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Reflections on Collaborative Talks With Other Baptist Groups

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Last month, Virginia Baptists engaged in a handful of conversations with other Baptist groups.

cbmOn June 17, we hosted folks from the Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) as well as Baptists from Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina for a dialogue about global discipleship.

Dean Miller, Glocal Missions Team Leader, wrote:

The opportunity to dialogue with a variety of people regarding the future of mission engagement and discipleship was refreshing.

We shared our concerns as well as listened for a new way to lead our Virginia Baptist volunteers into a learning and discipling atmosphere rather than a teaching and doing atmosphere.

I am excited for the new days ahead with our churches and partners from across the globe.

Greg Smith, Kingdom Advance Ambassador, offered his reflection:

My thoughts center around what I mentioned in the group, which was the emphasis CBM’s Global Discipleship program placed on short-term mission as learning and relationship, rather than just “doing a project.”  Mission is first and foremost a cross-cultural exchange that uplifts the dignity and humanity of all partners involved.

Rather than engaging in an overseas mission experience simply to “carry out an assignment” or “fulfill a request,” CBM encourages their short-term mission personnel to approach it as an opportunity to listen, learn and understand from their international hosts, even as the short-termers themselves fulfill project requests or assignments.

It’s not a matter of “learning” vs. “doing,” but rather “doing that leads to learning.”  This is sound missiology, and the CBM presenters reflected that in the way they approach global discipleship.

ABCNJ-web-LogoThe next week several Virginia Baptist leaders traveled to New Jersey to meet with The American Baptist Churches of New Jersey (ABCNJ) for a friendly conversation.

Staff from ABCNJ had traveled to Virginia earlier this year to begin the conversation.

Chris Backert, National Director for Fresh Expressions, US, listens to the conversations with ABCNJ & BGAV leaders.
Chris Backert, National Director for Fresh Expressions, US, listens to the conversations with ABCNJ & BGAV leaders.

John Upton, BGAV Executive Director, noted that a strong friendship was developing through these conversations.

The discussions revolved around Fresh Expressions, church planting, and multi-ethnic ministries.

The groups actually met in the dean’s office at Princeton, which John noted was a unique experience.

“They are a creative bunch; that’s why we wanted to talk with them.”

View some photos from the talks with Canadian Baptist Ministries: