The great British Bake Off, what a phenomenal success it’s been. Each week, as they battle to make sense of a group of ingredients and the bare minimum of directions, the expectation is that they will present something that is just like something Paul or Mary have previously made. How much easier it would be to stand and watch to see how it’s supposed to be done.

On the other hand, would it just be easier to do what the rest of us do which is sit at home and watch them whisk and mix their way to either the Paul handshake or Mary’s ‘here it is – another soggy bottom’?!

We all know that getting up and giving it a go is the best way to learn; and yet we sit for hours in our churches listening and learning, considering and debating, reading and rereading the recipe and then… doing not a lot. I know I generalise but I’m sure there is a bit of truth in there somewhere. So when are we ready to be let loose to bake the cake?

We know the good old method for learning, watch me do it, do it with me, now I’ll watch you do it, then what? Teach someone else; well we know It’s just what Jesus did.

Now we know what to do to inspire someone, to help them gain in confidence; the biggest hurdle is often just doing it.

Perhaps I can add another challenge to the question ‘when are we old enough?’ Well there’s a conundrum, or perhaps not! May I suggest that from the moment someone knows Jesus they are old enough to tell someone else about it. That means not just encouraging and inspiring the adults but doing just the same for the young people and the children in the church. So how can we make that happen? What ideas are there that we can adopt to move on from the theory and get into the practice. Reading recipe books may be interesting but they are never going to produce a cake!

Baptists as missionary disciples is great but let’s remember that there is no age barrier. No ‘when you’re grown up’, ‘when you know enough’ or ‘when you’re good enough’. If we believe that, and I do, then what can we get in place to help young and old to take Jesus out into this hurting world.

What are the basic ingredients? Dare I suggest it’s all pretty basic stuff: a person who knows Jesus, something to share – well in our case someone – and the courage to get up and do it. Sometimes that’s just as the opportunity arises, but we can also be proactive. So here are a few ideas that could go into the mixing bowl:

  • Who me? – Breed an atmosphere amongst all ages in the church that they have a story to tell.
  • Show and tell – Give the children opportunity to share their experiences to the adults in the church, its encouraging for everyone.
  • Walk the talk – How we behave is as much if not more of a witness than what we say.
  • Pray for the neighbourhood – let’s do this before the children leave to go to their groups on a Sunday
  • And what about actually making that cake – kids love to bake so why not include them in making a cake and take it to a neighbour, the whole family sharing something of the love of Jesus in a very practical way with the people who live next door. Christmas is coming a brilliant time to make some mince pies and share them around.

And of course there may be days when you feel that what you have done has not turned out quite as you might have hoped don’t worry just have another go. I bet even Mary Berry has had a few ‘soggy bottoms’ in her time!

 

Maeve Whitchurch

Maeve Whitchurch serves as Youth Officer with the South Eastern Baptist Association.