A Brief History

Baptist Leaders’ Registration – A Brief History

The following information outlines the history of the current Baptist Leader’s Registration (BLR) system. This information was used as part of the review process and was taken from Assembly Council minutes and reports, Baptist Assembly documentation, Andrew Gamman’s “Ministerial Credentialling in the Baptist Churches of New Zealand”, and data collected by Mike Crudge in his time as the CCLL Director.

The 1994 Assembly asked for a review of the existing Ministerial Accreditation system (which had begun in the 1890s). To facilitate this review, Assembly Council established an Accreditation Review Committee in early 1995. The review, initially thought to take one year, ended up as a three year process. The table below shows (in brief) the changes that occurred during that time.

The June and February proposals (shown below) came from the Review Committee to AC. The changes made between the June ‘95 report and the August ‘96 report were in part due to feedback from pastors’ clusters and forums. There may also have been changes suggested by AC. The November proposal, which was accepted by the 1998 Assembly, may have been written by Andrew Gammon who had been appointed as the Ministry Development Co-ordinator, but would also have been based on feedback. No one seems quite sure when the current changes were made or why/when they were put into place.

June 1995 February 1996 August 1996 November 1998 Current
Ministerial Registration Ministerial Registration Registration for Ministers Registration for Ministers Baptist Leaders’ Registration
Managed by a Continuing Ministry Committee Managed by a Learning Contract Co-ordinator Managed by a Ministry Formation Co-ordinator (MFC) Managed by a Ministry Development Co-ordinator (MDC) Managed by the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning (CCLL)
Pastors would have Continuing Ministry Formation with a points system, rather than accreditation Accreditation would be replaced with yearly Registration Accreditation would be replaced with yearly Registration Accreditation would be replaced with 2-yearly Registration Yearly Registration
Change the many lists published in the Yearbook to one list: “Official People Currently Serving in NZ Baptist Churches” – their qualifications, ministry positions held, and status would be published (see below) Change current lists to two: “Staff of our Churches” and “Retired Ministers” – both lists would include qualifications, registration status and ministry positions held Change current lists to two: “Staff of our Churches” and “Retired Ministers” – both lists would include qualifications, registration status and ministry positions held No lists were mentioned in the report that was accepted by the Assembly Four lists are published: “Senior or Sole Pastors and Registered, Provisionally Reg. and/or Accredited Ministers”, “Other Pastoral Staff”, “Chaplains”, and “Retired Ministers
Pastors would undergo Continuing Ministry Formation (CMF) with a points system – the points earned would be published in the Yearbook Pastors would have a Learning Contract between the pastor, and the Union, agreed to in consultation with the church where they are serving Pastors would have a Ministry Formation Agreement (MFA) between the pastor, and the Union, agreed to in consultation with the church where they are serving Pastors would have a Ministry Development Agreement (MDA) between the pastor, and the Union, agreed to in consultation with the church where they are serving Pastors have a Ministry Development Agreement (MDA) between the pastor and the Baptist Union
Quinquennial evaluation that may be part of a church evaluation but would also involve an evaluation team and peer review No evaluation mentioned Biennial evaluation of the pastor – it was to be a serious review of the person and their ministry Biennial evaluation of the MDA only No formal evaluation
Open to ministers/pastors with a letter of call in a church, plus BU, BMS, Carey, and Assoc. staff, and chaplains Open to ministers/pastors with a letter of call in a church, plus BU, BMS, Carey, and Assoc. staff, and chaplains Open to all with a letter of call in a church, plus BU, BMS, Assoc. and Carey lecturing staff, and chaplains Open to all with a letter of call in a church, plus BU, BMS, and Assoc. staff in a pastoral role, full-time Carey lecturing staff, and chaplains Open to all working in the name of the Baptist Family of Churches as a pastoral leader, chaplain or missional leader
Minimum of two days per week Minimum of two days per week Minimum of two days per week Minimum of two days per week Minimum of 15 hours per week
No mention of Accredited Ministers retaining status No mention of Accredited Ministers retaining status No mention of Accredited Ministers retaining status Accredited Ministers retain this status for life Accredited Ministers retain this status for life
Monthly supervision with a recognised spiritual director or supervisor Must have a supervisor, mentor or spiritual director approved in these disciplines Must have supervision or mentoring with either a qualified person or someone approved by the MFC Must have a bi-monthly meeting with a supervisor, mentor or spiritual director (no mention of qualified or approved) Meet with a supervisor, mentor or spiritual director (do not need to be qualified) at least bi-monthly
Over the course of the years ‘95 – ‘98, many changes were made to the original recommendations. These changes lowered the expectations, and hence the value of the system that was finally set in place. There have also been changes made in the intervening years by those who have managed the system.