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Seventy-two – four Associations discovering their way in the Mission of God

How four Associations are embracing a new opportunity to collaborate

seventy two logo blacktransRemember 2012? London hosted the Olympic Games, and Baptists in England and Wales engaged in all kinds of conversations, online and face to face, about their shared future.

The conversations would result in Associations taking on new responsibilities. One of the ideas to emerge was Association Partnerships, for it made sense for them to work together.
Four Associations in the South and West were quick to embrace this new opportunity to collaborate - and Seventy-two is one result.
'Seventy-two has grown out of the relationships between the Regional Team Leaders of four of our Baptist Associations: Southern Counties, South Wales, South West and the West of England,' says Nigel Coles of WEBA (pictured).
'For some years we’ve been away on retreat together, along with Roy Searle, and Seventy-two is merely an articulation of some of the heart and vision which has emerged through walking and praying together.

'Core to our concern, as Regional Association Team Leaders, is our awareness of the heartfelt cry, expressed through the Futures Process, of people wishing to identify more with a ‘movement’ than an institution, across our Baptist Union.'
Nigel Coles 300Nigel identifies a need – to face the reality of decline among our churches; and a purpose – to preach the gospel and to live the kingdom and encourage all our churches to own this.

Seventy-two will be an umbrella term for various partnership initiatives that are designed to act as a catalyst for missional movement across the region, through our Union’s networks.

It will be one expression of being Baptists Together in England and Wales.
Three major initiatives are currently planned:

  • Seventy-two will be a partner at Spring Harvest, Minehead Week 3, in 2016, where an exhibition area, seminar input and receptions for the Seventy-two network are being planned.
  • The Partnership will facilitate the ‘South West Hub’ for the new Forge England course in partnership with For Mission (formerly Springdale College).
  • A Seventy-two website is in production, which will function as a guest blogging site and an information point for these initiatives. 

Why ‘Seventy-Two’?

The title, ‘Seventy-two’, is taken from Jesus’ sending out of the seventy-two in Luke 10. The new partnership's primary values all there in Luke 10:1-12:

Collaboration: if Jesus chose not to do it all himself, why do we?
Innovation: it’s Jesus mission, not ours, but we are sent in his name.
Exploration: we’re not sure of all the details, but ‘go’ we must.
Incarnation: ‘don’t move around looking for the best cook in town’ (7).

There’s already a monthly Seventy-two newsletter, which anyone can subscribe to at www.seventy-two.network. Alternatively, contact Nigel Coles directly at nigel.coles@seventy-two.network for more information

Baptist Times, 21/10/2015
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