For many pastors in the metropolitan area, meeting with other pastors monthly either for coffee or at their cluster catch-ups is a natural part of ministry life. In regional areas, however, this can be more of a challenge. Long distances between the townships where Baptist pastors are located can often make them feel disconnected and isolated from each other. So, in response to this, Regional Minister’s Fellowship’s (RMF’s) were initiated.
An RMF is a gathering of regional Victoria-based Baptist pastors. Over the course of three days and two nights, pastors come together in worship, teaching, praying, reflecting and rest, as well as a chance to share updates on their ministries and to hear from and be encouraged by people from the BUV Support Hub.
Two of our Regional Pastors are Rev Robert Hayman in the East and Rev Graeme Semple in the West. Apart from their making certain that the fellowship is a time of rest and encouragement, the Regional Pastors also makes sure to listen to the needs of each individual pastors and address any concerns and issues that they may have—all of which are usually done informally through conversations over breakfast, lunch or dinner.
With the uncertainty of COVID-19 throughout 2020 and the toll of the government-mandated restrictions and lockdowns, our most recent RMFs have been extra special times, where everyone has finally been able to gather together in person. Pastors valued the chance to meet in person even more than before and they are even more grateful to be able to share their unique experiences together.
This year, the South-East region RMF was held in Lakes Entrance with more than twenty people attending and a similar number gathered in the South-West region RMF which was held in Halls Gap. Rev Daniel Bullock, the BUV’s Director Mission and Ministries, shared at both gatherings, giving pastors a sense of the big picture of what is happening in our churches and also providing insights on what the future of church leadership looks like post-pandemic.
Generations and Emerging Leaders Pastor Kimberly Smith also led a session on “Raising Up and Keeping Volunteers” and the Mission Catalysts Team shared about the latest developments on Church Planting and Placemaking/Placemakers. Andrew Naylor, our Partnership and Development Pastor, shared about the kind of partnerships churches can be involved in and updated pastors on the ways the bushfire appeal fund have been used in supporting those who have been affected.
The RMFs are a great way for pastors and spouses to get to know each other better and to share the joys and challenges of ministry with people who are also on the journey. We are so thankful for the incredible work our pastors do in rural areas of Victoria and are encouraged by their faithfulness throughout this last year.