Cathrina Siraa is a member of Royal Oak Baptist Church as well as Administration Advisor at our Baptist National Support Centre where she occasionally gets to see the President of the Baptist Union. 

“Excuse me, are you the president?” 

This question was posed to Ravi Musuku, who has been serving as the President of the Baptist Union of New Zealand during 2022 and 2023.  

Maybe one day it could be posed to you? 

The role of President of the Baptist Union of New Zealand is a voluntary role as the figure head of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand and the New Zealand Baptist Missionary Society. 

The President attends the meetings of the Assembly Council and the Mission Council, attends the Regional Hui and the National Hui, chairs the business session of the Assembly at the National Hui, visits churches in regions around the country, and supports the ministry of the Union through prayer and encouragement.  

For Ravi, in his tenure as President, this has looked like a road trip around New Zealand to visit and encourage churches, attendance as a New Zealand representative at overseas submits for Baptist World Alliance, attendance at Regional Hui and meetings of the Assembly Council and Mission Council, and meeting regularly to pray with our National Leader. 

Each year, a Vice-President is appointed who serves a one-year term alongside the President, before then serving a one-year term as President themselves. 

Anyone who has been a member in good standing of a constituent Baptist church for at least five years is eligible to be nominated by their church for the role of Vice-President.  

In 2021, no nominations for Vice-President were received, resulting in no President being available to take the role at the conclusion of Ravi’s 2022 term. Ravi graciously agreed to extend his term, and Assembly voted at National Hui 2022 for Ravi to serve as President for a further 1-year term. 

The President role is an important constitutional role and is a key part of the structure of the Union.  

The President is: 

  • Someone with history and insight into the story of the Baptist Union and Missionary Society is essential. This will particularly relate to the current direction our National Leader is guiding our movement in, as it arises from our longer-term journey. 
  • A person of mana in the denomination. 
  • A person of good character. 
  • Someone with a willingness to work with the National Leader of the Baptist Union and the General Director of the Missionary Society (Arotahi) as they lead strategically. 
  • A person with the ability and time to visit churches and other denominational agencies. 
  • A person who has been in active membership of a constituent church for at least five years. 

The position of President is unpaid; but there is a budget to cover expenses. 

The contribution of the President may be in the context of our local churches, Associations, Assembly Council, Mission Council, or other Baptist Union bodies. These opportunities may come in a variety of forms and may include anything from dispute resolution to ceremonial functions. Normally the President attends meetings of both the Assembly Council and the Mission Council and may (or should) represent both during visits to churches. 

Unfortunately, recent years have seen a lack of nominations for some of the key roles in our movement, from Vice-President to Assembly Council members. Nominations to these roles are a way that we can all associate together well, participating in the bigger picture of our collective of churches. These roles are not just for Pastors either. ‘Normal’ people with experience from other professional careers bring valuable skills to the table and their nominations are welcome. 

Can we encourage you to think of who in your church membership may be willing to serve our wider Baptist movement through one of these roles? Interested parties would be wise to explore this opportunity with the current President, the National Leader, or an Assembly Council member to gain further insight into the current needs and issues that are on the horizon. 

Perhaps you are the next President of the Baptist Union? 

If you would like to nominate someone, please visit the Baptist Hui website for more information. 

To see more about this time of nominations, see another recent article by Catharina: Why do people want to be on our Assembly Council? 

Image: supplied by Catharina Siraa 

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