Growing healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission
Our denomination (Baptists Together) has a vision statement ‘Growing healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission’. When you visit the Baptists Together website it is there prominently on the first page https://www.baptist.org.uk
I would guess though, that many or most of us seldom refer to this vision and that the level of awareness of this phrase (by ministers as well as congregations) could certainly be raised!
Surely, it is both simple and profound enough for us to unite around it?
For my part, let me offer this simple analysis and explain how my theme as Vice-President and President relates to it.
The vision statement, ‘Growing healthy churches in relationship for God’s mission’, for me, contains four related elements and provokes four sets of questions.
1 Growing – To what extent are we genuinely growing – (as individuals – as churches and as a grouping of churches together)?
2 Healthy – To what extent are we spiritually healthy? What are the characteristics of healthy churches?
3 In relationship – To what extent are we meaningfully in relationship as a group of churches?
4 God’s mission – To what extent are we intentionally missional and seeking to discern and pursue God’s mission at this time?
When we take an honest look at these questions, for ourselves and for our family of churches, there are both encouragements and challenges. Overall, even the most optimistic amongst us would surely have to say there are areas where our good news stories amount to less than they could be.
My website title and theme ‘Where do we grow from here?’ is essentially making the vision statement a prayerful question and I try to pick out these questions by focusing on different words in the question.
1 ‘Growing’ is clearly and specifically mentioned and wherever I visit I am keen to emphasise that we are seeking genuine Kingdom growth in all its forms.
2 ‘Healthy’ is implied by seeking to take an honest look at the current state of health of where ‘here’ is both in our churches and nation.
3 ‘In relationship’ is discussed when we consider who the ‘we’ element is in the question and to what extent we feel called to this journey as Baptists Together.
4 ‘God’s mission’ is pursued when we seek to discern our best answers to the ‘where’ part of the question and look to learn from those churches amongst us who have genuine good news stories to share.
So, please join me in praying ‘Where do we grow from here?’ May we discover His answers for our individual lives, for our churches, for our denomination and even for our nation.