The Baptist Steering Group - April 2015
General Secretary Lynn Green shares key messages from the April gathering of the Baptist Steering Group
We met this time at the King's Park Conference Centre and were inspired by the story of a Baptist who had a vision to engage with young people; now half a million young people use this centre every year!
We were also inspired and challenged in our worship as Richard Lewis (Regional Team Leader, EBA) reminded us about truly trusting the Lord and surrendering ourselves to His purposes.
Ignite (formerly known as the Ministries Project)
We were delighted to welcome Phil Jump (Regional Team Leader, NWBA) to the meeting. He has been seconded from the NWBA, part time, to lead this project.
We spent considerable time carefully clarifying and refining the scope and potential of this project. We are excited about the possibilities that there are for us to enable ministries and leadership to flourish and we also had a sense that our reflection and work in this area should help us embrace more firmly the cultural change that we long to see.
There will be opportunities for churches to engage with this project at The Baptist Assembly.
Vision and Culture
Back in September 14 we created a plan for how we could communicate our vision and renewed culture in the months running up to the Assembly. We dug out the flip charts and reviewed how we had done. We were encouraged to see that we have been able to do nearly everything we set out to do and now we continue to think and make plans for the future.
We thought about whether we could enable a greater sense of belonging in Baptists Together through preaching opportunities. The paper that I offered did not capture the imagination for the team, but through our sharing and listening we are developing some even better ideas. Prayerfully watch this space!
Safeguarding Adults at Risk
At the start of our safeguarding review we asked the National Safeguarding Contacts Group to tell us their top priorities - the unanimous response was that we needed a new policy for working with adults at risk. Baptist Steering Group gave their approval to this policy and we also expressed our great appreciation of all the work that has been done through Associations and Specialist Teams to produce this policy for Baptists Together. This is yet another example of how we are working together to serve our churches. [This policy has been subsequently approved by our Trustees and will be available on The Baptists Together website in due course]
Over dinner and into the evening we met with some Newly Accredited Ministers from the Central Baptist Association. We asked them to share with us their passions in ministry and also what they see God doing. We had an amazing time with these men and women and we were inspired by their passion, enthusiasm, and commitment to incarnational ministry.
We saw leaders who demonstrated a depth of biblical reflection who were mission practitioners in their own contexts - transitioning churches, re-imagining what church could be like, embodying the love of Christ through chaplaincy and through innovative approaches to discipleship. Their colleges and churches can be proud of them and we are blessed to have so many ministers like this on our team as Baptists Together. We gathered round and prayed for them before they went home.
We were encouraged to hear that bookings were coming in steadily and that we are filling up fast now. We worked on finalising our plans for the Baptists Together Market Place sessions. More information will be will be uploaded to the Baptist Assembly website in the run up to the Assembly.
Baptists Together Mission Forum
The Fit for Mission survey to help us gain a national picture of the health of our churches is being tested and the final survey should be available soon!
Ongoing conversations about Same Sex Marriage
We continued to reflect on the issues arising from the new marriage act. This involved recognising concerns and questions raised in conversations and church meetings, some of which came via Associations and some direct from individuals and churches to the firstname.lastname@example.org email address. There will be more opportunity to hear about this conversation briefly at The Baptist Assembly and remember if you or your church wish to contribute to the conversation use the email address: email@example.com. All these emails are read and their content listened to in our meetings.
We continued to reflect on how the vision of our Futures process is being implemented and we considered what the opportunity for review that was planned for 2016 might look like. We are all committed to keep on working out our new ways of relating as Baptists Together
An update was given about current work with regard to pensions and we discussed the need to review governance arrangements to ensure that we continue to operate within best practice.
Project Loaves and Fishes
We had an interim presentation from Rich Webb (Minister, Scunthorpe Baptist Church) and Anne Bishop (LBA Director) who are leading Project Loaves and Fishes and were able to listen to some of the initial ideas that are emerging from the many consultations that are happening in different ways. There will be an opportunity to engage with this at The Baptist Assembly, emailing the team via firstname.lastname@example.org and through an online survey.
Lynn Green is the General Secretary of our Baptist Union