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Baptist Steering Group - March 2018


Baptist Steering Group met via group Skype for the first time.

BSGMarch18corrected

This was our first meeting held via Skype, and given the snowy weather in some parts of the country, its planning demonstrated prophetic foresight as well as good stewardship! We had created an appropriate agenda that we felt would work in this setting, but this, of course, meant that we did not have the opportunity to meet with local ministers on this occasion.

I opened the meeting by sharing some reflections from Sue Monk-Kidd’s book, “When the heart waits” about what it means to be in the “middle place” of transition.  There is a longing for God’s new thing to come and yet it can feel like nothing is happening!  Sue Monk-Kidd shares the image of the cocoon as a transitional place of waiting.  I was particularly struck by her phrase, “We’re asked to go within to gestate the newness God is trying to form…” (p.13).  She goes on to describe being in the cocoon, “It looks like I’m hiding, I know, but a cocoon is no escape.  It’s an in-between house where the change takes place…During the change it will seem…that nothing is happening, but the butterfly is already becoming.  It just takes time.” (p.17).  Monk-Kidd also points out that we see this waiting in transition in Scripture too; when Joseph is lowered into the well, when Jonah is in the belly of the fish, when Jesus is in the wilderness or garden or tomb.  We prayed together and later, for each other as well.

 
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Our main topics for consideration focussed on how we can best facilitate Council to fulfil its role of discerning broad strategic direction in two areas.  The first was related to how we can reflect on the shared projects and priorities (see footnote) that we identified back in 2015 and discern what our key shared priority themes should be for the next stage.  The second was related to our reviewing of the Futures process of 2012 and how we can enable Council to reflect on the vision and reality of Partnerships and how we might move forward.
 
Following Council’s decision in November to create a Subscriptions Working Group to develop proposals for further consideration, BSG has now drawn a collaborative team together involving:
 
  • Phil Barnard, Regional Minister Team Leader for the London Baptist Association.
  • Lindsay Caplen, Accredited Minister and Consultant to the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity.
  • Roger Carne, Treasurer for the South West Baptist Association.
  • John Claydon, Regional Minister Team Leader for the Northern Baptist Association.
  • Beryl Dawson, Treasurer of Carleton Rode Baptist Church.
  • Simon Jones, Vice Principal of Spurgeon’s College.
  • John Levick, Treasurer of the Baptist Union.
  • Mohan Pandian, Treasurer of Sudbury Baptist Church.
  • Richard Wilson, Support Services Team Leader.
 
We discussed the development of our Union’s Annual Report, and considered carefully how we can collate and tell the stories of how our Home Mission giving is being used so that we are being faithful to God’s call to us.
 
I shared with the team the plans for my forthcoming sabbatical.  I will be sharing more details with churches in the near future.
 
We were also updated on progress with Pensions, CIO, the Assembly and from each of the Specialist Teams
 
Our Accompanier on this occasion was Dave Gregory, our President-elect.  He concluded his reflections by sharing that he had been googling cocoons to find out what happens inside!  Dave discovered that the caterpillar’s body decomposes, but significant pieces remain that shape the butterfly that is born.  Wonderfully, the caterpillar already has the tissue to create wings, for example.  God has created our Union with the potential for wings too, and even though we are not aware of how that can possible happen we trust that the Lord will gestate newness in and through us.  A picture for us to reflect upon as we wait for the Lord.
 


Lynn Green
March 2018

The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union

The role of the Baptist Steering Group is to offer collaborative leadership in the management of the implementation of the broad strategic direction offered by Council.
 
Footnote:

Priorities – a five-year plan
In 2015 a number of priorities were identified with a hope that within five years they would have been achieved.  These were:

 
  • Our vision for Baptists Together is clearly embraced and understood and our renewed culture has become the norm.
  • We have established structures for relating that reflect our governance report and enable relationships of trust to flourish and mission to be enabled.
  • We have a clear grasp of the health of our churches and what needs to be done to enable mission across Baptists Together.
  • To have implemented the Ministries Project recommendations (Ignite)
  • To navigate the issues of human sexuality and find a settled place.
  • To implement the Loaves and Fishes project to identify new income streams.
  • To ensure that a strategy is developed and implemented to stabilise the Pension Schemes.
  • To complete and implement the review of our Safeguarding.
  • To develop the database
  • To develop a communications strategy.
     
Please share this update with your church. 
 
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We were reminded today that meeting via Skype has its advantages!
It was good for some of our leaders to connect and spend time together at High Leigh this week in various combinations; the National Settlement Team, Regional Minister Team Leaders, the Baptist Steering Group with All Team Leaders and BUGB Trustees.
I’m pleased to be able to report that this has been a good Baptist Steering Group (BSG). Together with All Team Leaders (ATLs) we had time to pray and be together as well as make progress in a number of areas.
The BSG met by Skype on this occasion as we continue to make the most of technology in helping us to connect together
The Baptist Steering Group, together with All Team Leaders, met this time against a backdrop of uncertainty and concern.
Baptist Steering Group met by Skype, which always gives a different feel to this shorter format of meeting.
     Baptist Steering Group