NOURISH – A Pastor’s Heart
On Friday, 21st October 2022, Baptist pastors and spouses from all over Victoria gathered together in person for Nourish! Nourish is a day for all pastors and leaders to be enriched through messages, stories, fellowship, connections and of course, good food!
The theme for October Nourish was A Pastor’s heart – What does a pastor, who loves God deeply, desire in their heart? What do they long to see most in the lives of the people they minister to?
- Pastors long for people to feel cared for as part of a loving community.
- Pastors long for people to grow and keep growing to become more like Jesus.
- Pastors long for people to know the living hope that comes from faith in Christ.
There is no doubt that most pastors would long to find these three things in their churches - care, growth, and hope. This is what so many pastors desire deep in their being. Often what pastors want most for others is what they most need for themselves. Pastors need to know that they are cared for, to keep growing in their faith and ministry, and to be constantly reminded of the hope they have in Christ.
After a wonderful time of worship led by Rev Ranel Lamputi and the band comprised of BUV Pastors and staff, Rev Daniel Bullock opened the day with an acknowledgement of country. Before introducing the topic, Daniel also acknowledged the presence of some Pastors from flood affected areas and assured them of our prayers and support. Some of these Pastors spoke later of their gratitude for the messages of support and hope and the witness they have been able to be in their community.
Rev Ricky Law, from Melbourne Chinese Baptist Church, was the first speaker of the day on the topic of CARE. Ricky used the CARE acronym to discuss the challenges in these days of delivering care in the church context. Community is splitting, Availability is questionable, Response plans are not working, Expression of finding belonging.
Ricky went on to say that even though there are all these challenges with caring for congregations and communities, God has always provided. He encouraged us to let go of our desire, be willing to be open to God and observe His ways, and not be afraid to pray and ask God to give us patience when we cannot understand. He also encouraged us to ask God to grant us the courage to step into new opportunities.
Rev Jonathan Stark then spoke in the second session on the concept of GROWTH. Jonathan reflected that just like growing upper body strength, spiritual growth is not automatic. It takes an intentional commitment. And some pastors here today have been feeling recently a sense of deep joy, as people who have been missing, have once again reconnected after being disengaged and out of community, reconnecting and beginning to practice their spiritual habits, prayer, serving, connecting again and it makes you smile.
Because…Pastors who delight themselves in the Lord, long to see the people they pastor grow, because this is what God desires too! This is what God wants! Just as Paul longed for growth, so do we. Christ-like character that begins with Christ, and continues in him.
He encouraged us to make three commitments to God:
- I will keep this desire burning – it is from God
- I will remember – it’s God who make things grow
- I will believe – that best time to grow is now
Rev Chris Barnden spoke in the third session on Hope with reference to the story in Jeremiah 32: 1-2, 6-15. In this passage, Jeremiah realised that something else was at play – that the hand of God was still at work – and at work in a deeper way.
Our hope as Christians is not a simplistic wish to be preserved from trouble, but a certainty and confidence that sustains us when trouble comes. It reminds us that the present is not all there is. Our hope gives us perspective on the present, keeps our focus on the long game and not just our immediate situation. Our hope is not based on simple positive thinking, which is hard to come by when you’re up against it! Our hope is based on knowing and remembering that Almighty God didn’t desert his son when everyone thought he was done for, instead, amazingly bringing life out of death. And finally, our hope outlasts trouble – it’s the certainty that God is with us to strengthen us while we’re struggling and enduring, it’s the assurance of his mighty power working within us, and it’s the confidence that God is also waiting on the other side when we make it through.
Pastors enjoyed time to chat and connect over lunch and were led in a time of prayer for our Victorian communities facing floods and for the World, led by Rev Paul Manning from BWA. Charlene Delos Santos led a time of communion before the day concluded in the uplifting worship song – the Power of Your Love.
Nourish always provides a wonderful opportunity for Pastors to be blessed, encouraged and lifted up – this was no exception.
Session Recordings will be available soon
PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS WORKSHOP
A Professional Standards Workshop was held following Nourish on the topic of “Disagreeing Respectfully”. Within congregations and among colleagues, Pastors encounter differences. Our Code of Ethics calls Pastoral Leaders to treat others with respect (Codes 2 &3) and specifically to treat “all colleagues in ministry with respect, consideration and fairness” (code 10). In this workshop stories and group discussions were used to explore some interpersonal and congregational practices that support robust yet respectful engagement.
Members’ Dinner was held at Karralyka Centre in Ringwood. 340 attendees filled the banquet room and lifted their voices strongly in worship led by Croydon Hills Baptist Church as the night began. Union Council Chair, Jo-Anne Bradshaw opened the evening with an acknowledgment of country, prayer, bible reading and welcome to all participants on the night.
A highlight of Members’ Dinner is always the welcome and recognition of all newly constituted churches – this October we welcomed 4 newly constituted churches and 3 new micro churches. We also recognize the movement of God in the opening of several new campuses and congregations around our state through our existing church network. (See Members’ Pack for details)
Rev Beth Jackson, Head of Ordination prayed for our 8 ordinands who were ordained on Saturday following Members’ Dinner, (see Members Pack for details) and recognized the transfer of Ordination credentials of two other Pastors. Beth also announced the posthumous ordination of Thuan Trinh, an ordination candidate that sadly passed away during the year.
Our Assembly Meeting segment of the evening comprised voting for 6 appointments /reappointments (see Members’ Pack), the 2023 recommended pastoral stipend, superannuation and Church Membership Fee and the 3 votes for the proposed amendments to the BUV Constitution, Schedule B and adoption of the new Constitution Policy. Time was provided for questions/comment in regard the last 3 votes –many people respectfully expressed their views for and against the proposed amendments.
Our external voting company, True Vote, facilitated the ballot voting whilst the finance votes were by show of hands.
Rev Daniel Bullock provided an update on the BUV Support Hub 2023 strategic direction, talking through the vision, mission and strategic priorities:
- Assist with Revitalisation of Pastoral Leaders
- Promote Strategies for Care
- Encourage Resilience
- Supervision – Introduction of Pastoral Supervision for all pastoral leaders as part of BUV required accreditation.
- Prayer – Develop a Union Wide prayer initiative and encourage participation
- Consultation Forum Topics
- How can we best equipped for effective fruitful Evangelism in 21st century Australia (define, demystify and explore what evangelism looks like in the future)
- Indigenous Voice to Parliament
- Equip the movement for the future
- Existing Church – Grant/FCF
- Future church – online, digital, missional paces and places/mission spectrum
- Training and Equipping – pastors, interims, next generation, women, CALD
We ended the evening in celebratory style with a photo montage video from churches of things they had celebrated over the last 2 or 3 years. Our table discussion centered on looking back and appreciating the little (or big) wins – and then looking forward to the hopes, dreams and aspirations for the churches for the future. We finished this segment with the opportunity for some to share their celebrations with the room –how wonderful it was to hear stories of great things happening in our churches.
A fitting end to the evening was to say farewell to our Union Council Chair. Jo-Anne Bradshaw has been on Union Council for 10 years and Chair for 7 years. A minute of appreciation was read and flowers presented.
Jo, as her last official task in her capacity as Union Council Chair, declared the results of the voting – (all votes were passed) and closed the meeting.