Next weekend’s (BUGB) Baptist
Assembly 2013 is an important moment, not least because a new General Secretary
Whoever it is takes on a
challenge. Can they gain the trust and support of the people who work in
Baptist House, forge a great team ethic with the Association team leaders and yet
be a person whose primary gifts enable them to connect with the wider Baptist
Community? Get it right and they will play a critical role in leading the
denomination forward. But fail to get to grips with the complexity of the Union,
or demonstrate the intellectual depth to grasp the theological, strategic and
cultural tests we face, or the communication skills to speak with clarity and conviction
to the church and wider society…….. it could become akin to William Hague’s
leadership of the conservative party (so no pressure then!)
In my view the two biggest
challenges we face over the next five years are transitioning to a pioneering
missionary movement and finance.
movement because unless we change radically we will wither away. The challenge is
doing this without abandoning the legacy churches that make up the bulk of our Union at present. We have a number of
great people doing pioneer mission and leading various initiatives who we need
to support and encourage helping us to become a mixed ‘economy’ of risk taking,
spirit inspired, missional communities.
Finance because my personal
view (a minority one at present I think) is that the existing structure of Home
Mission is past its use by date. Sure we can keep the same structure of
centralised giving and spending for a while yet, and we can keep on pumping out
the messages of giving that will continue to bring in resources for some years.
But the horse has bolted and it is time to go back to the drawing board.
Or maybe put another way,
the message for our Union is this, “whoever wants to save their life will lose
it, but whoever loses their life for me and the gospel will save it”