'It's been stimulating, faith stretching and enriching'
Christina Carter has served the Baptist Union as a Trustee over the last six years, and has offered some reflections as she completes her term of service
So what’s the role of the trustee board in Baptist family life?
There are 12 trustees who oversee the Baptist Union charity. Their role is to:
Oversee the legal, financial, and strategic life of the Union
Look out for the public benefit of the charity and guard BUGB’s institutional reputation
Oversee the implementation of the strategic direction of Baptists Together, determined by Baptist Union Council.
Members of the board can serve up to three terms of three years each
How did you become involved?
Being married to a Baptist minister and having been involved in supporting people also navigating this life path (see links at the end of this article), I valued the opportunity to speak about my passion in a new arena. So in 2016 I responded to an ad on Facebook inviting people to take up key roles in Baptist life. This was brought to the Key Roles Nomination Team. I was invited to submit a brief profile, met with a couple of people to explore my suitability, and then my name was taken to Council after which I was invited to join the Trustee Board.
My work life had always been in an office, in a supportive role. I had sat on a few governance boards locally and been challenged to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
What were your first impressions?
Initially the complexity of our Baptist structures was somewhat overwhelming, and it took me a while to get my head around it. However I found some very patient people who walked me through and settled me in. The pre papers gave me all the insight and guidance I needed to understand and speak into specific situations.
How did you grow into the role?
Over time it became easier and after serving an initial term of three years, I was invited to serve for another, and this is when I found more of a voice. Having gained a better understanding, I was able to speak out and speak up more. I have also been able to walk alongside new Trustees.
What is involved?
Being part of the trustee board places a significant demand on your time, and it is important to be realistic about the time commitments. There are:
Four trustee meetings a year, usually at Didcot, for which there is a considerable amount of paperwork to read through beforehand. The leaders of each Specialist Team bring a report to every trustee meeting, as does Lynn Green, which gives an insight into what is happening day to day in operations.
Two Council meetings a year, two days each, usually in Derbyshire.
One Core Leadership Team meeting a year, for three days, usually in Hertfordshire.
What are your thoughts as you step back?
Having served as a trustee for six years I have found it to be a huge privilege. I have prayed for some significant problems, some deeply effecting and even threatening the life of our Union. However God has answered all of those prayers.
I have also been blessed to get to know and spend time with some incredible people over the years, at Council, Core Leadership Team, at Baptist Together offices in Didcot and at trustee meetings. The stories, experience and passion has stirred and moved me. To have the opportunity to sit and learn from others and debate with minds higher and loftier than my own has been incredible.
I have found the experience to be stimulating, faith stretching and enriching. The Baptist family is rich in experience, diverse in outlook, and passionate about bringing God’s Kingdom and seeking his heart.
So why do it?
I passionately believe that our Baptist family needs to hear all voices. Everyone comes with a story and a passion, and yours could enrich ours. There is work to do, discernment to be sought, and heavy lifting to be done, and if change is what you think we need, it may not happen if you aren’t involved.
There are some important and significant roles to fill, and sadly there isn’t a queue to fill them. Please consider it.
If you would like to lodge an enquiry to be considered, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
I close by giving thanks to God. This passage reminds me to never underestimate who He is and what He will do.
God is able to do far more than we could ever ask for or imagine. He does everything by his power that is working in us. Give him glory in the church and in Christ Jesus. Give him glory through all time and for ever and ever. Amen.
Christina, alongside Ruth Manson, oversees Climback, helping those whose marriages to Baptist ministers have broken down completely.
Christina was instrumental in creating the Manse Life area of the website, the series of blogs a series of reflections on what ministerial family life is like
Please see this link for a national network of support for those married to Baptist ministers, called Thrive: thrivebaptistspouses.org