In Conversation Australian author Naomi Reed talks about The Plum Tree in the Desert. PAGE 12 >>
“Not drowning, just waving: Six thoughts on serving without sinking in your local church.” RORY SHINER PAGE 13 >>
4 Leaders’ mission
Photo: Baptist World Alliance
Global Interaction and Baptist World Aid Australia in Malawi >>
5 Sexuality discussed Vose Seminary Principal speaks at seminar hosted by BCWA >>
Vibrancy and diversity left wonderful memories for delegates at the 21st Baptist World Congress held in Durban, South Africa.
Jesus is the gateway
Over 2,500 delegates from more than 80 countries came together for the 21st Baptist World Congress in Durban, South Africa in July. African Baptists hosted and welcomed the delegates and the induction of Rev. Paul Msiza from South Africa as the President of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) added to the African flavour of the first BWA Congress held on the continent. Over 30 Australians attended the Congress and participated in the four day program. Each day commenced with a worship service followed by Bible Study sessions conducted in five major languages. The theme of the Congress was ‘Jesus the Door’ and the final session was presented by Rev. Dr Joel Gregory, Professor of Preaching at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary in Texas. His sermon underscored
the quality of the preaching. The sermon can viewed on the BWA website. Forums covered topics including human rights, evangelism, peace building, gender violence, relief and development, preaching with imagination. These topics provided a glimpse of the breadth and depth of the world Baptist movement and its engagement in the contemporary world. A meeting of the General Council was also held during the Congress. The Council affirmed the appointment of members of the BWA Commissions and Committees for the next five years. Australian Baptist Miyoh Chung was nominated for the role of Vice-President.
Other Australian Baptists that are members of Committees and Commissions included John Beasy, Rod Benson, Bill Brown, Ross Clifford, Heather Coleman, Ken Edmonds, Brian Harris, John Hickey, Keith Jobberns, Sue Peters, Frank Rees, Mark Wilson and Stephen Vose. The 22nd Baptist World Congress will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2020. However, regionally all eyes are now focused on the Asia Pacific Baptist Conference to be held in Yogjakarta, Indonesia in 2017. The overarching experience of any BWA Congress is to participate in a worshipping community that stretches us beyond our own local experience of being a follower of Jesus. To share a series of worship events with fellow believers from a variety of different languages and ethnicity is a foretaste of the eschatological event highlighted by the apostle John, ‘… a great multitude which no one could
count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”’ [Revelation 7:9-10] Preceding the BWA Congress a group of Australian Baptist leaders had the opportunity to visit Malawi. While the need for community transformation was most overwhelming, the group reported coming away from the Malawi visit with a deep sense of gratitude of the contribution the Australian Baptist movement is making, through the support for Baptist World Aid Australia and Global Interaction in the lives of Malawian villagers in bringing hope through the love of Jesus. More about the visit can be read on page 4. To view Baptist World Congress videos, visit www.bwanet.org
8 Bordered by love Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers >>
Building healthy churches. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view SEPTEMBER 2015
The ultimate host Jesus’ disciples’ stress levels were peaking. Matthew and Judas were anxiously doing a second head count and James was mumbling about the lack of planning. Here they were kilometres away from the nearest town, it was getting dark with no plan for feeding thousands of hungry people.
Rob Douglas Rob Douglas is the Pastor at Maida Vale Baptist Church and author of He Speaks Our Language.
A few of the disciples agreed that the best plan would be to send everyone home, but when they suggested it to Jesus His reply was: “You feed them”. This was crazy. They were faced with a major logistical nightmare and Jesus was ignoring the problem and preaching to the crowd. Couldn’t He see that if He didn’t come up with something soon, there would be a riot?
Then Jesus asked a couple of the disciples nearby. What food do we have? Can you ask around and see if someone has anything? “At least He’s got the idea that something’s got to be done,” Thomas grunted to Peter. The next thing Thaddaeus is running down the hill with a basket. “I’ve got a couple of fish and some bread, he puffed”. Almost before they realised what was happening, Jesus had
the situation under control. People were sitting down and, with the basket in His hand, Jesus was praying. This story of the miraculous feeding of 5,000 is one among many accounts that make up a pattern throughout scripture. It’s a pattern that shows God as the ultimate host – a host who prepares a place, invites people to join, Him and provides a safe space in which people can be restored. From Eden, to Psalm
23; from the Promised Land to the Last Supper; from breakfast on the beach to the marriage supper of the Lamb; we are confronted with the ultimate host who invites us to eat with Him, then offers something we never expected. As I have begun to appreciate this pattern something surprising has happened. I’ve been challenged to see myself as a host. Not a leader, or a manager, or a CEO, but a host who is learning from the ultimate host how to welcome, feed and provide spaces where restoration can occur.
Sugar, fat and all that ... Due to a recent flight’s disappointing movie choice, I was reduced to watching Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Film which pontificates on the dangers of consuming too much sugar.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
The documentary alerts us to the health epidemic likely if we don’t change our ways and say a solid ‘no’ to sugar and spice and all things nice. I won’t be able to look at a glass of apple juice in the same way, and whilst I have never been a Mountain Dew fan, if I was, I would be depressed for weeks. So which is worse for you – sugar or fat? Naturally that depends on which movie you’ve just watched. Do you remember
Super Size Me, which tracked the man who ate nothing but McDonald’s for too long. Clearly those fats did him no good. It was probably even more disturbing than That Sugar Film, but as I’ve never been a fatty food fan, I found it easier to dismiss. Trouble is, I’ve always had a bit of a sweet tooth. Very interesting you yawn, but you’re a theologian, not a dietician, so why not stick to your knitting and pass on
this month’s theological gem. How about this ... in ethical reflection Christians have never hesitated to condemn the misuse of the body. Substance abuse, be it via drugs, alcohol or tobacco has always been frowned upon. However, whilst the church fathers regarded gluttony as one of the seven deadly sins, it has been the most respectable. Are there some vices not worth tackling? Indeed, should
we think in such legalistic terms? After all, we are saved by grace, not because we say ‘no’ to chocolate cake. True, but doesn’t grace work its way out in the stuff of life ... like the way I treat my neighbour and my family and my body. The psalmist says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Even atheists mumble an ‘amen’ to this obvious truth. Should it impact our eating habits? Or, would it be better to stop watching movies?
The strangeness of soccer and Peter’s life As a coach of my son’s soccer team, we won every game the first season. The next season, we nearly lost every game! I am always looking for ways to encourage the soccer team.
Dr Peter Christofides Dr Peter Christofides is the Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s new Coolbellup campus.
A great football coach once said, “You may fail a thousand times, but success may be hiding behind the next step. You never know how close the prize is unless you continue.” Looking at Peter’s life, we see that there is such a strange paradoxical mixture in his life – many times like the lives we live – a life of failure and success. This may sound illogical, but, no matter what Peter did and however terrible his failure,
he was nonetheless devoted to His Master, the Lord Jesus Christ. There is hope for us if we put our faith and trust in Jesus – despite our failures. We must constantly be aware of the warnings that come our way. Jesus warned Peter on a number of occasions and it is perhaps Peter’s over-confidence that brought about his failure – like this one soccer coach I know! We live in a very modern society where there are a myriad of crafty
temptations, where we can easily become too sure of ourselves. When examining the downfall of Peter, we see that it was an attack that came when he felt he was strong. Despite that strength, Peter failed. This should be a warning to all of us. We should not think we are strong, lest we fall. It is astonishing to see how Peter recovers and ‘turns back’ and ‘helps his brothers’. Jesus said a wonderful thing to Peter in Luke 22:32 that his faith
will ‘fail not’. The word for fail here is basically that his faith will not ‘pass by’ him, it will not ‘be left out’. Peter was put through the furnace of pain and misery and was then prepared and better equipped to help others in that position. We need to be prepared, at all times, for the sly attacks of the evil one – even those on the opposing soccer team! May our experiences in life give us the sympathy and understanding to help others out of their suffering and into a place of restoration with Christ.
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Bible Society, Koorong combine Terry Hicks Bible Society Australia has acquired prominent Christian retailer Koorong with the aim of strengthening both organisations as well as the Christian community. of our customers we have 300 dedicated employees, a thriving online business and 15 stores nationwide,” Paul said. “We’re thrilled with the new partnership as it allows us to both share the important resources that mean so much to our fellow Christians and support vital missions around the world,” he said.
It is a match made in heaven and will ensure that both organisations are positioned positively for growth ...
Photo: Bible Society Australia
The Bible Society’s fundamental cross denomination mission is to translate, distribute and engage people with the Bible. “The partnership will allow [us] to deliver more services towards a shared mission to enhance access to the word of God for a world that desperately needs it,” Bible Society Australia Chairman Richard Grellman said. Bible Society Australia CEO Greg Clarke believes the Bible Society and Koorong share a common goal and together they have the potential to transform hundreds of thousands of lives. “It is a match made in heaven and will ensure that both organisations are positioned positively for growth and can thrive for years to come,” Greg said. “We will now be able to share our important Bible work with, and garner support from Koorong customers.” “What’s more those who shop at Koorong can now know that their purchases will fund even more Bible mission projects here and around the world,” he said. Koorong Managing Director Paul Bootes will continue to lead Koorong operations and said it will be business as usual with all current staff to be retained. “Over 40 years ago my father and mother started selling Bibles and Christian books in our garage near Marsfield. Today, thanks to the support
Bible Society Australia CEO Dr Greg Clarke and Koorong’s Managing Director Paul Bootes confirming their new business relationship.
The partnership will help support the overwhelming need for more literacy and translation efforts such as the Bible Society’s new appeal for its mission work in Zambia. “We look forward to expanding our mission efforts alongside our loyal Koorong customers and seek the continued prayers and vital contributions of our valued supporters,” Greg said.
A festive atmosphere complete with balloons and colourful bunting welcomed people as Morley Baptist Church officially opened their new premises on 16 August. Local politicians Ian Britza (MLA Member for Morley) and David Kelly (MLA Member for Bassendean), along with local government officials Counsellor Gerry Pule (Town of Bassendean) and Counsellor Chris Cornish
(City of Bayswater) attended the celebrations. While Greg Holland representing Baptist Churches Western Australia also attended. A video of the history of the church was a highlight of the service. “The local community has been very positive about our move to the area. They are wanting the church to be involved in community activities,” Senior Pastor John Crosby said. Following the service the café team served morning tea with canapés from the church’s commercial kitchen. The building in Hanwell Way, Bassendean, which is now home for the growing church, was formerly a convention centre.
Photo: Terry Myers
Open to serve
Morley Baptist Church Diaconate team gathered in celebration at the formal opening of the Church’s new premises.
news SEPTEMBER 2015
Baptist leaders’ mission
has been involved in for many years with the Yawo people. Most of the Yawo are Sunni Muslims and not heard the good news of Jesus in a way they can understand. The cross-cultural teams from Global Interaction are living among the Yawo people, mentoring and discipling small communities of followers of Jesus. Western Australian missionaries travelled from Mozambique to join with the Malawi team and the Australian Baptist leaders for a day to catch up with the visitors and others as it was a unique opportunity. The excitement, unity and loving fellowship was expressed openly as everyone shared in a church service, lunch and impromptu cricket game. One leader commented that it was wonderful to see all the Global Interaction missionaries who are working with the Yawo across two countries come together in such a special way. Malawi is a remarkable place with a difficult history and many challenges. It is a small, landlocked country in south-eastern Africa and is ranked 160 out of 182 countries in the Human Development Index. Rural poverty is particularly prevalent, with remote areas lacking infrastructure and economic opportunities.
Baptist World Aid Australia and Global Interaction Malawi and Mozambique team’s rare experience of being together
Growing sustainable kids Photo illustation: South Coast Baptist College
Both organisations work independently, but share a common desire to see the gospel transform communities throughout the world. Together, they dream of a world where poverty has ended, where the truth of Jesus is known throughout the globe, where vibrant, indigenous faith communities are growing, and where all people enjoy the fullness of life. The team saw some of the child centred community development that Baptist World Aid Australia is assisting in as they work with Livingstonia Church and Society Programme, a local ministry in the rural north of Malawi. Australian Baptist leaders in the team included Directors of Ministries from each state Mark Wilson (WA), Ken Clendinning (NSW/ACT), Daniel Bullock (Vic) and Mike Mills (SA) along with National Ministries Director Keith Jobberns. Senior Pastor Syndal Baptist Church and Australian Baptist Ministries Chair, Bill Brown, and Baptist World Aid Australia CEO John Hickey also attended, along with Global Interaction’s General Director Heather Coleman and Chair John Peberdy. “Seeing communities that are being supported to take control of their future and address their challenges in poor education, the need for more sustainable livelihoods and abuse of children was a highlight,” Mike Mills said. The leaders also saw the work that Global Interaction
Photo: Baptist Churches Western Australia
Australian Baptist leaders travelled to Malawi see firsthand the ministry of Global Interaction and Baptist World Aid Australia in August on route to the Baptist World Congress.
Artistic concepts show how part of South Coast Baptist College’s sensory garden will look once completed.
Jacqueline Outred South Coast Baptist College (SCBC) will have a brand new sensory garden for their youngest students by the end of 2015.
digital church 11/08/15
twitter.com/rickwarren God transforms sand into pearls and coal into diamonds using time plus pressure. He’s working on you too.
toddrhoades.com Maybe you’re stressed today. Maybe this will help: ‘It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’ [Deuteronomy 31:8]
twitter.com/Eugenecho Breathe. Show yourself some grace. We can’t do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a cheerful heart.
twitter.com/NilsSmith ‘No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.’ [Romans 8:37]
twitter.com/carloswhittaker The Word of God isn’t magic. Yet it absolutely gives you strength far greater than your own.
Compiled by Breege McKiernan
Alex Duke thegospelcoalition.org The task of a Christian in relation to those who don’t share our presuppositions is first sincere empathy, then specific engagement.
After many months of work on a grant application, the Waikiki based school recently received an approval letter from Lotterywest for the total amount of $102,522. The sensory garden will be built at the front of the school and will serve as an interactive resource to support the early learning curriculum. Catherine Jones, Director of the School of Early Learning Childcare at SCBC, said the garden will be integral to meeting essential curriculum guidelines. “There’s a national standard that we are required to adhere to and it has certain criteria and one is about being sustainable and so the idea of this garden is that it will help instil [in the children] those values of sustainability,” she said. “Some children don’t know where their food comes from.” “Recently, I asked one child where carrots came from and he said ‘They come frozen from my mummy’s freezer’.” “So we grew a carrot so the children could see the process. They were so excited when they could see a carrot,” Catherine said. The school will put the grant towards installing rainwater tanks
around the childcare centre, raised garden beds so that the children can grow vegetables and other plants, four gazebos around the grounds for creative play, and various outdoor play space fixtures. In addition, the school plans to construct a chicken coop for ten chickens and enclosed fencing within the outdoor areas where needed. “The space will [facilitate] a process of learning,” Catherine said. “We will be harvesting vegetables to use at the school, and we have a lot of scrap we can use to feed the chickens.” SCBC staff are already introducing students to chickens by bringing chicken toys and books into the classroom and teaching them how to look after them. Work on the garden has already commenced and the coop will be ready to house chickens by spring. The parents and wider community are also invited to be involved in the garden and watch as it develops. “We want it to be a sustainable centre for all the staff, students and parents who use it,” Catherine said.
Rob Furlong “I am sitting in this chair to say this is their chair … and when you look at this chair you will think of people you know who struggle with sexual brokenness of one form or another …” So said Vose Seminary Principal Dr Brian Harris as he addressed the audience at the recent Sexuality and the Church seminar hosted by Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA), held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. The empty chair that sat alongside the lectern was a poignant reminder that while Baptists are committed to God’s principles they must also remember that they are called to minister to real people with real struggles. Two hundred and seventy registered pastors, leaders and members from denominations across Perth heard Dr Harris remind them that the family unit
and traditional marriage is worth fighting for, but it must done in the true spirit of Christ and with deep compassion for those who are struggling in different areas. The aim of the event was to address the question of what it means for a church to welcome someone in the Name of Jesus, but without affirming their lifestyle. Other speakers for the day included Morling College Principal Dr Ross Clifford, who urged churches to clearly spell out on their websites and in their literature what ‘welcoming not affirming’ means. “Does it mean you will accept people into membership or leadership? People have a right to know what you mean before
they start attending your church,” he said. Perth-based forensic sexologist Sandra Basham encouraged attendees to “listen to a person’s story before passing judgement on them”. While Olive Tree Media CEO and Pastor Karl Faase reminded everyone that, “It should not surprise us that we will be criticised as evangelicals for not accepting gay marriage and the like because as true followers of Christ who are committed to the authority of the Bible we will find ourselves regularly in conflict with our culture.” The day concluded with a lively Q&A as each speaker answered a number of questions from participants. The feedback was extremely positive along with strong endorsement for the initiative of BCWA in conducting the event. “Our purpose in running this event was to create a space where we could talk openly and honestly as Christians about what it means
Photo: Baptist Churches Western Australia
Sexuality under the microscope
to be welcoming but not affirming,” BCWA Director of Ministries Pastor Mark Wilson said. “As Baptist churches we clearly state that marriage is between a man and a woman but we also
want to say that we love all people regardless of what they might be struggling with.” “None of us is perfect and we are all on the road together in becoming more like Jesus.”
Coffee roaster owes it all to God Jacqueline Outred
Photo: Five Senses Coffee
From school teacher to coffee mogul, Dean Gallagher says that at the time circumstances and a desire to ‘have a crack’ motivated his jump into the world of selfemployment.
Dean Gallagher, head of Five Senses Coffee, started as a novice but is now supplying cafés across Australia.
“Now, 14 years later, it becomes obvious to me that our willingness to walk the journey
[for the 15 years prior] along a path God had prepared for us was by far the greatest reason we felt so confidently within His will when the moment came to start the business,” Dean said. Dean runs Five Senses Coffee – a specialty coffee roasting business and household name among coffee lovers in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney. Raw green coffee beans are purchased from all around the world, roasted and sold – mostly to cafés. Five Senses Coffee is also on a mission to fund the growth of God’s Kingdom, locally and further afield. “We support churches and God’s people in ministry. As we’ve grown, so too has our capacity to support more people and projects and that’s very exciting,” Dean said. Navigating the world of global business has its challenges, but Dean has always had faith that things would work out. “I didn’t really know anything about coffee when this got started,” he said. “We always thought that this was God’s business anyway that we were just starting and managing for Him.” “That made it much easier, especially at the beginning, to expect miraculous solutions to problems that were way outside my human capacity to resolve.” “This isn’t a very ‘businessy’ way of thinking but it is a truth – and yes, He always turns up,” Dean said.
news SEPTEMBER 2015
Alkimos Baptist College has designed a new specialist Robotics Engineering program that will be launched in 2016. Principal Kieran Graham is currently conducting interviews with 2016’s Year 7s and Year 8s who are interested in joining up for the program, with a focus placed on also getting female students to enrol in the program. The specialist program will teach students how to build a robot from start to finish. They will be learning the art of designing, programming and coding, constructing, circuitry and wiring, and ultimately how to create something. Quinn Wallace has been employed as the Robotics Engineering Program teacher. The program was developed from the idea that as a private school Alkimos wanted to offer something that no other schools are offering.
“We identified robotics as something that no one else is doing; we are creating a niche market,” Kieran said. “Robotics is something a lot of people have a natural interest in.” The program has been designed as a four year course, for students in Years 7 to 10. A new group of approximately 12 students will start the program each year. “Each week, these students will attend six periods in Robotics Engineering, which is more than English,” Kieran said. The program will fill the time lower-school students generally spend doing electives such as Cooking, Drama and Art. Kieran has larger dreams for this course than simply
giving students the skills for a hobby, he is actively encouraging female student to join the program and learn about robotics and engineering. “There is a lack of female engineers in tertiary schools,” Kieran said. “We would like to instil some of the concepts and ideas into them from Year 7 to give them the chance to realise that engineering is a pathway they could take in future years.” For students to become part of this program, they have to go through an application and selection process. This includes an application form and a selection test, which is followed by an interview with the Principal. The top 12 students will then be invited to pursue this specialist pathway. Alkimos Baptist College is also planning to offer Engineering as an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank course in 2019. “This will further encourage students to not close the door on any tertiary decisions that they make,” Kieran said.
Church swapped for jazz
Photo: Alkimos Baptist College
Robotics to grow school
Student Council representative Kawana Burns (Year 11) works on his robotics project.
Principal sees gold
Photo: Mark Wagenaar
Goldfields Baptist College in Kalgoorlie welcomed their new Principal at the beginning of Term 3.
The WAAPA student’s band performing for the Harrisdale community.
Carey Community Baptist Church’s regular worship service made way for a morning of volunteering on 9 August in support of the Your Music Festival at their Harrisdale campus. The Carey group which includes the Church, Carey Baptist College, Jump Early Development Services and the Carey Centre with the recently opened Timber Café held a community festival in conjunction with the annual WA Schools’ Jazz Festival. “Given we have just opened the Carey Centre for the community we thought it would be good as a Church rather than gathering to worship around the scriptures, we would gather
to worship around serving the community,” Senior Pastor David Kilpatrick said. “We had about 100 volunteers involved from across Carey and it was a wonderful day of welcoming the community onto our site.” More than 60 jazz ensembles ranging in size from small groups with eight musicians or less to full ensembles from public and private schools across the state competed on the day.
Carey Baptist College’s high quality sound and recording facilities meant each group that performed received a recording of their performance with comments by the adjudicators to take home. The day included performances from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) Big Band and the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra. The event was made possible through the support of sponsors, as well as the Carey group. Sponsors included the Australian Jazz Education Association, Heron Park Estate, Satterley, WAAPA, WA Youth Jazz Orchestra and Yamaha. The day’s activities was a focus of praise for Carey’s regular Sunday evening worship service.
Craig Dredge and his wife Angela returned to the Goldfields after working most recently in Warrnambool, Victoria. Daughter Danielle is now a student at the College. “We first came to the Goldfields ten years ago from New Zealand,” Craig said. “It is a real community where a lot of people come from elsewhere and therefore it becomes inclusive – people become part of the family.” Craig considers his role as Principal primarily as pastoral. “I am relational and approachable and see the position not as one of hierarchy, but one of connection with colleagues, students and the community.” “I don’t get stressed easily and see every problem as a challenge – not as something that is negative,” Craig said. The College has a diverse staff and student body with many nations and people represented.
“It’s culturally rich. There is a good ‘vibe’ about the College and it’s awesome to walk around and see and hear joy,” he said. Chairperson of the College Board Helen Kenny and Senior Pastor of Kalgoorlie Baptist Church Eliot Vlatko have shared they are excited to be working closely with Craig.
There is a good ‘vibe’ about the College and it’s awesome to walk around and see and hear joy.
“I call this place ‘paradise’ as you wake up every morning to blue sky and scenery that is always beautiful. I know I’ve been called back here by God,” Craig said.
This year organisers of the annual July school holiday program, Fun Factory, at Maida Vale Baptist Church had to stop taking registrations early because of how quickly places were filled. Now in its seventh year, this year’s holiday program theme was Heroes. Volunteers dressed up to suit the theme and helped facilitate crafts activities, games, stories, music and special visitors. Maida Vale Baptist Church Children and Families’ Worker, Robyn Douglas said that on one of the days Fun Factory held a ‘Healthy Food Day’ which was supported by Superchef Kerry Duncan and her team, who also volunteered their time. “On our Healthy Food Day we invited families to bring dry food and donated 87 kilograms of food to Foodbank, who came along and talked about how we could be heroes in supporting families in need,” Robyn said. The children were visited by Lakeside Lightning basketballer, Jordan Swing, who is an import player from the US, and two of the guys from How Ridiculous who showed the children a video of their world record basketball shot. The program presented an opportunity for evangelism, with children able to take home a show bag that included activities and
information about the church each day. “During the week we handed out 400 bags,” Robyn said. East Fremantle Baptist Church also runs a holiday program that serves an evangelistic purpose within their community. Construction Zone is their successful annual school holiday program run for primary school children over the course of a week. Out of 100 children that attended the program in July, East Fremantle Baptist Church Pastor Phil Beeck estimates that 70 percent of those were children from the local community. This year’s theme was Egypt. “For five days kids entered the land called Egypt,” said Phil. “We took them on an expedition to find the lost treasure of the Prince of Egypt.” “We explored the story of rescue of the Israelites and the great rescue plan and then God’s rescue plan for their lives,” Phil said. The program has been running for ten years and remains incredibly popular. “I’m always amazed – people can’t believe how good it is, from the props through to the scale of the production and the work of over 60 volunteers,” Phil said. “The kids love it. They want to come back each day, each year and be a part of it.” “We used to advertise, but it gets full so quickly, now, that we just email out to previous attendees and it fills up overnight.”
Super heroes at Maida Vale Baptist Church’s school holiday program.
New hub for Harrisdale
Photo: Simone Jubb
Photo: Maida Vale Baptist Church
Fun for heroes and Egyptians
briefs Kalgoorlie baptisms Rachael Adams, Justin Drage, Martha Fouche and her teenage son Aubrey Fouche were baptised at Kalgoorlie Baptist Church on Sunday 16 August.
Oxford bound South Perth Baptist Church farewelled Vicki and Rodney Lorrimar in early August. Vicki, a graduate of Vose Seminary, has been awarded the FJ Church Overseas Scholarship and commences her studies for the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Oxford University in September.
Pastoral changes Pastor Mark Lilley has been appointed the Senior Pastor of the Carey Community Baptist Church Forrestdale campus. Pastor James Middleton was inducted to the ministry at Craigie Baptist Church on 1 August 2015. Dr Peter Christofides has been appointed the Pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s new Coolbellup campus. Services commenced at Coolbellup on 23 August 2015.
Child abuse book launched Retired Baptist Pastor Fred Stone launched his new book, Safe Places Safe Hands, in late August. The book follows Owenie’s story and offers hope for families affected by child abuse. For more information and to purchase the book, visit Facebook and search for: Book Launch – Safe Places Safe Hands.
Vose books launched Five books were launched at Vose Seminary at the end of July. Two by Principal Dr Brian Harris, The Big Picture: Building Blocks of a Christian World View, and a book he co-edited entitled Revisioning, Renewing, Rediscovering the Triune Center: Essays in Honor of Stanley J Grenz. Another three books launched are by Richard Moore, Paul’s Concept of Justification: God’s Gift of Right Relationship, Under the Southern Cross: The New Testament in Australian English, and Panorama of the Bible.
The Timber Café staff serve the community, providing a home away from home.
Caitlin du Toit
Carey has been bustling with the launch of many long-awaited and exciting projects, including the launch of a new community centre, Timber Café and a Carey-wide rebrand. The Carey Centre, was opened in July and holds various facilities and family resources for the wider community and is the new home for Jump Early Development Services. It also features a large youth space, where Carey’s youth groups meet on Friday nights. The Centre also contains resource rooms which host new and existing programs run by Carey Baptist College, Carey Community Baptist Church and Carey Community Resources. Family resources will increase over the coming months and when the second floor of the Centre is completed.
The facility will also provide a space to showcase the creative talents that abound in the community through art exhibitions and live music performances. “There is a community that has developed around Carey with parents of students at the College and Jump, and soccer families, but there has been nowhere for them to connect and meet,” Senior Pastor David Kilpatrick said. “There have been lots of places for the children but not much for the parents. The ground floor begins to answer that need.”
The Centre also hosts Timber, a brand new café open to the surrounding community. The café has been embraced by the community and it has quickly become a local favourite, with mothers groups and other regulars visiting weekly. “The Carey Centre is a place for friends to gather, for new friendships to be made, for support and encouragement to be found,” David said. “It is a third place that is not work and is not home, but is for community. It is a place for the people of our surrounding community to feel at home.” Carey also continues to prepare for the opening of their second campus in Forrestdale next year. This campus will initially cater for Kindergarten to Year 4, but will grow each year to eventually be a Kindergarten to Year 12 campus. Enrolments are now open and interested families are encouraged to apply soon as places are limited.
feature SEPTEMBER 2015
If there is one issue sure to polarise opinion in Australia it’s our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and, in particular, how we respond to people arriving by boat. Should we welcome them with open arms or detain them on Manus Island? Are they ‘genuine refugees’, ‘queue jumpers’, or ‘economic migrants’? Do they present a threat to us? My passion for this issue was ignited in 2010. I was attending a conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and had the opportunity to meet some refugees from Chin State in Burma. The Chin are an ethnic, and predominantly Christian, minority group who are systematically brutalised by their government. In 2011 Doctors Without Borders surveyed households in Chin State and their report highlighted just how horrific life is. In the previous 12 month period: • 92% of households had a member who was conscripted into forced labour by the military; • 15% of households had a member tortured; • 5% of households had a member abducted and disappear; • 50% of households had their home attacked; and • 3% of households had a member raped as an act of political violence. This was all in one 12 month period. Persecution like this has seen tens of thousands of Chin flee their homeland. Many fled to Malaysia, where they are recognised as refugees. But life remains incredibly difficult. The Chin I met in Malaysia were not allowed to work; their children were not entitled to attend Malaysians schools; the health system was accessible only on a full user pays basis; refugees were subject to arbitrary arrest, detention, and caning; and there were instances of refugees being transported to the border with Thailand and sold into slavery. My Chin friends couldn’t return to their homeland and couldn’t create a new life in Malaysia, so what were they to do? Most pinned their hopes on being resettled in a country such as Australia or the USA. But the wait was long and uncertain. Twenty-seven
Internally displaced person: Someone who has been forced to flee their home due to persecution or conflict but remains within the borders of their homeland. Refugee: Someone who has been forced to flee their homeland, or is unable to return to their homeland, due to a reasonable fear of persecution, and has been assessed by a government recognised authority to be a refugee. Asylum Seeker: Someone who claims they have been forced to flee their homeland, or is unable to return to their homeland, due to a reasonable fear of persecution, and has not yet been assessed by a government recognised authority to be a refugee.
countries have resettlement programs, and each year between them offer resettlement to less than one percent of the world’s refugees. That means the equivalent of a 100 to 200 year wait, unless you can make it onto the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) high priority list, which reduces your wait to four to ten years. This is the reality for the 19 million refugees in our world. It’s easy to think that the world’s refugees are fleeing to industrialised countries such as Australia, but they’re not. They are fleeing to countries that border their own. Jordan, with a population of just six
million people is host to almost 3,000,000 refugees. Lebanon, with a population of four and a half million is host to over one million refugees. Kenya, with an average income just a fraction of Australia’s, has over half a million refugees within its borders. Australia has around 35,000 refugees still in need of a solution. When a Sudanese family flees to Kenya, a Syrian family crosses the border into Jordan, or a Chin family makes its way to Malaysia, they have three options for the future. First, they can wait until it is safe to go back home. Second, they can put down roots in the country to which they have fled and build a new life. Or third, they can apply for resettlement
in a country such as Australia, the United States, or the United Kingdom. That is the theory at least. The reality is that these options are not available to any but a tiny minority of refugees. In 2014, less than one percent of refugees were able to return to their home country; less than one percent were offered the opportunity to become citizens of the countries to which they had fled; and less than one percent were offered the opportunity to resettle in a third country. This leaves 98 percent of the world’s refugees in a state of limbo, living in countries where they are not afforded the possibility of establishing a life, and with no prospect of finding a new life somewhere else. These 19 million human beings need places they can be safe and live decently, but the international community is dismally failing to provide this for them. Australia is part of this collective failure. Imagine for a moment that the world community agreed to equitably share responsibility for protecting the 19 million refugees in the world today. If the allocation was on the basis of wealth, Australia, with 2.34 percent of global
Top 10 Refugee Host Nations and Australia (End 2014)
2. Palestinian Territories
Above: A child displaced by the fighting in Darfur smiles from the folds of her mother’s scarf from the El Geneina displaced camp in West Darfur, Sudan.
Left: Unidentified women live in the Dadaab refugee camp where hundreds of thousands of Somalis wait for help because of hunger.
Below: Syrian refugees.
income, would provide protection to around 450,000 refugees. We don’t. Of the 19 million refugees in the world today, we currently afford protection to less than 40,000. This means other countries have to provide protection, and they are mainly a handful of poorer countries. Our response has been twofold. First, we operate a resettlement program that each year sees around 11,000 refugees welcomed to start a new life in Australia. It is a well-run program and a beautiful gift to those 11,000. Second, we have implemented the harshest regime in the industrialised world against those who arrive on our shores asking for protection. If one of my Chin friends, knowing he could not go back home, could not stay in Malaysia, and would be years, even decades, waiting to be resettled in Australia, was to pay a people smuggler to get him to Australia, he would most likely be transported to Indonesia and from there board a boat for Australia. The Australian Navy would most likely intercept the boat at sea and send it back. If the boat managed to make Australian territory my Chin friend would be sent to Nauru or Manus Island where he will be placed in a detention centre, offered no time frame as to when his claim for asylum will be assessed, and once found to have a legitimate claim will
never set foot in Australia. He will spend many years here, and like hundreds of others will likely become severely depressed and lose hope. This is the brutal and ugly face of a collective failure by the world’s nations to provide protection to refugees. To correct this we need each member of the international community, including Australia, to play its part. First, we need to work harder to help countries stop persecuting their minority groups, so that fewer people are forced to flee and those who have fled can return home. Diplomacy and a strong aid program are key measures to achieve this. Second, we need members of the international community to equitably share responsibility for protecting refugees who cannot return home. This means industrialised countries like Australia must accept more refugees than we do at present; host countries with manageable numbers such as Malaysia and Indonesia must improve conditions for refugees and offer pathways for them to become citizens; and the handful of host countries with overwhelming numbers of refugees must be assisted by the rest of us. What would it mean for Australia to make a start on this? First, we could substantially increase the number of refugees we accept. We have an annual immigration program of 190,000. We could quite comfortably double, triple or even quadruple our refugee intake. Second, we could find positive rather than punitive ways to stop people making the dangerous sea journey from Indonesia to Australia. People get on boats because it is too dangerous to return home, they are unwelcome where they are, and only a tiny fraction are offered resettlement in a third country. They are stuck. We can change that. Give people some certainty about when and where they will be settled and they have no need to board a boat, we have no reason to lock them up, and there will be no boats to turn around. This could be achieved via an agreement with Indonesia to jointly process and settle the rather small number of refugees that enter their country. Meanwhile we work to expand
this agreement to include other countries in our region, until we have a system in which the supply of the protection matches the demand. We have done it before. In just three years after the Second World War we welcomed over 150,000 refugees. In the 1980s Australia, the US, Malaysia and Vietnam formed an agreement to ensure protection for those fleeing Vietnam, and there were years we welcomed more than 20,000 refugees. Surely part of the prophetic witness of the church must be to call the global refugee crisis for what it is, a failure to love our neighbour as we would love ourselves. We can and should debate the best ways to operationalise love. But it seems undeniable to me that our current response is not driven by love and falls far short of what love demands. We can’t do it all on our own, but we can do it in partnership with other nations. We must, for every refugee the international community leaves languishing for decades in a camp, every boat we turn back, every asylum seeker we subject to the dehumanising conditions of indefinite detention, it is as if we are doing it to Jesus [Matthew 25]. He and they deserve better. For more information, visit ajustcause.com.au/refugees, read Boundless Plains to Share? Australia, Jesus and Refugees (available from ajustcause.com.au), or arrange a representative from A Just Cause to conduct a workshop in your church. Scott Higgins is an ordained Baptist pastor from New South Wales and the founder and Director of A Just Cause which facilitates education, advocacy, and service in four areas: refugees and asylum seekers; environment; disadvantage; and indigenous wellbeing. Scott has extensive experience in church based advocacy and education concerning justice.
10 news SEPTEMBER 2015
Duty to care and to serve
Hoping for a United Nations place to migrate to a safer country. The Principal of a community school for 120 children at the age of 20. Ajay escaped from Chin State in Myanmar with his parents and two sisters in mid-2011. The Myanmar (Burmese) military arrived unannounced in Ajay’s village and conscripted him and his father at gunpoint to carry provision for the military. In the depth of predawn darkness, the pair fled from their captors and ran, stumbling through the jungle to their village. Within hours, as marked men, the family fled to Malaysia, longing for a safe place to live. Ajay was just 16 years old, newly graduated from high school. He had spent two months at college, but limited family resources forced him
home to his village where the military found him.
But prayer is the only hope we have. The journey to Kuala Lumpur was desperate and full of danger: an agent who demanded cash payment to connect the family with a ‘carrier’ who hid them in a truck for an unforgettable journey in stifling heat through border crossings in remote jungle locations; hunger and thirst for days; and then the new experience of the capital city of Malaysia.
international briefs Ramadan breakthrough Train International reports leaders of a Muslim village of 500 people in the heart of Kosova sent a delegation to a distant Christian village during the recent month of Ramadan. They asked the Christians to visit their village, share their story of conversion and explain the gospel. Nine followers of Jesus made the trip and were welcomed hospitably in the village. They shared their story and the good news with 27 Kosovars immediately responding, asking to follow the way of Christ. Two days later, 27 had grown to 300.
Pastors free Rev. Yat Michael and Rev. Peter Reith, the South Sudanese clergymen who were on trial in Khartoum, Sudan on serious criminal charges have been released following a court hearing on 5 August, reported by Christian Solidarity Worldwide. They faced at least six charges, two of which carry the death penalty or life imprisonment.
Chinese protest Premier Christian Radio has informed listeners that Christians in China have launched a campaign to protest against the removal of crosses from churches in the country. The Make and Carry a Cross campaign is a reaction to the state removal of crosses on religious buildings by authorities. Organisers have asked Christians of all denominations to make crosses and carry them
with them in Zhejiang province, a particularly Christian area, as a sign of rebellion. This comes after the authorities claimed crosses were removed for health and safety reasons to comply with building regulations.
Reaching unconnected Faith Comes By Hearing (FCBH) continues with an ambitious agenda to provide digital Bible access to the most remote and hard to reach regions in the world. FCBH has awarded a contract to Integrity Applications Incorporated (IAI) to determine the best way to provide the digital Bible to ‘unconnected’ people in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia and China by leveraging space and telecommunications capabilities. FCBH Vice-President Troy Carl, said IAI are leaders in finding communication solutions for the most difficult problems.
Deaf find Jesus Christian Aid Mission reports when a Christian organisation based in Lebanon started reaching out to deaf people five years ago they discovered that they were an unreached people group. Introducing sign language into the ministry’s existing outreaches to the primarily Muslim people in Lebanon has seen nearly 90 deaf people become followers of Jesus. Two groups of 40 to 45 people meet regularly for prayer. A director of the work said they have witnessed miracles among the Muslim people and many are turning to Jesus.
Ajay found work in a restaurant, but after a knife attack by a fellow worker he left. His family was struggling as Ajay’s father developed diabetes and couldn’t work in the construction industry where he had found work. It was a confronting day when his father said to Ajay, “You my son are now the one to lead our family.” During the days of unemployment Ajay noticed many children running around the community. There was no school for these children who have no legal standing in the community and no rights to education. So Ajay started a school for young children teaching them maths and language, society and geography. Within a short time there were 120 children in
Photo: Jill Birt
Ajay* lives in a vertical slum in Kuala Lumpur. Stuck in a country without documents. A person of no standing. Surviving on a meagre income.
Twenty year old refugee Ajay carries the weight of responsibility for his family and a school of 120 Chin children in Kuala Lumpur.
three rooms on the top floor of a block of flats, the vertical slum where eight to ten people live in a two room unit. With five teachers and very limited resources Ajay leads the school, bringing hope and courage
to families who have so little. “I have lost so much faith over the years since we left our homeland. But prayer is the only hope we have,” Ajay said. * Not actual name.
news 11 SEPTEMBER 2015
Iranian refugees find hope Jill Birt
Photo: Jill Birt
Canadian based Pastor Faheem Moini devotes Sundays and Thursdays to teach and disciple followers of Jesus across the Middle East by live broadcasts.
Pastor Faheem Moini broadcasts Sunday services in Persian to a worldwide audience from Calvary Baptist Church in Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada.
During the Sunday services text messages will continually arrive from around the world – Doha, Iran, Turkey and many more. Pastor Moini continues to expound the message as questions and comments arrive. A group of singers lead the congregation in songs of worship, all with the haunting melodies and rhythm of Middle Eastern music. The songs convey their grateful hearts for what Isa (Jesus) has done in their lives. “I usually teach for an hour on Thursdays, live streamed, then spend the rest of the day following up one on one with people, mostly from Turkey and Iran,” Faheem said.
Faheem left Iran more than two decades ago, spent time as a refugee in Pakistan before arriving in Canada where he is now a citizen. He married Akram and they now have five children who think of themselves as Canadian rather than Iranian, their traditional roots. A ministry to Persian speakers in Vancouver developed as Faheem visited prisons and mental institutions where Persian speakers were being held. “So often I’d see people trapped in mental institutions who were frustrated and angry just because there was no one to translate for them, they had no English,” Faheem said. “There was nothing medically wrong but so much misunderstanding which led to angry outbursts then sedation.” “It just kept going and getting worse from some.” As the church grew, Faheem sensed God was asking him to reach out to a wider group of Persian speakers. Because of his background, he thought that meant Pakistan, but he felt God directed him to Turkey.
“We heard of a Christian family that had been denied refugee status so I wrote to the United Nations confirming the family are Christians and deserve refugee status.” “Long story short, they were granted visas to the USA,” Faheem said. In September 2015 Faheem will travel to Turkey for the fourth successive year. Already 65 people have asked to be baptised while he is there. Many registrations for the teaching seminars he will conduct in several Turkish cities have already been submitted. Calvary Baptist Church Senior Pastor Chris Price will travel with Pastor Faheem. The majority of people the pastors will meet with are refugees from Iran, seeking a safe place to live. “These people have left everything because of their belief in Jesus. It is not safe for them in their homeland,” Faheem said. “Now they are in the United Nations system, waiting for a visa to a country where they will be able to live in peace.”
Gateway for Freeset Jill Birt
The transfer of ownership is the result of months of hard work ensuring everything was ‘just right’ to complete the purchase. Two founders of Freeset, Kerry and Annie Hilton, were witnesses to the official signing and handover of the ownership papers.
Freeset provides employment for nearly 200 women. The 2,000 square metre building stands on the gateway to one of the largest red light districts in Asia where more than 10,000 women and young girls are trapped in the sex trade. Freeset’s dream is to see Sonagacchi transformed into a place of freedom. The building will provide an ideal place for new sustainable freedom businesses and space for social services for those seeking freedom.
For the last 14 years, Freeset has provided a vocational alternative to the sex trade for at-risk and trafficked women in Kolkata. It is a business for freedom. Today, Freeset provides employment for nearly 200 women.
After almost two years of planning and fundraising Freeset Business Incubator in August became the proud owner of property strategically located at the entrance to Kolkata’s largest red light district, Sonagacchi.
Members of the Kolkata Freeset Business Incubator team witness the signing of purchase documents for the Gateway building at the entrance of the Sonagacchi red light district.
12 in conversation SEPTEMBER 2015
The plum tree in the desert Naomi Reed is an award-winning Australian author. Recently she was in Perth talking about her new book The Plum Tree in the Desert and to run a workshop on storytelling.
How did The Plum Tree in the Desert come about? In 2012, I was struggling. I’d finished my fifth book and put on a big launch … and then one of our closest friends passed away from a brain tumour. It was the saddest time. For months, my husband and I felt shocked and empty. I sat at my desk and couldn’t write anything at all. Our friend Peter and his wife had been friends with us for 20 years, in Nepal and Australia. They were the guardians of our children. It didn’t seem possible that he was no longer with us. We grieved. Then after six months, the International Director of Interserve contacted me and asked me whether I would like to write a book for Interserve, telling some of the best stories of faith and mission through the eyes of Interserve partners, in Asia and the Arab World. I said ‘yes’, mainly because I knew it was an incredible privilege, but also because I knew I needed it, for me. I needed to hear again, the reasons to get out of bed and keep going and not lose heart. I wanted to find out what kept the partners going through their hard times, through their struggles and deserts, because I knew they’d had them as well. So, in early 2013, I went to the Interserve office in Kuala Lumpur and we began to make a plan. We wanted to tell a range of stories of people serving cross-culturally, in a variety of ministry contexts. I then emailed ten of the possible partners, asking them about what they’d been involved with, as well as their struggles and their joys in service. They replied by email, answering my questions. In response to the question about challenges, they described bombings, health epidemics, near rapes, rocket attacks, being held at gunpoint, seeing death in the raw, being forced to leave the country, witnessing the murder of their colleagues, and it went on.
But then, in answer to my question about what they’d learnt, there was a longer list – all about the goodness of God and His kindness, and what it means to persevere, to trust Him, to keep going, even when life is hard and the men are barging through the door. They said that even then, God is still God and we can trust Him, and we’re all sinners and hopeless, and hopelessly loved. And I sat there in Kuala Lumpur and thought – this book is for me, this book is for all of us – for all of us who’ve had times when we’ve struggled to get out of bed. Because the reason the partners could keep going and not give up (even though I’m sure they felt like it), was because of God’s grace and mercy to all of us. I couldn’t wait to collect the stories. I couldn’t wait to start writing again. Describe how you collected the stories. In most cases, I travelled with Darren to meet the partners in Asia and the Arab world. We then followed them around and I asked lots of interesting questions. They told me amazing stories while I wrote madly in my notebook, ate spicy potato curry, caught jeep rides through the jungle and mini buses in Central Asia. I even figured out the London tube. It was wonderful! There are ten stories in the book. Do you have a favourite? Every time I write a story, it’s my favourite … until I write the next one. But I’ll tell you about Iris. She’s a Chennai raised Indian Interserve partner who has been involved with medical and gospel work in the jungle of Orissa, for 40 years. For the first 15 years, Iris and her husband Paul lived in the village, with no water or electricity, and they spent all day treating patients and sharing their faith. And for the first 15 years, nobody from the Bondo tribal people came to faith in Jesus. They were interested, but they didn’t come to faith, and they didn’t ask for baptism. And every month, for 15 years, Iris and Paul had to fill in forms from their Indian mission society asking how many villages they’d visited, how many people they’d shared the gospel with and how many people had taken baptism. And every month, for 15 years, the answer to the third question was nil. Nobody. That’s a lot of months. 180. They were both doing much needed medical work and helping the
Tell us about the conference you were in Perth for recently. I was in Perth in mid-August for the Interserve Encounters Day, which was wonderful. I told stories from my new book and I led a storytelling workshop in the afternoon. Everyone was very encouraging and I loved the way they shared their stories. It was actually my third time in Perth and this time I also managed to visit Kings Park and catch a glimpse of the Botanic Garden. Gorgeous!
Naomi Reed with Iris whose story is included in Namoi’s latest book, The Plum Tree in the Desert.
community, but it was hard. By 1986, they’d used up all their money and even sold all of Iris’ jewellery. Then that same year, Paul became very sick. His kidneys weren’t working and they went south to the hospital in Vellore. Paul had an operation and he died in the middle of it. Iris was 42 and they had four children, the youngest was 9 months old. And everybody said to her, “Don’t go back to Malkangiri, stay here in Chennai, set up a medical practice.” But nine days later, Iris and the children got in a jeep and returned to the village and the people in Malkangiri. She went back to seeing patients from sunrise till sunset. And the people noticed and said to each other, “You see, she loves us. That’s why she came back. The God she loves must be real.” Within six months, there were 36 people asking for baptism. And now there are 5,000 believers in Malkangiri. It’s amazing. That’s what God is like. He loves us relentlessly, and in response to His love, we get to pour out His love, to the people with whom He’s called us to be. We trust that He will do His work, in His way, in His timing.
What other challenges did you experience? It was difficult trying to juggle the travel and the interviews with the rest of life! Our eldest son was doing his final year of high school and my husband Darren was trying to finish his PhD. But everyone was wonderfully supportive and we all got to the end of our projects. It’s amazing the way God provides and enables, in the things that seem too big, as well as in the seemingly inconsequential daily tasks. What other writing projects do you have planned? After I finished the manuscript for The Plum Tree in the Desert, I took some advice from a fellow Christian in the media and he suggested that I turn some of my writing and books into stories that would suit radio or TV. Since then, I’ve been writing and recording ‘Everyday Stories with Naomi Reed’. They are 60 second radio segments that address issues of faith and mission, in everyday life. They’re
being aired on Inspire Digital Radio as well as stations around the country. Prospective radio producers can access them on Media Point or on my website. I’m also working on a TV series. You never know what God will do next! For more information, visit www.naomireed.info
leadership 13 SEPTEMBER 2015
Not drowning, just waving: Six thoughts on serving without sinking in your local church Rory Shiner 1. First, the truth is the other way around. Without serving you will sink as a Christian. To wash one another’s feet, to share the gospel, to care for the poor, to build up the body of Christ – that is the Christian life. If you don’t want a life shaped by service, there are other religions. This one is about serving. 2. Because the first comment is true, we sometimes believe that unless I’m drowning, I’m not really serving. No! It’s true we are to pour out our lives for others. And it is true that it will be costly. But if you are drowning in your service – if you feel constantly overwhelmed, anxious, exhausted, angry, susceptible to elaborate revenge fantasies and so on – don’t take that as a sign that you must be doing something right. It could be a sign that you’ve taken on too much. 3. As you seek to serve, put needs before gifts. That is, don’t first think, “What am I good at?” Rather ask, “What are the needs?” Which is a variation on “Who is my neighbour?” That is what Christ did. He didn’t think
of His gifts, but our needs. Jesus didn’t die on the cross because He was really good at it, but because we needed it. 4. Of course, your gifts are not irrelevant. God has made you you, and in some way or other your ‘youness’ is God’s supply for the church’s needs [1 Corinthians 12:12-26]. God has attended to our needs by means of your gifts. As you serve, you’ll no doubt discover that you’re good at serving in certain areas. It is the path of wisdom to foster and extend in those areas of service in which you are gifted. 5. Every yes is also a no. When you say, “Yes, I’ll be at that soup kitchen”, you’re also saying, “No, I won’t be visiting Mum in hospital”. If you say, “Yes, I’ll spend every night with church people and in church programs”, you’re saying no to bearing witness to Jesus among your work friends and social network. So consider the ‘no’ in your ‘yes’.
Of course, the person to whom you say no to won’t always know your circumstances. The people at soup kitchen don’t know your Mum is sick. The pastor
desperately trying to get the new program off the ground doesn’t know that all your meaningful relationships with unbelievers are withering on the vine. Don’t worry – God knows, and He loves you to death. Play, as they say, to the gallery of One. 6. Your local church should be a place you serve, but not necessarily the only or main sphere of your service. The building up of the body of Christ is a task to which we are all called as Christians [1 Corinthians 12]. But of course our service extends beyond that. Indeed, in a very real sense the purpose of the event of church – the church gathered – is to act as base camp. It’s where we go to spur one another on in our service. The older liturgies preserved something of this. The service doesn’t begin with the words ‘come in here to love and serve the Lord’, but ends with the words, ‘go in peace to love and serve the Lord’. Rory Shiner is the Senior Pastor at Providence Church, Perth, and is currently completing a PhD through Macquarie University on the life and work of Donald Robinson.
No blame analysis One of the awe-inspiring moments in nature is walking through an area of bush that has been destroyed by fire and seeing the regrowth emerge. On closer inspection the miracle deepens. Some of the new life emerging is from the hardest seeds and nuts in nature. The devastation of the bush fire has also released new life that would have remained trapped without the shattering intervention. No one would wish for the destruction that bush fires bring and yet they play an important role in the cycle of life and the balance of nature. Without holding the analogy too tightly, I am constantly reminded while working with churches that some of the most
beautiful new growth comes out of some of the most devastating circumstances. In some cases, by God’s grace, intractable situations and deep-rooted sin can be confronted and dealt with as a result of conflict and disagreement. The problem with this noble account of good outcomes from bad situations is that it is not inevitable. We can all quote situations where conflict and division have brought deep pain without any good outcomes. So which factor determines the path that will triumph?
In my experience the answer is simple: Blame. When conflict arises we are quick to blame and slow to analyse. Blame is easy, it is emotive, it tends to be illogical and it is often built on haphazard collections of assumptions. No one, not even those at the centre of the disagreement, experience all the elements and aspects of church divisions. Yet we are quick to back our own perspective and blame those that we don’t like or don’t trust. Blame tends to obscure our thinking and mislead us in attributing attention to the wrong factors. That inevitably means there will be no real resolution and we are prone to repeat the same mistakes again in the future. An alternative approach is to examine the circumstances that led to the conflict and try
to ascertain the real factors behind the conflict or division. This process is called ‘no blame’ analysis or ‘root cause’ analysis. It is not the only way to move forward after conflict, but it is practised in many industries, including medicine and aviation, and is designed to gather information from the people involved. This allows the possibility of analysing the real causes of the problem without people worrying about fear of punishment or retribution. Having been involved in a number of cases with churches over the last five years, I have personally seen some of the benefits that emerge. If we want our churches to be places where we can learn from the things that go wrong, so that we are not doomed to keep repeating the same mistakes, we need
processes to help us achieve that aim. An external, no blame analysis is a good way to begin that journey.
Photo: Jill Birt
Steve Ingram is the Director of Deep Well Leadership.
14 feature SEPTEMBER 2015
Yatal sing good news to French Jill Birt
Based in the French provincial town of Grenoble, the band consists of five musicians: JeanMarc Boggetto (Guitar/Banjo/ Vocals), Charles Butin (Violin/ Guitar/Piano/Vocals), David Charrier (Hang/Guitar/Banjo/ Vocals), Charlie Beboua (Bass) and Yves Charrier (Percussion). Initially they focused on instrumental music but three years ago they boldly launched into writing words for their compositions. David brings a unique sound to the group with the Hang, a UFO shaped steel instrument of two half shells of steel sheet glued together that produces a haunting sound. As well as leading worship in their home church in Grenoble,
over the summer months the group has experimented with community concerts in the public squares of provincial towns. For these events they wrote specific music to engage people through story, capturing people’s attention through the characters of the songs and carefully layering Biblical worldview truth within the music. “There was little Christian music from a Protestant perspective written in French, so we wanted to do that and engage our local community,” Charlie said. The majority of worship music for the evangelical community is translated from English, limiting the heart of the music for a French community.
Old hymn inspires
Matt Redman has been inspired by the traditional hymn, ‘It Is Well With My Soul’.
Jill Birt Singer songwriter Matt Redman’s new song, ‘It Is Well With My Soul’ came from a collaboration with his wife Beth, drawing inspiration and using the chorus from the old hymn by Horatio Spafford. “I love songs that are all about hope and being the same kind
of worshipper in the trials of life and in the bright shiny sunshiny times of life,” Matt said. “There is something about worshippers – we have a buoyancy about us.” “No matter what happens you keep returning to the surface,” he said. The song’s verses touch on some of the hard times in life. “Those hard times are really the biggest test of what kind of worshipper we are too.” “I’m hoping this song is going to help people have hope, and I hope it’s going to help people trust God,” Matt said.
Photo: Luc Charrier
Progressive folk French music group, Yatal, are using their creativity to engage their post-Christian community with the good news about Jesus.
Yatal use their musical gifts to spread the news of Jesus.
Currently the band is composing songs for their second album which they hope to release in May 2016. French Canadian musician Sebastian Demrey is helping with technical expertise and mentoring the compositions of David and Jean-Marc.
The band is keen to collaborate with churches for concerts and worship events as well as participate in community festivals where there is no Christian influence. Their first album, Ticket en main was launched in 2012 and since then they have played about
50 live shows in France and Québec, Canada. Their strong desire is to share the good news of living life to the full with Jesus where ever there are French speaking people. For more information, visit www.yatal.fr
intermission 15 SEPTEMBER 2015
A minute with ...
Photo: Jill Birt
Hillsong United The new United album is filled with subtle worship to bring you into the presence of God and stand in awe of who He is. ‘Touch the Sky’ is a call to a prayer of repentence, that as we lay down our life and will to seek the life and will of God we will experience His overwhelming love. This is followed by the track ‘Street Called Mercy’ which supports this theme by conveying that we can search everywhere for fulfilment but will only end up empty until we find ourselves at the feet of Jesus, wrapped in His mercy. Let the tones and rhythms of Empires wash over you and bring you face-to-face with the Maker of the universe.
Carey Community Baptist Church Senior Pastor David Kilpatrick
23 Blast Five Loaves Entertainment 23 Blast is an amazing true story of a high school football star that seems to be on his way to the big league when tragedy strikes. Travis has to deal with the loss of his dreams and facing a life of disability, as a young man, he understandably does not cope well. Through some tough love and a revelation from God, Travis and those around him turn his tragedy into an inspiring testimony showing what we can achieve if we are willing to just step out in faith. Rated PG it would be good to review before younger viewers see the movie as there is footage of a young man not walking God’s path but his turn around is also very inspiring and encouraging to see. Recently at the cinema, this is due to be released on DVD in October. You can pre-order now, it will be a great addition to your movie collection.
What led you to this role? God really led me to this role. I was enjoying myself as a lawyer and contributing to the church by being on the Board, however God had other ideas. Where is the church located? In Harrisdale, in the southern suburbs of Perth. What time are services held? We hold a service at 9:30am and a youth focused service at 6:30pm every Sunday. How and when did the church start? The church was a plant from Mount Pleasant and Riverton Baptist Churches. Carey Baptist College was established at the time as its main missional platform.
Who makes up the ministry team? We have an awesome team including a family and children’s pastor, worship director, two youth and young adult pastors, creative ministries and events worker, and two administrative staff members. Apart from two staff, all are part-time. In addition, Mark Lilley will lead the new Forrestdale church plant.
The Oath Frank Peretti An ancient sin. A long forgotten oath. A town with a deadly secret. As with many of Frank Peretti’s books, The Oath is not for the fainthearted. Set in a small mining town, The Oath looks at how sin, even hidden sin, impacts not just us but a whole community and the generations that follow. Frank Peretti is a brilliant author with the power to paint vivid pictures that draw you into his novels and almost allows you to experience the emotions and experiences of his characters. So good on many levels, a beautifully crafted novel that can be ‘just a great read’ to ‘a brilliant teaching to wake us from our cultural cosy slumber’. Look for the moral to the story and be challenged to live a more holy life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What is a feature of your church or ministry you’d like to share? God has blessed us with an amazing platform into the community with the school and Jump childcare program, however the church has never had a place it can be clearly visible during the week. The newly opened Carey Community Centre will provide this. A final thought … Carey turns 20 next year. The future is exciting.
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16 news SEPTEMBER 2015
Photo: Craig Fildes
Fellowship off and racing
Albany’s go-kart ministry is bringing men together in fellowship and providing opportunities, on and off the track.
Jacqueline Outred A new ministry in Albany is pitting men against one another on the track, all in the name of good fun. A group of men from Albany Baptist Church come together on a regular basis to race go-karts on a dirt track in the local area.
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“The main ministry is to encourage other men, be it nonChristian men or men who are just struggling to get involved in other activities within the church, to come together away from the church atmosphere, but still mingling with Christian men,” said ministry coordinator Craig Fildes. It was started to offer an alternative setting for Christian fellowship. “We stop at lunchtime for a barbecue and have a sharing time where we discuss a range of topics that are related to men and what areas each of us may be struggling with,” said Craig. Even though it fosters healthy and spirited competition, the group is focussed on relationships. “It gets some people involved in church ministry that otherwise wouldn’t get involved,” Craig said. “This gets them involved in our discussion times and gets them thinking about Christian
life. [We are] a group of men [who are] there for each other.” The ministry started in August last year with a small group, but has now grown to over 20 go-karts. “We have about five father and son or father son-in-law combinations, which has been a great way to spend family time together that probably wouldn’t happen otherwise,” said Craig. Having only been operating for a year, Craig says the interest is still growing and reflects a need within the community. “Our numbers are still growing. We do not advertise our race days – attendance is by invitation only,” he said. “This is done to keep on top of safety and to ensure there are enough karts for everyone.” But, even though it is still early days, Craig acknowledges there is plenty of potential for the ministry to grow. “The ministry is still very new we are still developing the ministry role and what it can achieve,” Craig said. “[The Ministry] is mainly to have fun and we hope that other people then know that being a Christian can be fun.”
Basketball with a difference Maclain Bruce The Western Australian Baptist Basketball Association is nearing the business end of the season, with the finals series set to run throughout September. It has been another successful year for the Association, with 90 teams from over 30 churches and schools going head to head each Saturday at Lakeside Recreation Centre in Bibra Lake. Teams are spread across 16 junior, mixed and senior grades, ranging from the highly competitive Men’s A grade division to the social mixed competition. Originating in the 1960s the competition has grown and evolved to offer Christians and non-
Christians a platform to come together, play basketball in a high quality league and be connected with local churches. A unique feature of the competition is that each game commences with the two competing teams coming together in the centre of the court to say a quick prayer before tip-off. The 2015 season will culminate with grand finals and the announcement of most valuable player award recipients on 19 September.