Introducing Baptist Registration

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Professional development cannot be an optional extra for leaders involved in Christian ministry and mission. And this is why the Baptist Union Registration process is so important to me and such an incredible gift! It will keep you current in your thinking and practices, and introduce you to different and innovative ways of doing things. It will bring a healthy level of accountability to your thinking and practice, and provide friendship and support through such things as cohorts, supervision, conferences, and on-line social media.”

Charles Hewlett (National Leader)

A proposal for a new-look registration process for Baptist leaders

Baptist Registration Overview

Baptist Registration (BR) is available to all those who are ministering within, or on behalf of a Baptist faith community or entity who fulfil certain requirements. BR is awarded by the Baptist Union of NZ (BUNZ) through a registration process established in 1996, currently administered by the Carey Centre for Lifelong Learning (CCLL). It is maintained on a yearly cycle, renewed in November, with goals that are required to be met through the year.

Purpose of Baptist Registration
Our goal as Baptist faith communities is to bring Gospel renewal to the people and places within which God has placed us.

The purpose of registration, therefore, is to ensure that those who minister in, or on behalf of the BUNZ do so in response to the call of the Holy Spirit and actively maintain:

  • a posture of well-being;
  • personal and professional integrity;
  • professional accountability;
  • ongoing growth and learning;
  • organisational safety; and,
  • an ongoing connection with the wider Baptist movement.
Benefits of Baptist Registration

We see the following benefits for churches and registrants:

For the Baptist Churches of NZ:

  • Ensuring that we have developing robust leaders who can lead thriving faith communities
  • Confidence in the integrity and competency of our leaders
  • Unity within the NZ Baptist collective
  • Assistance for congregations in making ministry appointments
  • Non-church organisations/community groups see our leaders have recognised status
  • Helping pastors to achieve longevity in ministry
  • Able to be on the Baptist Marriage Celebrants’ list

For the individual: (NB. Those in italics are suggestions and are not confirmed)

  • Endorsement of ministry work and role by the family of Baptist Churches of New Zealand
  • An annual framework and rhythm to support and encourage personal growth, Baptist whānau engagement, professional accountability, and review.
  • Discount membership at the Carey library
  • Discount audit fee for Carey NZQA courses
  • Eligible to be a BUNZ Marriage Celebrant
  • Discounted ‘priority learning’ options through CCLL
  • Professional supervision from the BUNZ list at an affordable cost
Scope of Baptist Registration

Registration is an endorsement that the registrant commits to the ongoing development of the character, knowledge and abilities deemed necessary to minister in the name of the BUNZ and is willing to uphold our core distinctives and values as NZ Baptists (as included in the BUNZ Constitution and Baptist Administration Manual). It is open to all who meet the criteria regardless of their ministry type or function within the recognised categories of Baptist Registration.

While registration is not compulsory, the BUNZ can only endorse leaders who are registered

BLR-PeterOlds“As Chaplains we’re engaged in diverse places where we’re required to work collaboratively alongside other disciplines . . . Teachers, Doctors, Military Personnel, Coaches . . . in the provision of Spiritual and Social care.  Out there in the marketplace there is a critical need for the unique ministry that Chaplains bring and Baptist Registration is all about ensuring that we’re at the top of our game, personally and professionally, so we can do that safely and effectively.”
– Peter Olds (Chaplaincy)

Categories of Baptist Registration

Baptist Registration will have five registration categories:

1. Pastoral Leader
A pastoral leader is defined as someone who provides leadership and pastoral care to people within, or on behalf of a faith community, e.g., sole, senior, co-, care, creative, worship, children and family, youth, young adults, associate, assistant, executive.

2. Chaplain
A chaplain is defined as someone who, without compromising their own beliefs, provides pastoral care, spiritual and moral support, and facilitates the faith journey of all within their specialised, e.g., sport, school, military, tertiary, hospital, community, prison.

3. Ministry Leader
A ministry leader is defined as someone who performs a role that supports the work of a faith community or communities. e.g., finance, administration, global worker (previously called a missionary), Baptist trusts.

4. Kaiārahi Māori (Māori Leader)
A Kaiārahi Māori is defined as any Baptist leader who has whakapapa Māori and who chooses to register as Kaiārahi Māori.

5. Baptist Entity Leader
A Baptist Entity leader is defined as someone whose role supports the work of the collective of Baptist Churches, e.g., Carey staff, BUNZ leaders, regional leaders.

BLR-PatsyWay“I’m excited for the way this new registration process enables those working and volunteering in Children’s Ministry to apply for registration, regardless of whether they are in voluntary, part time or full time employment. Baptist Registration invites and encourages collaboration, accountability and continual upskilling, giving Children’s Ministry workers the ability to be recognised for the valued and integral leaders they are in the Baptist movement.”
– Patsy Way (Pastoral Leader – children)

    Entry Criteria and Requirements for Baptist Registration (BR)

    While registration is not compulsory, the BUNZ is only able to endorse those leaders who are registered. The table below shows the proposed criteria for entry to Baptist Registration.

    Proposed Criteria for Entry to BR
    1. Must be ministering within, or on behalf of a Baptist faith community or entity*
    2. Current member of a Baptist church
    3. Be endorsed by their Baptist faith community or entity or an approved entity**
    4. Have a Job Description or recognised equivalent, and work a minimum of 40 hours per month – either paid or voluntary
    5. Have up-to-date Police vetting

    *A Baptist entity is an organisation that supports the work of the collective of Baptist churches e.g. BUNZ, Carey Baptist College, NZBMS, Orbit.
    **An approved entity is an organisation that meets the BUNZ requirements for BR registration e.g. the NZ Defence Force, a public hospital, a correctional facility, a Christian trust.

    The table below shows the proposed Baptist Registration requirements. The Registration Development Agreement is further explained below.

    Proposed BR Requirements

    1. Have a Registration Development Agreement (RDA) with these four components:

    • Personal growth and learning
    • Baptist whānau engagement
    • Professional support
    • Annual review

    The RDA must be agreed in consultation with the engaging church/organisation’s leadership
    (eg: elders, head chaplain…)

    2. Registrants are accountable to the engaging faith community/organisation’s leadership and the BUNZ in terms of achieving the RDA


    BLR-KarenWarner“The review panel are excited that this strengthened set of criteria gives churches and community groups confidence in the Baptist leaders that work or volunteer in their spaces.”
    – Karen Warner (BUNZ Leadership Co-ordinator)

      The Registration Development Agreement (RDA)

      The RDA will be completed in consultation with, or endorsed by, whoever in the faith community, Baptist entity or related organisation has authority over the registrant. The content of the RDA is outlined below. The appendix, at the end of the document, shows how the four components are nuanced for each category of registrant.

      A) Personal Growth and Learning

      There will be a two-tier learning requirement dependent on hours worked:

      • Those working 60 hours or more per month

      A minimum of 24 hours (3 days) of approved learning per year, 8 hours of which are to be selected from the CCLL ‘priority learning’ options. Learning is approved at the discretion of the CCLL Director.

      • Those working 40 – 59 hours per month

      A minimum of 8 hours (1 day) of approved learning per year, 4 hours of which are to be selected from the CCLL ‘priority learning’ options. Learning is approved at the discretion of the CCLL Director.

      Ministry roles can be amongst the most critical and demanding leadership roles on the planet. Serving a community of faith well requires considerable theological, sociological, organisational, technical and relational expertise. We acknowledge more ‘learning’ than the minimum requirements of Baptist Registration are desirable to support and sustain robust leadership and excellence in ministry.

      ‘Approved learning’ means learning that will sustain, support and develop the practitioner’s role in ministry. This learning will be approved at the discretion of the CCLL Director.

      ‘Priority learning’ options within the CCLL suite of learning options will be formed each year through the Leadership Coordination office via an ongoing consultation process. E.g, boundaries training, conflict resolution, engaging with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, managing your church’s resources.

      As a guide, we note that full-time pastors typically get 11 days of study leave each year, as per the BUNZ guidelines, so we acknowledge that the ‘priority learning’ component of Baptist Registration is not taking much of their scheduled learning, and therefore leaving plenty of other days for their own church-directed or self-directed learning.

      The ‘priority learning’ list of learning options will be so good, inspiring, useful, needed, that people will probably be seeking to do more from the list than they are required to do. Occasional circumstances may exempt someone from the ‘priority learning’ options, at the discretion of the CCLL Director.

      Additional to the required learning, we encourage registrants who work 60 hours or more to receive regular Spiritual Direction with a qualified Spiritual Director or via a practice of intentional retreat(s). Note: Spiritual direction is optional, and in addition to the professional support requirement below.

       B) Baptist Whānau Engagement

      This engagement fits with our value of associating together as a collective of faith communities seeking to bring gospel renewal to people and places.

      There are two engagement requirements for those working 60 hours or more per month and one for those working less than 60 hours per month. You can review the engagement options for each category of leader here.

      For those registrants for whom geographical and/or financial constraints mean that attendance at the National Hui or a regional hui is not practicable every year, an alternative can be negotiated with their Regional Leader and endorsing leadership.

      C) Professional Support

      For those working 60 or more hours per month at least two-monthly professional supervision by a BUNZ approved supervisor (i.e. minimum six times per year). For those working 40 – 59 hours per month regular professional supervision provided by a BUNZ approved supervisor as agreed upon in consultation with the engaging faith community or organisation’s leadership. For Māori leaders, supervision will be guided and determined in consultation with Manatu Iriiri Māori.

      External supervision provides a forum wherein practitioners (registrants) can critically engage with their work practice, reflect on their actions, review their decisions, and learn. It is an interactive dialogue between a supervisor and a practitioner. The practitioner is empowered to develop their vocational strengths and competencies and be supported in their personal and professional growth and development. The practitioner is also held accountable to professional standards (e.g., ethics and safety) and defined competencies.[1]

      A phase-in period of 3 years will be given to identify and train enough supervisors in order to provide affordable professional supervision for all registered Baptist leaders.

      BUNZ National Centre/Carey/Manatu Iriiri Māori to develop and source a training programme for potential supervisors over the next 3 years. This will enable an inhouse financial model established to make supervision affordable: e.g. train 20 ex-pastors early in their retirement who will then offer supervision at an affordable rate.

      The BUNZ recommended rate and usage of the Ministry Enhancement Allowance (MEA) will need to be reviewed to enable registrants to fulfil this enhanced supervision criteria.

      [1] Based on a modified version of the definition of supervision in: Best Practice in Professional Supervision: A Guide for the Helping Professions by Allyson Davys and Liz Beddoe, 2010.

      BLR GlennMelville“Without question, I believe that a commitment to supervision is essential in achieving longevity and thrive in ministry. This is because supervision plays a critical role in developing one’s leadership, vocational strengths, and competencies. Engaging with a qualified supervisor also provides a safe place to reflect on ministry situations, process difficult issues, and discuss possible solutions. Finally, those who engage with supervision experience increased well-being through the encouragement, support and accountability that supervision provides.”

      – Glenn Melville (CCLL Director)

      D) Annual Review

      In September/October each year a review of the RDA is undertaken within the faith community or organisation with a view to both considering progress against the current RDA and identifying priorities and goals (e.g., learning options choices, whānau engagement, etc) for the upcoming registration period. This would ideally be included as part of an annual review of a registrant’s role with the engaging faith community or organisation.

      As a part of this annual review all registrants are also encouraged to undertake an intentional, self-directed, process of ongoing re-evaluation of their call to their role. This is particularly important for those working with a Terms of Call.

      Guidance for these reviews will be provided through the office of the Leadership Coordination Director.

      BLR-RachelMurray“A review of the registration development agreement provides opportunity to confirm that the original content is still appropriate for context. It will act as something of a ‘progress report’ on how you are meeting the goals that were initially agreed – have these been realistic or have other things got in the way? Maybe more suited learning can be identified, or removed/adjusted according to the realities of the role. It’s great to have a list of ‘upskilling’ you’d love to do but this needs to work within capacity and be appropriate to task – far better to get to the end of the year knowing you have achieved rather than be frustrated because of unmet expectations. Doing the review with someone will also provide not only accountability but also support to meet targets.”
      – Rachel Murray (Regional Leader)

      Registration Development Agreement category nuances

      As an acknowledgement of the differences between the five registration categories of Pastoral Leader, Chaplain, Ministry Leader, Baptist Entity Leader, and Kaiārahi Māori, as well as full-time or part-time roles, the tables at the end of this document outline some expected nuances in Registration Development Agreements.

        Titles for Registrants

        Registrants are able to refer to themselves as “a registered Baptist __ (insert category)”, however the BUNZ does not formally give anyone a title.

        Provisional Registrants

        Provisional Baptist Registration is the first two years of BR. Provisional registrants who have not been trained through Carey’s Pastoral Ministry Training Programme will be required to attend one Baptist Leaders’ Orientation Day and possibly a course covering healthy ministry basics such as self-care, boundaries, safety, and confidentiality (this will qualify as one of the whanāu events). They will also need an understanding of the BUNZ affirmation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi along with our stance on gender equity.

        It is recommended that provisional registrants who are new in their role, or new to the BUNZ, have an approved mentor for the first two years of the provisional registration period (this is in addition to the supervision component of the RDA) e.g. A pastor from another church with ministry experience. The purpose is to ensure the registrant is receiving the support and advice they need. The mentor would be from outside the local faith community or entity and, ideally, someone from within the same registration category.

        Volunteer Registrants

        Registrants working with volunteer job descriptions or recognised equivalents who do not receive an MEA will have the following extra benefits:

        • All CCLL courses chosen for the compulsory learning portion of the RDA – 8 hours for those working 60 hours or more – 4 hours for those working 40-59 hours – will be free of charge supervision costs will be minimised in consultation with the CCLL Director.


        Official List

        As per the BUNZ constitutional requirement a record will be kept of each category of registered leader and the leaders in those categories.


        Information and Training for Elders and Governance Boards

        This strengthened registration system has at the core a desire to see registration as a partnership between the registrant and the engaging local church or organisation. This will require elders and governance boards to have a sound understanding of the process and requirements. To ensure this can be achieved training and information will be provided online for elders and governance boards.

        Further information

        Psalm 1 likens our lives and ministry (fruitfulness) to a tree that sinks ever deepening roots down into fertile ground nourished by a nearby stream. Jesus reminds us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. How are we expanding our mind? Deepening our soul? Softening our heart for the long haul of ministry that ensures we give our best to our calling for the long term in ways that develop character and bring fruitfulness. This is what registration is all about and why it is so important.

        – Alan Jamieson (General Director NZBMS)