Who is Lynn Green?
In a Nutshell:
Revd. Lynn Green is the General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (BUGB). She is one of a handful of inspirational female leaders within the United Kingdom, who is both prayerful, spiritual and prophetic, plus a great visionary enabler.
Where it all began:
Lynn was born in Winchester to christian parents who took her to the local Baptist church as a child. This is where her long association with the Baptist tradition began.1 Although later as she grew into double figures she decided to stop going to church, God had other ideas! During her early teens she encountered God again after being given a Gideon New Testament at school. For some time it remained on the shelf but then whilst thinking about the bigger issues in life, her identity and purpose, she picked it up and started to browse. Then one night:
"I was awoken in the middle of the night and my bedroom was flooded with light. Out of the light I heard God’s call, “Lynn, I have something for you to do for me”. I was 14 years old and I certainly had no idea what this meant. My first thought was, “What can a woman do for God?” The only option I was aware of was to be a nun – which definitely did not seem like an attractive option. Overwhelmed and with no clue what this could mean, I parked this experience and tried to go back to sleep. But I would say in this encounter with the Living God, I undoubtedly became a follower of Jesus. Later, in my Gideon New Testament, I read the call to be baptised, so I rang my local Baptist church and the rest, as they say, is history!" 2
Lynn was baptised at Winchester Baptist Church in 1981. It was also there that she met her future husband, Stuart.
After graduation from school she went to Manchester University to major in Theology. Whilst there her halls of residence was the Northern Baptist College. She threw herself into her studies and served as president of the student body there.
Life before Ministry:
After Uni Lynn and Stuart married and Lynn began her working life as a Marketing Manager with Royal Mail Parcels International. She subsequently became the Corporate Identity Manager for Royal Mail. There she was involved in a multi-million pound, three-year project. "It was a most brilliant job," she says, "enabling me to gain experience across the whole organisation".
Notwithstanding, the call to the ministry wouldn't go away, and Stuart and Lynn chatted at length what it could possibly mean. Then during a visit to Spring Harvest one year, a conversation with an unknown Anglican deaconess led her to think seriously about her true calling. Sometime later she took voluntary redundancy from her job and the rest is history! In her own words:
"[I] was attending Spring Harvest in my early 20's that put calling back onto the agenda. For the first time I told my story to someone – an unknown Anglican deaconess – who was the first person to put into words that I might be called to ministry. That significant moment gained momentum through the encouragement of our new minister, Paul Hills, and by the time I was 26 I had taken voluntary redundancy and started training at Regent’s Park College." 2
Regents Park College:
Lynn trained for ministry at Regent's Park College in Oxford, and upon graduation in 1994 became associate minister at Wokingham Baptist Church. She says she spent a "happy 16 years at the church" as both associate and subsequently their sole pastor. As the leadership team grew she latterly became team leader. She also joined the Southern Counties Baptist Association and became a regional minister in January 2011.
Life in the Fast Lane:
Lynn has served in many roles over the last couple of decades as God opened the door for her to minister in different scenarios - all good preparation for her position of General Secretary at the BU. She was secretary for Mainstream, the Word and Spirit network (now called Fresh Streams); is a member of Baptist Union Council (and has served as chaplain); served as moderator of the BUGB Staffing Committee, the General Secretary Nominating Group in 2006 and the BU Mission Executive; she was chair of the BUGB Youth Ministry Working Group and, with her husband Stuart and others, has co-led marriage and ministry days at Spurgeon's College.
Called to Serve:
At the Baptist Union AGM in 2012 she was unanimously elected to take over the role of general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain from the Revd Jonathan Edwards. A role that would make her the first female Leader in that capacity within the Union.3 Her induction to that post took place at Sutton Coldfield Baptist Church on Sunday 22nd September 2013.4
She has always tried to follow God's call on her life, and at times this has meant a departure from what may have been seen as the usual way of doing things. For example, she describes most of her working life as bi-vocational, meaning: 'combining the calling to ministry with my vocation as a wife and mother', which has led to flexible patterns of working. This experience of a new ways of doing things, she believes, stands her in good stead and helps the BU to develop and embrace a new culture.
She has an active role in encouraging Revd. Yinka Oyekan, one of her Baptist Leaders in Reading in his work with THE TURNING. Back in 2016 God woke her up one night with a dream of something new he wanted to do... you can read the story on the Who is Yinka Oyekan? page.
"I've always tried to be true and faithful to what God has called me. I've always stuck to my guns, and have been fortunate that people have been willing to be flexible. There are times when I've not fitted how it has been done before, but it has worked in a new way." 5
Indeed, Lynn has felt called to this role. A number of people have had a prophetic word for her as she has visited churches as a regional minister. This sense of calling, experience of numerous aspects of Baptist life, together with the Baptist way of doing things, has given her a 'humble confidence' about the future. She says:
"I have a humble confidence that God is at work in us and through us. There are so many amazing stories of what the Lord is doing out there." - Humble, because there 'must be an utter dependence on God'. She endorses and wants to build on her predecessor - Jonathan Edward's focus on the centrality of prayer; and confidence because of what she has seen.
What of the Future?
Lynn is also a member of the Executive of Baptist World Alliance and writes that she: "longs to see local churches being encouraged and supported to transition beyond inherited church into vibrant mission communities," and for Baptists to be known for "[their] profound and rich diversity in unity." And this is not just for Baptist's because this women of God has a greater reach and a wider world audience to her preaching and ministries...
Lynn has been married for 26 years to Stuart. They have four children. She enjoys walking, reading and baking!
* This article has been edited with grateful inclusion of the following BU and Baptist Times articles:
- See: Lynn Green - a Profile (paragraph 2). https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/370764/A_profile_of.aspx
- See Article: https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/542019/Lynn_Green.aspx
- See The Baptist Times: 'Lynn Green elected new General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain' - https://baptisttimes.co.uk/Articles/369373/Lynn_Green_elected.aspx
- See The Baptist Times: 'Lynn Green inducted as BUGB General Secretary' - https://baptisttimes.co.uk/Articles/372696/Lynn_Green_inducted.aspx
- See: https://www.baptist.org.uk/Articles/370764/A_profile_of.aspx