General CBF

The Generations

I recently attended the CBF of North Carolina gathering at First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem. The theme for the gathering was “Generations Connected: One Family, One Faith, Many Journeys,” and I must admit that I came away from the experience with renewed appreciation for the contributions that at least three generations of CBFers bring to this movement.

First, I came away with a heart full of gratitude and awe for those courageous leaders who helped to create CBF. Dr. Cecil Sherman shared with attendees some of his perspective on those early years and some of his hopes for the future of this movement. His words reminded me that we owe a huge debt to him and to others who stood for Baptist freedoms when it counted most and who worked to shape much that the rest of us now take for granted. These founders continue to have a significant shaping influence upon our identity, vision and mission.

I also am grateful to younger Baptists who are discovering in CBF a place to live out their calling and ministry and who find meaning and purpose in this Fellowship. Revs. Jennifer and Craig Janney, campus ministers at Chowan University, shared in the Saturday morning session their appreciation for Dr. Sherman and others who had birthed this movement. Their words filled me with hope that twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings are finding meaning and purpose in what we are doing together–and that they are determined to take the seeds of what they have received and nurture the vision well into the future.

It also occurred to me that a third generation is part of this mix. There are a group of forty-somethings and fifty-somethings who stand in the middle. They tend to be the ones planning these gatherings, the ones who decided that maybe it would be good to have an assembly around the theme of “Generations.” They serve as a bridge, pulling younger and older together, carefully watering and nurturing what was created in order that a younger generation can fashion it into the twenty-first century framework that will enable it to stand the test of time.

Thanks, North Carolina CBF, for a good meeting around a great theme! You bridged the gaps that all too often divide us–and I’m grateful!

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