The Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School and the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) entered into a mission partnership to share resources and build relationships with a goal of developing healthy and vital congregations and pastors.
Baptist House Director Curtis Freeman joined BGAV Executive Secretary John Upton and President Ann Brown in signing the partnership covenant Nov. 10 after it was approved by messengers (representatives from Virginia Baptist churches in the association) at the BGAV’s 192nd annual meeting at the Second Baptist Church in Richmond, Va.
The agreement of shared values, mission, and vision will encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between the Divinity School and the BGAV, and its member churches, through field education, leadership development, networking opportunities, and ministry positions.
With over 1,400 member congregations in Virginia, numerous other states, and several countries, the BGAV is one of the largest and most diverse denominational bodies within Baptist life. Through its mission and ministry partners, the BGAV is strategically committed to mobilizing Christians to “engage the whole world with the whole gospel.”
John Chandler, head of the BGAV-related Spence Leadership Network, which provides programs for mentoring and formation of young church leaders, was enthusiastic about the possibilities of this new relationship. “We are deeply excited about developing our emerging friendship to a more strategic level so that young leaders can express their love for the mission of God by leading within the BGAV mission to advance the Kingdom,” he said.
The Baptist House of Studies was established in 1988 for the formation and care of Baptist students at Duke Divinity School. There are 119 Baptist students from across the denominational spectrum currently enrolled in the different degree programs, comprising the second largest denominational body in the school.
Freeman said the agreement seeks to make clear that “we regard one another as partners in God’s mission, not competitors in a diminishing market. By committing to walk together we agree to share our gifts and resources, and in so doing to step away from a mindset of scarcity and into a vision of God’s abundance.”