The House that Jesus Built

One of the comforting realities of church life is that Jesus said, “I will build my church” rather than saying, “it’s your responsibility to build the church.”
Whenever we are disillusioned, frustrated, anxious or dissatisfied with church life, it is good to remember the church belongs to Jesus and not to us, and he has taken responsibility to build it.

I will build my church
The work is different to what we might think

It is so easy to slip into thinking that the Church is ours, and we are responsible to make it work. Yet, Jesus made it clear that our task is to abide in him for “apart from him we can do nothing” (John 15:5). When it comes to building the church, it is not a matter of what we can do to make it work, but getting out of the way and allowing God to do it through us. That does not mean there is nothing for us to do, but that work is different to what we might think.

In his letter to the Ephesians Paul takes three chapters to explain what God has done for us in Jesus, and then he turns his attention to the practical outcomes and implications of our church life. And what does he say? “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
Of all the things Paul could have highlighted about church life, he gets to the heart of the matter – relationship. Humility, gentleness, patience and love are at the core of what church life is all about. Despite our programs and our planning, our worship and our service, it is, as Eugene Peterson describes it in The Message, pouring ourselves “out for each other in acts of love, alerting to differences and quick at mending fences” (Ephesians 4:4) is how we are called to live.
Hobart Baptist Church, where I am the Senior Pastor, is a diverse church. We have people with different backgrounds, languages, cultures and experiences. We have different ways of being and doing church. We have different expectations of how we should live, act and worship. Yet, Jesus has put us together and called us to work alongside each other. In doing that, he is expecting us to be patient with each other,  humble in our approaches, bearing with each other’s differences, failing and sinfulness, and making every effort to stay in unity together.
It is a sad indictment on the church that throughout our history we have not been very good at loving each other. Rather than “bearing with one another in love” we are quick to blame and accuse. Rather than be gentle, we are often violent with each other. We may not get physically violent, but we can certainly hurt in the way we gossip and talk about each other. It is much easier to go about mumbling under one’s breath about what someone has or has not done, than to forgive, be at peace with, and confront them in love if needed. Jesus has an expectation that the church will be above that. We have a “worthy calling,” as Paul puts it, and we are implored to live up to it.

Jesus has an expectation that the church will be above that. We have a “worthy calling,” as Paul puts it, and we are implored to live up to it.

In God’s wisdom, there are a number of different groups of people that come together to form Hobart Baptist Church. We currently meet as three different congregations—at 10am, 11:45am and 2pm. If our endeavours focussing on youth and young adults bear fruit we may have a fourth. Early next month we will have our first “combined service”. This will be an opportunity for all us to meet together in the one place at the one time to celebrate our diversity in a demonstration of our unity.
In a very real way Jesus has put before us a challenge that begs a question, “are you willing and committed to be a church the lives and works in unity despite our obvious diversity?” Before we are quick to answer yes, we need to be alert to the costs involved.
That cost, as Paul describes it, in borne in humility, gentleness, patience and love with one another. It requires much grace and much forgiveness. This is a big ask. And often the church has failed. May God grant us the courage, will and strength to say “yes”to this call and to “live a life worthy of the calling we have received,” as we allow Jesus to build his church.

Stephen L Baxter

Reach One . . .

Over the past few weeks at Hobart Baptist I’ve talked about our program Reach One. Reach One is an encouragement for each one of us to connect with one person who does not yet know Jesus, just like the disciple Andrew did.
I’ve always enjoyed the story about the disciple Andrew. He was Peter’s brother, and the first thing he did when heard about Jesus was to was to find his brother and tell him, “We have found the Messiah,” and brought him to Jesus (John 1:40-42). The results of that encounter are significant: while Andrew remained in the background as a disciple, Peter became a major leader among them.
An initiative of 2020 Vision, Reach One aims at encouraging every person attending a Baptist church in Hobart to be involved connecting with our community. It is not a major undertaking, it just asks each one of us to befriend at least one person who does not know Jesus and reach out to them in love, service, and prayer. It is not a program, but a journey where we each develop a relationship over the coming year. Then later in the year there will be events where we can invite our prayerfully gained friends to get to know others and hear about Jesus.
Reaching one person at a timeHobart Baptist is not alone in this. Baptist Churches from across Hobart are working together trusting God will reach out through us into our families, schools, work places and communities.
It is not a new idea. Writing to the Corinthian church Paul says, “God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ‘s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you” (2 Corinthians 5:19-20, The Message Bible). It doesn’t matter whether we are young or old, God has given us a task: to share with others the hope we have in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Imagine what could happen if every one of us took this challenge seriously and began to pray asking God to help us reach out to at least one other person.
But some of us will ask, how do I tell someone about Jesus? What do I say? Where do I start? The story of Andrew is a great example and our series on the book of Acts gives us some pointers. While we don’t know everyone, we all have a circle of relationships including friends, neighbours, or family. Among them there is no doubt somebody whom we could get to know with the hope that one day we’ll be able to share about our personal experience with Jesus. It is one person introducing Jesus to another.
My prayer is that God may encourage and inspire you to pray and ask, who is Jesus prompting me to get to know? Who does Jesus want to reach out to through me? Imagine what the outcome could be if we all were inspired to Reach One.

Reading the ‘Signs of the Times’

It is an understatement to say we live in changing times. Not only do we experience change, we see the effects on our families and communities. It takes faith to hold on to the truth that God has it in hand, and we need not worry.

The gospels recount an incident where the religious leaders of the day came to Jesus and ask him to give them a sign to confirm he was from God. He rebuked them saying they were good at reading the weather, but couldn’t read the obvious signs of the times. His implication was that they didn’t understand him, his ministry or the times they live in. You can read the story here.
Perhaps it is the same for us. We too have difficulty interpreting the times in which we live.
Last year, the entire population of Australia participated in a census, the results of which were released only last week.

The media were quick to pounce on the resulting figures regarding religion in Australia. They enthusiastically reported how the figures show a rise in those declaring they have ‘no religion’ (from 18.7% in 2006 to 22.3%) and how the numbers reporting affiliation with a Christian religion declined (from 63.9% to 61.1%).
Based on these figures many were quick to conclude, even pronounce, how the figures were a demonstration of the continuing demise of religion in Australia. Yet is that an accurate interpretation of the “sign”?
Reading the figures
Gary Bouma, Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Monash University and Associate Priest St John’s Anglican Church East Malvern, in Melbourne, suggests otherwise. In an article for Eureka Street, a publication of Jesuit Communications, he concludes that while figures show a decrease in the numbers of religion adherents, they also reveal increasing religious vitality.
For example, except for Anglican, Uniting and Presbyterian denominations, religious groups have increased in numbers even though their percentage of the population has decreased. In other words they have grown, just not as quickly as the population as a whole.
During the five years since the last census those calling themselves Christian increased to 13,150,600 up from 12,582,800. Over the same time Catholics increased by about 300,000, Pentecostals by almost 20,000, Eastern Orthodox by around 10,000 and Baptists by over 35,000. While those Christians nominating “other” rose by close to 200,000. Migration continues to influence the growth of non-Christian religions with Buddhists rising to 2.5% of the population and Muslims 2.2%. Both Buddhists and Muslims now outnumber Baptists (1.6%) and Hindus (1.3%) outnumber Pentecostals (1.1%).
Bouma’s conclusion is that “while ‘non-religion’ is growing, religion is certainly not dying out”. In fact, the increase in those choosing ‘no religion’ suggests those who say they are religious are doing so out of conviction. In other words, they more likely to be serious about religion than not.
In an interview with ABC radio Bouma stated,

“Religion’s been a low temperature affair in Australia for a long time … so those who become ‘no religion’ don’t feel like they’ve moved much perhaps. But those who are left in churches and those who are in new emerging religious communities are very much more likely to take their religion more seriously.”

Another insight into the figures is that “cultural Christians,” i.e. those with a nominal commitment who never attend church, are “being more honest” and ticking the ‘no religion’ box. The result is that the census reflects what many have suspected for a long time: many who say they are Christians are not necessarily followers of Jesus.
So while the latest census figures could cause some Christians to despair and give rise despondency, are there are other ways to read the “signs of the times?” Bouma’s suggestions give new insights and open up new possibilities. Perhaps the figures have some good news after all – we just need to read them correctly.
My prayer is that God will grant us the grace to read the census and the changing times we live in through ‘kingdom’ eyes; that we will see past the negative connotations of our media commentators, and catch a glimpse of God at work in our families and communities.

Get with the Program!

The rediscovery of Missio Dei, has been described by some as one of the most important theological rediscoveries of the twentieth century. The Latin Missio Deimeans “the mission of God” or “the missionary God” and has at its heart the idea that we, the church, are part of a big story beginning in the heart of God. God is at work redeeming his world and this work culminated through the obedience of Jesus to death and resurrection. It continues today through the sending of the Spirit and the commissioning of the church to work with God in that mission.

The fledgling Church grew beyond all expectation

On Sundays at Hobart Baptist we are currently working our way through the book of Acts, Luke’s story of the beginnings of the church. Luke’s story had two parts. In part one, the Gospel of Luke, he tells the story of Jesus’ personal and public ministry on earth. Now in part two, the book of Acts, he describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry from heaven, exercised by the Holy Spirit through his people the church.
As we work our way through Acts we will see again and again how God is at work through the church helping the church fulfil God’s mission. We see, surprisingly, how the early church did not have a ‘missions program’, the reason being is that it was the missions program. The church did not produce missional activities because the missionary God was at work and the church were those activities. In other words, the church did not define mission, the mission of God defined the church.

We see, surprisingly, how the early church did not have a ‘missions program’, the reason being is that it was the missions program.

Acts reinforces what the whole Bible records, that the mission of God is the centrepiece of history and demonstrates what it looks like when the church is commissioned to help God with that mission. It highlights that we are the missional people of God.
Every one of us, whether individually or corporately, are on a mission, but it is not our mission. This mission emanates from the heart of God. It is not an add-on to other church activities, it is the very reason for our existence. Everything else is we do is peripheral.
We are God’s missional community called into existence to be the outworking of the missional heart of God. We have been given the Spirit to equip us as we join God in the mission to renew the world with the gospel.
My prayer is that we will be inspired by our series in Acts:

  • That it will give us insights into the missional heart of God
  • That we will find ourselves more and more aware of what God is doing in the lives of those around us.
  • And that we will be a church ready to be used by God however and whatever that might mean.

How about you?
Stephen L Baxter

God is Sovereign Over All – He works in spite of human failings

I believe to be one of the most important themes in the Book of Acts is the sovereignty of God.

God is sovereign over all
God is Sovereign over all, from Heaven to Earth

While some read Acts as if it is a manual for church life or church growth, (although there are things to learn about these) closer inspection reveals this is not Luke’s purpose in writing the story of the early church. Luke does not set out to describe how the early Christians got things right and in doing so forced God to act, rather, he tells the story of broken, flawed and fallen saints, just like you and me, through whom God worked in spite of their human failures. And even when they do appear to get things right, God often carries out his purposes in new, different and unexpected ways.
Luke begins exploring this theme right at the beginning in Acts 1. Here, 120 followers of Jesus look for a replacement for Judas, who is now dead. Although Matthias is chosen, Luke never mentions him again in his writings. It is Saul, introduced in Acts 8 and converted in Acts 9; who then undergoes a name change to Paul in Acts 13; who ultimately fulfils the task of apostle and is the driving force behind the gospel’s acceptance by Gentiles. The man-made-made choice in Acts 1, is overturned by God in Acts 13.
Similarly Stephen and Philip, two of those chosen in Acts 6 to be deacons to care for widows, become more effective evangelists than the apostles they were appointed to assist. And then, despite the fact that Jesus told his disciples they would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and right across the world (Acts 1:8), it is not their initiative but the persecution described in Acts 8 following the death of Stephen, that finally gets them out of Jerusalem. They took no initiative at all, but God used persecution to get them moving.
Obviously there isn’t the space to explore all the examples of human failings in Acts, but these few serve to illustrate that Luke does not give us a formula that we can follow to get the results we desire. There is no simple pattern outlined that we are to follow that will ensure a church grows – just as there is no pattern to follow ensuring we receive the power of the Spirit as happened at Pentecost.
One of the primary purposes of the Book of Acts is to show the story of God at work. Luke starts his account before the birth of the church and follows its growth through persecution until it reaches the capital of the known world, Rome. Throughout the story Paul illustrates how God acts the way he wants, when he wants, and no one can thwart his purposes. Then even when the church appears to get it right, God retains the right to do it his own way.
Working through the Book of Acts, the reader comes back again and again to this theme of the sovereignty of God. There are no formulas, no patterns, no manuals, just a loving God, at work in his world, drawing people to himself.
Can you think of times in your life when, despite your own poor efforts, God turned up anyway?
If so, Id love to hear about them!
Stephen L Baxter

Understanding the Signs of the Times

While David hid and waited for God’s timing for him to become king of Israel, he was joined by others from the tribes of Israel who risked their lives standing with him. Among them were the “descendants of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32).
As Christians in the 21st Century, we live in rapidly changing times which bring urgency in facing the challenges of these times with the Gospel of Christ. In many ways we need to be like the descendents of Issachar, and understand the times we live in so we can know the best course of action to take.
But understanding the times is not easy. Living in the midst of rapid cultural change we feel threatened and fragile. Our longing for stability tempts us to withdraw, hesitate and avoid risk, when the exact opposite is needed. David’s men, on the other hand, did not seek stability, but sought to be alert, read the times, and be ready. Rather than stability, they endured fluid structures and constant innovation as they hid from Saul and awaited the moment when David would be king.
Jenny and I have just returned from four weeks in Europe. Among the many things we saw, it was interesting to observe the contrast between the obvious position, power and wealth the church had across Europe in the past, with the seeming irrelevance it has today.

SB outside St P's Basilica
That's me on the right walking towards the massive
St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

Reading the signs of the times, it is clear the church is increasingly moving to the margins rather than the centre of society.  This is not dissimilar to Australia. Whether it is a good or bad thing can be debated. What is not debatable is that it is happening. And because it is happening we need to work out how we can best be witnesses to Christ in the culture in which we are called to live.
It is with both excitement and some trepidation I return to my task as pastor at Hoabrt Baptist. I am excited with the opportunities that lie in front of us, and yet aware of the challenges that are there also.
Let us pray that God may grant to us, wherever you are and whatever ‘brand’ of the church you are part of, to be like the descendents of Issachar who had the ability to understand the times and know what to do.
Stephen L Baxter

Prayer – the Narrow Road to Church Growth

Last week at the engageHOBART conference I hosted, David Jones from the Presbyterian Church shared something of the journey of the growth in their churches in Hobart over the past decade which has resulted in four new Presbyterian churches coming in to being. Among the many factors involved in this growth he focussed on the important of the gospel and of prayer. At one stage they had up to 85 people from St John’s gathering to pray each week.
David was keen to stress that the growth they had seen was a result of God’s action, but that prayer was critical to it.
It got me thinking about the church in South Korea, particularly the one lead by Dr David Yonggi Cho. Reported to be the largest church in the Yonggi Choworld, it currently has 875,000 attendees. There was a time in its growth when they were starting a new church with 5000 people and pastor each week because of the lack of space.
In his book, Prayer: Key to the Revival Cho writes, “Our people have been taught the central nature of prayer, so they pray over everything. They fervently pray for the church, the nation, and for a continuation of revival in Korea and throughout the world. They also pray for potential new converts so the church may continue to grow.
“…we plan carefully: We have a strategy, we have a plan, and we execute that plan like a well-trained army. Yet, most importantly, we bathe our plans in prayer so that God may breathe His breath of life into our efforts, and they will be fruitful.”
As we look to the future and God’s work in and through the church in any locality, what will it take for us to become a praying church? It is something that will require some serious reflection and hard work.
When reading the accounts of the early church in the book of Acts, it is good to note that they often gathered together to pray. If we want to see the work of God move forward, it is important for us ro pray and not only by ourselves, but also together.
What will it take for us to be involved in fervent prayer together?
Stephen L Baxter
This is my last post for a few weeks as I am taking leave from now until Easter. My next post will be on Monday April 9, 2012.

Belonging and Believing

Over the past few Sunday mornings we’ve been moving through a series of messages on ‘the Church’ at Hobart Baptist. A number of times I’ve made mention of the increasing numbers of people in our community who “believe without belonging”. These are people who somewhere along the way have dropped out of attending church but nonetheless would still claim to be believers. No doubt Belonging &/or believingmany of us are still friends with some who have done just this. They may even be part of our own families.
I’m sure you, like me are asking, why has this happened? What are the causes behind so many leaving the church over the past four decades? Most likely there are a number of contributing factors including the following “-isms”—consumerism, individualism, privatism, relativism, and pluralism.
One other “-ism” I would like to focus on is anti-institutionalism. Many in our community feel alienated from the institutions of our society. Since the 1960s there has been growing cynic-ism toward public institutions so that today people are more inclined to make their own decisions irrespective of conventional traditions or social mores. Because we are seen as one of the institutions of our society, the Church has been caught up in the disillusionment and alienation, and has had difficult time over the past four decades.
It’s not that people are less interested in the religious dimension of life, it’s just that they are wary of the church suspecting it is more likely to hinder their search than help it. Not surprisingly they rarely come to the Church looking for answers. They have moved away from what some call a “spirituality of dwelling,” where God is associated with places, to a “spirituality of seeking” where they prefer to navigate their own spiritual journey.
Their spiritual search is perhaps best captured by hit song of the 1990s by Irish band U2 (three of the four members claim to be Christians). Their song, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” captures the mood of the “spiritual search” which is also reflected in films such The Matrix and Sixth Sense, and TV programmes such as Touched by an Angel and The X Files.

Today the Church struggles to find relevance in a world where many earnestly seek spirituality and a meaning for life, but reject the Church’s offering.  So what should we do?
Perhaps one important step is to change our expectations. In contrast to most of our evangelism in the 20th Century where we tried to convinced people to believe and behave so they can eventually belong, perhaps we should begin by finding was to include people in our community life before they believe. Here they can “belong without believing.” It’s not really a radical idea, in fact it is exactly what Jesus did. He chose his disciples before they believed he was the Messiah, before his death and resurrection and before they believed he was the Son of God.
So while there are some in our community who choose to “believe without belonging” there is also the possibility of a different group of people might “belong without believing”. These are people who prefer to think things through for themselves and welcome the opportunity to dialogue with others.  They are in the middle of a journey to belief and need the freedom to explore without having a pre-packaged belief system imposed.
By giving people the opportunity to “belong without believing” we offer them an invitation to explore God together and see where the journey takes us. In other words they can participate in church life, volunteer their services and begin to belong while they journey to believe. I’m not talking about church membership, but about belonging to a community that is welcoming, accepting and loving.
In our series on the Church we have been reflecting on the type of Church Jesus would want us to be. What would it mean for us mimic Jesus and accept people as his disciples before they believed in him? ‘Belonging before believing’ is an interesting idea worth thinking about.
Stephen L Baxter

Don’t Panic! Jesus Knows what He is Doing

Over the past few Sundays at Hobart Baptist, we’ve been looking at what the Bible says about the Church. Although it is easy to be disillusioned by the state of the Church in Australia we’ve been reminded that the Church is God’s idea, not ours. Plus, it doesn’t belong to us, but to Jesus.
Our focus has been on the need for a renewed vision of the Church not based on the hurts and experiences of the past but upon Jesus’ vision for the future. He is, after all, the builder of the Church and what we need is a radical reorientation in our thinking to see it from his point of view.
We looked at passages that don’t immediately seem to be applicable to the Church and one such passage is the story of the miracle of the feeding of 5,000 people by Jesus. Did you know that it is the only miracle described in every gospel? (Matt 13:14-21; Mk 6:30-44; Lk 9:10-17; Jn 6:1-15)
The story begins when Jesus hears news of the death of John the Baptist. This must have been a sad moment for him and it seems he wanted to be alone. Instructing the disciples to get away from the crowd and take the boat to go to a quiet place to mourn in solitude. Sadly the crowd followed him and he missed out on his quiet moment.
Jesus begins to teach and heal many and as the end of the day approaches Jesus asks Philip where they can buy enough bread for the people to eat. Philip is pretty pessimistic and explains how it would cost a month’s salary to feed them all. The disciples are no better, suggesting the best thing to do is to send everyone out into the countryside to find whatever they could. After witnessing all the miracles Jesus had already performed it is surprising they don’t give a thought about what he could do in this situation.
Jesus is above their pessimism and practicalities, and in dismissing their suggestions offers his own. “You feed them,” he says. Not surprisingly they are shocked without a solution. All they come up with is five barley loaves and two little fish. Yet, Jesus takes what they found and begins to pray. Having prayed he begins to break off bits of bread and keeps breaking until there is enough for everyone to have a meal. The estimates are that there were about 5,000 men present plus women and children.
It is a great story and there is plenty to learn from it. When the people are hungry and worried Jesus instructs them to relax and sit down. Then he takes what they already have amongst them, just five loaves and two fish, and multiplies it so there is enough for all.

So how does this relate to the church?

The story is a good reminder that when we worry about the Church and its future, Jesus’ instruction is to relax and rest in his ability to provide. When we are feeling low on resources and energy, Jesus is able to take the small portion we have and multiply it so all can be feed.
What is surprising is that Jesus gives the bread to the disciples to distribute. These are the same people who had only moments earlier suggested the best option was to send people away. It is good to know that that God will use us, even if we have been some of harshest critics or pessimists. God is willing to draw us all into his work. The grace and compassion Jesus showed to the crowd is the same grace and compassion he showed his disciples who weren’t able to anticipate that he would do something special.
Jesus doesn’t panic. Rather than focussing on what was missing, as the disciples did, he focused on what was available. When it comes to the future of the Church and Hobart Baptist Church in particular, Jesus doesn’t view us for what we don’t have in the way of resources and people, rather he see what is already here and is ready and able to use that. He doesn’t scold us when we struggle with unbelief, a lack of trust or creativity; rather he enlists us as part of his workforce to get the job done.
No local church is perfect and we all have obvious needs; and while we might believe we have every good reason to give up on the Church; the reality is that Jesus has not. Despite the significant challenges ahead of us, the story of the feeding of the five thousand reminds us there are many way to look at the situation. When it comes to the Church today there is no need to give up. In fact, we can take courage that Jesus is with us and we can look to him to provide the solution. In fact, he is the only one who can.
Let us pray that Jesus will, just like he did on that day, multiply his work amongst us.
Stephen L Baxter

Being Willing to Count the Cost

English: PressKit photo of Rick Warren
Rick Warren

Rick Warren, founding pastor of Saddleback Church in the US, tells the story of how they paid for their first church service way back in 1980. Their small home Bible study of four people went $6,500 into debt using their own personal credit cards to ensure the service went ahead. While not advocating the use of credit cards in such a way Warren uses the story to illustrate how willing they were to pay the cost of reaching people for Christ. That first service attracted 200 people; today the church has over 15,000 members.
Warren suggests that when it comes to mission, evangelism and outreach most churches ask the wrong question. Instead of asking, “How much will it cost?” they should ask “Who will it reach?” Evangelism always costs money, but it should never be looked at as an expense – it’s always an investment. After all, he asks, “How much is a soul worth? If you spend $500 on a newspaper ad that reaches one unbeliever for Christ, is it worth it?”
This year at Hobart Baptist we’ve had the joy of seeing a number of people come know Jesus and witnessed 13 baptisms (including 10 on one Sunday in September). What a delight that has been. But we can’t relax and feel the job is done, as there is so much more to do. What will it cost us and what are we willing to pay to see people come to Christ in Hobart?
Next year Baptist churches across Hobart will be focusing, among other things, on each one of us reaching out to one other person who currently doesn’t know Christ (or perhaps once went to church). Our aim will be for each one to reach one.
This may feel a little daunting for some of us, but we can encourage each other to pray, make connection with, talk to and befriend another person. It may be a family member, a friend, or someone who we haven’t even met yet. We can pray for each other that God will lead us to the right person. If each of us are willing to pay the cost of reaching one person, imagine how the angels would celebrate and what it would mean for our churches.
Early next year (February Friday 24th and Saturday 25th) we will be holding our second engageHOBART conference. This is the conference of the Baptist Churches of Greater Hobart and is part of our 2020 Vision. The conference focuses on evangelism, mission and church planting and aims to increase our desire, capacity and capability to reach out to others. Let me encourage you to make the time to attend. Last year about 35 people from Hobart Baptist attended and it would be great to see at least that number again in 2012.
More information and registration details are available on the conference website at or have a chat with Karen Stott, our 2020 Vision representative.
Getting serious about evangelism will cost something – our time, our money and our effort. Will you pray with me that God will inspire and motivate us all to reach out to one other person during 2012? Whether you live in Hobart or not, are you willing to pay that cost?
Stephen L Baxter