THE BAPTIST UNION OF SOUTHERN AFRICA ROLES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE STANDING COMMITTEES
BAPTIST THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE, RANDBURG
The BTC Board is the legally recognised responsible body of people for the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa. They are registered as Board members and work at applying the outcome expectations of the Baptist Union of Southern Africa. The Board also ensures that the registration with the Department of Education is monitored correctly. The Board manages matters in terms of law, constitution, training of Pastors/Missionaries and Youth Workers. It also acts as the Senate of the College, approving Masters’ dissertations and matters of discipline.
The Senior Staff operate with the Principal in terms of the daily running of the College and regular upgrading of the vision programme. Two Baptist subjects and three exposure subjects ensure that students are trained in the practical ministry of the Baptist Union (practical exposure). BTC is one of two official Baptist Union Training Colleges.
The Baptists Today Committee is a working Committee comprising members who operate to keep the administration of the production of the magazine functioning. There are also people on the Committee who function in an advisory capacity to safeguard the integrity of the magazine with respect to Baptist ethos and the soundness of the theological content contained therein. The advisors do not necessarily attend Committee meetings and are not normally referred to as Committee members, but are available for the Editor to consult as and when needed.
BAPTIST UNION FOUNDATION
The Baptist Union Foundation is the support-raising arm of the Baptist Union. It consists of the Director, Graham Wood, and the Foundation Committee which meets together from time to time.
The aim of the Foundation is to place The Baptist Union on a firm financial footing to not only maintain but increase its ministry and effectiveness. Its role is to encourage each member church and fellowship to fulfil their responsibility to the Baptist Union by supporting it financially through its membership fees and a portion or a tithe of its income to support the BU in its work amongst its member churches. There are also individuals who have become ‘Foundation Partners’ in their personal capacity. This part of the programme is handled by Naomi Scheepers. They pledge R1 200 per annum towards the BU. In return, they receive a complimentary copy of the ‘Baptists Today’ magazine and other benefits.
We are grateful to all those churches and individuals who faithfully support the Baptist Union.
BAPTIST YOUTH OF SOUTHERN AFRICA
BYSA exists to facilitate effective children and youth ministries in every local church through outreach, training and commissioning to ensure a vibrant future for our denomination by:
- Empowering the local church for Children, Youth and Young Adult ministries
- Ensuring every local church has a trained Youth Worker
- Establishing strategic partners who vigorously champion Youth Ministry
- Employing proven ministry interventions in reaching this generation
The aim of the BWD is too win people to the Lord Jesus Christ and to foster the spirit of fellowship, intercession and service among women.
- To fulfil the requirements of the Mission and Vision Statements as well as the Core Values of the department.
- To serve the Denomination in its total work for the Kingdom of God in every way it can, particularly in its ministry among women.
- To co-ordinate Women’s Ministry in churches and Associations in order to facilitate growth and effectiveness.
- To raise and disburse funds in order to promote its ministry.
CAPE TOWN BAPTIST SEMINARY
The Cape Town Baptist Seminary Board of Directors is a group of people approved by the Baptist Union Assembly via the Executive to effectively serve as the Board of Governors for the institutional management, administrative, financial and legal oversight of the Seminary’s affairs. The Board is legally established and registered with the CPIC in terms of the New Companies Act of 2008 to oversee all the requirements of the Seminary’s responsibilities as a registered Non-Profit Company.
In SAPS, Employee Health and Wellness (EHW) is the section constituted by three sub-sections: Psychological, Social Work and Spiritual Services (Chaplaincy). The vision of Chaplaincy is to achieve spiritual empowerment of SAPS employees through ministering the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and to provide counselling in times of stress and bereavement. SAPS rely on called pastors to perform this duty.
Unlike our co-workers (Psychologists and Social Workers) who have their Professional Boards to which they are all accountable and responsible to keep to their Professional Code of Conduct, chaplains do not have such. But they do have their Churches and Denominations to serve this purpose. Therefore, SAPS rely on BU to be able to hold their pastors deployed in the department accountable to keep to their Code of Conduct and responsibilities as ministers of the Gospel. Thus, chaplains are required by SAPS to submit Letters of Good Standing from their churches (BU) regularly. They are also required by BU to present ministry reports regularly. This calls for better and enhanced collaboration between BU and Chaplains serving the SAPS, SANDF, Security Services and Emergency Services to ensure accountability so that ministry remains ministry and is not reduced to just another JOB.
CHRISTIAN CITIZENSHIP NETWORK
It is right and proper that the church, while pursuing its task of making disciples of all nations, should also bear witness to rulers and authorities of what is the good and perfect will of God in matters touching the rules and regulations governing societies and nations. The church has no right to usurp the political power of the state, just as the state has no right to hinder or interfere in the matters of the church. But as both church and state are instituted by God and serve as servants of God in their respective spheres, it is good for these servants of God to co-operate with each other in seeking the welfare of all the citizens and inhabitants of a country. This is in accordance with the rule that sums up the whole law of God: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
The Christian Citizenship Committee of the BU exists to facilitate and promote the above ideals, to bear witness to the will of God in matters of society, to communicate with government concerning legislation that affects the welfare of our fellow citizens, and to seek to do good to our fellow citizens and neighbours in all matters pertaining to the common good of our land and all its people.
CHURCH HEALTH NETWORK
The Church Health Network exists to promote the concepts of church renewal, church health and biblical unity within our BU local churches. They endeavour to do this through:
- ‘Church Renewal’ weekends and seminars
- ‘Experiencing God’ weekends
- ‘Your Church Experiencing God Together’ weekends
- ‘On Mission with God’ seminars
- Facilitating ‘Christian Unity’ seminars in conjunction with Dr Blake Coffee and his teams from Unity Ministries USA. Dr Blake Coffee is the author of ‘5 Principles of Unity’. Together with The BU Exco, the team identifies churches that would benefit from these seminars.
- The network also seeks to train lay folk from our churches to lead and assist in the promotion of church renewal.
DEEDS OF LOVE (DOLM)
With regard to internal functions within the Baptist Union structures, DOLM works in collaboration with the Baptist Missions Department in promoting the emergence of an integrated and holistic approach to missions, thus challenging every local church with the vision of becoming a centre of care and compassion in their neighbourhood. As such, the function of DOLM is that of a catalyst and a facilitator of development and relief. We support, promote and resource the initiative of the local church. Externally, DOLM networks and partners with other similar organisations in order to alleviate poverty and provide relief where necessary.
The Evangelism Network consists of key gifted evangelists and folk with a real gift and passion for evangelism within each of the Associations. The Network is responsible:
- to promote and keep the flame of evangelism alive within their Associations;
- to advise the Baptist Missions Department with regard to evangelism;
- to participate in the national evangelism conferences arranged from time to time; and
- to ensure that a list of suitable evangelists is available to our local churches.
- To set financial policy for The Baptist Union.
- To manage and oversee the financial records of The Baptist Union and its various departments.
- To regularly report the financial position of The Baptist Union.
- To set budgets for approval by the annual Assembly. To monitor the financial results of The Baptist Union against the approved budget.
- To ensure that funds are used in accordance with The Baptist Union Constitution.
- To present the annual audited financial statements to the annual Assembly.
- To ensure that The Baptist Union is able to function effectively within its financial means.
MINISTERIAL SETTLEMENTS COMMITTEE
The Ministerial Settlements Committee is appointed annually by the September Baptist Union Executive. It comprises of the General Secretary (Convenor), President, College Principals, Ministry Board Co-ordinator and Associational Co-ordinators/Representatives.
The Ministerial Settlements Committee seeks to assist churches with vacant pastorates with suitable recommendations/names for a pastor.
It also actions requests from pastors requesting a call to a new church.
With the Lord’s help, the success rate, i.e. matching a church with an acceptable pastor, has been extremely high. The Committee seeks to maintain confidentiality in all matters discussed and recommendations made.
The Ministry Board seeks to administer the Ministry Lists of The Baptist Union and provide support and welfare services to pastors.
Working in conjunction with four BU-recognised Colleges, the Board receives and evaluates applications for Ministerial Recognition. Interviews are arranged twice a year (Cape Town and Johannesburg) where applicants are recommended for Full Accreditation, Probationer, Student Pastor and Candidate Status.
Probationer and Student Pastors are enlisted in a two-year in-service training programme under the supervision of a Fully Accredited Advisor. The Ministry Board subsequently receives and evaluates confidential reports from the Ministerial Advisors and Church Leaders for recommendation to the National Executive and BU Assembly for acceptance to the Fully Accredited List.
The Ministry Board Co-ordinator liaises with the National Department of Home Affairs for the application, registration and updating of Marriage Officer Designations; maintains accurate personal records of ± 900 Pastors and assists in the compilation and editing of the BU and Assembly Handbooks; serves on the Ministerial Settlements Committee and as a Trustee of The Baptist Union Pension Fund and offers guidance, compassion and assistance to members and their beneficiaries.
The Missions Board consists of the Missions Developer, Associate Missions Developer (if any), the General Secretary and two members appointed by the Executive, two members appointed by the Assembly and one member appointed by the Missions Developer (to represent the missionaries). The function of the Board is to provide direction for The Baptist Union in matters related to missions in accordance with the Objectives and Functions of the Baptist Missions Department. The Board meets twice a year. The Baptist Missions Department serves primarily to facilitate the work of mission through the local church and also to act as a sending agency.
PASTORAL CARE NETWORK
The Pastoral Care Committee:
Provides support, counselling and direction for Pastors who are facing challenges in their personal lives or ministry.
Appoints, motivates and gives oversight to Regional Pastoral Care Committees in the seven Associations.
Plans a National biennial Pastors and Wives Retreat and encourages Regional Associations to conduct Pastors and Wives’ Seminars/Retreats.
Provides a visitation and care ministry to retired pastors and pastoral widows and, in some cases, renders financial assistance through BU funds and other sources.
PRISON MINISTRY NETWORK
The present Network exists to help co-ordinate prison ministry done at local church level in our BU Associations and to inform our constituency thereof.
The Terms of Reference have been modified with the Claytons being seconded by Hope Prison Ministry for the development of the BU prison ministry.
The Property Committee of The Baptist Union is responsible for the oversight of all properties owned by The Baptist Union. This includes the property at Baptist House, the Maranatha Conference Centre and properties registered in the name of the Union in various parts of the country. The Committee also ensures that all such properties are adequately insured.
The Committee exists:
- To monitor and oversee the publications of The Baptist Union
- To advise with regard to new publications
- To be the liaison with Christian Booksellers and Stationers, our official publishers
The mandate of the Resolutions Committee is to examine resolutions sent by churches with a view to presenting to the Assembly proposals which are clear and constitutionally valid. The Resolutions Committee may enter into discussion with such churches.
It is competent to present an amended version to the Assembly but may not change the intended thrust of the resolution. Where there are multiple proposals on the same topic, the Resolutions Committee is competent to combine them into a single proposal.
On the Assembly floor, resolutions that require change or amendment shall be referred to the Resolutions Committee, which shall bring the amended proposal to the Assembly for approval. The Resolutions Committee shall also give advice and, if necessary, a ruling on constitutional matters which arise during the Assembly.
SA BAPTIST JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY
The Editors should take cognizance of the Journal’s purpose, namely, to provide a channel and forum for theological debate, development and application of scholarship within our South African Baptist constituency and for Evangelicals internationally.
The responsibility of the Executive Committee (i.e. the Editor, Assistant Editor and CTBS faculty on the Editorial Board) is to select a theme for the following year and send out a call for abstracts inviting potential contributors to submit an article for possible publication.
The Executive Committee reviews each abstract received and invites accepted contributors to send their final article. As part of the greater responsibility, members of the Editorial Board are to help with the blind review of articles, maintenance of academic standards, evangelical focus and quality of the Journal.
It is the responsibility of the Editor to submit each article received to a blind review process of two theologian/academics. The services of academics from Seminaries or Universities are requested and upon their acceptance, an article is allocated to them to review. Based on their recommendation the article is accepted, accepted with recommendations or rejected. The Editor can call for another review, if he/she feels the reviewer/s have been biased in their review.
It is the responsibility of the Editor to make sure that the Journal is published annually in September keeping with the best international academic practices.
The BU Scripture Exam is an excellent tool to use in our Sunday schools and churches to encourage the study of God’s Word. The exams set are written by 9-100 year olds, focusing each year on different Bible passages, memory portion and Baptist Principles (Advanced Adults paper). A BU theme is adopted and a comprehensive set of teaching notes, with ideas and suggestions, including a number of crafts and activities that can be used for each of the 3 lessons, memory portion and Baptist Principles (Advanced Adults paper) based on the notes and the Bible passages mentioned therein is prepared. This material has no copyright so churches can purchase one set and copy as needed. Exam papers are sent to the churches a couple of weeks before the given 3 days of exams and churches may choose to write the exam on any of those dates. There is a small cost per entrant and some sponsorship is available for needy churches.
SOUTH AFRICAN BAPTIST ALLIANCE
The South African Baptist Association is an alliance of South African Baptist bodies, four of these are members of the Baptist World Alliance in their own right, viz. the Baptist Convention of SA (national), Baptist Mission of SA (KZN-based), Baptist Association of SA (KZN-based) and The Baptist Union of Southern Africa.
The SABA was formed in an effort to promote unity, fellowship and co-operation between the different Baptist bodies in South Africa.
Representatives of the bodies meet at least once per year and at joint AABF/BWA initiatives.
During the 4½ years, the BCSA, BMSA, BASA and BUSA worked well together on the Local Arrangements Committee of the 2015 Baptist World Alliance Congress.
SOUTH AFRICAN BAPTIST HISTORICAL SOCIETY
The Standing Committee of The Baptist Union Historical Society acts on requests regarding insight into Baptist Union of Southern Africa history and collectively decides on direction regarding how to publicize the work of the Society. It meets at Assemblies and communicate via email during the year.
Churches are encouraged to forward historical documentation and documents relating to significant events within the life of the local church to the BU Archivist, so that these can be stored in the BU Archives. The Archives are based at the Baptist Theological College in Randburg.
The Baptist Union Trust & Special Purpose Fund exists for the purpose of holding and managing funds which have been bequeathed to The Baptist Union over a period of time. Funds are distributed according to the donor’s instructions, and many pastors and churches have been assisted in this way. Loans may be made to Churches (maximum R200 000- R250 000) for Church building purposes, to be paid back within ten years at a nominal interest rate. The application process for a loan is rigorous in order to ensure affordability. Grants are paid from the Sir Cyril Black Fund to the maximum of R13 000 each, upon successful application and approval by the local Association. Some pastors in newly- established churches are assisted by way of the Home Missions Fund, a monthly contribution paid on a three-year sliding-scale. Capital is invested mostly in fairly secure Unit Trusts in order to obtain a good growth, while some of the capital remains in cash in order to be more easily accessible.