If I had a fiver each time someone in English Baptist life said ‘we need leadership’ I would have an impressive stock of single Islay Malts and a few cases of red wine by now.
So who are voices we should be listening to? Noting we seek the mind of Christ, recognising the Spirit often speaks to us through those we don’t expect and remembering that we are a Union of ministers, churches etc, are there people whose opinion we should give particular weight to?
I’ve complied a top ten whose opinions we need to listen to. I’ve weighted the list towards people who think theologically or who have roles in Baptist life which suggest they could positively influence events. But if I’m honest, it is basically the list of people I would invite if I wanted to start a denominational conversation.
I have loads of other contenders: Ruth Bottoms, Stephen Copson, Craig Gardiner, Lynn Green, Nick Lear, Clare Mcbeath, Sian Murray-Williams, Ian Randall, Kumar Rajagopalan, Ian Stackhouse, Simon Woodman, Nigel Wright, Tony Peck (EBF) and Steve Holmes (BUS). However, part of the challenge is choosing a ‘top ten’ as well as identifying those whose input would help us imagine a new future as a mutually supportive Union: one which is rooted in Baptist convictions, theologically coherent, enthusiastic about sharing in the mission of God and able to inspire the church to live as faithful followers of Christ.
The real test for us as a denomination is not identifying names but ensuring we give them opportunity to speak followed by deliberative space for their words to be considered and acted upon.