Preamble

Leading up to and during our National Hui last November, one of the four ‘Big Bites’ on the table for discussion was: A new way of making decisions together. The purpose of this work is to consider the structural foundations for the way we interact and make decisions together as a movement of Baptist churches.

You can read the pre-Hui reading material here:
A new way of making decisions together by Peter Crow, 19 October 2023.

The mandate

At the National Hui, there was overwhelming support from the Assembly of delegates representing the churches, for the Constitution Review Committee to continue their work, bringing it to a first consultation phase in 2024 – which is happening May-July.

Work that has been done

The Constitution Review Committee has worked diligently since the 2023 National Hui to consider how we might best make decisions together as a movement of churches, considering these five major issues:

The Committee has heard initial feedback from various sources (including the 2023 National Hui Big Bite discussions, discussions at Constitution Review Committee meetings, and informal discussions with Baptist leaders), this has been considered, and the provisions in the current Constitution have been reviewed.

Several options to improve decision making within the Baptist movement have been identified, and these are presented in the document: Governance and Constitution Review Discussion Paper. This is available online here.  This document is password protected – all church pastors and administrators have been given this password – people in local churches are welcome to ask their pastors or administrators for this password.

This document has been engaged with by our Assembly Council. A three-month consultation will happen May-July, and will involve:

  • Facilitated discussion based on the Governance and Constitution Review Discussion Paper, at Regional Hui May-July 2024, Hui ā Māori in July 2024, and National Hui in November 2024, as well as some regional pastor cluster groups over the next few months.
  • Opportunity for individual or group written submissions.

The Committee will receive and review feedback from consultation meetings and amend the Governance and Constitution Review document for further discussion at National Hui in November 2024.  Specific amendments to the current Constitution that are more administrative in nature, will also be written up, covering those matters for which the Movement seems to be in reasonable agreement. The Committee intends to present these proposed changes to the National Hui 2024 (by way of a formal resolution), for further discussion and a decision.

The National Hui is 7-9 November 2024 at Rangiora Baptist Church, North Canterbury.

Governance and Constitution Review documentation

The main document is the 7-page Governance and Constitution Review Discussion Paper – church pastors and administrators have been provided the password for this document. Please access this documents to participate fully in the consultation process – please read this document before engaging in the public processes listed below.

Three further documents useful in this consultation:

Ways to engage in this process

Regional Hui

All mid-year Regional Baptist Association hui for church leaders will have programmed time to engage with this consultation process:

Pastors/leaders clusters

Various regular cluster meetings around the country will be dedicated to this consultation process – cluster and/or Regional Leaders will provide details on this.

Written submission/feedback

Please write to the Operations and Finance Director at the Baptist National Support Centre – these can be individual or group submissions: [email protected]

Discussion questions

With reference to the Governance and Constitution Review Discussion Document mentioned above:

  1. As a Union of churches, should we be covenanting with each other relationally to enable the strengthening of our movement?

  2. How important do you think it is to have a representative Assembly Council?

  3. Are you clear on what the Assembly Council role is?

  4. Do you like the balance of 6 elected Assembly Council members, and up to 4 appointees? 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  1. How will the consultation process and feedback impact the Constitution Review?

    The Committee will receive and review feedback from consultation meetings and amend the Governance and Constitution Review document for further discussion at National Hui in November 2024.

  2. I wasn’t at the 2023 National Hui and this is the first I have heard of this, how can I get up to speed?

    Reading these articles will help you get up to speed:
    A new way of making decisions together by Peter Crow, 19 October 2023.
    A Baptist way of making decisions together by John Tucker, 18 October 2023.

  3. How can I get the password to open the discussion document?

    Unfortunately our Intranet broke on 8 May, so we decided to get this document out with a password. We notified church pastors and administrators about the password via email on 9 May – we invite and encourage anyone in New Zealand Baptist churches to engage with this consultation process – please ask your pastor or administrator for the document password.
  4. I’m a Baptist church pastor, elder/board-member or administrator, how can I help get the people in my church involved if they’re interested?

    Please mention this in your church newsletters and notices – share the link to this webpage: baptist.nz/governance-and-constitution-review
    Perhaps you could set up a time when interested people could gather to talk about it, and then you could feed this back at one of the Hui or in writing. We’re thankful for any way you can support this.

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