This week at Hobart Baptist we welcomed Marc Rader who brought to us an enlightening message on the book of Esther on Sunday morning. Marc is Senior Associate Pastor at Gymea Baptist Church in southern Sydney. He is also a faculty member at Morling College, the Baptist Bible and Theological College of NSW and ACT, where he lectures in Biblical Studies, Languages and Preaching. Born in Canada, Marc is married to his Aussie wife, Nicole and they have three daughters.
Marc was in Hobart this weekend as one of the keynote speakers at engageHOBART, the conference for Baptist Churches from across Hobart as part of our 2020 Vision strategy. He challenged us to see how knowing Jesus relates to reaching into our communities, seeing people come to Christ, and growing strong and vibrant church communities.
It is now nearly two years, since May 2009, when the “Growing Together – Hobart Baptists’ 2020 Vision” report documented the decline in membership and attendance amongst Baptist churches across Greater Hobart. As a result the Regional Missional Strategy (2020 Vision) was developed by representatives from Baptist churches across Hobart.
engageHOBART is just one activity in this strategy which aims to see a turnaround in Baptist church life in the Greater Hobart Region so that we grow to 2,000 people attending 20 communities of faith by the year 2020.
For the strategy to be successful three key issues were seen as essential:
- Firstly to increase the level of cooperation and collaboration amongst the Baptist churches in the Hobart region
- Secondly, to see a significant increase in desire, capacity and capability in the area of local church and city-wide evangelism
- Finally to see a new era of church planting to establish new churches (communities of faith) across the Hobart region.
As part of this 2020 Vision Strategy, engageHOBART hoped to contribute to an increase in cooperation, desire, capacity and capability across our churches in evangelism and mission that will ultimately see people come to know Jesus as well as lead us into a new era of church planting. Will you continue to pray that we will see a growing momentum in evangelism and mission that will see many come to know Jesus as Lord in Hobart.
Having a collaborative approach to local mission is a big challenge to Baptists in Hobart. However, my real heart is to see ALL churches in Hobart working together for the extension of the Kingdom. Do you think this is in the realms of possibility?
Stephen L Baxter