The mission of God is at the core of our Australian Baptist identity. At our best we articulate the good news of Jesus in word and deed, always staying true to the heart of the Gospel and sensitive to cultural context. Our history in this land and in countless places around the world points to an important thread of continuity – a determination that all should have the opportunity to encounter the Gospel. It is now common wisdom that mission in the 21st century requires heightened sensitivity to the growing impact of World Christianity (mission is now from everywhere to everywhere) and the secularising force of “liquid modernity” (Christianity is dramatically declining in western nations). Gone are the days when specialised cultural intelligence and interfaith prophetic dialogue were skills for only a few select missionaries. This globalising, hyper-mobile Australian context presents the need and the opportunity for all Christians to learn the art of bearing witness to the Gospel across cultural difference.
It is now clear that if our Baptist communities are to faithfully share in the Christian story in their neighbourhoods, they will need to become students of intercultural mission. In order to draw near to neighbours – to share in their hopes, failures, grief and dreams – Australian Baptists will need to learn from the rich experience of generations of intercultural workers. This is not entirely new. Christian witness has always needed translation and re-interpretation as it has made its way into and through cultures, empires, geographies, and languages. Enculturation is inherent to the Gospel. This requires the activity of the Spirit alongside the dedicated work of compassionate and curious followers of Jesus. Those who have been transformed by the good news of Jesus and his Kingdom must pay fresh attention to the way the gospel message makes sense to a diversity of cultures.
This conference – a collaboration between Crossover, Global Interaction, Baptist agency partners and our Baptist State Associations and Unions – delivers a learning opportunity aligned with the shared goals of our movement: mission, evangelism and community transformation. Whether your particular calling takes you across the street, across the country or across the world, this opportunity is for you.
The conference will be shaped around three major themes and allow for a wide range of learning for practitioners of all kinds:
God Before Us
The Mission of God
We believe God has always been at work in the world God so loves. Today we reflect on the biblical foundation of this belief and we explore how scriptures gift us with an overarching story, a specific language, and a Kingdom imagination for mission.
God Around Us
We believe God made the world with love and that culture is a gift to be treasured. But the differences between us can often challenge our ability to share the Good News. Today we dive deep into the possibilities and pitfalls of culture to ultimately discover the everyday majesty of being wrapped in culture.
God With Us
Stories of transformation
We believe God is still very much with us and continuing to reconcile all things through the Son. The great joy and surprise is that we get to join in! Today we catch visions, hear stories, and ride the waves of God’s present-tense work in the world God so loves.
How it will work
No matter your particular calling (eg. workplace evangelism, church planting, intercultural mission, Kingdom-centred social enterprises), each person will develop a fresh awareness of where they are located in the story of God’s mission. This awareness invariably leads to more intentional, faithful and effective participation in mission and evangelism. We hope you’ll join us!