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A new working group has been established to examine the challenging issue of funding for the training of future Baptist ministers

The group has been created following discussion at Baptist Union Council in November 2019.

The Council was concerned at the difficulties some churches were experiencing in finding suitable ministers, alongside the fact that the number of ministers being trained was not keeping pace with the number retiring.

Whilst work is already underway to implement the recommendations of the Ignite report (which looked at the future of accredited ministry) Council noted that only limited financial support is being offered to support training for Baptist ministry.

In addition, our colleges reported that finance is a significant barrier to increasing the number of ministers in training.

As a result Council members tasked the Baptist Steering Group (BSG) to establish a Working Group to examine the issue. 

Following an open recruitment process, BSG is delighted to announce the appointment of a Working Group of ten people who will bring a range of perspectives of this topic from across Baptist life.

Steve Holmes will be the Moderator of the Group. Steve is a leading Baptist theologian and accredited Baptist minister. He has been working at the University of St Andrews for 14 years and is Head of the School of Divinity and Principal of St Mary’s College.

Steve will be joined by:

  • Ian Bunce (Vice Moderator, Minister at Romford Baptist Church)
  • Philip McCormack (Principal, Spurgeon’s College)
  • Rob Ellis (Principal, Regents Park College)
  • Fran Brealey (College Manager, Bristol Baptist College)
  • Julie Bryan (A minister in training associated with Northern Baptist College)
  • Jon Birch (A newly accredited minister who trained with South Wales Baptist College)
  • Emma Mohr (Regional Minister for South Wales Baptist Association)
  • Andy Hughes (Ministries Team Leader)
  • Richard Wilson (Support Services Team Leader)

Steve Holmes said, “I’m delighted to be working with such a gifted group of people looking at an opportunity to do real and lasting good for Baptist churches, our colleges, and our wider Baptist family.

"We will be listening widely and thinking creatively, looking for a way forward that is both practical and transformational.”

The group has been consciously designed to have representation from each of the 5 main colleges in membership of Baptists Together as well as regional and national representatives. The terms of reference have been agreed and are published alongside the group membership.

The group will consult widely with various stakeholders on this challenging topic and particularly groups to ensure diversity in ministry including the Racial Justice Group, BME Womens’ Network, the Gender Justice Group and the Disability Justice Group. The Group has been asked to provide an initial report to BU Council in October 2020.

Anyone wishing to offer contributions to the group is asked to email trainingfunding@baptist.org.uk

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