The annual update from our Leadership Co-ordination Director, Karen Warner, for 2023.

The quick answer to this question is, “Me!” The longer answer is that these three are core components of what we consider robust leadership within the Baptist Union of New Zealand to comprise of. To that end, we have some excellent leadership training and development resources that support these and other leadership markers. My role in this is to have a big-picture oversight of all our leadership areas, with an eye to co-ordinate the various things we have going on as a movement in this space.

The past year has seen the implementation of our recently reviewed and strengthened Baptist Registration process for pastoral leaders, chaplains, ministry/mission leaders, Kaiārahi Māori, and Baptist entity leaders. This has been the culmination of 2 years of work and we were thrilled to see the new system attract the highest number of registrants we have ever had – 346! All of these registrants are engaging in learning and growth that has been codesigned with their church or employing entity. One of the requirements of the new registration system is that by 2025, we want all registrants to receive external supervision support with a trained, experienced supervisor. To ensure a sufficient supply of supervisors, this year we have added 90 people to the approved list and hosted a pilot supervisors training course in Auckland and Christchurch. This course has been written and delivered by Neil Baker, senior pastor at the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle and a qualified supervisor. The feedback was outstanding and we will now be offering this free training in April and September, 2024. A huge thank you to the Tab who underwrote the cost of Neil’s time to write the curriculum.

This year has also seen the establishment of a Code of Ethics-Conduct Advisory Group to undertake the review of our Ethical Guidelines and Principles document. The purpose of this important document is to enhance the wellbeing, safety and dignity of our faith communities and leaders. We hope to have an updated version of this document ready for review by Assembly Council mid 2024. The Leadership Hub (leadership. baptist.nz) continues to be a live resource that is growing and morphing in response to need. It is specifically designed for pastors and leaders as well as local church Elders and governing boards. The Robust Leadership Training course was launched late last year and has been widely used around the country. This course covers ten areas that we believe are the markers of a robust leader. Each module is facilitated by a different Baptist leader and can be used by anyone in leadership in a church, faith community, or associated entity.

On a personal note, my Sabbatical (timed to celebrate one year post heart surgery) was not only a time of refreshing but a time of learning as I met with colleagues in the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Happening to come across the oldest existing Baptist Chapel in the UK (circa 1655) where our non-conformist forebears bucked the establishment in the way that they worshipped and interpreted Scripture was a bonus!


Photo: Provided by Karen Warner

This update is from the 2023 Annual Report of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand, which you can view here.

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