Mike Stevens, Lead Pastor at Clovercrest Baptist

‘We’ve always been a community minded church,’ said Mike. ‘A local former mayor calls us the seven-days-a-week church because there’s always something happening here.’

On any given day in Adelaide’s north-eastern suburbs, Clovercrest—better known as Clovie—is full of life. As well as the usual church services and mid-week activities, Clovie facilitates several hands-on, community-based programs including an op shop, a café and playground, and a thriving food ministry to 8,000 Adelaideans. They’re deeply committed to loving their neighbours.

But what is less visible from the outside is Clovie’s commitment to supporting their far-off neighbours through missional organisations, including Baptist World Aid.

‘Mission and humanitarian aid are part of the heartbeat of our church,’ Mike said. Clovie seeks to live out the Great Commission, as well as honoring Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:44-45.

'They also will answer, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?” He will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”' - Matthew 25:44-45.

With such a compelling vision, is there a danger of doing too much? According to Mike, there is. ‘We used to adopt missions as our people brought them to the church’s attention,’ he said. ‘But with many outward-looking people, we were financially supporting lots of organisations without really partnering with any of them. We wanted to do better.’ 
About seven years ago, Clovie revolutionised their approach to mission. Now they choose a few organisations and commit to a very intentional partnership. While they still encourage their people to support missions God puts on their hearts, the church as a whole concentrates on just a few. 

‘To us, it’s about more than money,’ said Mike. ‘We want to get to know the people, understand their world, pray for them, financially support them, and if possible, visit them.’ 

Through Baptist World Aid, Clovie has developed a strong partnership with the people of Kapilvastu, Nepal. It’s an area facing significant challenges and widespread poverty.

This partnership began in 2019 when Mike accompanied Baptist World Aid staff on a trip to Kenya. It was there that he saw a powerful methodology of Community Development in action. When he returned home, Clovie’s team considered whether they could play a role supporting communities that were emerging from poverty.  

It’s a blessing to participate in the mission of God, and have the opportunity to be part of change.

After spending time with Steve Woods, Baptist World Aid’s Church Relationship Manager (SA and NT), Kapilvastu emerged as a great opportunity for Clovie to invest in. With a goal of seeing the end of poverty in the region by 2030, Clovie has previously funded an education trainer, and this year will invest in improving agricultural practices in the region. These initiatives are already making a difference, with some farmers tripling their crops within a couple of seasons, and twenty per cent more girls staying in school because of their family’s economic improvements. 

Funds are collected through Baptist World Aid’s Child Sponsorship program and Clovie’s ‘Heart for the House’—their yearly call for people to go beyond their regular contributions to church, and give generously.

And the blessings aren’t just one way. ‘It’s a blessing to participate in the mission of God, and have the opportunity to be part of change,’ said Mike. ‘This partnership helps us keep walking it out. It keeps our eyes lifted to what God is doing and keeps us outward focused’.