• Register
Home  >  1. Baptist Prophets Needed

1. Baptist Prophets Needed

Posted by Peter Dominey
Peter Dominey
Peter Dominey has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on 17 January 2012
in 40 Baptist Voices

A one million pound black hole is projected for the Baptist Union of Great Britain end of year accounts, we can’t continue as we are and it has got people talking. The talk is of change and cuts.

The financial predicament is painful, it will hurt when posts are almost inevitably cut and people tragically lose their jobs. As well as being painful it is bad in other ways: are you worried that difficult discussions about allocation of finite resources may deflect us from more important questions? I am.

But these cuts can also be good news. Let's get real, it’s very difficult for an organisation that spans many centuries, churches, associations, and colleges to undergo deep change unless sufficient destabilising pressures are present. The finances are providing one such push-factor, numerical decline in most churches over many decades another, and there are others. I’m not shouting ‘tipping-point’ but ordeal loosens us up for change. This is painfully good!

In the coming weeks forty people will offer their thoughts to kick-start imaginative hope filled conversations. They include voices of those in the middle and on the edge of our institutions, those from differing contexts and a breadth of experiences. Only they know what they will say. I know they bravely said ‘yes’ to our approaches without knowing who else will speak; as each post is published their identity will be known.

Eight suggestions for ways to help us into the hope filled conversation:


  1. Grieve what is wrong
    
Blessed are those who mourn, those who are softhearted. Don’t hold back from grieving over things that just aren’t right, things that are dead and things that need to die. I grieve our deep lack of mission.

     
  2. Imagine what is not yet

    Grieving on it’s own sounds like whining. Prophets can have a knack of hopefully imagining and pointing to things that are not yet. This is dissent, a way of offering alternatives to what already is. This might be done playfully or seriously.

     
  3. Baptist poets and artists, this is your moment
    I’m not one but are you? We need your help to recover our imagination. We have given ground to overly pragmatic solutions and the uncritical importing of models. At this point is our imagination more important than our knowledge? Can artists and poets help us with this?
    (Hint: you can upload images as well as words when you comment on this website.)
     
  4. Avoid romanticising our 400 year history
    
There was no golden-era. We can learn from the 400 years and rediscover lost ways, but we need to go right back and learn from Jesus. But we won’t find all we need in those two histories, we need to imagine new ways that harmonise with our historic faith, ways that have not been practiced before. This is incarnation.
     
  5. It takes time for right ideas to be adopted – keep speaking
    Prophets are wired to challenge the status quo and organisations rightly focus on maintaining and administering the existing – can you spot the tension! You prophets may be mistaken for a threat but without them you we will congeal and start to die. Be thick skinned when needed and keep speaking.
     
  6. A new idea does not mean a right idea

    Caution: just because it is alternative thinking doesn’t mean it’s right. It may be time to stop speaking!
     
  7. Where are we looking? 

    Most of current baptist life at all levels is configured expecting God to speak in the middle but history suggests that God’s renewing often starts on the margins. Where are our margins? Can you share what you see?

     
  8. It’s OK to hit the pause button

    These are tricky matters that need suspended judgment and open minds. Yes we will need to innovate but not too fast. First we need to be creative, dream new ideas, interact with them, and reflect. Big decisions need to be slept on. 


A humble suggestion:
Beyond 400 is fairly unique with its openness, degree of meritocracy, collaboration and informality. At this stage it is very much half-baked  but is it in some way embodying something of the future that we are fumbling towards? And if so what?

----------------------------------------

Peter Dominey is a baptist minister in the Eastern Baptist Association, a leader of Church from Scratch which he pioneered 10 years ago and he helps lead Incarnate Network which is the church planting network of BUGB.

Hits: 1489
blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest Comments

follow on facebook

follow on twitter

text follow baptistvoices to 86444

Be the first to hear when the next article is posted. Enter your email address:

get the book graphic

40 Voices: Those published so far...

  • ‘The dodo is dead everybody knows that’, thus began an episode of David Attenborough’s Life Stories broadcast on Radio 4 on Sunday 4th September 2009. Attenborough then unfolded the less well–known aspect of the story, the reason for the dodo’s extinction. It is likely that its ancestors were blow
  • There are good reasons why you might not want to read this: it’s not practical; it doesn’t comment on denominational organisation; it lacks focus and finesse.  But, you may want to read on because I plan to talk dirty.  Or rather I’m going to suggest that in our musing about the future we should
  • "Tracing Baptist theological Foot Prints" As we look beyond 400 years of Baptist life in England, I want to trace five theological footprints which marked early Baptist communities which might still be important as we ‘look beyond the horizon’ and ask what our vision might be. Reading the Bible
  • Reflecting beyond 400 years of Baptist history and ministry, I wonder what the Baptist family can do to make a definite contribution to the advancement of God’s kingdom in this generation and beyond. Here are a few of my thoughts. Firstly we need to recover our confidence in the gospel of Jesus Christ
  • Imagine it is 2412, and we are a group of researchers asked to contribute to a data pod which is to be sent to Betelgeuse. We are commissioned to focus on the last 400 years, with special emphasis on the people called Baptist. What would we hope to discover, and how might those hopes for the future feed in
  • Many years ago a teenage Anglican moved to the other end of town and stopped going to church (her parents weren’t Christians). A friend took her to the badminton club at a local church, and then to summer camp. She thought: ‘if I am going on a trip with them I had better go to church. She discovered am
  • Click on the below "Continue reading" button to see this post in it's intended form as a 5 minute video. Also click "Continue reading" for a short summary written summary - though we strongly recommend the video for the full content.
  • I wonder why you became a Baptist? Maybe you never did: perhaps you’re a cradle Baptist, or you just found yourself once in a church with a Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB) logo on the front, or perhaps you’d first reach for words like “Bible believing”, “liberal evangelical” or “charismatic” to d
  • I have a confession. Even though I have been married for 19 years, I’m in love with another’s bride. She’s beautiful, powerful, inspiring, she makes my heart leap, the very idea of what she might become thrills me. I might want to shape her, guide her, want her to fall in love with me too, but alas she is
  • ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world’. (Albert Einstein). ‘Beyond 400’ - backwards! (6. Digging deeper into the past to find the future) …. after the prayer George of the House of Jakob arose and entreated Conrad Grebel for God’s sake
  • So there she was, a small woman, a lawyer, sitting behind an enormous desk piled high with manila folders. Each one charting the whereabouts of husbands, brothers, sons who had disappeared off the streets of El Salvador during its years of tyranny. With eyes that sparkled when she spoke she told us of the
  • In this Olympic year it seems appropriate to draw inspiration from Hebrews 12 in which the journey of faith is likened to a long distance race. Perhaps Team BUGB can be inspired by the athletes in Team GB as they prepare to win gold at the London Olympics… Begin with the End in Mind No one just tur
  • A decade ago my mate Darrell Jackson wrote a paper with the provocative title ‘Does the future have a denomination?’ I thought it pretty prescient and nicked it for the conclusion to my book Building a Better Body, where I asked it of the church. I was working for BMS World Mission at the time and we w
  • “Organisations, the Church included, are built to administer, maintain and protect from harm that which already exists; in contrast creative or dissenting people are designed to give birth to that which has never been in existence before. The dissenters threaten the well-oiled structures of an organisation
  • I finished up my street performance in the middle of Norwich on a hot summers day and jumped around exuberantly and I must admit, slightly hot and sweaty, holding above my head the straight jacket that I had just escaped from. It was a good show and I looked around awaiting the cheers but on this occasion
  • The fact is, at my tender age, I grew up on a different page I don’t come from a position of tradition or division Christianity is relatively new to me But clearly something made me say “Hey, I like the Baptist Way” Some people may not agree with me, my delivery or the way I see it Cause I’m not
  • The first baptist church in Britain met in Spitalfields, London, still known as a tolerant place which harbours dissenters, artists, anarchists and free-thinkers who want to challenge injustice and unfairness. Words such as these were used frequently to describe early baptists, a group of Jesus-followe
  • A one million pound black hole is projected for the Baptist Union of Great Britain end of year accounts, we can’t continue as we are and it has got people talking. The talk is of change and cuts. The financial predicament is painful, it will hurt when posts are almost inevitably cut and people tragical