I know that two of the most important aspects of my role with the Baptist Association are firstly to continue to learn what it means to serve the our local churches and secondly to share with others what God is doing in and through our faith communities.
Our Baptist churches rightly understand local autonomy to be one of the ways the church will be most fruitful – that is making decisions locally as the people God as how to best grow in maturity and reach the local area with the Good News of Jesus. But local autonomy does not mean independence.
None of us is meant to function in isolation, and nor are our churches, but we live in a time-poor world that struggles to make space for meaningful connections. It’s hard to find the time to meet with others and it’s hard to prioritise ongoing growth in amongst other responsibilities. Enter our youth pastors conference.
We rejoice in the fact that over the last number of years our youth pastors conference has seen a tremendous increase in participation from our churches. Our younger leaders want to connect and want to continue to develop and they’ve found this space as one of the keys
The youth pastors conference is one of the most important dates on any youth pastor, young adult pastor or key leader calendar. The conference champions healthy, sustainable Christ-centred spirituality and ministry in leaders and young people. It is the place where we celebrate together, cry together, learn together, laugh together and most importantly, learn to ‘be’… together.
– Phill Pallas, Executive Pastor, Narara Valley Baptist Church
While the focus around providing a space for connection for our youth pastors around NSW and ACT remains the same, we have modified some of the other components to reflect the changing nature of ministry with younger generations. The first of these was to expand the reach of the event to incorporate not simply paid staff but also volunteer leaders. The second was a move our accommodation in order to create the most conducive environment for connection. Third, we engaged leadership experts with specialised skills to input into the lives of those leading younger generations.
“It was a time for building connections, sowing into my personal faith journey and realising I am not alone. I felt compelled to attend and I was like a fish out of water to begin with! But by the end of the 3 days, I had made some new friendships, rekindled old ones and felt more connected into the wider church family unit. Since conference, I have been aware of a lot more that is happening in the Baptist movement of churches and see my ministry growing to include much more that the youth at my local church.”
– Allyson Beddoe, Youth Pastor, Kiama Baptist Church
We want to see healthy and sustainable leadership in our movement of churches and we know our youth pastors conference is a significant piece in this puzzle.
This year we are focusing on the significance of trust in leadership as we know this is an issue that significantly impacts the fruitfulness of the local church. How are we developing our trust in God? What does it mean to be a person who is trusted? How do we cultivate teams who trust one another? These are the kinds of questions that we will be exploring at our youth pastors conference in 2017.
We Trust in the name of the Lord our God! Psalm 20:7b
We have built the program on the back of the feedback we have received over the last number of years by balancing time of input, connecting with others who work close by, practical workshops, times of prayer and worship, as well as having fun together.
As a first timer at the Youth Pastors Conference in 2016, I was encouraged by other Youth Pastors, particularly the ones leading somewhat smaller youth groups. Some of them who have been doing this for years shared stories about hanging in there even when the numbers are discouraging and about God’s provision in ministry. The drive to and from Sydney with two other Youth Pastors was saturated with humour, ministry and theology. From the talks, I was challenged to embrace conflict, love family more and equip youth to be leaders. Learning from Bill Brown, Senior Pastor at Syndal Baptist, who has such a fruitful track record in ministry was like sitting in a masterclass. Very grateful.
– Enoch Nagabyrava, Associate Pastor, Eastwood Baptist Church
Our speakers this year include Peter Stone from the Arrow Executive Leadership Program, James Ramsay from Mosaic Baptist Church in Canberra, as well as Cynical Psychologist Louise Ramsay.
I always walk away from youth pastors conference feeling energised and inspired. It is a great space to connect with other passionate youth workers and pastors and the input we receive is always high quality. It is a big rock in my annual planning as a leader.
– Andrew Robb, Associate Pastor, Mosaic Baptist Church
Please be praying for the youth and young adult leaders from your church who will be attending, as well as emerging leaders who from across NSW and ACT. Please also be praying for each of our speakers who are investing into our movement of churches in this way.