Introduction to the Baptist Registration Review

BLR-MikeCrudgeAt the time this current review was commissioned I had overseen the registration process for three years in my role with our Centre for Lifelong Learning. While I have always been a supporter of the registration process and ongoing learning and development, and have been registered myself through the last 15 years, I had some concerns about the overall value of the system. Some things seemed more like tick-boxes for the machine, rather than an ongoing leadership development resource that ensured our pastoral leaders and chaplains were robust leaders, supported and affirmed by their movement of faith communities, and recognised and cared for within their local ministry contexts. Over my three years overseeing the process I had a lot of feedback given to me by pastors, chaplains and churches – this was collated into a 17-page document for the review group to consider.

When I heard a young pastor at the 2019 LEAD Conference in Wellington publicly say “the bar is too low in our registration system”, I realised a lot has changed since the last registration review; for a start Millennials are now in positions of leadership and they see the world very differently to the Boomers who introduced registration in the 90’s. The world too sees things differently, with one example being the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care – the society in which we serve has high expectations of faith leaders.

I was glad to be part of this review, led by Karen Warner, one of the first things she tackled in the new role of Leadership Development Coordinator, and what a great thing to be initiating in this space – something that has an impact on all 40,000 Baptists in New Zealand. Can I draw your attention to the wide diversity within the review group: 12 people, of whom most leaders should be able to identify with someone. The recommendations you can read on this website are the result of this diverse group wrestling with the issue over many months.

These recommendations were presented to Assembly Council on 30/9/2021. Council gave approval for the proposal to proceed to the consultation stage. In May the review panel responded to the feedback by making a significant number of adjustments to the recommendations published on this website. In early July the final recommendations will go to Assembly Council for approval. It is hoped that some of the recommendations may be implemented in time for the Nov ’22 registration process, with others phased in over 2-3 years.

Mike Crudge, Communications Director, Baptist National Office