Baptist Assembly is packed away for another year, the participants have returned home and the activity of the weekend is fast becoming a fading memory; another example of how our denomination manages to be less than the sum of its parts. Or alternatively???
What if Assembly were to be the moment we look back on and say:
– We acknowledged the scale of the challenges we face as a denomination
– We didn’t get it right but were prepared to give it a go
– We understood that God has a future for us together.
This weekend I have seen glimpses of both.
For me having the Assembly in London, structured around day conferences, doesn’t really work. But I’m pleased we gave it ago. I’m not sure the futures conversation worked well, but it is vital we find ways of engaging and deliberating as Assembly. I wasn’t at every session, so may have missed something, but whilst there were good things about all the sessions I attended there were also things which seemed to fall flat.
Yet I also heard voices calling us to live out what we claim to value (being inclusive, sacrificial, worshipful, missional, prophetic) and challenging us over our lack of progress in these areas.
So I’m left thinking this year’s gathering is a defining moment, a year we look back on and say, ‘it was a turning point’. Whether, a turning point that sees us taking the first steps to a new future or a turning point because we realised the cost of change was more than we were prepared to pay I’m still not sure. I guess it depends on what people do with what they heard.