The PBA Missiological Statement
God’s Mission Moves through Each Generation in Every Age
God has led the Philadelphia Baptist Association to serve successfully the cause of Christ for 311 years. We are the recipients of an outstanding heritage, a legacy of exemplary Christian witness. While we serve the present age, we must be mindful of ushering in the future by engaging the next generations of Baptists. Our future calls forward the transitioning of ownership in our historic Baptist Principle of Association from the Baby Boomer Generation (in the main) to the next generations within our congregations. In order to accomplish this mandate, we will need to:
A. Find ways to ensure our future ministry through meaningful and contextually relevant missional engagement with local churches, multicultural ownership, and a passion for American Baptist witness in Metropolitan Philadelphia (Delaware & State College).
B. Investigate our assumptions in mission promotion and in congregational mission funding patterns, which were largely shaped by the 1940-1970 “successful suburban period” in both receipts and expenditures (mission emphasis). We need to fundamentally change these patterns. We must appreciate the passion for mission and the missional engagements of an increasingly diverse constituent membership in order to release our congregations for mission that engages next generations.
C. Engage our pastors and other clergy leaders in processes that build intergenerational relationships. We need our current pastors to share their commitment to our common mission with the new pastors in our congregations. Together they can identify the work needed to engage church leaders in connecting our Baptist legacy with passionate contemporary Baptist witness (e.g., holistic mission education, contextual analysis, spiritual disciplines, evangelism, theological education, clergy placement, etc.).
D. Counter the natural tendency of autonomous congregations to focus inwardly; this entails continuously encouraging PBA congregations to maintain relationships in the wider Baptist community. We should find ways to emphasize building relationships and a corporate sense of being the body of Christ.
E. Counter our historic national patterns of separating individual people and congregations by racial, ethnic, cultural, class, gender, and geographic boundaries. We must encourage appreciation of our diversity as a particular passion of our Creator God. In an age of rapid and continuous demographic shifts, we must explore ways to foster deeper multicultural relationships within the Association and within our congregations.
F. Be respectful of Christ’s mission as expressed in our autonomous Baptist congregations. The Baptist distinctives of “Soul Freedom” and the “Priesthood of All Believers” cause us to hold as sacred our diverse theological perspectives and various missional engagements. They should be perceived as strength of our Association and not a stumbling block to unity among us. Biblically based diversity management and cultural competency must become hallmarks of our community.
G. Faith development is enhanced through the sharing of theological perspectives and by building relationships with other believers, beyond the comfort zone of family and one’s local church. We must find ways to create learning communities and educational forums that bring people together for the sharing of ideas and doing the work of missions.
H. Find ways for PBA Board Members to function as ambassadors for our corporate witness in the life of the congregations in which they hold membership.
I. Regularly encourage PBA congregations to act as change agents for the healing of their neighborhoods, city, nation, and the world, as Christ’s disciples.