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Baptists Together Mission Forum – October 2018

This month, Baptists Together Mission Forum met at the International Mission Centre in Selly Oak Birmingham to pray, reflect and discern.


Lord, show me the right seat
Roy Searle (Northern Pioneer Co-ordinator) shared The Hild Liturgy from the Celtic Daily Prayer Book 1: The Journey Begins. It aims to guide all those wrestling with God as they seek to discern his will and good purpose for their life. 
These words were a gift as Mission Forum continues to seek God. We aim to be:

  • Proactive and strategic
  • Actively listening and discerning what is happening across the churches of the Union 
  • Investing available funds accordingly 

The Strategic Context was discussed at various times in our reflection and discernment. Important questions like ‘What do we mean by a national strategy?’ were asked. We concluded that it is not a centralised deployment and the language use is very important. These conversations led to more questions with which to continue our theological reflection - What are the guiding principles? What is the framework? Certainly helpful to that ongoing conversation are the key priorities for our Baptists Together family that Baptist Union Council recently affirmed:

These priorities sit alongside our culture and are key measures of discernment.



Listening to the ways God is at work across the Baptists Together family is also essential in helping Mission Forum ‘find the right seat’. We had commissioned Carmel Murphy (Urban Expression) to pilot a Listening Project in three local Associations and she presented her findings at this gathering.
A series of questions had been asked in interactive and creative ways. 

  • What do you like best about where they are?
  • What does your church/community does well? A top three.
  • Name one area of weakness.
  • What does the word mission mean to you? Bring something from home that means mission to them.
  • Where do you see God at work?
  • How are you joining in?
  • What else would you like to do?
  • What would you help you to do it?
  • How connected do you feel to your local association?
  • Why?
  • How connected do you feel to the Baptist family?
  • Why?
  • What does the work mission mean to them? Write a definition in less than 20 words.
  • What encouragement would you give to another church? 

A full report evaluating the answers will be published soon. Ahead of that, Carmel’s headline from the research is that ‘it’s all about people and relationships’. A final toolbox that enables others to do the workshops will also be produced. 

Discerning for the future

A key part of every gathering is discussing and discerning potential mission projects. Decisions were made to support several new projects and people:
  • Renew Wellbeing: Renew Wellbeing helps churches open spaces of welcome and inclusion in partnership with mental health teams to improve mental and emotional wellbeing.Renew spaces are simple cafe style spaces run by local churches where hobbies and activities are shared or co-produced. Each cafe space is attached to a quiet room or prayer space where inner habits of wellbeing are shared. Each church partners with a mental health professional from the local council to ensure good inclusive practices for safe spaces where its OK not to be OK can be sustained. They live out being present, being prayerful and being in partnership.
  • Together Free: Together Free (TF) is an emerging national Baptist focused initiative to help churches and communities end Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. We invite Churches and Communities to join in Jesus mission of ‘setting the captives free’ through stopping exploitation and welcoming the vulnerable into Christian communities of care, safety and hope.
  • Susan Myatt: Pioneering the development of Deaf Ministry across Baptists Together. Susan was ordained the first Baptist deaf minister in 2016. Rising Brook, Stafford appointed her to develop deaf ministry through the fellowship and she was released 50% of her time to explore what deaf ministry was happening in the Baptist Churches nationally, to help in the integration of deaf and hearing people, and to develop ministry amongst the deaf. This will continue and will include a new church plant for the profoundly deaf.
  • Millennials Conversation: In December, 12 Millennials will come together with Mission Forum representatives to share stories and discern a national strategy for supporting 18-35s.
Several other projects were also affirmed in principle and they will be asked to submit a further application. 

We have a dream
During our time we also revisited words put together more than a year ago when Mission Forum reflected on the way God is leading. We pray that we have taken our first steps in this journey.
I have a dream of God’s Kingdom coming in peace, bringing hope, healing and well-being to the lives of people of every age and background, race and colour, creed and country.

A Kingdom where justice reigns, compassion rules and tenderness triumphs.
A kingdom where all are valued, no one is excluded, where human life flourishes and no one’s cry goes unheard, no one knows oppression, exploitation or fear, where racism, sexism, sectarianism finds no place.

A kingdom seen on the streets, in the hearts, homes and heartlands of every nook and cranny in our nations.
I have a dream of a missional movement that being overwhelmed by the love of God is inspired by the Spirit, lives authentically, reaches out with the love of Christ to neighbour, friend and stranger and who walk lightly and reverently upon the earth.
I have a vision of a people living generously, courageously and peacefully that the grace and goodness of God will bring transformation to the face of the earth.

I dream of a day when the love of God and neighbour rules in our hearts, homes, neighbourhoods and the hallmarks of God are seen in the private world and public domain; in politics, arts, media, education, economics, sport and welfare. A movement of such momentum that it changes the course of history. 

Mission Forum, October 2018

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Baptists Together Mission Forum met at BMS Birmingham in Selly Oak Birmingham to pray, reflect and discern.
Baptists Together Mission Forum met at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham on 8-9 October
Baptists Together Mission Forum met at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham on 5-6 June
Baptists Together Mission Forum met at the International Mission Centre in Birmingham on 7-8 December.