I’ve been meaning to write more about the Futures process for some weeks. But since Baptist Assembly meets this weekend I wondered if a short summary might be more helpful:
What’s the issue?
1. Why are we talking about it? Because we (BUGB and Associations) are spending more money each year than we are getting from Home Mission, if we don’t change this year we will run out of money.
2. Is it all about money then? No. The real question is what sort of Union should we be? Should we have a central resource based in Didcot? Should we have Associations with paid staff? Should all Home Mission money be used for grants to churches?
3. Does my view matter? Yes. As Baptists we believe in the local church but also in churches sharing together. The needs and views of local Baptist churches should come first.
Surely it's more complex really?
There are three bigger questions which I’ve tried to label below.
1.Flogging a dead horse? Some would say the whole model of our Union belongs to a previous era. The days of Home Mission as a form of church tax, Associations and Didcot as resource providers and a national ‘grants’ system are over.
2. The grand national? Some believe that we need a central resource which can provide a national voice, provide ministerial accreditation and professional advice, others argue we could do all we need to by local associations working together.
3. Runners or Riders? Some argue that we need to be much more mission minded, taking risks and trying new things. Others point out our strength comes from developing educated, competent ministry and working through the local church. Mission or Ministry?
Overall I remain confident this uncertain time for the Union is an opportunity filled with possibilities.