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July 01, 2012


Sarah Fegredo

Totally agree about not listening to the american megachurch pastors...maybe if everyone read "The Gospel Driven Church" by our own Ian Stackhouse they might think a bit more critically about the thinking that underpins it and why it just leads to exhaustion.

ian tutton

I think we have to acknowledge that the 'centre of gravity' for Baptists is the local congregation. Reinforcing the centre by creating a national leadership team accountable to council (I can't imagine how assembly would ever be able to do it) alongside Trustees merely serves to alienate the 'local'church even more than now. It is the creation of a Baptist Church and the demise of a Union of Baptist Churches which may well please some, but at the expense of others. If that is the way forward then Associations have no reason to exist other than as local offices of the national...why not scrap the union and the associations; create an association of British Baptists, membership open only to local congregations with a central office handling formation, accreditation and settlement with everything else left to emerging, volunteer led networks...just a thought

Patrick Baker

In my view the association restructuring
“finally inaugurated in 2002”, was flawed in several respects. Here are two, from which we could learn.
1. It failed to take into account that the then associations were flagging (although not all were flagging) for want of commitment on the part of local churches and their members and, most especially, their ministers. Such commitment was not likely to be revived by restructuring, and so it has turned out. It was lacking in part at least because of an emphasis on the progress of each local church without any wider reference, and in some cases I suspect this was governed by the personal ambitions of ministers. Has anything changed in those respects?
2. One motivation for change at that time was said to be “mission”. But, as far as I can tell, no review process was put in place to reveal whether the mission of our churches was enhanced by those changes. People have opinions, of course. Most I hear are negative, but they are not necessarily correct. Let us hope that the developments now proposed will include a process of review so that after - say - five years a reasonably objective assessment can be made of the extent to which their aims are being realised.

1. I agree strongly that there is no case for the BUGB and BMS World Mission to become one. BMS World Mission receives support from and offers inspiration to a wider constituency in the UK than that of the BUGB, and an exclusive link with the BUGB would be to the detriment of the mission to which the BMS is called.
2. Ian Tutton is right to imply - at least, I THINK he implies! - that a “National” Baptist Church might oblige some of us to withdraw and seek to re-establish a network of congregationally governed but interdependent baptistic churches. What’s more, “national”, these days, begs a large and contentious political question. More importantly, it risks ignoring indigenous differences of culture and language which are increasing in significance.

Finally, having had my grouse, I ought to say that I am deeply grateful for legal advice and support received through the BUGB throughout 40 years in ministry, just as I am grateful for the spiritual vision and inspiration I have received through the BMS, and the fellowship and opportunities for interaction afforded me by the Baptist Union of Wales and several associations.

Patrick Baker



Under "What the next ten years should be about?", item 2, do you mean "re-formation" or Reformation as in "The Reformation"?


Stuart Dennis

Thanks Andy, a helpful summary for those like me not directly involved in such conversations. I appreciate your blog, cheers, Stuart Dennis

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