The BUGB debate about its future moves onward, Council meets again in two weeks to make some decisions about the way forward. I’ll do another blog post about some of the proposals but I remain concerned we haven’t grasped the scale of the challenge we face and the culture change needed to move forward.
Whatever structures we end up with we need to change:
1. Our view of financing. Bluntly we must stop looking to maximise giving. The answer to our situation is not, life would be sorted if we had more money, because more money would prolong the problems. Rather it is in recognising that giving money is a result of committed relationship, common vision and shared mission. A focus on finance is evidence of a loss of focus on the things which really matter (ministry, mission, church, kingdom……)
2. Our view of resourcing. For relationships to flourish the ethos of service provision and entitlement must be removed. I’m sure that whatever the future shape of the denomination looks like it will include some form of service provision, but the centre of gravity and locus of leadership should not lie here but in the networks of relationships which make up the denomination.
3. Our view of structure. Our life together should release ministries not control them. Certainly we need ways to hold each other to account but there is a difference between accountability and control. Accountability goes alongside pioneering, risk taking, enabling and encouraging; control retains permission giving, stifles innovation, restricts people and rewards those who play the system.
4. Our view of ‘corporate’. In all the good things we have done in recent years we have accidentally sold our soul. Our corporate style is based in charity governance, departmental management and representative committee. We need to reclaim a theology of catholicity, recognise responsibility for one another and commitment to freedom in Christ in order to express unity in shared values, rejoice in glorious diversity and trust in God’s call.
Some will think these thoughts subversive, undermining the good work people do. Others will say they are ill judged or argue they paint a caricature of BUGB that doesn’t exist. My hope is some will agree this matters because, as Peter Drucker is credited with saying, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Unless we get to grips with the values, beliefs and practices that make up our culture we are simply moving deckchairs when we need to be changing course.