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MESSAGE FROM THE SENIOR PASTOR


As a community of faith we continue to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions. What has become clear is that what we all hoped would be a short-term interruption is going to last much longer.

To that end, unless something dramatically changes (e.g., a vaccine or a significant easing of restrictions), GBC will not be returning to face-to-face gatherings until at least February 2021.

On the one hand, this has not been a difficult decision. The time-frame for easing restrictions continues to be pushed out with the end of the year referred to more frequently, but beyond that, the logistical effort required to conform to a COVID Safe Plan (e.g., sign in, temperature checks, physical distancing, cleaning between services) and the “cost-benefit” (e.g., all that work to only have 100 people, wearing masks, sitting 3 metres apart, not singing and without mingling) made this a simple decision.

On the other hand, this has been a very difficult decision. We miss the social interaction and are weary of our online experience and the setting of a potential return date in 2021, regardless of how rational that decision might be, seems unduly pessimistic. Besides, lots of other churches are going back to some sort of face-to-face gatherings, why can’t we?

It is this reality that makes this decision much, much more difficult. At the beginning of the restrictions all churches were the same; they all shut down. Now, in-line with government restrictions, some churches are finding ways to meet. And even if it is a pale reflection of what we did in February, it is still deemed to be better than nothing.

Smaller communities of faith were able to go back more quickly, but even some larger churches have now begun to return – with ticketed services, or “rosters” of people who are able to attend each week. The potential of losing people to churches that have gone back is part of what made this decision hard.

There are, however, two overwhelming reasons why I believe that this is the right decision for us to make. First, we face issues as a community of faith that a return to face-to-face gatherings will not solve. More specifically, we have connection issues and discipleship issues. These are not new, but are pre-COVID. And they are complex issues with no single root cause and no silver bullet solution, but returning to what we did before is not one of them. Gathered worship plays a role in connection and discipleship, but, in order to play its part effectively, must be complemented by other, more apt, solutions.

Gathered worship provides a front door to who we are, marks the beginning of relationships, and contributes to our discipleship, but on its own can only provide a space for small talk and, unless we are deliberate and intentional, can become a place where we outsource our discipleship rather than where we are resourced for following Jesus.

To be honest, while it would be disappointing to see some of our community begin to attend another church, our concern should be for those who drift away entirely from faith and end up nowhere.

The resources that would be required to return to face-to-face meetings (and they would be significant) are better channelled to develop the complementary ministries we must have if we are going to see lives changed by Jesus moving forward. 

This may very well be different for other communities of faith and their decision to return may facilitate exactly what they need. For us, however, our commitment must be to “solve” these critical issues while we can and we cannot lose heart or our resolve to do so or simply react to what everyone else is doing. We have been given what we hope is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to allow God to birth something new among us that will transform all we do.

This decision allows us to be intentional and On-Purpose about what we do and this leads into the second exciting reason I believe this is the right decision. We are being invited to rediscover our identity as the church; as sent followers of Jesus. Gathering together is part of what we do, but it is only part of it. In a very real way, we are most “the church” when we are participating with the Spirit’s invitation at work, at school, and at home.
 
This is, of course, going to require work and in what follows I want to provide an overview of what we are hoping to do and what you can do. This is not a comprehensive list, but a representative one outlining the general direction.

In general, there are three areas we are planning to quickly lean into.

1. To Resource Life Groups.

We want to disciple, resource, and equip Life Group leaders and Connect Group leaders to lead our groups to be our primary source of connection, care, and discipleship.

What you can do: 
  • If you are not in a Life Group have a look at the Life Group Page on GBC Links and see if there’s a group you can join or express your interest in getting involved. 
  • If you have led a Life Group before or would be willing to be equipped in how to do so, let us know so that we can begin to explore that opportunity.
  • If you are in a group, make it your first priority each week. If there is one thing you don’t miss, make it your Life Group.

2. To Refresh our Online Services.

As our online services will continue to be the primary way we “gather” for the next few months we want to refresh what we do with an eye towards the future. 

What you can do: 
  • Continue to participate in the online services.
  • Be intentional in inviting people to your home for church (and maybe lunch afterwards).

3. To Do Things Together.

We want to create a sense of community by doing the same things (even if we are not together). For example:
  • To set aside Tuesdays as a day we fast and pray. We may not all fast for the same length of time or pray at the exact same time, but we will, nonetheless, be doing it together.
  • To hold a donation drive for Hopefield on the second Sunday of every month. Initially, this would be a drive-thru donation drive like that which we held in March. This provides an opportunity for us to serve our community and to do something together.
  • The Carols Committee is planning to stream “Carols in the Backyard”; an exclusive carols by candlelight experience that can be watched by anyone anywhere.
What you can do:
  • Get involved with these initiatives and share your involvement when and how you can (e.g., invite friends or neighbours to carols in your backyard).
There are other things that we are exploring as well that will take longer to implement and will be communicated as we go. There is also going to be some experimentation along the way and some things that we begin may not continue. The goal, however, will remain the same: to do all we can to facilitate connection and discipleship in our community of faith.

What you can do: 
  • Pray for our leadership (for wisdom, discernment, and courage).
  • Pray for our community of faith (that we might grow in our faith and sense of connection).
  • Pray that these things we do would have a disproportionate impact through the “all-things-possible” power of the Holy Spirit.
This feels like a significant turning point for us and one that has tremendous potential to shape our expression and experience of faith forever. In the midst of our feelings of resignation, disappointment, and sadness at the delay, I hope and pray that you will also experience the hope and excitement of this opportunity and join us in making the most of it.

Blessings,
Marc

Marc Rader

Services - GBC Online

SUNDAY 30TH AUGUST 2020

Marc Rader: Senior Pastor

The Church Reimagined:
The More Things Change ...
     (The More They Stay The Same?)


Services: 8.30am|10.30am|6.00pm
SUNDAY 6TH SEPTEMBER 2020

Marc Rader: Senior Pastor 

Songs of the People 
(New Sermon Series)


Services: 8.30am|10.30am|6.00pm

Announcements and Upcoming Events

GBC Updates

Click on the video image below for the GBC Friday Update from our Senior Pastor Marc Rader - Don't miss this week's very important COVID-19 Update.

Join the Chats this Sunday at GBC Online - It's always encouraging, for everyone, to see who is "in the room" with us so please remember to log in and say "hello" in the chats during the online service. If you're unsure how to sign up to log in to the Chats please call Karen Watkins at GBC Office during the week to take you through the steps (it only takes a minute!).

Invite a friend or two to join you at your place on Sundays to GBC Online.

To be notified of all new GBC content make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel

Playtime

Playtime has returned to face-to-face meeting in our new Covid Safe format (Monday-Friday 10:00am - 11:30am).

Meddwyn has sent all existing Playtime families an information email with our COVID Safe plan attached - you can read Playtime's COVID Safe Plan by clicking here.

Please note: Spaces are limited to 18 people (adults & children) per session and registration is essential for every session each week. The link to book your space(s) for the following week will be emailed to all existing families every Friday.

If you are an existing Playtime family and you did not receive the booking link email, please contact our Playtime Coordinator, Meddwyn by sending her an email.

If you have any questions; or if you're interested in joining Playtime for the first time; or perhaps you feel God is nudging you to assist or lead, please contact Meddwyn by email or phone GBC office on 9521 4611.

LifeGroups

As Marc mentioned in the Senior Pastor's Message and in the Friday Update video (see above) we are encouraging people to create connection, discipleship and care by getting involved in a LifeGroup and to make it a #1 priority to attend each week.

Check out the LifeGroups tab in GBC Links. There you can:
1) See a list of all the LifeGroups (leaders, photos and times they meet);
2) Fill out an Expression of Interest form (if you want to join a LifeGroup);
3) Download the LifeGroup Study Notes and Questions.

If you are NOT in a LifeGroup - what are you waiting for? Log into GBCLinks, take a look at the Group List and click on the Expression of Interest link above to let us know what times during the week you'd be able to attend a LifeGroup. Any questions please contact GBC's LifeGroup Coordinator - Brett Robinson via email.

We need more LifeGroup Leaders! If you feel God is asking "Are You Available" to step into the space of leading a LifeGroup - please email Brett Robinson or Mark Coleman.

GBC Safe Church

We are asking all our GBC Volunteers to participate in the eligibility process of Safe Churches by completing a short screening questionnaire. [I (Karen) got my act together and completed my questionnaire this week and it literally took me all of 5 minutes to complete!]

So to all my fellow procrastinators, bid farewell to that kind of thinking - click on the link below for your age group's questionnaire and tick off this task NOW. (Access anytime on the GBC Links home page).

If you're 18 and over - click the link to the over 18 questionnaire

For those who are not yet 18 - click here for the under-18 questionnaire.

Any questions please contact the GBC Serve Team via email.

GBC Youth
GBC Youth has returned to face-to-face meetings at GBC for Term 3:
  • EDGE YOUTH: Yrs 5 & 6. Wednesdays from 5:30pm to 7:00pm
  • GBC YOUTH: Yrs 7-12. Fridays from 7:00pm to 9:30pm
Parents: Check out EDGE & GBC Youth's Term 3 Programs and read through the GBC Youth's COVID Safe Plan  (FYI: Also available on GBC Links ("Youth" tab) and on GBC's website).

Contact: For enquiries, email Matt, The Youth Guy (aka GBC Youth Coordinator).
The Big Three
If you haven't yet joined us for The Big Three, we encourage you to subscribe and download the weekly podcast "GBC Big Three".

This Week: Ep. 28 The Church Reimagined: The Medium is the Message ... (And Our Lives Are the Medium)

Join Marc Rader and co-hosts Jess Baker and Jodene Watling for a fun and thought-provoking conversation as they discuss the three big questions submitted and upvoted by you (our congregation) via Slido during Sunday's sermon at GBC Online. It's a deep dive into last week's sermon; a great opportunity to consider what God is saying to us right now and how we can apply that teaching so our lives are changed by Jesus.

This week's Big Three Questions:
  1. How do I deal with these conflicting truths: i) I am an imperfect human being; ii) the way I live my life is supposed to bring people to Jesus?
  2. It sounds like you're asking us to live a great life in order to reach people. Shouldn't we be doing that because we love God?
  3. How much can we adapt to our culture before we are no longer faithful to the gospel?
Watch all past The Big Three conversations at GBC's Youtube channel.
GBC Prayer
You're invited to spend 15-20 minutes during your week with us in prayer online.

Tuesday 8:00pm
For Prayer Reflection led by a member of our Prayer Team (Nicolie, Leisel, Bruce, Jodie).
Online via instagram @gymeabaptist or GBC's Facebook page 

Let's spend some time together at the feet of Jesus - the best place to be!
Congregational Care:  Elders  /  GBC Cares  

If you need prayer or practical support please call or email the teams anytime. 

For Prayer Support - contact the Elders by phone: 0410 156 396 or 8515 1999 or email 
Our Elders meet with Marc Rader on the second Sunday of each month to pray for GBC and discuss pastoral care. They also meet weekly to pray for specific prayer requests submitted via email or during GBC Online.

For Practical Support - contact GBC Cares by phone: 0400 535 637 or email

KidzHome
ACTIVITY SHEETS - We love for our kids to participate during the service at GBC Online. Each week in the Notes section we provide an activity sheet to download and print. Roxane, our Children's Ministry Coodinator, also emails the Activity Sheets to allow you to print it out ready for the Sunday service. If you'd like to be included in this email list please send Roxane an email. We love to see the amazing craft activities the kids are creating during KidzHome / GBC Online - email Roxane photos of your kids' artworks so we can showcase their talent to the rest of our GBC Community.

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE - Check out GBC's website for this week's Memory Verse Challenge. Our Kidzone leaders are taking turns to teach a new verse each week in very creative ways. One of our values at GBC is to be Whole-Life Learners; everyone, kids and adults, can benefit from taking up this challenge - so why not give it a go and get God's word into your hearts and minds!
Contact

Gymea Baptist Church

2-10 Tea Gardens Ave, Kirrawee
02 9521 4611
www.gymeabaptist.org.au

Send news items to: enews@gymeabaptist.org.au
 
Hopefield
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02 9545 0299
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