“Transformed by the Spirit” is an ambitious initiative of the National Executive Council (NEC) of American Baptist Churches USA. The process will engage local congregations across the denomination in a journey of identifying the significant challenges that face our churches, our regions, and our national bodies in today’s culture, and wrestling with the changes that will be required of all American Baptists if we are to seize opportunities to serve as the hands and feet of Christ. Planning for this new process, while initiated by the National Executive Council (made up of the General Secretary and leaders of American Baptist Home Mission Societies, American Baptist International Ministries, American Baptist Women’s Ministries, and the Ministers and Missionaries Benefit Board), has also included the Ministers Council, the Regional Executive Ministers Council, and a number of local pastors.
American Baptist churches are in the midst of a significant change. Demographic shifts, declining revenues, newly arriving immigrant communities, and proliferating communications have impacted mission and ministry. God’s spirit is at work among us in the midst of these changes. Transformed by the Spirit will invite American Baptists to name and address challenges in changing environments.
We need to make “adaptive changes,” changes that are in response to a changed environment, changes that unleash our Baptist DNA for innovation. We must make changes that embrace the transformative work of the Spirit in the life of the church.
The question we are asking in this initiative is: “What challenges are we facing, for which we do not presently have an answer, but which must be addressed if we are to live into the future God has for us?” Over a two year process, we will look at these challenges and seek to learn from one another to find the answers.
Stay tuned for more details in the near future on how YOU can be involved!