In August, 2011 at Oasis assembly, our churches bravely embraced change. The Council of Convention brought forward a Senior Staff Restructuring Proposal which represented a strong vision for future ministry in Atlantic Canada and the delegates said a resounding yes to that vision.
The following excerpt from the Senior Staff Proposal (www.baptist-atlantic.ca/departments/executiveminister) expresses some of the visionary thinking for future ministry:
As a Convention family we have arrived at one of the “hinge points” of our history, this is not a time to be discouraged. Rather, it is a time to face the future with faith and courage. It is a time to dream about what could be. It is a time to trust God and take a risk. It is time to unite together as a committed band of Christ-followers to be a missional presence in communities across Atlantic Canada. It is time to pray and dream and work to see new ministries and new churches established in new places. It is time to pray and believe that existing churches can be renewed and revitalized. It is time for struggling churches to join ranks with others not simply to survive but to thrive and provide a vibrant Christian witness in the community.
As we “change the scorecard” and release greater numbers of Christians to do ministry in the community we will become more Christ-centered, focussed, compassionate and caring. Our impact for the sake of the Kingdom of God will be much greater. We have a marvellous opportunity to renew our commitment to the Priesthood of all Believers by equipping, empowering and releasing a host of volunteer Christ-followers to be his hands and feet in communities across the Atlantic Provinces. (Senior Staff Proposal, p. 16)
Of course this means things will change quite dramatically over the next few months as we begin the transition toward this new staffing structure. As you know four of our present Regional Ministers will retire as of December 31, 2011. A transition period will begin January 1, 2012 with the new Staffing arrangement not being fully implemented until July, 2013.
But, it must be noted that as of January, 2012, Regional Ministry will no longer exist as we have known it in the past. We have appointed a transition team of Senior Staff who will provide leadership and care to the pastors and churches in the interim period. Working closely with the Executive Minister, the Transition Team will be made up of Dr. Malcolm Beckett, Rev. Elias Mutale, Rev. Jerry Horsman, and Rev. Greg Jones. We are asking that Associations, regions, churches and pastors have patience and pray as Staff begins to function in new ways as we enter a new era of Senior Staffing for the Convention Family of Churches.
People have been asking already, “Who am I going to call when I no longer have a Regional Minister?” We are creating a new administrative position to support this Transition Team and a search will be conducted this fall with plans to have a person in place in January, 2012. We are asking that you contact the Transition Team through the Administrative Assistant who will be able to assess your situation and direct your request to the appropriate staff person or volunteer who has been trained to meet your need. Our goal is to do our very best to serve you and address your concerns as expediently as we can.
This plan will necessitate the recruitment, training and deployment of many volunteers to help to do some of the things which our Regional Ministers have done in the past. It also means that the staff person who has responded to so many different needs will be utilizing gifted people in our constituency to assist in serving the pastors and churches of the region. When he was Convention President, Mr. Doug Schofield talked about the need for us to embrace our Baptist roots and distinctives as people who believe in the priesthood of all believers.
Watch for more information and communication as we get closer to the time of Transition. If you would like to familiarize yourself with the document which outlines the new staffing arrangement accepted by our delegates at Oasis, please click on the link: www.baptist-atlantic.ca/documents/Proposed Restructuring of Senior Staff.pdf.