A new name for a new season

One of the nation’s oldest mission organisations has changed its name as it looks to strengthen its partnership with Baptist churches across Australia and international partners around the globe.

Global Interaction has become Baptist Mission Australia.

Executive Director of Baptist Mission Australia Scott Pilgrim said the organisation had chosen a simple name, which clearly identified who it was and why it existed.

“We were birthed 140 years ago by faithful mission-minded people in Baptist churches and we continue to serve today as intercultural mission arm of the Australian Baptist movement,” Scott said.

“We’re proud of this long and wonderful partnership and so we’re intentionally going back to our roots.”

“We, like the more than 1000 Baptist churches across the nation, are a mission people. Our heartbeat is to come alongside people in their own community, culture and language, embodying the good news of Jesus by word and deed, in ways that make sense,”

Scott said the name change flowed from the implementation of the organisation’s 2021-2025  Strategic Roadmap.

“As part of this process we have been intentionally and courageously asking big questions about our future directions in a rapidly changing world. As we’ve sought to listen to the Spirit, we saw that it was time to refresh our name and brand for a new and exciting season of ministry.”

The Roadmap envisages stronger intercultural partnerships with Baptist churches and associations across Australia and we’re actively strengthening innovative partnerships with our Baptist family across the globe as we look to new collaborative missional expressions.

“We have a history of bold and innovative faith steps, and we see our new name as another one of these milestones. And yet we also humble ourselves, realising our need to learn, listen and seek the Spirit’s leading as the face of mission changes around the globe.”

“Partnership will be a vital part of our future as we’re excited about the new season of ministry ahead.”

To find out more about Baptist Mission Australia, check out their website: www.baptistmissionaustralia.org

The Power of a Farewell

There's an exercise I sometime give small groups to workshop how to articulate the good news about Jesus. It goes like this:

A neighbour on your street tells you that they are moving to the other side of the world. You know them by name and have talked a few times about work and study and the street, but never yet on the deeper things of life. Now it looks like that opportunity will never come, and you’re unlikely to ever see them again.

They are very busy packing and making arrangements to leave the next day, but you feel there is enough regard between you that a farewell letter would be received in good faith. You’re determined to keep it to a single page – say four paragraphs. A long tome would be too heavy and in any case there isn’t time. But you want this neighbour, whom you’ve come to know by name and care and pray for, to know the difference it makes to know… well look, I’m not going to give you the answer. This is your exercise. How would you put it? Begin with choosing the theme of each paragraph.

It’s an exercise you might find interesting and helpful in your small group or leadership team. But it also gets me thinking: What a powerful little thing this could be in real life.

We often feel that we should spend time getting to know people, listening to their story and earning their trust before saying anything to them about our faith. There’s a lot of sense in that. But the mobility of our world often means that people move out of our lives before that moment comes.

There’s power, too, in a farewell ‘I just want you to know…’ note. They are read and absorbed in a different way from a regular note, email or conversation. And people who are making a big life transition often have an openness to think about the bigger picture.

And not that it should matter, but this form of sharing Jesus is reasonably safe. Your neighbour’s not going to be around to poison your front lawn if they don’t like what you (lovingly, humbly and graciously, right?) said. As they say, ‘Never criticise someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Because then you’re a mile away. And you have their shoes.’

Not everyone has the gift of the gab or the present of the pen. But it’s a good exercise to think through what is the guts – the urgent guts – of our faith, and to wrestle through how to get it out of our throbbing hearts and swirling thoughts and into intelligible words.

Get your group onto it! But also, think about who’s passing into and out of your life. Even with those we’re not closely bound to, we can make a lifetime of difference. We have more opportunities each week to change the world that we like or dare to think!