The story behind our renewed culture
Since 1938 we have used the Declaration of Principle as a basis for our life together as Baptists in this country. We believe in Jesus (1), Christian baptism (2) and world evangelisation (3).
Five Core Values
A Denominational Consultation was held in 1996 which called for more work to be done to help us grapple afresh with issues of living justly in our contemporary world. When the Baptist Union Council met in Bristol in November 1996 to consider the advice of the Denominational Consultation, it noted that valuable insights into issues of biblical justice had been revealed.
Concern was expressed that these insights must not be lost or minimised, but should be expressed in a way that would make them a standard by which to measure all we are and do as Baptists. A special Task Group was set up to reflect on what we learnt about Christ and the call of God for us to ‘act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God’. (Micah 6:8).
The ‘Five Core Values for a Gospel People’ is the result of the work of that Task Group. These Five Core Values were identified as:
To be a prophetic people
To be an inclusive people
To be a sacrificial people
To be a missionary people
To be a worshipping people
These Five Core Values have served us well over the years and helped us to reflect on what we are doing and how we are doing it.
The new millennium
The “Futures Process” was initiated by the Baptist Union Council at its meeting in 2011 in response to an increasingly likely and significant budget deficit in the face of an unprecedented and prolonged recession.
It was very quickly seen, however, that this was a real opportunity to seriously reflect on what our key priorities should be in the decades ahead – generational change was in the air and the initial challenges we faced soon gave birth to much creative energy and reflection.
A Futures discussion was held at the 2012 Baptist Assembly
With a sustained emphasis on seeking the mind of Christ together, Baptists considered four key questions:
How is the local church best served by the wider Baptist community so that the mission of God is furthered?
What principles should guide this journey?
What must we do together as Baptists?
What could we / should we stop doing together as Baptists?
Out of this significant process emerged a clear sense of vision for Baptists Together – Growing healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission – yet we also recognised that re-structuring alone would not achieve the sort of change to which we aspired. This led us to move on to identify ways in which we wanted to intentionally renew our culture.
This sense of urgency to develop, and in some cases recapture, aspects of our culture found expression as the Futures Process unfolded and began to be implemented.
The culmination of all this was presented to Baptist Union Council in March 2014 as follows:
Baptists Together are committed to intentionally developing a culture where we...
SEEK TO BE A MOVEMENT OF SPIRIT LED COMMUNITIES – As those who have encountered the living Christ, to intentionally seek his will and purpose for our local churches and every expression of our shared life. (Galatians 5:22-25)
FEEL LIKE ONE TEAM – celebrating diversity; valuing, respecting and trusting each other as we work together in partnerships - making sure everyone feels included and listened to. (I Corinthians 12:24b-27)
EMBRACE ADVENTURE – being serious about discipleship, willing to take risks, pioneer and move out of the comfort zone of familiar ways of doing things. (Matthew 28:18-20)
INSPIRE OTHERS – with a generosity of spirit, to energise and motivate people to be all that God created them to be. (Ephesians 5:1 & 2)
SHARE A HUNGER FOR GOD’S COMING KINGDOM – nurturing a “holy discontent” that arises from our desire to give practical expression to our vision of God’s purpose for creation - confronting evil, injustice and hypocrisy and challenging worldly attitudes to power, wealth, status and security both within and beyond our Union. (Matthew 6:9 & 10)
You can immediately see how this renewed sense of the culture grows out of, and is connected with, the Five Core values that we had been working with since 1996 and represents the next step in our journey as Baptists Together.