Building a bigger table - Hayley Young inducted as President
Can we, as a Baptist movement, build a bigger table for the sake of the gospel? That was the challenge from new President Hayley Young
Hayley, currently the Transitional Strategic Regional Minister for the Northern Baptist Association (NBA), was inducted as the new Baptists Together President on Saturday morning (14 May).
Her focus for the year is building a bigger table - and she told Assembly this stems from the incarnation of Jesus.
'The God we worship and serve doesn’t stand off to the sidelines and shout at us; He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. He came to the mess and the confusion of the world; showing a radical hospitality to all people.'
As disciples of Jesus we endeavour to follow His example, Hayley continued, 'to cross boundaries and divisions in order to listen, learn, hear, know, and respect.'
She said she is reminded of the comment: “the missionaries tried to bring us the bread of life, but we choked on the packaging.’
'Building a bigger table is about us not making that mistake: by listening to our communities, by being contextual, by respecting Christ in each other,' Hayley explained. 'Building a bigger table is about us taking the time to listen and hear from those who are not like us; who hold different views to us.'
Hayley shared her experience as a millennial female in Baptist ministry means that 'daily I interact with people who don’t believe I should have a voice; with people that hold an interpretation of the Bible that means I can’t exercise leadership.'
'Every day, I enter into conversation with people who don’t think I should be at the table,' she said.
'But I am still here, I still keep going, like many others, because our distinct Baptist DNA compels us to listen, learn, hear, know and respect – even in difference.'
Quoting Paul in 1 Corinthians 9, she asked, 'Can we, as a Baptist Movement, build a bigger table for the sake of the gospel?'
It will be 'difficult at times.. but I believe it will bring blessings and joy as well,' Hayley said.
She added, 'I accept that some may have switched off when I stood up here, some may choose not to listen. I accept that you may not want to hear from me because of my age, gender, or perceived theology – but I would really like you to know, that I would love to hear from you.
'Let’s connect over this year: Will you build a bigger table by joining the conversation?'
Hayley said she will be vlogging through the year - connect through the QR code or this link: https://linktr.ee/RevHayley
In inducting Hayley, Lynn asked, 'As you share in the building up of the common life of Baptists Together and the faith and mission that lie at the heart of our movement – will you commit yourself to serving God as our President?
'Will you be diligent in service, faithful in offering inspiration and encouragement and will you support and pray for us all, to enable us to grow healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission?'
'I will, God’s Spirit empowering me,' Hayley replied.