leaders for this new adventure and the resources to back it up.
Our team has had the privilege of journey with CABC through the complexities and championing them. In August 2021, the church plant was formally approved.
Rev Andrew Palmer, Associate Director
Through 2021 the global mission team worked diligently alongside other arms of the Gen1K team to express the breadth of God’s redemptive plan.
The team is comprised of Andrew Palmer (Associate Director), Pip Miner (Missions Mobiliser), Bu Kareng (Executive Administrator) and Lyn Morris (Administration). We work across five key areas: Partnership (Churches, Morling College, Baptist Financial Services, Baptist World Aid and individual partners); Recruitment (pathways to service, volunteers, short and long term intercultural workers etc); Candidates and Intercultural Workers (education, formation, practicalities of Home Assignment, schedules for Church visits); Pastoral Care (spiritual, physical and emotional wellness for the State Teams, volunteers, candidates and Intercultural Workers on Home Assignment) and Growing Edge (new ideas, initiatives, partnerships and opportunities).
Pip Miner is leading up the Gen 1K team tasked with maturing a network with our CALD (Culturally and Linguistically Diverse) Communities. CALD communities represent one of the key growth areas for the Baptist movement and bring deep insights into God’s grace around the globe. Our movement has much to learn in this area and we are thankful to God for strengthened relationships and developing vision.
A key outcome of a more diverse understanding is growing and sending workers from ethnically diverse communities. One such example is Dr Daniel Sze, an immunologist, educator, and Indigenous Medicines expert who has recently joined the Baptist Mission Australia (formerly Global Interaction) team as a candidate working among rural and regional First Nations Communities.
Daniel is of Hong Kong Chinese descent with a remarkable academic career including two PhD’s. He began thinking through a career shift after meeting an Aboriginal man at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. This man claimed that God had sent him there specifically to meet a man and share the vision God had given him for ministry among his people. Daniel was the recipient of that message. He listened intently to the man and then sought God about the matter, concluding that indeed he was called. He enrolled at Morling College and later applied with Baptist Mission Australia. God calls in remarkable ways!
Daniel also has a heart for seeing ethnically diverse Churches raise up and send out intercultural workers, beginning with helping mobilise the Chinese community. Daniel is fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and we are delighted to be working with him!
Alongside a CALD focus, the team developed a new training program through 2021 (launching 2022) called ‘Exploring Mission’. This one-year course is designed for all ages exploring God’s mission call. The cohort meet mostly online in 4 x 6-week blocks on a weekday evening through the academic year, alongside some hub gatherings and personal ministry engagement.
- Lead CALD Network Team (Pip Miner)
- Call, equip and send local intercultural workers within NSW (Siddique and Fozia Paul, Daniel Sze)
- Develop One Year Exploring Mission Course for members of Baptist Churches to understand Global Mission theology and Practice, and personally engage intercultural ministry locally
- Represent Gen1K in the wider Global Missions space via Missions Interlink
Kelly Crawford – Team Leader
The Gen1K Church witness team includes evangelism, public engagement, disaster relief and partnerships with Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) and BaptistCare NSW & ACT.
2021 proved to be a year of challenge and opportunity with the launch of several major initiatives to equip and empower individuals and churches. This includes the launch of the Plan A website through Crossover with materials aimed to help everyday Christians talk about Jesus. 2021 also saw the launch of a national domestic abuse training initiative, created, and funded by Baptist partners, called the Safer Spaces Toolkit to help churches address domestic abuse and build relationally healthy cultures.
In addition to these projects, 30 churches were mobilized for evangelism through BDC and Plan A and 80 students were trained in evangelism principles through a partnership with Morling College.
The Church Witness Team contributed to the launch of the Justice 2021 report along with other state Baptist unions and Baptist agencies. A first of its kind, this report outlines 8 key justice areas where Australian Baptists have some “skin in the game”. Fourteen Baptist leaders from NSW and the ACT were trained at Converge on some of these justice issues to advocate with their local MPs. Nationally, over 60 leaders were trained. The Baptist Association also made submissions to national parliament on a constitutionally enshrined First Nation Voice to parliament and to NSW parliament on the proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill.
In 2021, seven Baptist organisations formed a learning community to grow together in an understanding of walking in justice with First Nation peoples of Australia. These organisations (including BWAA and BaptistCare) have committed in 2022 to a series of workshops to listen to and learn from First Nation leaders.
Disaster relief and recovery work through our Association of churches continued in 2021 with counselling in bushfire-affected areas on the South Coast, relief projects in Pambula and Kurrajong, and over $50,000 distributed in flood-affected parts of NSW. A disaster recovery chaplain was also hired in the Riverina to support drought, fire and Covid-affected communities and churches throughout that area.
BaptistCare furthered it’s connect grants program by enabling grants to churches in the Northern Rivers and the Central Coast, and BWAA continued its commitment to grow church relationships, with 28 churches engaging in formal partnership with BWAA to connect with communities in Bangladesh, Nepal, Uganda, Cambodia and the Middle East.
NSW and ACT Baptist churches also supported disaster-affected communities in PNG, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, East Timor, the Middle East and India through significant support of BWAA projects in those areas. The Church Witness Team looks forward to continued partnership in 2022.
- A major highlight of 2021 was the growth in Baptist partnerships that saw the launch of the “Plan A” website, the Safer Spaces Toolkit, and the Justice 2021 Report.
- The Association of churches continued disaster relief and recovery work in several areas including the north coast, Riverina, South Coast, lower Blue Mountains, and the Hawkesbury Valley.
- Baptist World Aid deepened its commitment to partnering with churches with 28 churches joining in formal partnership to support community development projects in Bangladesh, Nepal, Uganda, Cambodia and the Middle east.
In 2021, through a partnership with the Baptist Association’s drought relief funding, Baptist churches in the Riverina supported the hiring of a disaster recovery chaplain for the Riverina region. Steve Maynard was brought on part-time to support individuals and churches in the region who had been severely affected by drought, fire and then the Covid-19 pandemic. Steve has been supporting the region as it deals with mental health effects exacerbated by years of climate challenges.
In December of 2021, a Sydney-based church reached out with a desire to offer some financial support to a rural church. Through the connections that Steve Maynard had made in his disaster recovery work, he was able to suggest a rural church with a desire to hire an outreach worker. This partnership has now come to fruition and is just another example of the fruit that God grants when we partner together for the sake of His kingdom.