Off to Baptist assembly today. Since I’m not taking the
laptop I doubt there will be updates whilst I’m there. Assembly takes an
enormous amount of work to put on and folk have been working on the planning
for months. Many people, BUGB and BMS staff as well as volunteers put in untold
hours over these days to make it all happen; for which they deserve
appreciation and thanks.
So what are my hopes?
I know that there have been lots of conversations in recent
years about worship. I hope the times of corporate worship show a depth of
understanding about the nature of God which is reflected in the songs we sing.
I hope worship also include the times of prayer and reading scripture. Beyond
that I would like to see us use a variety of sources for songs as well as
giving space to creative arts all led in a manner which enables worship to flow…
so no pressure then!
I trust that those who speak in the main celebrations will ensure
that their words are driven by the Biblical text, showing an appreciation of
the theological questions that surround the text and their subject and
communicate with clarity, conviction and character in a way that inspires us
with a grander vision of God. (My private test is whether I would want to
invite them to preach in church here, which is a marginally more humble way of
asking if I think they are better than me).
The theme for the weekend is mission and it is always
interesting to see how the theme is woven into the programme. If the programme
encourages people to engage with the mission of God and gives people tools to
connect gospel, culture and their particular situation then it will be a
Over the last couple of years I’ve been to one or two elements
of the Prism programme, these are an alternative to the events in the main hall
and are well worth going to; even if only to nick a few ideas to use back home.
Part of the role of Assembly is the gathering of Baptists
from all over the country in order to engage in deliberation and to seek the
mind of Christ. This is phenomenally difficult to do with such a large group of
people but I hope that we might find ways to give this strand of Assembly more
weight than we have in recent years.
So, off to Plymouth,
let’s pray for a great weekend.