Thursday breakout sessions include focus on 8 CBF Mission Communities fostering online collaboration
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Breakout sessions at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly on Thursday afternoon offered information about CBF’s eight mission communities. These networks, which are centered on distinct kinds of service, foster discussion, sharing of resources and hands-on engagement through CBF’s mission interest website, missioncommunities.org. The website is open to individuals, churches, ministries and CBF field personnel and partners.
Church Starts and Faith Sharing Ministries – A group of 30 women and men of all ages, gathered to discuss the CBF church starts process during the Church Starts Mission Community breakout session. Facilitator Susan Rogers, a church starter from Jacksonville, Fla., discussed available church starting resources and ways existing congregations can engage with new church starts. A panel of current church starters shared about the challenges and successes in their work. Panelists included Andy Hale of Mosaic in Clayton, N.C, Joshua Hearne of Grace and Main in Danville, Va., and Linda Jones of the Via Faith Community in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Economic Development Ministries – In a conversation facilitated by Brian Foreman, an overflow crowd of more than 75 shared stories and concerns, asked questions and proposed answers on building a long-term vision and commitment to a community in need. Forman presented the necessary parts of fostering genuine economic development, including providing immediate relief to the powerless, helping people participate in a return to their pre-crisis lives and helping people participate in rebuilding their lives above the status quo level.
Justice and Peacemaking Ministries – Cindy Ruble led a workshop on how to prevent child sexual abuse. Ruble, one of CBF’s field personnel, advocates on behalf of women and children in Penang, Malaysia. She highlighted various myths of sexual abuse and offered strategies for both churches and parents on how to be proactive in protecting children.
Healthcare Ministries – Two CBF field personnel – Tammy Stocks and Dianne McNary – and a senior national church relations associate for Bread for the World, Dianne Ford Dessables, led a session on impacting communities through health care ministries. The session detailed two projects, Bread for the World’s 1,000 Days Initiative and Community Health Evangelism.
Internationals Ministries – Nell Green, one of CBF’s field personnel, led a workshop featuring five panelists from around the world who spoke on immigration issues as well as other topics affecting internationals. She also discussed how churches can respond to these needs.
Disaster Response Ministries – Cooperative Baptist Fellowship U.S. Disaster Response Coordinator Tommy Deal discussed CBF’s proactive response to communities in need in the wake of disaster. Joining him were the Rev. Will Baker, pastor of Drummondtown Baptist Church in Accomac, Va., and the Rev. Rusty Edwards, pastor of University Baptist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss., both who led disaster relief efforts in their communities and told their stories for attendees of the session.
Poverty and Transformation Ministries – On Thursday afternoon, Stephanie Vance, interim manager for Together for Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative, led a breakout session focusing its work. Vance told attendees that Together for Hope has expanded its ministry reach beyond its 20-county focus because of the interests of participants. This mission community is made up of individuals, churches, CBF field personnel and partner ministries that work together with local communities to meet physical, emotional and spiritual needs while addressing systemic causes of poverty, building capacity and being advocates.
Education Ministries – Emily Holladay and Mary Beth Foust, the inaugural recipients of the Vestal Scholarship in honor of former CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal, led a conversation on how churches can nurture a sense of calling within individuals. The two recent seminary graduates shared from their own experiences of sensing a call to ministry and how their churches impacted their journey to seminary. Foust also shared examples of how churches can create a culture that nurtures call. In addition to the Vestal Scholars’ presentation, Sam Bandela, one of CBF’s field personnel, shared opportunities for people to minister through education programs in India.