The Revd Lynn Green has been inducted as the new General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Guests from all over the UK travelled to the West Midlands to share in the uplifting service at Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church on Sunday (22 September).
The service saw Mrs Green make a series of induction promises relating to her new role. Promises to support her ministry were in turn made by her husband Stuart, members of the Transitional Steering Group, and church, Association and college representatives. Ecumenical guests were also invited to share in the promises.
Her new ministry was then prayed for as she was surrounded on stage by friends, family and people representing the life of our Union, which deliberately included young people and children. Following this she was then declared, to much applause, ‘inducted to the office of General Secretary of our Union’ by current BUGB president the Revd Ernie Whalley.
Mrs Green shared something of her personal journey, thanking ‘all the churches that have allowed me to practise on them’ and stressing her reliance on God and openness to His calling.
She had not pursued the role, she said, but her name had been put forward as a potential General Secretary by colleagues she trusted. At the same time her family had begun the process of becoming special guardians for two young girls. The two paths seemed to be ‘mutually exclusive’, she said, and there followed a period of ’waiting and deep trust’. In May, both were confirmed.
‘What has enabled me to embrace this role?’ she said. ‘It is undoubtedly from God.’ She asked those present to keep praying ‘and I will try my very best to be faithful to God’s call.’
Earlier Jenny Royal moderator of Trustees and of the General Secretary Nominating Committee, had shared how the route to selecting Mrs Green had been characterised by discerning God’s will. Among the diverse nominating group there had been ‘complete unanimity’ in the choice.
The induction covenant was shared, with churches encouraged to share it with their congregations at an appropriate moment.
The two hour service featured a mix of hymns and worship songs, led by the Revd Dave Ellis, minister of Small Heath Baptist Church and a TSG member. Chosen by Mrs Green’s family, they ranged from Be Thou My Vision
to modern worship songs such as 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)
and the Rend Collective Experimen
t’s Come Set Your Rule and Reign
. The children’s song I’m Gonna Jump Up and Down
, which features the line ’I’ll follow Jesus till the day I drop’, was also part of the service, with Mrs Green leading the actions alongside her family on stage.
The Revd Paul Hills, regional minister team leader of the Eastern Baptist Association, (and a former minister of Mrs Green before she herself became a minister) delivered the sermon, with John 15: 1-17 as the text.
He based the address around the theme “I chose you” (v 16). To be chosen means to be affirmed, is a sense of privilege and shows God values us - but we must remain in Him, Mr Hills said. Urging prayer for Mrs Green and her family, he encouraged those present to tell their congregation that something has changed, that this is a new beginning for our Union.
‘This has been a fantastic service,’ he said, ‘please tell people something different has happened here, something unique. I sense it’s something more than just a human endeavour. God’s sovereign will is happening.’
Addressing Mrs Green, he said ‘Lynn, God says I have chosen you for this time, for His purposes.’
Elsewhere Gale Richards regional tutor of the Northern Baptist Learning Community, led prayers, with the gospel reading from the Revd Grenville Overton, Mrs Green’s team leader at the Southern Counties Baptist Association. Following the service guests gathered for refreshments, ably provided by the volunteers from Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church.