Baptist Steering Group - September 2017
The Baptist Steering Group met last week with All Team Leaders and the BUGB Trustees at Hothorpe Hall in Leicestershire.
We were inspired to hear from leaders and churches in the East Midlands Baptist Association – Ken Matthews (Minister, Grantham BC), Sue Steer (Pioneer Worker, Lubbesthorpe Project) and Graham Watkins (Minister, Osmaston Road BC, Derby). You can read more about each of these here and download PowerPoints to share from here.
Having heard them all share, we were particularly struck by the following themes:
We want to affirm and celebrate the sheer and wonderful variety of these ministries – from bare beginnings to the renewing of established churches!
The power and impact of the right people being in the right place
Confidence in the Gospel expressed in different ways and we resonated with Osmaston Road’s commitment to never give up on anyone
We saw an intentionality with regard to discipleship and living out the Good News of Jesus
It was good to hear how churches are transitioning in response to changing communities, new areas of housing and the ageing demographic of church
A commitment to Kingdom partnerships is being expressed in many different types of ecumenical relationships and action
We prayed for these leaders, churches and their communities. We also used many of the people and stories in the most recent Baptists Together Magazine as a basis for our praying together the following morning.
All Team Leaders, together with BSG and BUGB Trustees, continued to reflect on the challenges we face as a Union in relation to declining income, 'fundraising' communications, our complex decision making and governance processes, the need for light structures to enable mission and the nature of our Covenant relationships. Whilst we all remain deeply committed to growing healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission, the honest update is that there is no consensus emerging yet about how we should address these issues. What we all do agree on, however, is that we cannot stay as we are and that we want to work collaboratively. This is frustrating and difficult for us all. Please pray for us as we feedback to Council in November some of the differing approaches we have explored and continue to seek the Lord.
In response to the 'Loaves and Fishes' proposals aimed at increasing Home Mission income we considered proposals to develop awareness of legacy giving by working with a Will Writing Network and agreed to progress this.
We also received an update on the good progress being made to put in place the family solution for the Pension Fund
Continuing our implementation of the Ignite Report proposals, the first drafts of a covenant for ministers, and a code of conduct for the relationships between churches and ministers were drafted by John Claydon and Dan Pratt, and offered for initial feedback.
Lynn Green September 2017
The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union
Please share this update with your church.