I’m very encouraged by the East Midlands Baptist Association. They are currently advertising for a new Regional Team Leader, stating they wish ‘to appoint a dynamic, spirit filled person to serve as an apostolic leader’. I think it’s the first time one of our Baptist Associations has included the ‘a’ word, in an advert. Hopefully it wont be the last, as if we are to ever re-enter the history books as a movement, we need missional, apostolic leadership at the leading edge of our networks of churches, we still call Associations.
Once upon a time we only mentioned ‘apostolic’ in hushed tones because it had been hijacked by fears of ‘heavy-shepherding’. That goes back to the 1980’s when self-appointed apostles were preying on Baptist Churches, or at least that’s what we were told. Personally, most people I met, or observed, only ever had the title thrust upon them by others and only came across as intentionally seeking to steer the church back from the brink decline was leading us towards.
Three decades on we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security because we’ve not been declining at the same rate as some other UK denominations. However, it is I believe a false sense of security, rather than one rooted in Christ.
Here’s just three reasons why I believe we need to support the identification and releasing of more with an apostolic ministry among us:
- They integrate the message of integrity with the message the gospel of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is still breaking into life today, but there needs to be more. Our present, primary, cultural environments tell us we need to be good news, as well as tell it.
- They combine a passion for the legacy of the church and the renewing of the Spirit. They combine the good foundations, already given to the church (primarily the Bible), with an openness to his presence and power today.
- They marry an ability to work with the structural frameworks, but not allow themselves to become stifled, or silenced by them.
I’m sure there will be many who’s response will be ‘surely those things need to be true of every Minister of the gospel today?’ … at least, I sure hope so. The apostolic ministries need to be much more rooted in local churches and certainly not reserved for anyone with a church designated title, but if we don’t release such people into trans-local roles, we may never empower as many locally based as the coming years will require.
Further details and an application pack are available on the EMBA website at www.embaptists.co.uk.
The closing date for applications is 3pm on 26th February 2016.