The Long Read

Executive Summary

Our theme for 2020 is Renovation: Rebuilding for Purpose and as a leadership we have identified a few significant projects that we believe are foundational for our community of faith. This long read seeks to provide you with the information you need to understand why we are engaging in these projects and to find your place in them.

I am both daunted and excited by the opportunities that lie before us as a community of faith and hope and pray that you will feel the same as you read. I also hope that you are inspired to participate more fully in God’s mission here by engaging in these projects!

There are three aspects of this long read:

1. An outline of the process of discernment we will be engaging in during 2022.

This falls in two sections. The first covers the rationale for the four-stage process of discernment as a community of faith, the desired outcomes, and the outline of the process. The second section provides the guidance documents for Stage 1 of this process including a biblical reflection, a reiteration of our vision, mission, and purpose, and a review of our history as a community of faith. It concludes with an invitation to begin to pray together as a community of faith.

2. Two proposed changes to membership at GBC.

We are proposing two changes to our current understanding of membership. The first is to introduce a regular renewal of our membership. The second is to change the term from “member” to “partner”. You will find the background for these decisions, what difference they will make, and how you can be involved in the process.

3. An update on our financial position.

This is an update on our financial position and a call to action.

GBC Strategic Priorities Discernment Process and Guidance Documents


Discerning the invitation of God is an important step in determining the future direction of our community of faith and is equally crucial for each of us as we follow Jesus. In 2022 we want to engage in an on-purpose process whereby we will seek to discern God’s invitation for us as individuals and a community of faith.

In what follows I reflect briefly on the rationale for a discernment process, share the outcomes I hope will come from engaging in this process, outline the four stages of the process, before providing some reflections to guide the first stage: a biblical paradigm, a reiteration of our vision, mission, and purpose, a review of our history as a community of faith, and a call to prayer.

Why a Process of Discernment?

There are two reasons for such a deliberate process of discernment; our commitment to congregational governance and to be on-purpose in allowing sufficient time to discern together.

As a community of faith we are part of the Baptist denominational movement. This movement is a voluntary association of Christian churches who share a set of important beliefs and practices. Among the specifically “Baptist” beliefs and practices are: believer’s baptism by full immersion, the local autonomy of the local church, the priesthood of all believers, and congregational governance. The last of these means that decisions for the local church are made by the congregation. From a legal perspective the decision-making rests with the members of the church; those who have entered into a formal commitment to a local community of faith.

The inclusion of the congregation (or membership) in decision-making grows increasingly complicated as a community of faith grows in number and it is common for authority to be delegated to a smaller group of people (e.g., the Church Leadership Team (“CLT”) and/or pastoral staff). This enables decisions to be made quickly and effectively and is certainly a wise way to conduct day-to-day ministry in a church our size.

While daily decisions can (and should) be made by a small group of people to whom authority has been given by the congregation, we believe that there is still scope to discern the invitation of God together. The process of discernment that we are proposing is an attempt to do just this; discern together.

A central feature of discerning the invitation of God together is time. This was driven home to me at a strategic day that I was recently a part of. The facilitator observed that too often, spiritual discernment is reduced to an opening and closing prayer for guidance and wisdom. While this is better than nothing, there is much more that we can do to prepare our hearts to hear God’s invitation. This process is meant to provide us the time to allow God to speak and to assess and evaluate what we discern together. In line with our values, it allows us the space to be on-purpose; leaving sufficient margin to hear and respond to the invitation of God.

What Do We Hope to Achieve?

A successful process of discernment in 2022 will accomplish a few things. At a very practical level, we will have identified several strategic priorities for the next five years; areas we believe that God is inviting us to invest time, energy, and resources towards.

The process we are attempting may also provide us with a pattern for an annual discernment process; a way for us to make this a regular part of our corporate life together and a source of ongoing unity, engagement, and anticipation.

Far more importantly (and a bit harder to measure), a corporate process of discernment – one which we feel that we have all participated in together – will result in an increased sense of unity, engagement, and anticipation around God’s mission for us as a community of faith. To some degree, this is far more important than identifying strategic priorities!

A community of faith that is united around the mission of God, engaged and invested in the mission, and filled with anticipation of how God will empower, provide, and fulfill his purposes is one where discipleship is a priority, evangelism is an overflow of our life together, belonging is grounded in shared mission, and a reliance on the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit leads to a renewal of prayer and a profound joy in celebration.

The Process of Discernment

The process of discernment has four stages.

In Stage 1 we will be encouraging our community of faith – all who are committed to who we are and where we are going – to pray generally for God’s guidance and leading (See Prayer Points at the end of this section). We will also be preaching a four-week series in March on how we discern the voice of God together, seeking to learn from the biblical examples of God’s people. This will be accompanied by a Life Group resource on the same topic. Part of the purpose of this teaching will be to prepare for Stage 2.

At our first member’s meeting of the year (Sunday March 27; to which all are invited) we will appoint a Discernment Group. This small group (5-7 people) of committed and spiritually mature people will be asked to play an important role in Stage 2.

Stage 2 will begin in Term 2 and the entire congregation will be encouraged to pray more specifically for God’s guidance as we consider the future. As we pray and listen we will be encouraged to submit any impressions that we have to the Discernment Group. “Impressions” may include Scripture that the Spirit brings to mind, word-pictures that we experience while at prayer, ideas that we believe may represent an invitation from God, areas where we are invited to grow, strengths we are invited to strengthen further, etc. The Discernment Group will gather all these impressions and prayerfully seek to discern themes that arise.

At our mid-year member’s meeting (Sunday July 3; to which all are, again, invited) the Discernment Group will present the themes that have been discerned. These will become the focus of prayer in Stage 3.

Stage 3 will culminate with a church-wide strategic day – Saturday, September 17 – when we will seek to discern the strategic priorities that God is inviting us into over the next few years. The hope is that when the day is over we will have clearly discerned a set of 5-7 strategic priorities for the next five years; areas in which we believe we have heard God’s invitation.

In Stage 4 the leadership (staff, CLT, elders, and other key leaders) will create the projects, goals, and aims that will enable us to achieve the strategic priorities. The plan will be presented to the final member’s meeting of the year (Sunday December 4). The congregation will be encouraged to pray for this process of filling in the detail.

This is the process as it is envisioned at the start of the year, but we may need to make changes and adaptations as we go.

Stage 1 – Guidance Documents

The central activity of this process of discernment is prayer. Each stage in the process has a prayer focus. In this first stage that focus is on where we have been and where we are right now. To focus our prayer as a community of faith I want to reflect on Scripture, reiterate our vision, mission, and purpose, review our history, and call us to prayer.

A Biblical Paradigm

The book of Ezra opens with these stirring words of something new:

“In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it into writing:

“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says:

“ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem, and may their God be with them. And in any locality where survivors may now be living, the people are to provide them with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ “

Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites – everyone whose heart God had moved – prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. All their neighbours assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.” (Ezra 1:1-6)

This decree brought the exile of the people of God to an end. After nearly seventy years (See Jeremiah 25:12) the period of their punishment was finally finished. By faith the people had interpreted their defeat at the hands of the Babylonians, the destruction of the temple, their deportation from the land, and their national disgrace as an act of God. If the Lord had been faithful to punish their unfaithfulness and idolatry, then he could be trusted to be faithful to his promises to restore and renew them. And so they had put their faith in the Lord’s promises and now, almost beyond belief, they were going home.

This act of God, which ushered in a brand new chapter, was not brand new. It was, first of all, based on his promise given through the prophets that he would restore them. Second, this return from exile bears similarities with another return from a foreign land; the exodus.

The exodus from Egypt was the definitive act of salvation for the people of God and was a source of endless inspiration, reflection, and worship. It is not at all surprising then, that when the prophets began to speak of God’s “new” thing, they did so using language of the exodus; it was the paradigm for the work of God in every place and every time.

For instance, the second exodus that Ezra narrates begins with a foreign king who submits to the will of the Lord (albeit willingly) to let his people go up to the land he had promised them, and those who return do so with the wealth of their neighbours.

The importance of the continuity of God’s new work with the past is reflected in Ezra’s interest in genealogies; linking the present with the past. The continuity goes far beyond terminology and one’s ancestry; it goes back to the Lord’s purpose in creating a people of his own.

In Exodus 19:4-6 the Lord declares,

“You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself. Now if you fully obey and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.“

The Lord’s intent was that his people would represent him in the world; reflecting his character and mediating the blessing of being in relationship with the one, true God. This was the Lord’s purpose and, crucially, it was still the purpose of God. The exile had not fundamentally changed what God was seeking to do or who he was going to achieve his goals with.

The same can be said about Jesus (who also uses exodus terminology and motifs to describe and explain his ministry; e.g., the Passover) whose “new” thing is a continuation of God’s plans and purposes in the world.

As we begin to set our hearts on hearing God’s new invitation to us as a community of faith to join in his work we should expect that there will be continuity with his prior invitations to join. In other words, this is not a blue-sky, start from scratch, tear it all down, exercise.

This process of discernment begins where we are and where we have been. To that end, what follows in this document sketches where we find ourselves as we embark on this process of discernment.

God’s Invitation and GBC: A Brief History

If the biblical paradigm is that God’s new work grows out of his previous work, it is worth considering where we have been, where we are, and to sketch out what lies before us.

The Past: A Light on the Highway

You may know the story. A small group of followers of Jesus sense the invitation of God to serve the local families by starting a Sunday School. It meets on the property of John and Babs Turner – on the footpath, in the laundry, and, famously, in the rinsed-out chook shed. From these humble origins God planted a community of faith which formally became Hotham Road Baptist Church in 1949 with a desire to be a light on the highway.

With a big heart for their local community and a willingness to take risks in response to where they believed God was at work, they saw lives changed by Jesus and the little community grew. The Sunday School flourished and the church went from strength to strength. A new auditorium was constructed, with some members taking out mortgages to fund it, and only a few years later, an education centre was added – nearly twice the size of the auditorium and with a preschool attached; demonstrating in the very design of the building a desire to make space for our community.

An early innovator in music ministry and an early adopter of an evening service Gymea Baptist became a launching pad for others. Christian Surfers, now an international ministry, was birthed out of a willingness to allow grommets to begin to follow Jesus at GBC. Bike for Bibles was born out of a desire to put the word of God in the hands of everyone. Joan Ealey became the first missionary sent (Venezuela) in the early 60s and the first fruits of a commitment to overseas mission that would invest, quite literally, millions of dollars. Tea Gardens Cottage (the forerunner of Hopefield) was established to serve the community with adult education and counselling. More recently, Jesus Racing, which uses its profile in racing as an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus began at GBC. Olive Tree Media which seeks to resource the wider church and to give a reason for faith in Jesus also has its roots in GBC. And these are just some of the many, many ways that GBC sought to respond to the invitation of God to participate in his plans and purposes in the world.

Alongside these significant initiatives there was a continuous commitment to local mission through Playtime, Kids Ministry, Youth Ministry, and a strong preaching ministry. GBC became a flagship church of the Baptist Association, a source of future church leaders to Morling Bible College and the Baptist Association. This reflects a commitment to be a resource to the wider church reflected in leadership involvement at Morling, the Association, and other extensions of ministry (e.g., Arrow Leadership Development Program, Transform South Sydney, Advanced Christian Education, broadcasting on the Australian Christian Channel from 2017-2021, Carols in the Park, etc.).

It is impossible to adequately summarise seventy-two years of ministry at GBC, but there are a few inter-related themes that stand out about how this community of faith has responded to God’s invitation.

First, with desire for people to hear the good news of Jesus. This has been evident since the chook-shed Sunday School and continues to this day.

Second, with an eye to impact. Decisions about how and where we participate has been shaped by a desire to be impactful. We have been led to areas where we believe our impact can be highest (under God).

Third, with a willingness to innovate. Doing things the way we always have has not stood in the way of what might be new. It has also contributed to a willingness to stop doing some things or to pivot.

Fourth, with a desire to be a resource. Rarely has our participation in God’s mission been for our good only. We have been drawn to activities that can be used by others and that would benefit others.

Fifth, one of the indicators of our whole-hearted response has been an open-handed generosity. This has been seen in financial terms, but beyond that to any other resources we possess.

The Present: COVID and the Great Reset

At the end of 2019 I preached a sermon on change; the exercise ball of chaos. It was an acted-out illustration of the process of change; moving from the familiar to the unfamiliar with the exercise ball as the midpoint in the process. It felt like we were beginning, as a community of faith, to reach out towards something new. How true that was!

The last two years have been marked by massive societal disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; a disruption that has been felt in the church as well. On the surface the most significant feature of the disruption was the closure of places of worship, along with all non-essential buildings. This forced the vast majority of churches on to digital platforms which was a major shift! However, the most significant impact was what this shift revealed.

The essential revelation was how Sunday-centric we had become. In other words, how our Sunday services had become load-bearing for discipleship, evangelism, community, care, and communication. There is, of course, good reason for the church to gather on Sundays and taking advantage of the gathered community to teach, invite, connect, check-in, and communicate makes sense. However, when we could no longer gather physically, the weaknesses of this model became evident really quickly! We largely lacked the secondary relationships, systems, and processes; especially to connect, care, and communicate. On top of that, it became clear that discipleship and evangelism needed a renewal of focus; and one that wasn’t dependent on people gathering on Sundays.

None of these revelations were entirely new; we had known for a while that a Sunday-centric approach to following Jesus, etc., needed to be rethought. Changing patterns of attendance leading to greater infrequency has challenged our ability to connect, care, and communicate. It took a global pandemic, however, to really make this obvious. And the disconnect has been evident in other ways.

Two staggered attempts to reopen have been characterised by a slow reengagement and a significant reconsideration of involvement. We have seen this in relation to volunteering and to community with quite a few people stepping back from volunteering and others deciding to move to other communities of faith and others joining our community of faith.

Anecdotally, this is happening in churches of all sizes and denominations. This universal experience, however, doesn’t absolve us of taking responsibility to learn from and respond to these lessons.

The Future: Opportunities and Challenges

We find ourselves at a watershed moment; a turning point for our community of faith. Building on the foundations of God’s work in the past and taking into account the opportunities and challenges of the present we look forward to an exciting future. While the future is not clear to us, there are some fascinating trends and opportunities that we face.

A seven-day-a-week discipleship that is supported by, rather than focused on, Sunday services but which is founded on Life Groups. A Plan A evangelism focused on our homes, neighbourhoods, and workplaces. Opportunities (e.g., Kids Hope, The Fathering Project, COACH, community hubs) for non-proselytising service in our community that will open the door to lives changed by Jesus. The relatively uncharted territory of the online community and the growing cultural diversity of our area.

These opportunities carry inherent challenges for us as well; a literal renovation of the original buildings, learning how to co-create programs with our community, creating sufficient margin to be able to invest in those in our lives who do not know Jesus and to the work of discipleship, and more.

We believe, however, that God has us here for such a time as this and that his plans to renew the world in Christ Jesus – and his invitation for us to participate in that mission – stands. Our immediate task it to get clear on our mission, vision, and purpose and listen together for the invitation of God.

GBC Mission, Vision, and Purpose

Over the last seven years we have been developing a particular way to describe our mission, vision, and purpose as a community of faith. This terminology is not “right” or “better” than that used by other churches; it is simply our way of doing so.

For us, it begins with Jesus’ words in John 20:21, “As the Father sent me, I am sending you.” These words, given to his disciples, invites us to see ourselves engaged in the same mission that the Father sent Jesus to accomplish. And what, exactly, was Jesus’ mission? To restore and renew all things!

Reflection on this verse and its implications led to the formation of a mission statement; a declaration of what we believe we are called to do. Our formulation was, “Everywhere we go and in everything we do, we will invite everyone to follow Jesus.”

This statement expands our mission beyond Sundays and makes us responsible for the invitation; leaving the greater work in the hands of God. However, the statement made no reference to the outcome of inviting people to follow Jesus. In other words, it lacked a vision; a statement of what we hope to see. Simply put, we want to see “Lives changed by Jesus” which is why we want to invite people to begin to follow him.

As we continued to reflect on this mission and the vision it supported it became obvious that it held a clear implication for our purpose as a community of faith; our “why” as a church. That purpose is to be a community of faith that listens for and courageously responds to God’s invitation to join in his plans to renew all things in Christ Jesus. This is why we exist; to help each other join in God’s work in our world – to invite everyone to follow Jesus – so that their lives might be changed by him.

This language is how we have come to describe what we believe that God is inviting us to do as a community of faith. In other words, we are not seeking to renew this work. Rather, we are seeking to expand it. Our theme for 2022 - Renovation: Rebuilding for Purpose is based on these statements.

A Final Word

One of the critical attitudes that we need to foster during this discernment process is indifference. This is not apathy or a lack of interest but a willingness to see things with a fresh set of eyes. We want to set aside, to the best of our ability, our biases and listen for the invitation of God. This doesn’t undermine the case, outlined above, that God’s invitation to his people tends to take familiar forms but reminds us that we are not coming with a set of goals that we want the Lord to rubber stamp, but with a genuine desire to hear from him. We may pay attention to the ways we have heard and responded to his invitation in the past, but ultimately, we want to hear the “now” invitation.


Prayer Points for Stage 1 (until our member’s meeting on Sunday March 27).
  • Thanks for the ways our community of faith has responded to God’s invitation in the past.
  • Thanks for God’s faithfulness to our community of faith.
  • That God would move our hearts for his purposes and plans.
  • That God would fulfill his word to us to build his church and make all things new.
  • That we would fulfill our mission, vision, and purpose.
  • That we would genuinely be indifferent; open to hear God’s “now” invitation.
  • For the appointment of the Discernment Group.
  • For our Day of Discernment on Saturday September 17; that we would be unified and truly see God at work in this process.

Partnership at GBC

Our Current Model of Membership

While the idea of “membership” is not present in the New Testament, there is plenty of biblical warrant for the concept. From the beginning, the plan of God has been for a people to call his own, and the New Testament is filled with corporate imagery for the people of God (e.g., the flock of God, the body of Christ, the temple of God). We know the value of being committed to a group of people who are united by a common purpose and calling.

As a Baptist church the voluntary commitment of believers one to another in common purpose as followers of Jesus is one of the central tenets of what it means to be Baptist. Another is that the community of faith, made up of those who have made a decision to follow Jesus and who share in the unity of the Holy Spirit, should be governed by that community of faith. For a variety of theological, practical, and legal reasons the responsibilities of governing locally autonomous congregations fall to the official members.

Membership was reserved for those who had undergone believer’s baptism by immersion (i.e., they had made a personal decision to follow Jesus and had been baptised in accordance with the New Testament pattern of full immersion) and who agreed to support and participate in the work and mission of the community of faith and who expressed that commitment through service, regular attendance, financial giving, personal discipleship, and involvement in member’s meetings. Member’s meetings were where decisions on budgets, staffing, ministry direction, and property were voted upon. Membership was open-ended; once a member had been accepted their membership remained active unless they requested a transfer or were inactive for an extended period of time (or passed away).

The Changing Landscape

For a number of reasons, the significance of membership has declined over the years. Perhaps the most significant is the erosion of denominational boundaries. Put simply, those who regularly attend Gymea Baptist Church are as likely to be from another denomination as they are to identify as Baptist. Our community of faith is denominationally diverse. As a sample, our staff have come from Lutheran, Catholic, Baptist, Anglican, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian backgrounds. This means that commitment to distinctly Baptist things, especially baptism, congregational government, and even the concept of membership is not as strong as it once was.

In response to the growing diversity we broadened our definition of baptism to focusing on the public declaration of faith in Jesus more than the amount of water. This opened the door for those who had been baptised as adults by sprinkling and even those who had been baptised as infants but who had confirmed their faith in a significant, meaningful, and public way to become members.

A more diverse group of believers who do not necessarily identify as Baptist and are not members but are committed to GBC has led to an increased group of committed non-members. In the past there would have been a significant overlap between those who were committed to the community of faith and who were members. Now, however, the number of people in both categories has decreased with many people content to remain committed but without becoming official members.

The implication, however, is that those who are fully committed to our vision and purpose but who are not official members are excluded from important decisions and from key leadership roles in the community of faith (e.g., church leadership team, elders).

A second factor is the delegation of authority to a smaller governing body required by the size of our community of faith. While we are not a mega-church we are large enough that decision-making on most ministry-as-usual activities needs to be delegated by the membership to the pastoral staff and Church Leadership Team to maintain effectiveness. This facilitates ministry decision-making but runs the risk of sidelining the membership in the process.

There has also been a cultural reduction of membership. We pay an annual fee (or provide an email address) and enjoy the discounts or services. We are members of dozens of restaurants, cinemas, and subscription services.

The end result is that we have a model of membership that no longer really works for us as a community of faith. It is set-and-forget, disconnected from commitment to the vision and purpose of our community of faith, and has no clearly communicated set of reciprocal expectations for members and the community of faith (e.g., what are members expected to do and what should they expect as members).

The Winds of Change

As part of a wider review of our constitution (a process initiated last year) the committee did some research about how other churches deal with the issue of membership. One of the simple practices that came to light was a membership that was regularly renewed (e.g., every three years). A commitment that was regularly renewed would require consistent communication of the value of membership which, in turn, would drive us to clarify the value of membership! The committee were unanimous in proposing this small, but profoundly impactful change.

Alongside this procedural change we discussed, at length, a change of terminology from membership to partnership. Recognising that each term has strengths and weaknesses we nonetheless feel that partnership may be a more useful term for us to adopt as a community of faith. There are several reasons for this.

First, reciprocity is closer to the surface of partnership. Though it is implied in membership, we noted that you can be a member with very little expectation. We are keen to create a meaningful model of partnership where those who are committed to our community of faith feel like they benefit from becoming partners.

Second, we have increasingly used the language of partnership as a community of faith. We have mission partners who we support in May Mission Month (Baptist World Aid and The Bible Society), we published a Partnership Newsletter (in abeyance over the last couple of years) based on Paul’s language of partnership with the Philippians (1:5), and we speak regularly about participating with God’s work; a partnership in his mission and kingdom.

Third, we felt that a “rebrand” might be helpful as well. To distinguish what we are doing now from what we have done in the past.

These two changes – a renewable commitment and the language of partnership – have been the catalyst for consideration of wider, more significant changes that we hope to introduce in the weeks and months to come. These changes will seek greater clarity about what we mean when we say we are partnering together in God’s mission at GBC. 

A Proposed Process

The process of implementing this change will be slightly out of order. The first thing we want to do as a leadership is to engage our community of faith in shaping what partnership will look like at GBC. What we know is that we want partnership to be meaningful, appealing, and significant. What we don’t know is exactly how to create this kind of partnership.

The mechanism we will be using to gather feedback is a survey with about a dozen questions. The questions will help us develop an appealing, meaningful, and significant partnership model with a focus on reciprocal expectations (e.g., partner ‘benefits’ and expectations).

This survey will be open to everyone who is committed to the vision, mission, and purpose of GBC – whether official members or not – to participate in this survey. This survey will be released in mid-February and will remain open for a fortnight or so.

The feedback that is gathered will be collated by the senior staff and used to create a model of partnership that will be presented to the CLT in order to be recommended to the member’s meeting in March (Sunday, March 27th). The model will be made available to the congregation for questions, clarification, and additional feedback prior to the meeting. At this meeting we will be bringing a resolution to the membership that we accept the new model along with a proposed renewal period (e.g., that a commitment to partnership be renewed every ‘x’ number of years).

If the new model is accepted all current members will be automatically transferred to the new model without any need to renew their partnership for an initial period of time. This avoids a situation where we have no official members of the church and provides us with the time to implement the new model.

Assuming that the new model is accepted we will immediately begin the work of developing the necessary systems and processes to implement it and will aim to welcome our first partners – those who have never been members and who wish to become partners and those members who wish to reconfirm their partnership immediately – in June.

The implementation will include a sermon series on biblical principles of partnership, an opportunity for people to be baptised, the creation of a partnership handbook, etc.

GBC Finances 2022

One of the ways that we participate in God’s plans to make all things new is through the On-Purpose and Big-Hearted stewardship of the financial resources the Lord has given us. Our resources include more than our finances, but our financial participation is an important part of our discipleship and is critical to our ability as a community of faith to fulfill our God-given purpose.

Heading into 2022 the Church Leadership Team, in consultation with the Finance Committee, recommended a deficit budget to the church membership which was accepted at our AGM in December of last year. The rationale for proposing a deficit budget can be summarised as follows. After two disrupted years in which we failed to meet our budgeted income from offerings we nonetheless found ourselves in a strong cash position. This, and other encouraging signs (e.g., we met and exceeded our May Mission Month target; a target that is over and above our regular giving), provided us with confidence that we would recover the deficit over the course of the year without making any immediate changes to our current staffing and ministries.

The budget proposed an offering income of $780,000. This figure is $100,000 less than our proposed 2021 income but is also a $50,000 increase on 2021 actuals. The bottom line is that we are aiming to increase our actual offering income by 20% over last year to make up this deficit and to prepare for 2023. As a leadership we are confident that the Lord will provide as his people commit to financially participate in the mission here at GBC.

At the time of writing, we are 13% behind our offering income target (which is not unusual for January). We are asking if everyone who is committed to the vision and mission of God at GBC would do the following:

  • To make this a matter of prayer; that the Lord would provide all we need to achieve his plans and purposes in our community.
  • To begin to participate financially in the mission of God here at GBC if you have not yet begun to do so. We would encourage you to consider electronic giving. You can find the details about how to do this on our website or on GBC Links under the Giving tab.
  • To review your electronic giving and prayerfully consider increasing your partnership by 20% (e.g., giving $12 instead of $10, $60 instead of $50, $120 instead of $100, etc., and a big thanks to those of you who have already done so!). Even if you are not able to increase your financial gift, we encourage people to regularly review their electronic giving in case your details have changed or the arrangement has lapsed.

The CLT will be closely monitoring our financial position and we will be seeking to communicate regularly with our community of faith about where we stand. 

A Concluding Postscript from the Senior Pastor

You made it all the way to the end. Thanks for that!

My primary concern in this long read has been to inform you – the community of faith I have been invited by God to lead – about a few of our Renovation projects. However, I hope that you have heard more than information, but that you are as daunted and excited as I am about what God is doing in our community of faith.

Let us commit ourselves to God’s purposes, to prayer, and to one another!


Marc Rader | Senior Pastor