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Baptist Steering Group - March 2017


We were blessed by the hospitality of the Windmill Farm Conference Centre once again, which feels a bit like “home base” for us!  Here are the key communications from our time together:
  • Rob Ellis (Principal, Regent’s Park College) led our prayer and worship.  We focussed on St David and his encouragement to, “be steadfast, and faithful in the small things” and also used Ash Wednesday readings.  Jenni Entrican was our Accompanier and she encouraged us from Scripture to trust God for the future.
  • It was good to see the leaflet that has been produced by our Associations to encourage our churches to get involved in 50 Days of mission and evangelism from Easter to Pentecost. Packed full of ideas and resources, this leaflet can help churches to grow in confidence in sharing the good news of Jesus. Please contact your local Association to obtain them. 50 Days culminates with the national week of prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come” (25th May - 4th June) and again we would want to encourage every church to be part of this as we pray especially for individuals and communities to discover and follow Christ.
  • We had a thorough review of progress with implementing the Ignite proposals.  Of the Ignite recommendations that BSG had already highlighted for priority action,  R1 (database), R2 (MRC training), R3 (MRC Moderator), R4 (Marks of Ministry), R11 (office systems), R17 (working group) & R18 (diversity monitoring) were either complete or on track for implementation in 2017 and recommendation R7 (NAM personal development plans) is planned for introduction in Sept 2018.  Of the remaining recommendations, we agreed to begin work on recommendations R9&R10 (Code of Practice for Ministers and Churches).  The other recommendations will be considered and implemented appropriately later.Ignite logo-colour-transparent
  • With All Team Leaders we continued to reflect on the need for change as Baptists Together in order to enable us to be faithful to God’s mission.  We recognised that presenting issues such as implementing the Ignite proposals, sustainable finances and addressing the DB Pension deficit needed to be the focus for BSG.  After considerable sharing and listening, we agreed that the underlying issues around simplification, covenant and associating needed careful discernment from us all.  We agreed that the question that would focus our discernment was, “God’s call to us is to be growing healthy churches in relationship for mission.  How do we best relate and share our resources to enable this to happen; giving particular attention to simplifying our processes and structures, covenant and associating?”  We will begin to respond to this question at Council later this month.
  • In the light of the fact that Home Mission giving has declined by 20% in real terms over the last ten years we reviewed our shared finances for 2016 and forecasts for 2017 and 2018.  In the context of the DB Pension Deficit we are acutely aware of the significant financial challenges that we all face.  All teams are focused on reducing their budgets to match income for 2017 and 2018 and BSG agreed a framework for sharing Home Mission giving between Association and Specialist Teams for 2018.  This will now be shared more widely for consultation and feedback.  In the meantime, we remain focussed on our four key areas of: pioneering and planting, equipping churches for mission, investing in Godly leaders and enabling a voice in the public square.  Many teams will be sustaining their commitment to our vision for mission in 2017 and 2018 through drawing on reserves.  We trust that through prayer, vision, relationships, leadership, communication and change Baptist Together will come through this time as an even more vibrant, mission focussed movement.IMG0495
  • As a Spirit-led community, we are seeking to discern together who should serve us as President for 2018/19.  Please click here for more information about the role of our President and to vote.  Every church and Accredited Minister can take part.
  • Finally, we have a fantastic venue and a great line up of worship, seminars, children’s and youth programme and speakers for our Baptist Assembly in Harrogate on Saturday 13 May.  Click here to book your place, it will be great to see you there!

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We ended with praying for each other; especially for Jenni as this was her last time with us as an Accompanier and for Grenville Overton who has stepped from being Team Leader for the SCBA because of ill health.

Lynn Green March 2017

The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union

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