About CBM

The College of Baptist Ministers is a not a College FOR Baptist ministers, but a College OF Baptist ministers. We are not a “training institution”. The Oxford Dictionaries Online gives the second meaning of college as ‘an organised group of professional people with particular aims, duties and privileges’. It is in this collegiate sense that we are a College composed of Baptist ministers – we are all ‘colleagues’ supporting one another.

The College of Baptist Ministers is made up of its members – we are there for one another.  The College will always be run by its members for its members, by ministers for ministers. Our members will formulate policies, contribute to the web-site and be there to offer wisdom and advice, support and whatever else other members need. This is a College of peers.

CBM BOARD

CBM is constituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee led by a Board of Directors. Currently our Board Members are

Rev Dr Paul Beasley-Murray, retired Senior Minister of Central Baptist Church, Chelmsford. (Chair)

Rev Dr Paul Goodliff, Minister of Abingdon Baptist Church

Rev Stephen Asibuo, Minister of Trinity Baptist Church, West Norwood

Rev Mike Thornton, Minister of Epsom Baptist Church

Rev Peter Thomas, Minister of North Springfield Baptist Church, Essex (Treasurer)

 

Read more details about CBM below in our VISION STATEMENT and list of FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

THE VISION STATEMENT OF THE COLLEGE OF BAPTIST MINISTERS

An ambitious organisation

Most Baptist ministers will want to grow and develop in their understanding and practice of ministry.  They will want to maintain the highest standards and will seek to give of their very best as they exercise the ministry to which God has called them.   All ministers need support in times of difficulty.  The College of Baptist Ministers shares that vision and wants to provide a forum where ministers can resource one another so that together we can rise to the challenges of mission and ministry in an ever changing world.  We recognise that there are other Baptist bodies, including theological colleges and associations, which already include these ambitions in their work – but this is our exclusive focus in which we as Baptist ministers seek to support one another.

A professional body

We want to be a professional body.  Sadly amongst some the concept of ‘professionalism’ is misunderstood.   There is the assumption that to be professional is to be unspiritual.  We believe that to be a mistaken view.

The actual word ‘profession’ stems from the medieval Latin word ‘professio’, which was used of the taking of vows upon entering a religious order.  Gradually the word broadened in its usage and came to indicate ‘a vocation in which a professed knowledge of some department of learning or science is used in its application to the affairs of others or in the practice of an art founded upon it’ (Oxford English Dictionary).   In other words, professionals are people who apply their knowledge in the service of others.  Surely this is what we as Christian ministers seek to do?   We are not in the business of knowledge for knowledge’s sake – but rather we use our knowledge in the service of others.

Professionalism, rightly understood, implies offering to God our very best – both of mind and of heart.  There is nothing cold or unspiritual about professionalism.  Professionalism involves whole-hearted commitment to Christ and his church.  A lack of professionalism in ministry is more often than not a mark of laziness rather than of unspirituality.  “I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God that cost me nothing”, said David (2 Samuel 24.24) – such a spirit is the spirit is the spirit of the true professional.  It is in this sense that we want to be a professional body.   We want to raise standards in ministry ‘to the greater glory of God’.   That is the vision that drives us.

A caring fellowship

 We want the best for God, and we want the best for Baptist ministers too.   At one stage we were considering strap-lines for this new body.   One possibility we suggested was ‘to help you complete the course’; another was ‘to keep you strong in your calling’.   We have the welfare of ministers in mind.  We want to be there for ministers when the going is tough; and we want to be there when ministry is flourishing, and there is much good to be celebrated.   Yes ministry can be tough, but it can also be exhilarating.   There is no calling which is higher and more fulfilling – but there is also no calling which is more stressful and more painful.

Our vision is that in those tough times we will be there.  We recognise that we are not the only Baptist organisation concerned for the well-being of our members – not least the Baptist Ministers Fellowship continues to play a significant role in pastoral care.   However, we are different from the Baptist Ministers Fellowship.  One of our set aims, for instance, is that “we will provide peer support for ministers who find themselves in dispute with their church”.   On those sad occasions when relationships have broken down, we want to be there for our members.

Regional ministers carry a prime responsibility for the care of ministers, but the reality is that there are limits to what regional ministers can offer ministers.   For when a regional minister is called into a troubled situation, the regional minister has to be there for both the church and the minister – and in so doing has the difficult task of holding in balance conflicting responsibilities.   The church may feel the regional minister is on the side of the minister, while the minister may believe the regional minister is on the side of the church.   We believe that in times of trouble ministers can benefit from those whose sole purpose is to accompany them through difficult times.   At those times we want to be amongst those to whom our members can turn.

Indeed, we will be there for our members, whatever the circumstances.   Often situations are not that clear cut; sadly ministers can say unhelpful things not because they want to be unhelpful, but because they are so stressed out.   Hopefully the presence of a supportive friend will make matters easier.  Whatever, we will be there to care. To that end, we have set up a confidential help line, which members are able to access at any time of day or night.

A resource centre offering wisdom and expertise

We want to be there to provide help to ministers seeking advice, spiritual direction and work consultancy.    The fact is that ministry can be a lonely business.   The majority of our ministers do not have the privilege of working in team ministry – and even those who do can benefit from the wisdom of others beyond the local church.

Increasingly ministers are realising the benefits of regular spiritual direction and work supervision.  Hopefully the College will be able to point its members to people who are qualified to offer such direction and supervision.

In many churches annual appraisals have become the norm. To avoid implications of the workplace, we prefer the term, “Review of Ministry.” Experience shows that an outside ministerial facilitator working with a couple of deacons can make the process of appraisal much more worthwhile.   Hopefully the College will be able to point ministers to trained facilitators willing to offer their services.  CBM offers Guidelines for a Regular Review of Ministry here

Most ministers now avail themselves of a sabbatical every seven years or so; for in doing so they have discovered them to be key opportunities for renewal and re-envisioning.  However, many find the planning of the sabbatical difficult:  the choice of a study topic, recommendations of where to go and what to read.  Hopefully the College will be able to offer guidance to ensure that ministers make the most of their time.

Then there are the times when all of a sudden an issue raises its head, and a minister senses the need for advice.   Hopefully the College will be able to provide consultants with wisdom and experience.

Finally, a key resource of the College is this website which is building up to providing a vital resource and support for ministers.

We recognise that there are many other bodies which already offer all kinds of helpful resources to ministers, but a distinctive that we will have in common with association is that we will be operating within a Baptist context, offering resources, created by our members, meeting the specific needs of Baptist ministers.

 A programme for personal Continuing Ministerial Development

Details of CBM’s nine-stranded approach to Continuing Ministerial Develipment can be found here

The fact is that in a fast-changing world we cannot simply fall back upon what we learnt in college.  Continual updating of personal and professional skills is a ‘must’ if ministers are not to be ‘happy amateurs’.   We wish to stress that first and foremost this programme of continuing ministerial development is for the benefit of the members.  We do not believe that the maintenance of the online portfolio will prove burdensome – rather we trust that it will be viewed as a positive stimulus to growth and development.   We hope that churches will welcome this new initiative.   We could imagine that the maintenance of an on-line portfolio will cause ministers to be more attractive to churches seeking a new minister.  Furthermore, the presence of such a portfolio could prove helpful to members on those rare occasions when there is a dispute – for the portfolio would be a clear sign of a minister’s professional approach to ministry.

A code of ministerial ethics

Details of CBM’s Code of Ethics for Ministers are available here

 

 

 

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT CBM

 

Who is eligible to join CBM?

We welcome all ministers of Baptist churches in membership with the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Baptist Union of Scotland,, and the Baptist Union of Wales;  we also welcome Baptist ministers serving with the Baptist Missionary Society.

More details of Membership are available here

 

What are some of the extra benefits of belonging to CBM?

We have collaborated with Ministry Today UK, whereby every CBM member will automatically receive the journal Ministry Today, the only ecumenical journal devoted to the practice of ministry.

 

How many Baptist ministers will eventually join CBM?

We would like every minister to belong!   However, at this early stage that is an unrealistic goal.  Perhaps the day will come when every NAM will see joining CBM simply as the next step, but we believe that many Baptist ministers will see the value of CBM membership.

What is the relationship of the CBM to the Baptist Union of Great Britain?

CBM by its very nature is a body independent of the Baptist Union of Great Britain.   There is, however, a good relationship and clear channels of communication between the Baptist Union’s ministries team and ourselves.  At an early stage the regional team leaders and the Baptist theological colleges were informed of what we were seeking to achieve.   We have continued to keep in touch with the regional team leaders and the colleges as CBM has developed.

What is the relationship of CBM to the regional Baptist associations?

One of the key strands in CBM’s continuing ministerial development programme is ‘collegiality’.    We will expect our member to meet together with other ministers in networks and fellowships, with a view to strengthening, encouraging and supporting one another.  In this respect we recognise the variety of formal and informal structures which exist within regional associations to support ministers.  We are not in the business of creating an alternative rival ‘network’, but rather encouraging and developing the relationships between ministers that Associations and the Baptist Ministers Fellowship have already promoted.  Our aim is to encourage ministers to fully utilize what already exists.

One way in which CBM may complement regional associations, is, where asked, to provide experienced ministers to support members in times of difficulty by becoming ‘companions’ to walk alongside them.  The companion will act as a supportive non-judgmental friend to help the member find appropriate ways forward, providing support, advice, counsel, wisdom and prayer.   The companion will not seek to take the place of a regional minister, nor will the companion act as a formal mediator.   The companion may attend meetings where a minister is entitled to be accompanied by a non-legal supporter, if the minister should so request.

We are in the process of developing guidelines for these ‘companions’.  We would expect them to be appointed through a process of rigorous selection, to undergo suitable training, and to receive on-going supervision by CBM.

What is the relationship of CBM to regional ministers?

In difficult situations and times of conflict regional ministers – as also the Baptist Union’s Ministries Team – should always be consulted sooner rather than later, and we would expect regional ministers to provide the main resources for pastoral care of ministers in such circumstances.   However, we hope that ministers will feel able to call on CBM in situations which they do not feel to be serious enough to consult their regional minister, and hopefully as a result difficulties may be prevented from escalating.   We recognize that this already happens widely, with college tutors, old friends from college days, a minister’s mentor from their days as a NAM, or another member of Fresh Streams, often being asked to be listening ear, and not just in times of difficulty.   Indeed, we recognize that many regional ministers are themselves setting up networks for support and peer mentoring.  CBM will take its place as another forum for conversation and reflection.

We do not see ourselves as replacing or competing with the work of regional ministers.   We hope that regional ministers will find CBM a supportive asset.

Is CBM essentially a trade union of Baptist ministers?

Although there may appear to be similarities to Unite, the trade union with its clergy chapter (to which some Baptist ministers belong), we are very different.  We are a professional association, not a union.  We see ourselves offering non-adversarial peer support for ministers in difficulties.     Although independent of the Baptist Union, we wish to be supportive of the Baptist Union and its leadership.   In no way will we undermine or threaten the work of regional ministers.  Indeed, where there are difficulties between ministers and their churches, we would expect the regional minister to be their first port of call.

We will always seek to encourage members toward reconciliation and the avoidance of legal proceedings.   However, on the rare occasions that members may find themselves engaged in such procedures, we will provide personal support to the minister to ensure that they do not go through such procedures isolated and alone.

We recognize that there are also rare occasions when ministers find themselves engaged in proceedings that may place them in disciplinary situations with their churches and with the Baptist Union.  At such times it may be that the church and the Baptist Union must necessarily stand apart from the minister; CBM believes that regardless of the nature of such proceedings, ministers concerned should not be left alone and unsupported, and will seek to work with regional ministers in providing appropriate support.    Although at such times it may appear that we are on an ‘opposite’ sides from the Baptist Union or a regional ministers, CBM will eschew any adversarial spirit – we want to be involved in a constructive and not a destructive process.

Why choose the name ‘College’?

The name ‘college’ was actually chosen for us!   At one stage we explored using such terms as an ‘institute’, an ‘association’, or even a ‘society’ – but Companies House has ruled out their use by us.  Instead the advice we received from Companies House and the Charities Commission was that we are a ‘college’ like the College of Health Care Chaplains.

 

 

 

 How do I join the College?

This is explained on the page about Membership of CBM here

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