Baptist Steering Group - September 2018
It was great to welcome five new Trustees as the Baptist Steering Group, All Team Leaders and BUGB Trustees met together at Luther King House in Manchester – our newest trustees are Rev Philip Lutterodt, Rev Professor Philip McCormack, Mr Paul Coleman, Mr Mark Spriggs and Rev Diane Watts.
We began our time together with communion and covenanting together led by Rev Dave Gregory, our President. Prayer and reflections from John 6 and I Corinthians 12 were interwoven during our time together and helped us to focus on Jesus as the Bread of Life (6:53-58), welcoming Jesus into the boat with us (6:21) and being part of the Body of Christ; thanking God in prayer for what we had seen of Christ in others during our gathering.
Given that there were 30 of us for the first part of our meeting, we did quite a bit of discussion and prayer in smaller groups and this enabled new people to feel included and enabled everyone’s voice to be heard. I was encouraged that we were able to have some honest and constructive conversation together where different perspectives were shared. This felt like an expression of deepening healthy relationships.
In the light of our shared vision to Grow healthy churches in relationships for God’s mission our last Council gathering in March 2018 affirmed 4 key ways that we work together to deliver that vision. These are:
Pioneering and planting
Equipping the local church for mission
Investing in Godly leaders
Enabling Baptist voices and action in the public square
Back in 2014/15 Council identified some key strategic priorities and projects for the next five years. At our AGM at the Assembly this year it was clear that we had completed or made significant progress in many areas. I sense, therefore, that this seems to be the right time to initiate a fresh look at our priorities for a new season. Having worked hard to address some of our urgent and structural challenges, we can now focus our energies more directly on our vision for Kingdom mission. With this in mind, we did some work together to prepare for and enable discussion and discernment about strategic priorities with Council in November.
God’s Kingdom bubbling up from the grass roots…
We were blessed to hear from Baptist Minister Roger Sutton, leader of ‘Gather’ (www.gather.global
) a national network of vibrant missional unity movements in villages, towns, cities and boroughs. He is also the Director of Movement Day, which began in earnest last year with the Movement Day event in London
.This brought together around 1,000 people including church leaders, leaders and practitioners from different spheres of society. Movement Day’s vision was to generate a passion to see our places transformed in every area of culture and for other areas of the country to have their own Movement Days. This they are now doing with 12 cities preparing to host a Movement Day conversation.
He spoke about the extraordinary examples of Christian unity he had witnessed in his role as director of Gather, including Southampton Christian Network, Reading Christian Network, Liverpool Link up and Sunderland’s Connect Network. These stories and more have been collated in his book A Gathering Momentum
.It’s not just this country either with many around the world from Mumbai to America to Australia grasping the vision.
But he believes much more is to come. ‘We believe this is a movement of the Holy Spirit. God is drawing His people together to bless our places with His love.’
He offers this challenge:
‘What about gathering the church, Christian organisations, and more importantly Christians in education, the arts, politics and government for an event and having a conversation about the future of your place? What would your place look like in 15 years time if we really got our act together?
So what’s the process? It’s ‘a long-term conversation that results in strategic and coordinated actions, concerning the future of the city and the role the whole church has to play in God’s plan of transformation’.
Roger finished by offering these implications for denominations:
Think place not just national and local church
Think bottom up relational unity not top down
Think the whole body of Christ and not just denomination
Think all of Gods people and not just pastors
Think city transformation not only church growth
We gave thanks to Roger for his challenge and wisdom and spent time praying with him.
Equipping the local church for mission…
There was enthusiasm and appreciation expressed for the flexible welcome packs that have been developed by our Faith and Society Specialist Team. Online or printed, these packs are designed to introduce leaders and others to the vision, support and resources that are available to them through Baptist Together. Alongside this, plans were also shared by Richard Wilson, our Team Leader for Support Services, about how we can develop our induction and support for Church Treasurers and Secretaries in particular.
National Settlement Team…
The review of our National Settlement Team is continuing, and an interim report will come to Council in November 2018.
Together with BMS, planning for our new-look, 2-day Assembly, will begin in earnest this month. I am excited about the opportunities this will bring to pray together, to meet together and also for many of our informal networks and partners to explore and equip us for mission.
Reviewing our delivery and implementation…
Conscious that delivery and implementation of shared Baptist Together projects and priorities has not always been a strength, we spent time together considering projects that we had engaged in and identifying the features of what went well. Through reflecting on our practice our aim is to become more effective and faithful to God’s call.
The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union
Baptist Steering Group offers collaborative leadership through co-ordinating the effective development and implementation of the broad strategy discerned by Council.
BUGB Trustees must ensure that BSG fulfils the broad strategic direction set by Council and that Council and BSG together remain accountable to the churches and true to governing documents and other agreements. The BUGB Trustees must also ensure that BUGB as a charity remains financially sound as a going concern, manages risk, meets the requirement of the law and regulatory bodies, and meets high standards as an employer. The BUGB Trustees must ensure that those taking on roles for the BUGB are fully aware of the extent and limits of their role and are properly inducted and trained for their role.
The purpose and role of All Team Leaders (Regional, College and Specialist) is to work together to develop and shape policies and plans to enable us to achieve our overall vision and strategy.
Please share these messages with your church