Stepping Up - Stepping Out
The Baptist Men's Movement met recently for its annual conference, where delegates were challenged to let go of how things have been done in the past, and in the words of one speaker, 'to pick up the Bible and run with it'. New chair Tony Aylward reports
Stepping Up - Stepping Out was the theme of this year's conference. It was a great success and an encouragement as we consider the way forward for the Movement over the next three years.
The conference started with an address by the president Dean Thorpe, who spoke directly on the theme. He began by challenging us to "step up". What do you need to do to step up? What action needs to be taken? Is it a new skill that you need to learn or an existing one that needs to be developed? Maybe a piece of missing knowledge that you need to read and study up on? Or could it simply be the case that your attitude needs to improve? To be more positive in your outlook and to be more aware of being in the right state at the right time?
Then he focused on "stepping out". We need to step out of our comfort zone and do something new or different. What about making a decision about that thing you've been putting off for many months or years? How about making "that decision" so that you can step out and do what you know you need to do to move on? And I'm amazed at how many people keep doing the same old things and keep coming up with the same old results and just aren't able to figure out why. Step up, out and off of the hamster wheel and choose a new direction or a new path!
On Saturday morning we had our AGM at which there were changes to the organisation. Bob Pengelly-Phillips stood down as chair and has been replaced by Tony Aylward with Dean Thorpe becoming vice chair. Bryan Orchard informed the meeting that he would be relinquishing the post as secretary from the end of August 2013. Martyn Strong was sworn in as the new president.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Richard Hardy whose introduction expanded on the theme of the conference. We tend to put God and people in to packages. Our lives are lived in a box made of opinions made by others. We need to break out of that box; BMM needs to break out of its past. God does not just work in only one way, as he has in the past. We are a Movement not a Monument so we need to face the reality where we now are and consider where we are going.
Richard said there needs to be a paradigm shift in the Movement: moving it out of the groove of rules and habit, putting aside assumptions, being fearful of the future. A good place to start is to look at what puts men off of the Church and the Gospel.
• too feminine
• we don't need God anymore
• fear of commitment
• don't feel worthy
• men are like women? (natural herding)
• all men are alike
So how do we reach men just like us?
What do you excel at best?
• Wild camping
• Train sets
• Life Stages
Begin with a fun or activity day sharing greatest free gift but then walk away
Many have spiritual needs so how can we help you to become the sort of person God wants you to be?
To follow up use material so that it is an Intentional Journey of faith. Invite them to come and celebrate with me.
Richard then had us working in groups to explore themed topics. The results of the discussion groups will be displayed at the Baptist Assembly and afterwards they will be available as a download from the website.
The conference closed with a communion service with Jonathan Hulton speaking from Romans 1:16. He began with the statistic that 59 per cent of churches have nobody between the ages of 15 and 20. We need to take a new step forward in our nation. To recover the passion we have for God. Need to have a passion for the Gospel and for men working together with other churches. He urged us to put our past to one side and pick up the Bible and run with it.
We need to lay down the old ways, to start to dream a bigger dream and to challenge the impossible. Don't be afraid to ask for a bigger vision.
Jonathan's message in full is available at: http://youtu.be/MvF-lvOBUX4
To find out more about the Baptist Men's Movement, visit: http://www.baptistmen.org.uk/