Last week marked the beginning of a new chapter in my life. After 8.5 years on staff at Baptist World Aid I have finished as an employee and taken on two new projects. The first sees me returning to BWAA in a consultancy role three days a week. I’ll work with the organisation on its theological formation, on the development of education programs, conduct research into strategic areas for future development, and provide advice in the area of advocacy. It’s been a strange, stretching, and at times difficult, experience stepping out of employment into self-employment, and out of a formal leadership role into a consultancy role. It’s also been something of a learning curve, both at a personal and at a practical level.This past few weeks I have registered business names, opened a post office box, consulted an accountant, registered for GST, and issued my first invoice.
Most importantly, this change in my life has afforded me the opportunity to seriously act on this question: if I have five to ten years of working life left in me, where can I most effectively invest it? I love Baptist World Aid and what it stands for, and it is my hope that this new role will enable me to speak into its life and its future in a way I was unable to previously, while at the same time allowing me to continue contributing towards a Baptist movement that keeps growing into God’s heart for justice and mercy.
Alongside this, I’ll be kicking off “A Just Cause”, a new ministry with Australian Baptist Ministries. Over the last ten years I have been involved in helping churches in the Baptist movement learn about and advocate on global justice issues. And we have taken to these causes with a vengeance. In many of the campaigns with which I’ve been involved people from Baptist churches have been very healthily represented. But when it comes to domestic justice issues, such as how we respond to asylum seekers and refugees, homelessness and disadvantage, indigenous well-being, our voices seem to be underrepresented. Part of the reason for this is a lack of national infrastructure by which people within our movement can speak out for justice in these areas. Certainly in a number of states there has been action at either a local or state level, but there was nobody organising combined action at a national level. And so I’ll be launching a new ministry, under the auspices of Australian Baptist Ministries, that will resource and mobilise churches and people within the Baptist movement into advocacy on issues such as these. First cab off the rank will be a campaign on refugees and asylum seekers. Look out for a July 1 launch.
Life takes some unexpected turns, but I’m looking forward to what this one holds.