This post comes from David Hull, chair of the 2012 Task Force:
When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gathered for our first General Assembly in May 1991, the theme for that meeting was “Behold, I do a new thing.” These words were taken from Isaiah 43:19, and they spoke of the “new thing” that God was doing in our midst. Excitement ran through the crowd in Atlanta, and hope rippled throughout the hearts of freedom-loving Baptists everywhere.
Twenty-one years have passed since the infancy of the Fellowship. We are an adult now, but new things can still happen again in our community. Perhaps the time is right for us to take all of those founding dreams and give them a new shape so that we can respond more effectively to the global challenges around us today. Our mission, vision and values have not changed, but now is the time for our organizational structure to become a new thing to ensure that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will be a vibrant witness for Jesus Christ throughout our world for many years to come.
The 2012 Task Force began to consider what this “new thing” might be when we were formed in June 2010. We spent our first year learning from the Fellowship Community in more than 100 listening sessions all across the country. We have focused on going to geographical areas where our state and regional organizations are located, listening closely to our partners in ministry, and hearing experienced leaders who know our past and young adults who have a special interest in our future. We have talked with current and former staff members as well as current and former elected leaders in CBF life. We have received feedback through our web page and through countless individual conversations and correspondence. We have sought the help of organizational experts from outside of the CBF community.
The last six months have been devoted to working on specific recommendations for the future. We are now ready to share these recommendations with the Coordinating Council in their meeting on Feb. 23-24. As this report goes to the governing body of CBF, we also want to share our recommendations with the entire CBF community. In doing so, we ask for your feedback, suggestions and your prayers. We have worked very hard to prepare a plan that we believe is a hopeful future for our Fellowship. We are excited about what we present to you. Our work has been filled with prayer and guided by the Spirit. Now it needs to be tested in the community to determine if this is truly a “new thing” God is doing among us.
I invite you to take time in the days ahead to watch the introductory videos that will be placed on the web site and to read the complete document so that you can understand the full details of the recommendations. Make plans to come to the General Assembly in Ft. Worth June 20-22 as we discuss and vote on this report. People are talking about a “new thing.”
Will you join the conversation?