Its been a good day today with two announcements coming together to mark what could be significant changes of emphases for BMS in the future.
The first establishes a joint post for mission development in Scotland, jointly funded by the Baptist Union of Scotland and ourselves. I'm really looking forward to working with Judy White as we harness insights and challenges from mission in the UK and further afield and apply those insights in Scotland and beyond. And simultaneously we want to go on harnessing that energy for continuing the great Scottish tradition of world mission endeavour. You can read of Judy’s appointment here.
The second announcement is more low key but thats only because the discussions underway are still relatively new. But here’s the text of a statement that’s been sent out today concerning an intentional conversation between Bristol Baptist College and ourselves. You can Download The press release here and I'll let it speak for itself as to the intent behind it.
What both of these announcements have in common is a recognition that our world is changing, and amongst the many implications of these changes is the recognition that new alliances and more efficient use of resources are a must if we are to be a missionary people whose task begins in our own back yard and reaches to the nations.
This isn't new of course. I have long quoted Lesslie Newbigin's 1986 call for "a genuinely missionary encounter of the gospel with our culture". But for sure, there is a renewed energy behind the conversation in these days.
Most readers of the various Baptist blogs will be aware that there is much change afoot. The tectonic plates underfoot are shifting, of that there is no doubt. And depending on how you're wired, or how immediately you may be affected, these 'moving plates' can trigger adrenaline or induce fear. Neither of these reactions is wrong - they're just natural.
As the necessary debate gets underway, my hope is that anything written or said will be done sensitively. Its just too easy to tear down - its harder to build up. Let's be aware that we are not in the bear pit that is the House of Commons, generating heat but little light, nor in the corporate boardroom where people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
It must not be our vision-casting alone that is seasoned by the Holy Spirit, but also our deliberations. If these honour God then the vision we dare to dream may also honour God. Yes, there will be change and there will be a frank assessment of our strengths and weaknesses. Hard things may have to be said, and reckoned with. But let us do so in a way that is befitting a people who are encouraged by Jesus to love one another. So far, I'm encouraged that this will be the case.