BWA and Emerging Leaders

Church 20050730 Sat17ArtThe BWA shouldn’t allow these younger leaders, emerging leaders to emerge by accident. They should emerge by design. So one of the things that I am setting up is a ‘Global Emerging Leaders’ Academy’, and it will be once a year and it will be in different parts of the world . . “

David Coffey, new president of Baptist World Alliance, interviewed in Birmingham by Christian Today. Hat Tip to Emerging Blurb

Full paragraph:

“The other thing that I think that I hope I would bring a new emphasis. I have a great heart for developing the gifts of younger leaders; what I call are emerging leaders. people maybe between the ages of mid-20s to mid-30s, who have the potential to become international ambassadors. They’ve already emerged in leadership in their own countries, not just ordained people like myself, pastors, but business people, journalists like yourself, so that they can be introduced to one another, so that they can be empowered and equipped. A country trains ambassadors to represent that country abroad. The BWA shouldn’t allow these younger leaders, emerging leaders to emerge by accident. They should emerge by design. So one of the things that I am setting up is a ‘Global Emerging Leaders’ Academy’, and it will be once a year and it will be in different parts of the world and like all things it will be relational – very relational, so if you came to it, you would meet other people and be encouraged to be in touch with them in-between the annual meetings with the academy.”

Go to article at Christian Today

Hat Tip to Emerging Blurb


Andrew Jones launched his first internet space in 1997 and has been teaching on related issues for the past 20 years. He travels all the time but lives between Wellington, San Francisco and a hobbit home in Prague.


  • graham says:

    I wish I – as a Baptist minister – could read that without being cynical.
    But, as it is, my reaction to it is is similar to how I felt when I saw that the BU Head of Ministry had glowingly recommended Stuart Muray Williams’ latest book.
    This is all well and good, but you don’t just encourage these things to emerge by saying, “Hey, yeah, go for it.” All the time that one can only be seen to be a “real” Baptist minister by going thru 3 years of Bible College and then another 3 years of “Probation” it will be virtually impossible to end up with Leaders under 30.

  • Boltono says:

    Dreadful. Simply dreadful.
    Control. More control.
    Let God be God.
    Not in your street other than as a bicycle ice-cream seller for refreshment who tells of an ice-cream factory far away where he gets his stock…
    Far away the New Jerusalem hums with energy and reality and truth….”the ice-creams are within us” they cry as they get to know God…

  • Gabi says:

    I humbly disagree with the previous comments. I don’t know David Coffey at all, but reading the article he seems to have all the right intentions. If his desire is truly to connect young leaders through this ill-named Academy-thing that might be very beneficial. I think it’s good that he’s talking about things many within Baptist circles have no clue about. Maybe I can talk like this and be wishful because I’m outside the Baptist Church. But I do wish to see Baptist churches especially in Europe to get the wind of it. I cheer him on in this endeavour and hope this humble attitude remains, without spoiling the beautiful work God is already doing.

  • Graham Doel says:

    I understand Graham’s cynicism and have experienced some of it myself, particularly after attending the “Newly Accredited Ministers Conference” run by the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB). I wonder if you look at it from within the denominational perspective if it sheds a different light on what is being said. 20 years ago the BUGB was a dying organisation, it realised the need to become more missional in it’s outlook and under David’s leadership as General Secretary of the BUGB it has. It has even shown moderate signs of growth. Beware though, Mike Moynagh predicts a forthcoming slump in his book emergingchurch.intro.
    It is still a denomination though, and it has to encourage the new within the perspective of the old. The BUGB has begun to sponsor emerging projects and I seem to remember David suggesting that the future of it’s funding to missional projects needs to be reviewed in the light of the emerging (though I can’t for the life of me remember where I was when he said it). As someone who fits rather uneasily within the BUGB structure I am very glad that David is encouraging us to look for the emerging, even if it is within the constraints of denominational life.
    Perhaps we could combine our cynicism to influence denominations like the BUGB or the World Baptist Whatever. We have an opportunity to influence the future of the organisations, not just moan about them.

  • Mark says:

    I think we should be positive that David is showing the initiative with something like this. I’m part of a Baptist emerging leaders forum in the UK and have met David on several occasions and he’s a really good, genuine guy.
    We might interpret this as a control mechanism but I think that would be the wrong perception to have – these guys are trying to help and facilitate – they just do it in a different way to how we would.
    Working within a denomonation can be tough for ’emerging’ type leaders, and Graham I share your frustration about the accreditation system and leaders in their 20s. But I really want to see Baptist churches engaging with mission to emerging culture and we must try to engage with any initiative from the ‘top’ that helps this.

  • graham says:

    I should add that nothing that I wrote should be taken as any kind of negative feelings towards David Coffey.
    David’s a wonderful guy with a great passion, but there seems to be a very real sense in which the BUGB seeks to move in directions that its very existence prohibits.
    Take as an example, the whole process of accreditation. (And here you’ll have to forgive me if I get a bit personal). I began the accreditation process in 1999 and I’ll finally be a “real” Baptist Minister in 2008 (having had to move during our first settlement). So, if I was hoping to be one of the leaders in their 20s that the BU says it wants, I would have had to begin on my 20th birthday to be sure of a fighting chance. This is ridiculous!
    I could share other stories of people in similar circumstances, or tell more of my struggles to do what seems pretty normal to me but is apparently “outside of the box.” I really don’t want to come across as too negative. I am pleased by developments like this and it was good to hear of the involvement of leaders like Adam Eakins (thought always putting people in a “young adults” scenario is just weird). However, I really feel like the BU and BWA need to take a long hard look at the systems they’re perpetuating if they want to see different results at the end. Or else, there’s gonna be a whole lot more of us frustrated guys out there!

Leave a Reply