Being SALT and Shedding LIGHT into Lives and Communities
Baptist Care SA is actively seeking to further strengthen its missional relationships with local Baptist churches in response to the needs of vulnerable children, disengaged young people and families and adults who are facing challenging issues and circumstances.
As part of that ongoing endeavour, fourteen churches recently converged at Richmond Baptist Church and enthusiastically engaged in a Strategic Focus Session with senior staff of Baptist Care SA. The energetic, free-flowing dialogue provided honest and valued insights into some key questions:
How are Baptist churches actively engaging with groups and individuals in their local communities? Activities include:
- Play groups, children’s outreach activities, book clubs, craft groups, sports and youth activities and making their facilities available for use by community groups
- Formal Mentoring through programs including ‘Kid’s Hope’, ‘Coach’ and ‘Breaking Free’ (post release from prison)
- Collective Impact initiatives with other groups and organisations that share a commitment to strengthening their communities
- Emergency relief via Food aid and community meals, etc.
How churches are engaging with Baptist Care SA?
- Volunteering in the Friendship Program and other services
- Participating in training and using resource materials provided by the Church Support Team
- Supporting WestCare with donations of money, food and other goods.
How might we understand and overcome factors that may have impeded our capacity to build stronger links between local churches and Baptist Care SA?
- It was recognised that missional and government-funded services sometimes require different approaches and skills… professional workers and church volunteers need to sustain open communication that leads to mutual understanding and language enabling everyone to readily discuss what can be achieved by working more closely together
- Churches would like to be clearer about who they can connect with so that they can access professional support… so Baptist Care SA needs to make the connection points clearer
- We need to communicate and work harder to learn from projects that have struggled and may have strained working relationships.
This vibrant forum concluded with church representatives expressing a desire to explore how they might work more closely with Baptist Care SA to develop a collaborative community network that develops, mobilises and better coordinates the collective resources of the Baptist movement so that we can more effectively Be SALT and Shed LIGHT in the lives of people and communities.
I invite members of our Baptist Movement to pray and speak with us about how we might find new and creative ways to respond to the needs of people and communities by working more closely together.
Jesus said: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
I am grateful for the openness of the churches in advancing this dialogue. Lord, show us your ways…