Faith Runs Deep in Australia

Faith Runs Deep: a new video series exploring stories of faith across Australia to be released through Olive Tree Media.

May 3rd, 2022

A unique 12-part video series unearthing stories of faith that have impacted Australia is being released by Olive Tree Media on Wednesday, 4th May.

 

Faith Runs Deep unearths stories of more than 40 Australians past and present who have been impacted by Jesus and have gone on to have a significant influence within the Australian community.

 

The series has been produced by Olive Tree Media, makers of the award-winning series, Jesus the Game Changer and Towards Belief. Olive Tree CEO Karl Faase, worked with their experienced production team as well as Karl’s wife and series producer Jane Faase, filming some of the material as they drove across Australia in an iconic Australian Holden ute.

 

Faase commented, “This is a unique video series, with high production values telling stories that few know about and unearthing the deep influence of Christian faith in the Australian culture.”

 

“We need a shift in the narrative around Christian faith in our country and telling inspirational stories of people who have had a deep influence in our country and culture is what we are seeking to do.”

 

The series has three plots, first the historical and academic reflections. The second is personal stores from today of people whose lives have been impacted by the gospel including musician Colin Buchanan, ex deputy PM John Anderson, bull rider Tim Kelly, indigenous artist Narelle Urquhart, AFL premiership winner Shaun Hart and Olympian Eloise Wellings. Lastly, stories of the host and producer behind the series, Karl and Jane Faase, which will introduce viewers to some of the unique and as yet untold stories from their lives and journey of faith.

 

Faase commented, “We see the series being used in churches and ministries across Australia as a demonstration of where faith runs deep in our nation that will serve as an inspiration and encouragement to the church.”

Faith Runs Deep will be released at Excelsior College in Sydney on Wednesday, 4th May, both as a live event and online. The trailer will be available at the end of April.

To find more information and see how you can support this series, click on the logo to head to their website.

 

BCWA Commissions new Director of Ministries

"Significant occasion" marks commissioning of Director of Ministries

On Thursday 17 February, the Baptist community from around Western Australia gathered to celebrate the commissioning of Pastor Victor Owuor as the new Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries.

This was a “rare occasion… and significant occasion” shared North Beach Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Grant Hendry as he welcomed guests to North Beach Baptist Church. 

Grant shared that it had been fourteen years since the last Director of Ministries (DOM), Pastor Mark Wilson had been commissioned to the role and that in this time, significant societal change had occurred.

Dr Carolyn Tan, a member of the DOM Search Team shared about the process that had been undertaken prior to Victor’s nomination and appointment at the 2021 Annual Assembly.

Representatives of the Union Council, Australian Baptist Ministries and North Beach Baptist Church pray for Pastor Victor Owuor and wife Mary as he is commissioned to his new role as Director of Ministries.

Carolyn shared that the Union Council, along with a facilitation group mapped a journey of discernment that enabled attentive listening to stakeholders from around the state and that the learning from these engagements assisted the Council to shape a job description that met the leadership needs of BCWA.

She shared that the search team, armed with this refined job description then started the process of advertising the role and through an extensive process that incorporated significant times of prayer, Victor was unanimously recommended to the Council and the Assembly as the nominee for the role.

In an email communication to churches following the Assembly, Interim Director of Ministries, Pastor Karen Siggins shared that Victor’s appointment “reflects the need articulated in various recent conversations across BCWA for a leader who will help us hold our current place in history with the confidence that God remains sovereign, and that the gospel of Jesus is still good news for all people.”

“Victor embodies this confidence in word and deed. He is also theologically orthodox and generous; a collegial and collaborative leader who is a good listener and one able to facilitate curious and meaningful conversations.”

“Victor is a trusted and authentic communicator able to publicly and courageously hold the tension of difficult issues while staying true to God’s story in the Bible,” she shared.

As part of the evening service, Victor shared about his journey of faith and how it has been shaped and guided by the people around him.

He shared that in the polarised world we live in today, “It is an opportune time for us to redirect our focus in Christ rather than panicking and looking for directions from sources that contradict our faith”

“The churches current difficulties do not surprise our God… he will place people strategically where he wants them to be as He builds His church.”

“Let us position ourselves with the readiness of obedience and endurance” he encouraged.

Council Member, Pastor Wayne Field commissioned Victor to his new role with members of the Union Council, along with Grant Hendry and Mark Wilson laying hands on Victor and his wife Mary in prayer.

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!