From a spark to a flame: BMS at the Baptist Assembly 2019

From a spark to a flame:

BMS at the Baptist Assembly 2019

BMS World Mission’s trailblazing sessions looked to the future with clear-sighted vigour for God’s ongoing mission.

“Land for the dispossessed, Rights for the weak, Voices to plead the cause, Of those who can’t speak,” sang legendary songwriter Graham Kendrick, along with the crowds in attendance at the BMS sessions during the Baptist Assembly in Telford. Kendrick’s classic worship anthem, equal parts prayer and song, brought a timely and important message, sung during a moment of reflection after footage from the South Sudan refugee crisis had been beamed onto huge on-stage screens. BMS launched South Sudan’s Conflict Survivors at the Assembly – a video fundraising appeal for 2019. As a kind of audiovisual invitation, the video appeal asks BMS supporters to step into refugee camps and stand with survivors of a brutal civil war which has torn apart the world’s newest and most fragile of states.

A crowd of people worshipping.
Kendrick’s songs set a tone of joy and Christ-centered unity at this year’s Baptist Assembly.

BMS speakers Steve Sanderson and Rachel Conway-Doel shared with those gathered the precarious and largely ignored situation in South Sudan, in conversation with Gareth Wilde of BMS partner organisation Hope Health Action. Kendrick called the crowds to prayer for the dispossessed of the South Sudan crisis and the world, but most of all, for God to move hearts. “Come, change our love from a spark to a flame,” was a prayer many saw answered at this year’s Baptist Assembly.

A man stands with a guitar and his arms outstretched.
Graham Kendrick leads BMS supporters in prayer for survivors of the conflict in South Sudan.
A woman's face on a screen.
The crowds prayed in response to powerful footage from BMS’ South Sudan’s Conflict Survivors resource

The sense of unity as voices joined in song set the theme for a day where the desire to see God’s kingdom come joins Baptists from churches, colleges and the Baptist Union of Great Britain in common cause. And it wasn’t long before those presenting from the front gladly stepped aside to invite other vital voices to take centre-stage.

The ‘BMS Café’ and later ‘Tell us what you think’ sessions were a chance for BMS to hear from our most valued contributors: our supporters. You fed back on issues from BMS’ past to our future: and in your collective opinion, it looks bright. Every answer will be carefully evaluated as BMS creates its new strategy for 2020 and beyond. Thank you so much for your contributions: you are the firm foundation on which BMS can build and grow.

A panel of people sit on a stage in front of large screens.
Interactive touchpads were handed out at the ‘Tell us what you think’ sessions, for live feedback from BMS supporters and a panel discussion on the key issues facing BMS.
A man and a woman stand and smile at another woman.
BMS representatives Jo and Kwame also valued conversations with many visitors to the BMS stand.

Combining humour, deft wordplay and irresistible silliness, kings of comedy Harry and Chris also took suggestions from the audience during their entertaining session. The resulting words (BMS, Brexit and cake among them) were instantly combined into a whip-smart song performed live. The performance was a way for BMS to show its supporters some love by booking this highly sought-after duo for an exclusive appearance. Harry and Chris’ stunt came straight after our ‘Tell us what you think’ session, where BMS responded live to views from the floor. So as well as being a huge dose of fun, their trick mirrored BMS’ supporter-focused, adaptable outlook.

Two men stand in front of microphones with a guitar.
Harry and Chris use humour to subtly weave Christian thinking into songs as eclectic and hilarious as an anthem on Brexit and a song about pandas.

But the Assembly wasn’t all about BMS. The two-day format was a hit with delegates, and with the space for networking and amazing programme of content also on offer from Baptists Together, the Assembly in Telford was a chance for the Baptist family to meet, worship and dream together. And to be inspired.

And inspiration came especially in the form of Abigail Francis. This 15-year-old gives Greta Thunberg a run for her money – being as eloquent, incisive and clever – and a whole year younger to boot. She delighted crowds with her five-minute tour-de-force on the Bible’s relevance for her generation. Looking towards BMS’ future, Abigail was perhaps the stand-out image lingering in the minds of many as they returned home after a jam-packed weekend. A young Indian girl in a bright red top, brimming with optimism, eyes shining as she spoke about God’s Word. BMS supporters agreed that our future looked bright. With members of the Global Church like Abigail rising up as our next generation of leaders, it’s easy to agree that it does.

Abigail Francis spoke on the theme of God’s word describing life as we know it, making it both irrefutable and searingly relevant.

What did you enjoy most about the Baptist Assembly 2019?
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Words by Hannah Watson, Editor of Engage.

Baptist Assembly 2019

Baptist Assembly 2019:

Graham Kendrick, Harry and Chris headline BMS Saturday sessions

Comedy, music, worship and mission at the Baptist Assembly 2019.

Telford, land of dreams! At least it will be on the weekend of 18 and 19 May 2019, when the BUGB BMS World Mission Baptist Assembly comes to town. The Baptist Assembly 2019 is promising to be one of the best ever – not least because of the amazing line-up offered by BMS on Saturday 18 May.

Saturday at the Baptist Assembly is going to be huge!

Baptist Assembly 2019: the BMS line-up

Legendary worship leader, composer and songwriter Graham Kendrick will be there – leading worship and sharing songs along with his full band as part of BMS’ Saturday sessions, which is reason enough to make sure you get to Ludlow Suites 2 and 3 in the International Centre, Telford. But there’s more!

Graham Kendrick will appear live at the Assembly, exclusively at the BMS sessions in Ludlow Suites 2 and 3

BMS has also invited the charming, talented and funny musical comedy duo Harry and Chris to be part of our sessions. Harry and Chris will be familiar to Catalyst Live 2018 audiences, as well as anyone who has seen the BMS Thank You video. Young, smart and fun, we’re sure they will be a highlight of your Assembly this year.

You can see Harry and Chris in Ludlow Suites 2 and 3 at the Baptist Assembly in Telford on 18 May 2019. In this video they thank BMS supporters for 225 years of God’s grace.

So do come along! Book your Baptist Assembly 2019 tickets today! Full weekend tickets cost £50 and it’s only £35 for Saturday day tickets (when all the big BMS stuff is happening). In addition to Graham and Harry and Chris, you will also get the chance to learn Disciple Making from Benjamin Francis , BMS Team Leader in India and founder of a massively successful church planting network. And there will be an opportunity to speak into BMS’ future strategy in some Tell Us What You Think sessions, each featuring contributions from Graham Kendrick or Harry and Chris. There will be a chance to ask us questions, give your opinion, see the brand new BMS harvest video and hear first-hand what God is doing around the world. So. Why wouldn’t you come to Telford (land of dreams)?

Saturday at the Baptist Assembly 2019 in Telford is going to be huge!

Saturday has been designated a ‘networking day’ at the Assembly, which means delegates will have the opportunity to take it easy, meet old friends, make new ones, and attend special seminars and events throughout the day. The networking day programme looks incredibly useful and strong, so Saturday in Telford is definitely a must! BMS sessions will be in Ludlow Suites two and three on the ground floor of the Telford International Centre, so do come and check them out! Details of each session are included below.

If you haven’t yet booked your tickets to this year’s Assembly, now is the time to do it. Come and be both entertained and inspired by great Christian content and stories of mission. Worship, listen and have your say with BMS, and join the whole Assembly for fellowship and fun!

Booking closes on 30 April, so don’t miss out!

BMS World Mission Saturday sessions at the Baptist Assembly 2019 in Telford (featuring Graham Kendrick and Harry and Chris)

Saturday 18 May 2019 – Ludlow Suites two and three, ground floor, Telford International Centre

11.00 – 12.00:  Morning worship with Graham Kendrick 

Gathering for a time of worship led by Graham Kendrick and his band, along with the premiere of BMS’ new video for 2019, South Sudan’s Conflict Survivors, and a chance to hear about BMS’ work with South Sudanese refugees.

12.45 – 14.45:  BMS Café with coffee, cake, Harry and Chris, Graham Kendrick and Ben Francis

A great mix of worship, entertainment and inspirational stories from around the world. Also includes a chance to have a coffee and cake with BMS guests including Graham Kendrick, Harry and Chris and our India Team Leader Benjamin Francis.

15.00 – 16.00: Tell us what you think – Session A (featuring Graham Kendrick) 

BMS is working towards a new strategy for our mission work from 2020 onwards, and we’d love you to add your thoughts on what you’d like us to be in the future.  This session, for the first time at an Assembly, will include interactive touchpads for everyone to be able to give us your opinions (with BMS staff and Trustees on hand to respond) and also features music and reflection from Graham Kendrick and his band.

16.15 – 17.15: Tell us what you think – Session B (featuring Harry and Chris)

Spoken word, music and comedy from Harry and Chris will reflect on this session for BMS supporters to feed back to BMS staff and Trustees on what you want BMS to be in the future. This session, for the first time at an Assembly, includes interactive touchpads. This is your chance to feed into the future of BMS mission work beyond 2020.

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