Despite the pains and strains of the year the world would like to put behind them, God’s people know His hand on their lives, and continue to receive joy and blessing in remaining true to Him.
At the campuses of Birkdale and Cannon Hill of Birkdale Baptist Church, the congregations have seen the Lord at work. In October of 2019, a committee from the church was given the task to search for a new Senior Pastor, to enable the church to build on the faithful leadership that David Elvery had provided through the previous ten years. David has moved on to become the Director of Pastoral Services for Queensland Baptists.
One application drew the attention of not only the Search Committee, but also the Church Board, even though the applicant was not a Baptist pastor.
For the last 5 years, the church invested heavily in discipleship, and adopted the 3DM Discipleship framework, also described as “Up, In, & Out.” Years prior, Rev. Ian Weaver, an Anglican priest from Victoria, spent 4 years in England where he first met Mike Breen, the founder of the 3DM movement.
After returning to Australia in 2003, Ian was involved in pioneering the work of 3DM down under. God was preparing the way to bring Ian to the church, to further lead into being His disciples and training others to become His disciples.
Just prior to COVID-19 restrictions, Ian was able to preach once at each of the church services. After a month of prayer and searching to know God’s will and direction, the combined membership of the church voted overwhelmingly to call Ian to be the Senior Pastor.
Since taking up the reins on 20 April, 2020, Pastor Ian has had a unique and challenging journey as pastor of a new church navigating the COVID-19 new world. With no services or normal programs running in the church at this time, Ian focused on making contact with the church family, and working with the leadership to refine the vision of the church. He and his wife, Julie, have already become loved and appreciated by the church family.
But now with restrictions eased, and services resumed, it has been feasible for Pastor Ian Weaver to be commissioned into the role of Senior Pastor before the congregations.
In the morning service of Sunday 13 September, Pastor Dave Paroz from Connect Baptist Church commissioned Ian into God’s ministry at Birkdale and Cannon Hill Baptist Churches, and the church family openly welcomed Ian and Julie into the fellowship of the church. Jeff Ireland, Regional Minister for Metro South and Gold Coast, also participated in the service.
What joy to witness the Lord’s leading and gifting to His people, with many joining together at the Birkdale campus for this special time, along with others, including the Cannon Hill congregation, who joined in through the livestream.
Before prayers were offered for Ian and Julie, the Chair of the Board, Steve Morris, reflected on, and challenged the church with words Ian had written in his application:
Imagine what it would look like if . . .
- Every member of Birkdale and Cannon Hill saw themselves as a disciple of Christ, who was actively and confidently making more disciples.
- Each disciple recognized the voice of the Shepherd enough to be clear about what God was saying to them and would direct their lives accordingly, both individually and corporately.
- Each of the pastors were enablers and facilitators and all the people were fully engaged in ministry either at work, at home or in their social settings.
- Every member felt known, safe and empowered to love and be loved by God, to love and be loved by other people.
- Ever-increasing numbers of non-churched people were orienting their lives towards Jesus.
- The Kingdom of God was clearly seen to be breaking through by transformation in the lives of individuals and communities.
Traditions live on through COVID …
A tradition of the church, when receiving a new pastor, is to present “gifts” to make this a real “welcome” into the fellowship. These included the church’s outreach T-shirt and a Hawaiian shirt that is traditionally worn on the first Sunday service of summer.
Nonetheless, having previously explained Ian’s church background, it was decided to firstly educate him in all things Baptist with the booklet, “400 years – The History of the Baptist Church.” Further introductions were “show bags” of merchandise and paraphernalia from both Baplink, the Baptist finance arm, and Global Interaction, the mission arm of Australian Baptists.
Apart from introducing Ian and Julie to how Baptists do mission, Global Interaction also included the “hot off the press,” “can’t put down” book, Jump Into The Unknown, by Mel Downes, who works with Tim and their sons, Jarred and Clayton, in Malawi. The family is strongly supported by Birkdale and Cannon Hill churches.
Julie, as Ian’s wife, has a major role in supporting Ian as he leads and shepherds the church. To recognise the love and acceptance of Julie by the fellowship, a beautiful bouquet of flowers was presented to her.
At Birkdale and Cannon Hill churches, we now look to the future and trust our God for His leading and provision in whatever comes our way … and give all thanks and praise to our loving Lord and Saviour for His goodness to His people! Lord, let us be the church that You visioned for us.
Imagine what it would look like . . . .