Baptists Together Mission Forum – June 2019
This month, Baptists Together Mission Forum met at BMS Birmingham in Selly Oak Birmingham to pray, reflect and discern.
Let us be way markers for Jesus
Roy Searle (Northern Pioneer Co-ordinator) led worship and reflection throughout the gathering and challenged us to be ‘way markers for Jesus’. The need to be guideposts for others.
A significant amount of time was given to hearing and reflecting on ‘Young Adults – 18-35s and the Church’, a report Mission Forum had commissioned and Carl Smethurst (Regional Minister – Mission, South West Baptist Association) undertook and presented back. Download the full report from here.
In recent years it has become increasingly apparent that there are fewer and fewer 18-35 year olds attending our family of Baptist churches in the U.K. We are not alone. Reporting from other mainstream denominations would suggest that this is a ‘missing generation’ in churches across the nation. Whilst there are plenty of stories that would appear to buck this trend, statistical evidence would suggest that church attendance by those in this age range has seen a startling and accelerating reduction over the last 40 years1. In 2018 Baptist Union Council agreed as a priority that we focus on those in this age group.
The report’s reflections and recommendations were made following the bringing together of Sixteen practitioners from across the country. Each was selected because of their experience working with, supporting, training and releasing Young Adults in missional ministry. This is what emerged:
Create leadership pathways for Young Adults within our family of churches.
Creating Authentic Community
Appointing Young Adults to Leadership Roles
Encouraging Creativity and Self-Expression
Creating Leadership Pathways
Create a national culture/identity for Young Adults within Baptists Together.
Internships / Apprenticeships
Leadership mentoring from local church, regional and national leaders
Recognise and commend those who have been through these pathways to our family of churches.
Create a church planting programme within areas where a high proportion of 18-35s live and identify strategic Baptist churches who can be trained and resourced for mission to Young Adults.
National Young Adults Champion
Intentional recruitment of Young Adults to regional/national roles
Greater inclusion of young adults in national events
Create young adults networks
National cross-denominational collaboration.
Continuing professional development for Ministers with specific reference to young adults.
Invest in evangelism training for Gen Z in our churches to be actively involved in evangelism/mission in their context.
Release innovation grants for pioneering, gospel-centred vision.
Appoint someone to facilitate churches to create better websites/coms that engage with young adults.
Recognise and celebrate a passionate, high-faith, high-risk culture.
Mission Forum reflected on each of these recommendations and then put appropriate, measurable actions against them. This included further research and the anticipated creation of a national young adults’ forum that would work in a very similar way to our CYF Round Table.
The remainder of our time was spent considering other missional opportunities and hearing from each of the regional associations. We also commissioned a report looking into the best way we can reflect, discern and move forward on mission at a national level.
We ended our time with Roy again reminding us that we must be way markers for Jesus.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
See Peter Brierley, UK Church Statistics 3, 2018 Ed. Section 16.3 - The Ageing Church
Mission Forum, June 2018
Please share this update with your church.