What is your next step?
As I mentioned on Sunday, Canberra Baptist Church, along with Baptist churches around Australia, sets aside May as May Mission Month.
For us it is a time to hear more about Baptist Mission Australia, our Baptist mission agency, and Baptist World Aid, our overseas aid agency, as well as give generously (and thankfully!) to assist those that Baptist World Aid is working with in developing countries in our May Thank Offering. This will be the focus of our service on Sunday 21 May (not the 14 May as previously advertised!)
It is also a time to think about what mission means in our context – the ministry activities we currently run, the fledgling activities we are just starting, and the overall witness of our church in this community.
And, finally, it is a time for each of us to think about what God is saying to us, and where God might be calling us to respond. To ask, “What is my next step!”
I was thinking as I was away that getting involved in Canberra Baptist involves a series of steps.
- The first step is to be welcomed at Canberra Baptist Church! For most of our newcomers this takes place in the context of worship. But there are also those who encounter our church through small groups or events or ministries. In our recent travels, we caught up with Marusa and Jordan in Slovenia, a young couple who were part of our church for a couple of years, and Marusa shared that what most impressed her about Canberra Baptist Church was that we had welcomed her “without an agenda”. “You have no idea how wonderful that welcome feels, “ she commented, “and how rare it has been in my experience of church.” We should not rest on our laurels, however! Let’s continue to warmly welcome people into the life of our church!
- The second step is to get connected to one of our small groups or activities. There are a whole range of these – Bible studies, prayer groups, discussion groups and – for the youth and families – youth group and Family Church! If you’d like to know more about any of these – speak to me or Steve or Cecelia.
- The third step – which everyone is invited to take – is to get involved in CBC’s ministries. This might be as simple as doing a Bible reading in church or helping on Sundays in another way (choir, welcoming, music, tech team, morning tea). Or you might be interested in joining the Playgroup team or Cooking Circles team or Kingston Organic Community Garden or coming along to yoga – or supporting one of the newer groups that have formed in the last couple of months (the walking group, the bike riding group or supporting people with cancer). Again, if you’d like to know more about any of these – speak to me or Steve or Cecelia. There is also an induction (and sometimes further training) that all our volunteers need to do.
Speaking of ministry to others, Steve, as Community Leader, has just released a discussion paper – Discerning a New Vision for Mission – a strengths-based approach. Over the next few months, we, as a church, will be reading and talking and praying about the contents of this paper as we discern where God is leading us into the future. We would love you to take the step of being part of this process.
Of course, the steps we take are not all linear! The most significant steps we take are our decisions to follow Jesus. “Joining in your way of love in the world” as we sang on Sunday. If you are thinking about this decision or would like to celebrate having made this decision by being baptised, please (yet again!) speak to me or Steve or Cecelia. I have been approached by someone asking to be baptised – so I will be running a baptism group in the next month or so. If this is your next step, too, I would love to speak to you! Or if you would just like to know more, you would be very welcome to come along to the group.
- Another significant step for people who are part of our church is to formally become a church member; to be committed to Jesus and to supporting the people and activities of this church and helping us make decisions, “seeking the mind of Christ” together. As we face a difficult time over the next couple of years, renegotiating our relationship with the wider Baptist movement, it is more important than ever that we can make decisions – good decisions – together. If becoming a member is the next step for you, please speak to me or Steve or Cecelia (or – just to give some more options – you can also speak to any of our deacons!)
That’s a lot of steps, but that is what May Mission Month is for – to pray about – and learn about – the steps our Baptist movement is taking around the world to join in Jesus’ way of love, and to be part of taking those steps here in our church and in our own lives.
So – please be praying and asking God, “What is my next step?”
So good to be back with you!