Insights (a monthly time of learning, connecting and keeping up-to-date for all leaders) is BACK on the 19th of May (1-2PM, online)! This time, we’ll hear from Carolyn Altman – Prayer Coordinator for Baptist Churches of NSW & ACT. In 2017, a ‘Prayer Commitment’ was unanimously accepted at the Baptist Association’s September 2017 Assembly. Carolyn was hired as someone to champion prayer, and teach us how simple it is. Her passion for prayer ignited four years ago when her daughter went overseas for a holiday. “At first, she was great at keeping in touch with me…But then there were four days where there was nothing,” Carolyn explains. “I remember telling God how I longed to hear from my daughter, and that I just wanted her to contact me. And in my conscious thoughts came God saying to me: ‘My precious child, that’s exactly how I feel about you!’”
In this session, Carolyn will be teaching on prayer and fasting. “Prayer is simply talking to God, and listening to Him talk back – just like how you talk and listen to anyone else that you know and love,” Carolyn explains. “Often when I talk to pastors and ministry leaders facing burnout, they’ve stopped praying and spending time with God. Pre-Covid I was booked to do a Prayer Retreat for the ladies of Glenbrook Baptist. I’d had an incredibly busy few weeks and my tank was bone dry empty. So I knew I wasn’t going to be able to give anything to them – unless I filled up my own tank first. I had to spend the whole morning the day before just talking to God and listening to Him talk to me, so that I could be ready to give to those ladies!
And fasting is a spiritual discipline, yet not something that I find is taught very much today. Jesus says twice in his sermon on the mount: “WHEN you fast” – not “if”! But it seems to be a bit of a forgotten discipline.” Carolyn’s first ‘Fast for Lent’ (the 40 days preceding Easter, to help us remember Jesus’ 40-day fasting/withdrawal into the desert) was four years ago. “I gave up Facebook, chips, chocolate, lollies, cakes, dessert, and ½ an hour of sleep! In hindsight, that was a LOT for my first 40 days fast,” she shares. “But in those 40 days God worked an absolute miracle in our family, through an amazing number of circumstances…Was that Lenton fast worth it? Yes! Yes! Yes!”
As part of the Baptist Association’s latest prayer initiative, ‘40 Days of Prayer’, we will be encouraging churches to spend the final 20 days of prayer by including some manner of fasting. Carolyn’s teaching at Insights will help you be able to encourage your people to actually do it once Day 20 comes around. She’ll look at reasons why we pray, the benefits of fasting, and some biblical examples of prayer and fasting (from both the old and new testament). Click here to register for May Insights (or, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info)!
‘Insights’ is the next iteration of last year’s ‘Live Q&A’, taking place monthly on Zoom. At Insights, we go through the latest COVID-19 updates, and dive deeper into different areas of Leadership, Health, Mission and Justice (often with the help of experts). These sessions are for any leader within your church: Pastors, Secretaries, Treasurers, Elders…even people you see leadership potential in! Rally your ministry team and use it as a leadership development tool, and/or time to connect with other pastors and leaders within our Association.
P.S. Have you and your ministry staff joined our new ‘Pastors & Leaders’ Facebook group? It’s another place for us to connect, encourage, challenge, share stories and engage with tools from the Association. Request access here.