The Baptist Steering Group
General secretary Lynn Green shares key messages from the January 2015 meeting of the BSG
At our retreat last year we felt that the Lord was encouraging us “not to be bystanders” but rather to get out round the country to meet others in our Union and pray with them. This was the first of these meetings for BSG and we met at the BMS International Mission Centre in Birmingham.
HEBA Regional Team Leader, Adrian Argile, invited five ministers to share a meal with us and then tell us what they saw that God was doing. We were inspired and challenged by those we met.
These ministers had huge vision, faith and energy and were seeing lives and communities transformed as well as churches being planted. It was great that some of what they shared was really relevant to things we had been considering earlier in the day! The whole encounter was amazingly encouraging and we were also able to gather round, lay hands and pray for them and bless them in their ministry before they left.
Overall our focus was on enabling mission (as always!); some of the other highlights from being together were…
We welcomed three new members to the team – John Claydon (Northern Partnership), Richard Lewis (EBA/CBA Partnership) and Geoff Andrews (LBA) and recognised that this was the start of a new chapter for us. Chris Ellis served as our Accompanier on this occasion.
We engaged with an initial presentation about a project we are calling, “Project Loaves and Fishes” which is all about developing new streams of income to enable more mission. BSG have asked Rich Webb (EMBA) and Anne Bishop (LBA) to lead this project for Baptists Together and they will be working with many others to develop some key recommendations for Council to consider in the Autumn. This project not only demonstrates new thinking but also new ways of working together.
Following the workshop at Council in November a small group led by Rob Ellis had put together a brief theological paper outlining what Baptists have affirmed and do affirm about ministry and this was warmly received as an excellent piece of work. We also agreed the role for the Leader of the Ministries Project and the outcomes for the project itself, and we made progress with the preparatory work that we want to provide the project team with when it starts. This will be the first phase of some really significant work for us to discern what sort of ministries we need for the future.
We reflected on the fact that no nominations had been made for the President. When such a situation arises our Constitution tells us that Council will make the nomination and this process is being initiated as we continue to reflect.
As a team we continued to grapple with some of the challenges that are facing Baptists Together at the moment recognising all the tremendous work that is being done by many on many fronts. We are working together to produce a “road map” to enable us to effectively manage our pension provision and we also listened carefully to feedback from churches and ministers with regard to the continuing conversations surrounding the Same Sex Marriage legislation. These are big issues for us all and we continue to give serious reflection and prayer as we engage with them.
Lynn Green is the General Secretary of our Baptist Union