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Baptist Steering Group - September 2016

General Secretary Lynn Green shares key messages from the September gathering of the Baptist Steering Group

Gathering at Hinsley Hall in Leeds, Baptist Steering Group met with Ministers from the Yorkshire Baptist Association:
  • Re:Fuel: Carmel Murphy (Urban Expression) and Cassie Biggin shared with us about how God is at work in the heart of inner city Bradford. Although many of the traditional churches have now closed the Lord is still present and calling Christians to live, work and witness in the city. Carmel is being funded by the YBA for one day a week to build relationships and map mission initiatives in the city. Emerging from this is Re:Fuel, which is a regular  gathering of pioneers who meet together for inspiration, support and prayer.  We were particularly struck by the heart these people had for Bradford and for the joyful sense of community that was evident.
  •  A completely different approach was shared by Nick Allan from The Well in Sheffield.  This is a new church that has been strategically planted into an amazing location.  Surrounded by students, cafes, clubs and shops, this new church has been intentional in focussing on the 18-35’s, a missing generation in many of our churches, and consciously combines mission and the supernatural.  The Spirit Café seeks to use accessible language to create connecting points with the dechurched and unchurched which often results in prayer and ministry opportunities for healing and forgiveness. As with Bradford, the Well is seeing people becoming followers of Jesus.  Our challenge as long-standing Christians is not to be pouring buckets of cold water over anything new we don’t understand! 
  • Part of a vision for training Baptist leaders ‘in the North, for the North’ has been the development of St Barnabas Theological Centre, with Sally Nelson appointed as a Baptist tutor to oversee the formation of Baptist Ministers in Training. The new centre is a Baptist/Anglican initiative, in partnership with NBC, with an emphasis on creative, pioneering placements and contextual mission.
  • Overall, we reflected that passionate, confident, gifted leaders are vital for developing our mission and ministry.

As an outworking of our culture, where we want to intentionally feel like one team and share a hunger for God’s Coming Kingdom, we encouraged the development of local justice hubs to complement the work already done by the Baptist Together justice groups.  Implementing the idea with a local hub in the YBA will enable us to see how it could be developed elsewhere.

The report from the Fit4Mission survey will be presented at Council in October.

The Beacons of Hope concept is beginning to take shape and we want to encourage our churches to take part in the Thy Kingdom Come week of prayer in 2017 as part of a commitment to 50 days of Hope from Easter to Pentecost!

As we prayed and worshipped together, Rupert Lazar (our President) sensed God saying to us, “It’s not too late.”  As we shared what we felt this meant for us, four threads emerged:
  • It’s not too late to make space for God to work in and through us by His Spirit
  • It’s not too late to deepen our collaborative vision for Baptists Together
  • It’s not too late to engage in mission – people are open to Jesus
  • It’s not too late to use our resources creatively in new and fresh ways

We were encouraged to hear about the forthcoming BBC programme, “See Hear” which will show the recent ordination and induction of our first deaf Accredited Baptist Minister, Rev Susan Myatt at Rising Brook Baptist Church. It will be shown the week beginning 2nd November 2016.

We continue to listen and reflect on how we raise and share giving to Baptists Together Home Mission and the impact of the ongoing pension deficit on our churches.  We keep praying and trusting in God’s promises as we look at options and solutions to take us forward for mission.

With over 980 responses to the Baptist Assembly survey, we discussed initial feedback and look forward to a fuller consideration at Council in October.

We are hugely encouraged by what we see God doing across the country – lots of creative mission and people coming to follow Jesus; praise the Lord! We also face some challenges, so please continue to pray with us as we look for the Lord’s way through.

Lynn Green
23 September 2016

The Revd Lynn Green is General Secretary of our Baptist Union

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