Baptist Steering Group - June 2016
General Secretary Lynn Green shares key messages from the June gathering of the Baptist Steering Group
The song, 'Come set your rule and reign'
became a refrain that echoed throughout our time together and served as a prophetic prayer in the midst of our uncertain times:
Build Your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show Your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set Your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build Your kingdom here we pray
Rend Collective © 2011 Thankyou Music (Admin. by Integrity Music)
As we prayed together and reflected on the year since I shared the call to be Beacons of Prayer, we sensed God calling us to build on Beacons of Prayer for this coming year. As we continue to seek God and make space for him, we believe God is saying to our churches that we need to rise up and get out into our communities as Beacons of Hope
. This is needed now more than ever before. As I prayed this morning, I was struck by the relevance of Luke 4:14 – 'Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit…' Following a time of dedicated seeking of God’s presence Jesus embarked on his public ministry. We also spent some time around the story of the feeding of the 5,000 again. Against a backdrop of challenging times, Jesus said to his disciples, “…you give them something to eat.” (Matt 14:16). This is not a time for us to shrink back; now is the time for us to get out there and share the bread of life with hungry people.
We were inspired by hearing how God is at work in three very different situations – Witney, Whitchurch (Hants) and Reading
. Again we noticed the connection between prayer-fuelled God-dependence and relevant mission. Witney
is a church being planted in readiness for a new housing development and has already had a baptism! From Whitchurch
we heard of a church of 20 who had agreed to close but who now has a church community of 70! It was good to hear first-hand of what God is doing in Reading through 'The Gate'
. The remarkable openness to the Gospel that is being experienced by teams on the streets is shifting their members into becoming disciple-makers like never before. If you and/or your leadership team would like to connect with any of these churches so that you can learn more please contact them using the links above.
We are releasing three Pioneer co-ordinators to work across Baptist Together
to enable further growth. Focussed in different areas of the country, they will serve the Northern and EMBA/HEBA Partnerships; the EBA/CBA Partnership; and the LBA and SEBA. Pioneering in the South West Partnership is being encouraged through the 'Seventy Two' Project. These part-time roles will be funded for three years using investment income from the Newington Court Fund.
The data from the Fit4Mission survey
about the health of our churches is almost collated and each Association will have their own feedback report in the autumn. Work is also being done to cross-reference our data with other key surveys such as the Ignite data and the Perceptions of Jesus research conducted by the Barna Group.
Another significant step forward in our Ignite vision
for Godliness, excellence and flexibility in leadership was made with the agreement of the Marks of Ministry Calling. We were particularly encouraged by the fact that the final version of the Marks had been significantly enhanced through our collaborative working. These Marks will form the basis of our Ministerial Recognition discernment from 2017. Next we continue to work on the other aspects of Marks of Ministry – the Marks of Ministry Formation and the Ongoing Marks of Ministry!
Our Faith and Society Specialist Team is seeking input as planning begins for future Assemblies
. They will be sending out a survey on 20 July to gather views from across our Union. We are particularly wanting to hear from those of you who DON’T go – we have lots of survey feedback each year from people who do go ;-)!
The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union
Please share this update with your church - you can click here to download the video.