A new look Baptist Assembly
A revamped format, a first-time venue, a two-day programme and flexible ticket options - a new-look Baptist Assembly is taking place this year
This year’s gathering is being held for the first time at The International Centre in Telford (18-19 May) and will begin on Saturday morning before finishing on Sunday afternoon.
The aim of the event is to inspire, equip and connect, and key to helping that happen is a Networking Day on Saturday. The day is a time ‘to connect, participate, learn and dream’, explained General Secretary Lynn Green.
‘Our aim for Saturday is to create a dynamic, inspiring and vibrant space where our formal and informal networks can gather, share and explore areas of interest,’ she said. ‘The sole purpose will be to equip and encourage our local churches and leaders for mission.’
There are several elements to this time together. A Networking Zone brings together formal and informal networks across Baptists Together where delegates will be able to gather ideas and resources for their local church, and hear more about missional and justice initiatives running across our Union.
Contributors include Fresh Streams, Renew Wellbeing, Firestarters, the Joint Public Issues Team, the Small Churches Connexion, the Baptist Ministers’ Fellowship and much more.
Running alongside the Networking Zone are Network Day sessions, based around our key areas of work as Baptists Together: Investing in Godly Leadership; Equipping the Local Church for Mission; Planting and Pioneering; and Enabling Baptist Voices and Action in the Public Square.
The aim of these hour-long sessions will be to gather together existing networks and initiatives to spark fresh energy, ideas and relationships.
Sessions will also be offered by our Support Services Team and BMS World Mission, and there will be a series of Bible studies.
A creative prayer space will be open for all to use throughout the event, which will also involve active prayer being led by different churches and groups throughout the day.
An overview of the Networking Day is available here.
There will be two celebrations to choose from on Saturday evening. One will feature many of the traditional elements of Baptist Assembly, including the induction of Ken Benjamin as our new president and the recognition of Ministers and Mission Personnel. The address will be given by Lisa Holmes, Minister at Skipton Baptist Church (pictured). Worship is led by Dave Ellis, a regional minister in the Heart of England Baptist Association.
Running alongside is Thirst, a celebration offering an alternative style of worship. Aimed specifically at young people and Emerging Adults, Thirst is an evening of spirit-filled praise and worship where we join together and lift our voices to worship the God who makes all things possible. The speaker for the evening is John Prockter, the Director of Catalyst Youth Trust, a Shropshire-based charity.
Sunday is a time to celebrate, pray and be encouraged, as delegates gather together at the beginning of the day to worship before moving into the business part of Assembly. Here there will be presentations from BMS and the AGM of the Baptist Union of Great Britain. The final session, after lunch, will be led by the Heart of England Baptist Association.
There is a programme for tots, children and young people up to Year 13, led by Rising Brook Baptist Church. Rising Brook is a multi-location church based in Staffordshire. Its Children, Youth and Families Team run thriving under 18s work across three community centres and develop their own age-based Sunday curriculum. The team also lead children’s and youth programmes for Spring Harvest, Soul Survivor and Urban Saints and are excited to bring their heart for young people to the Baptist Assembly.
‘Baptist Assembly will have a very different look and feel, which will enable much more engagement with our wider Baptist family and many opportunities to celebrate together,’ said Lynn.
‘It promises to be a time of celebration, worship and praise, and we are expectant for what God has to say. We would love for you to consider being a part of this year's Assembly: your presence and participation will be greatly valued and it really won’t be the same without you!
'Why don’t you bring a group from your church as we explore how we as Baptists Together join with what God is doing?’
Lisa Holmes photo | Spring Harvest