I spent Tuesday (November 6) in Hamilton at the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches convention. I went primarily to hear John Kaiser’s (president) vision address that morning. I was going to comment on Tuesday but I really needed a couple of days to reflect. Here is what I am thinking right now . . .
Our denomination/movement is rooted in autonomy. John Kaiser’s vision seemed to reinforce this. The National Convention is autonomous from the Regions which serve autonomous local churches. Independence reigns! Seems to me that no matter how good the vision the national president communicates there is still lots of room for disconnect because of autonomy. I am still perplexed as to my perception that the Regions are not somehow accountable to the National structure. This all seems so confusing. No wonder many churches who are part of the denomination do not feel connected to the denomination.
My own autonomy is a problem. I found myself a few times asking the question, "does this really matter?" I am pastoring in a church north of Toronto in a very self contained community where I have very little connect with broader denominational ideas and plans. I find myself engulfed in community and regional ministry concerns and not thinking about how I can help a specific denominational movement forward. Is that right or wrong? I am not sure. I do know that I would like to give back to a missional movement.
I am just not that denominational. Don’t get me wrong I love hanging out with my colleagues and I love talking about how we can reach Canada with the gospel. I do embrace much of what President Kaiser has presented as relevant and necessary. I am glad for a sense of accountability for our church (albeit very loose) through a denomination. Perhaps this is a sign of my age and the overall decline in denominationalism in North America.
These are my reflections. I love my heritage and I am intrigued with my own personal feelings.