Why a Working Charter for the CBSM is needed

Since CBSM came into being as a result of a decision taken at the Assembly Leaders’ Conference in 1996 and officially endorsed at the ALC 1998, the CBSM had generally functioned under a cloud of uncertainty and apathy in the initial years. There was also the difficulty of garnering support from assemblies as a whole. In spite of all these, the Lord’s hand was with the decision and those who were called to the task had soldiered on. Praise God, the spiritual, financial and moral support of many assemblies both, large and small have been unwavering and have kept CBSM going in the last 10 years. During this period, a steady foundation for CBSM to build on was laid. Many good decisions have been taken both at ALC and by the Main Committee, and a few projects have been initiated or nearing completion.

The tasks that CBSM has been called to by God through the Leaders of our Assemblies are huge and have to be approached and implemented with care. They involve an on-going process of development, implementation, evaluation and growth which require, apart from hard work, clear direction, consistency, continuity and stability. Additionally, the fruits may not be immediately evident.

The proposed Working Charter is an attempt to bring clear direction, consistency, continuity, accountability and stability to the CBSM.

In many ways, the content of the proposed Working Charter is not new. In it, is gathered together many of the decisions from the minutes of past ALCs and CBSM Main Committee meetings. It is merely putting down more clearly in writing what has been practiced or assumed or has been sent to assemblies for feedback and comments (‘CBSM ~ Proposal for Greater Effectiveness’ sent to all assemblies on 24th Jan. 2007). The Working Charter sets down CBSM’s aims and functions; defines roles, responsibilities and parameters more clearly so that assemblies and elders who are vested with the authority to make decisions on the extent of their involvement have a clearer picture of what is involved and for new elders and those who are unfamiliar with what CBSM is all about can easily refer to something comprehensive in written form.

Furthermore, as proposals become projects, continuous management and accountability is critical. A case in point is the Christian Brethren Teacher Training Trust Fund. The concern regarding the lack of Christians taking up teaching as a vocation and mission, especially those from our assemblies, started from an ALC paper in 2001. It was taken up again in 2003. Finally, The Life Chapel took the bold step of committing some financial support to the project and CBSM was tasked to work on it. The project CBTTTF was officially launched with a substantial gift from The Life Chapel and also a substantial gift from a brother who wishes to support the project. A project such as this carries with it long term responsibility and accountability. Without a written document of some sort, it is impracticable, indeed irresponsible for ALC and CBSM to take up projects of this nature.

On the whole we do not like too much organization and prefer matters to be kept simple. However, when we are dealing with an entity, such as the CBSM, that is national in scope and responsibility; a spiritual entity entrusted with finances as well; and one intended, God-willing, to last for many years, we would want to remove vagueness and misperceptions which can easily give rise to uncertainty, lack of consistency and continuity and even the possibility of the CBSM going off-track. These will provide fertile ground for mismanagement and for Satan to sow uneasiness and discord amongst us.