Suzii Paynter

Greensboro is full of new leaves

The following is Suzii Paynter’s monthly column, Words from the Executive Coordinator. You can subscribe to receive this column in your e-mail at

WordsCoordinator2I’ve always thought that turning over a new leaf was a simple nature euphemism. The origin, however, is not botanical, but literary – “a leaf” is a new page. So turning over a new leaf is essentially turning the page; a new chapter, a fresh start. It’s not New Year’s Eve or even the beginning of the school year, but on June 27, there will be new leaves turning in Greensboro, N.C., at the Fellowship’s General Assembly.

Thanks to the leadership of David Hull and the work of the 2012 Task Force, the Fellowship will turn a fresh page on our organizational structures and partnerships. The large CBF governing body, the Coordinating Council, which has served the Fellowship for 20 years has been re-envisioned and broken into three more responsive bodies – the Governing Board, the Missions Council and the Ministries Council. They will be voted on and launched at the upcoming General Assembly.

  • The smaller, more nimble Governing Board will be a place where leaders have oversight and accountability for the vision, as well as the nuts and bolts work of the CBF organization (i.e. finance, personnel, legal).
  • The Missions Council will bring together leaders from across the CBF community to provide vision, strategy, education and sustainability to the greater missions enterprise of the Fellowship.
  • The Ministries Council will be a forum of collaboration, communication and idea sharing to identify, develop and deploy the assets of the greater Fellowship community.

I know that you will have many questions about this new transition, and I hope to address them here. Please be assured that CBF staff and leadership will also be available at the General Assembly to assist with any other questions you have.

Q. Are the same people serving on the new board and councils as served on the Coordinating Council?
A. You will see some familiar names from the current Coordinating Council, but each new board and council member was nominated for the new purposes and roles as specified in the 2012 Task Force Report. The Missions Council and Ministries Council also have non-voting members, some by specific categories (for example, Consortium of Theological Schools), while others will serve in more general categories. The state and regional coordinators for the 14 states and four regions of CBF served as the nominating committee for the new boards and councils, and the members for the new bodies were further recommended by the outgoing Coordinating Council in March 2013.

Q. Have all the people been nominated for the Board and Councils?
A. No, there are still openings for people on the Missions Council and Ministries Council to be nominated during this year and voted on for completion at the General Assembly in 2014. The purpose was to get a small “startup” group to get these bodies going but have them fully nominated by next year.

Q. How long will people serve on the Governing Board, Missions Council and Ministries Council?
A. There are 3-year terms on all the bodies. The composition is made up of men, women, clergy, laity, a diversity of age, ethnic groupings, geographic regions and skill sets to complement the work of each body.

Q. Are the three bodies equal?
A. The Governing Board retains the 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Board of Directors functions of the Coordinating Council. The Missions Council and Ministries Council will function in purposeful, collaborative ways with the CBF staff, churches and partners of the greater Fellowship community. The councils will send certain fiduciary, budgetary, governance and contractual items to the Governing Board. The councils’ meetings will precede the Governing Board meetings on the calendar.

Q. What about the CBF officers that we elect at General Assembly? Where do they fit in?
A. The CBF moderator will chair the Governing Board. The moderator-elect, immediate past moderator and recorder are also on the Governing Board. The immediate past moderator also serves on the Nominating Committee.

Q. Does any of this change the relationship of CBF to the CBF Foundation or Church Benefits Board?
A. No, the relationship remains the same. Each of these entities has had a board of their own for many years. This will continue and they will be closely related to the work of CBF and its churches, missions and ministries.

Q. What else is different about the Missions Council and Ministries Council?
A. They will have a flag football game every October for a large trophy…. No really, they will be better able to accommodate collaboration among Fellowship partners than the old Coordinating Council model and they can expand their work through combinations of networks, action teams, committees and groups that can include anyone in the greater Fellowship community to join in projects. This inclusion of the greater Fellowship community was not possible in the previous structure.

My apologies to Nooks, iPhones, Tablets and Kindles, but I hope you love the smell of the fresh clean paper of a new book, because we are turning over a few new leaves in Greensboro.

Suzii Paynter has served as the executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since March, 2013.

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