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Baptist Steering Group - November 2017

This month, Baptist Steering Group (BSG) and All Team Leaders (ATLs) travelled to Paignton in Devon to meet in the South Western Baptist Association (SWBA).


This was a milestone as it meant BSG had visited all 13 Baptist Associations. We did this to briefly share in the life of each Association and listen to what God is doing in all parts of our family. As with the other 12 Associations, hearing local ministers share their story was energising and exciting, and we hope to convey some of that here.  We also had five members of our Accompanying Group present to provide prayer, reflection and spiritual direction. This included having our past, present and future Presidents – what a blessing!  Words given from God through our accompaniers provided reflective and prophetic insight to our discussions.

Our Accompanying Group. From left to right, Dave Gregory (President Elect), Daniel Hatfield (Rayleigh Baptist Church), Dianne Tidball (current President), Rupert Lazar (2016 President), Marjorie Allan (The Well, Sheffield).

You do not have the answers, you do have the first step

These words from Dianne Tidball, along with the session led by our 2016 President Rupert Lazar where he asked BSG to give thanks for the progress made in key areas this year, provided encouragement.  We started the year knowing we needed to find answers to various issues, and would take steps to achieve this.

Marks of Ministry – Formation
Many positive steps have been taken this year to implement recommendations from the Ignite report. The marks of ministry for formation have been agreed as

Mature disciple of Christ 
Relational approach to leadership 
Kingdom focused 
Servant hearted and sacrificial. 
The Colleges have been working closely with our Ministries Specialist Team and are delighted this work is now complete. It will be implemented from September 2018.
Ministry Information Xchange
This has been a major project, moving all our confidential information held about ministers from paper to a very secure electronic format and solution. The Ministry Information Xchange will also allow us to work as one team, enabling appropriate information to be shared with Regional Ministers, Associations and Colleges.
Financial challenges
While we still have much work to do, significant steps have been taken this year with the financial challenges we face. Significantly we have a plan with regards the Defined Benefit Pension deficit. How we finance our Union through Home Mission and Subscriptions requires further work. As we enter 2018 we will be working on a new budgeting process which will enable a three-year plan. Home Mission for 2017 has not yet reached its target and churches will be reminded to check that they have sent their contribution. We were shown the final drafted Legacy Pack which will be sent to all churches next year. This will cover why Wills are important and why leaving a legacy to both Baptists Together and your local church could have far-reaching Kingdom impact.  For a trial period, we will be offering a free Will writing service through the National Free Will Network, and instructions on how to access this will be included in the pack.
You may not know the whole picture - trust God

We met with Murray Golder from ‘Breathe Communities’ pioneer ministry, Penzance; Luke Mansfield, Minister of Honiton Family Church; Chris Woodman, Minister of Lyme Regis Baptist Church; and Matt Noble, Minister of Truro Baptist Church.  Matt also mentors Karen and Murray Golder and oversees St Austell Baptist Church. Their stories were all very different, yet they all had common themes. God had challenged a heart of generosity and a deep trust that he would guide in ways yet to be revealed. Lyme Regis Baptist Church have become a recognised eco church and are in the process of creating a new project call ‘The Driftwood’. Truro Baptist Church are now a networked church, taking covenant very seriously. Karen and Murray Golder are in the community for the community, facilitating creative ways to enable a relationship with Jesus.

BSG praying for Chris, Luke, Murray and Matt

If you build it he will come
This well-known line from the film Field of Dreams has become very important to Lyme Regis Baptist Church and is one we can all reflect on. If Baptists Together focus on building mission opportunities God will come and work in incredible ways. There is so much support and resourcing available that all we need is to take that first step. During our time, the Baptist Insurance Company met with our Regional Ministry Team Leaders and explained how they want to use their profits to enable mission. Churches have an opportunity right now to do this and may be eligible for a small grant.


As our time came to a close, words from Philippians gave us confidence to step into 2018
And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God.

Stephen Keyworth, Faith and Society Team Leader

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