As BUGB Council convenes again it strikes me that one question lurks behind many of the items on the agenda. Who leads the Union? Or more correctly where does leadership in the Union come from?
Do we need to split the governance and management of the BUGB charity from the leadership of the wider Union?
Do we need to release translocal ministers in our Union, particularly those who have oversight of areas of Union or Association life, to cast vision by the exercise of their ministry?
Do we need to reform Council so that it is better able to be the place for corporate discernment of God’s will for our life as Baptists?
If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’ then we need to do some quick work on what it means to be representative. Nigel Wright’s notion of ministry as ‘inclusive representation’ maybe helpful here but we need to think further about what it means for some ministers to exercise that representation in the wider church and for what it means for some people to gather in Council as representative of the wider church where representation isn’t simply about being there on behalf of another institution. A better theology of representation might just help us develop a new way forward.