Regionally Recognised Leader
What is a Regionally Recognised Leader?
Baptists have a tradition in which leadership and oversight – whether pastoral, pioneer or evangelistic – has been exercised not only by those whose primary calling in life is ordained ministry on behalf of the wider union of Baptist churches, but also by those who live out their Christian vocation in a secular context and exercise leadership in a part-time capacity, whether stipended or (more often) voluntary. Previously these have often been designated as ‘Lay Pastors’ but increasingly it is recognised that leadership and oversight while always pastoral may include others of the so-called fivefold gifts of Ephesians 4 gifts and may take place in missional groups or contexts beyond a single congregation.
The Regionally Recognised Leadership Vision: Grow Healthy Churches in Relationship for Mission
SCBA are committed to the wider Union vision to ‘grow healthy churches in relationship for mission.’ Identifying and developing Regionally Recognised Leaders is one strategic way of fulfilling this vision. Regionally Recognised Leaders are tested, trained and formed within the Association and their exercise of leadership will be among 2 the churches and communities of the Association. As a church seeks to discern a possible call by one of their members to this ministry it is important to grasp that such leadership is different to that of ordained and accredited ministers. It will be given more through influence than being structural or as an ‘office-holder’. They would not always have an official role in the structures of their local church (eg elder or deacon) although they might; nor would they have a structural role in the Association. But their gifts, training and formation will make an important contribution to re-imagining and re-shaping for mission among our communities. Regionally Recognised Leaders may take on overall oversight within a congregation, but the general expectation is that they will work alongside and with the oversight of others either within or local to the group or church with which they are involved. Their role may well be in a community or work-place position where they are able to exercise strategic and spiritual leadership.
Association Recognition and Process
SCBA are able to recognise and commission such ministry and it is to the Association that a candidate is commended. A candidate should be encouraged to ask their Regional Minister for details of the recognition process and training. The Association and Regent’s Park College will work together with the candidate and church to test the call, and provide training, formation and support. Those seeking to be Regionally Recognised Leaders will need the commendation of their 3 local church and be interviewed by a group set up by the SCBA Leadership and Ministry Development Strategy Group. The candidate’s sense of calling is tested first by those who know him/her well and who have seen him/her at work in the local church and community, and then secondly by a group of people who do not know him/her at all but who are experienced in discerning the call of God on a person’s life.
Applicants for this recognition will normally have been baptised as believers and will need to have been in membership of a Baptist Church for two years.
The normal process of training and formation will be two years at Footsteps (a part-time course which is a partnership between the Association and Regent's Park College), including the written assignments, together with experience and practice gained in the local church and beyond. Prior learning from those within the Association and those moving in from other areas will be judged on a case by case basis. Each person will have a mentor for these two years, either from another local church or sometimes from within, who will help them reflect on their practice and learning.
Those seeking to be Regionally Recognised Leaders will complete a portfolio (see below) which will combine elements of study, reflection, evidence of competences and commendation by others.
SCBA will commend, as appropriate, those who move into other areas, who will then have the opportunity to fir into the categories a different Association might use.
The Association will offer continued support and encouragement to Regionally Recognised Leaders. They will be expected to engage in ongoing development through being part of a 'Leadership Good Practice Group' and in other ways, as a requirement for the continued commendation of the Association.
The Association will work with churches who commend such people to be trained and formed, so that their gifts and learning can be used in the ongoing mission of the church.
For more information on becoming a Regionally Recognised Leader, please download the "Regionally Recognised Leader" leaflet here.