I’ve largely stopped thinking about the future of BUGB for the moment; right now there is nothing I can constructively do anyway (other than pray). But when the dust has settled how could we encourage a renewed Baptist movement?
1. Movement requires vision: people who can dream and articulate a future that others can affirm. We need to use our communication skills to point to people, ideas and dreams that we sense have the imprint of God and keep reminding folk of them.
2. Movement requires shared experience: it is participation in things which gives us a sense of identity. Not everyone can come to Baptist Assembly, but if Assembly, Fresh Streams Conference, Baptist Bible weeks, Association Assemblies had a recognisable coherence people could start to feel part of something.
3. Movement is broad based: it is not just about leaders but about a level playing field of interaction which is inclusive and open. It is something everyone can be part of.
4. Movement is non-institutional. This doesn’t mean it has no structure or settled way of doing things but rather that support structures are peripheral and never centre stage.
5. Movement is about people not churches. Movements need people in churches to be involved and give their affirmation. It must be wider than ministers and those ‘in the know’ so that it can enable every member of the church to express a connection to the wider church.
Whilst it isn’t building a movement there are three things I would do to kick start it.
i) Find a networker to develop it, to liaise and drink coffee with people and find ways of encouraging them to work together.
ii) Develop the web based communication channels so that they helped develop a sense of movement and inter-connectedness.
iii) Create a company whose shareholders are happy to keep investing and loosing money so that we could back good ideas, pump prime mission initiatives and give wings to some entrepreneurial dreams without worrying about whether they all work.