Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Spring Harvest reflections ....

Maggie and I were away, over Easter, at Spring Harvest, which was a great way to start my sabbatical. I tend to talk about sabbaticals in hushed tones, as they remain a huge privilege few other people have. With privilege comes responsibility. I have three months stretching out before me, during which I can stand apart from the normal stuff, which can so easily invade my life to the point direction appears lost. In my case, I'm exploring the question whether an institution can become a movement again, or at least that's where I'm starting from, but please don't mention words like 'thesis'.

Some within our WEBA Baptist region will be aware I commented on taking the question 'what are you hearing from the God of Transformation?' with me into sabbatical. This arose because I spoke on Isaiah 54 the week before and this was one question I wanted to work with myself, out of those I passed on to the great people of Minchinhampton Baptist Church. 

Over the weekend, Christy Wimber spoke one evening and announced she'd decided to speak from Isaiah 54, so inevitably my ears are even more pricked up than usual! Now's not the time, nor blogs the place, for what's coming out of this for me personally, so I'll simply share one, or two, things pertinent for the Baptist circles in which I mostly operate:

What happened to our renewal for mission of the 1980's?
What happened to the re-structuring for mission of 2000?
What happened to the Futures Process for mission of 2012?

In Isaiah 54 God calls for rejoicing and joy to come out of past barrenness and humiliation. 

The next ten years are critical ones, not simply for Baptist Christians in the UK, but across the whole Church. Missional movement won't happen by simply re-labelling what's in the tin, if the insides remain the same.  

One of the reasons I was down at Spring Harvest was to explore how we (as Baptists under our Association Missional Partnership "seventy-two" banner) can develop partnership together. Personally, I think we need a much deeper collaboration across evangelical boundaries, but I am genuinely excited about the journey we're currently on.

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