General CBF

2014 CBF General Assembly in Atlanta to feature dozens of exciting workshops

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will host its annual General Assembly June 23-27, 2014, at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta.Logo_transPNG_200

Make your plans now to attend at and check out other exciting and educational events at this year’s Assembly, including activities for children, youth and college students at

The 2014 Assembly will feature dozens of workshops from presenters including Randall Balmer, David Gushee, Pam Durso, Bill Leonard and Curtis Freeman to name a few.

Take a minute and scan through this sampling of exciting workshops below:


The Church According to the Gospel of Matthew
In the context of today’s efforts to “do” church in new ways, Matthew’s account of Jesus’ emphasis on integrity — on a holistic unity of being and doing, which extends beyond the individual believer to include the church — offers an important reminder that, in essence, the church is an organism, not an organization.
Facilitator: Mark Biddle, Russell T. Cherry Professor of Old Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Richmond, Va.

Designs for the Church in the Gospel according to Mark
The Gospel of Mark yields important insights when we read it with a new question in mind: What does it tell us about the blueprint for the church? Together we will explore the earliest gospel’s “design” for the church.
Facilitator: Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University, Atlanta, Ga.

The Church According to the Gospel of Luke
This workshop raises and responds to this intriguing, important question — How might the late first-century writing known to us as the Gospel of Luke shape the church’s understanding of Christ and Christ-following near the dawn of the 21st century?
Facilitator: Todd Still, William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

The Church According to the Gospel of John
More than any other gospel, John pushes us to wrestle with the provocative story of Jesus at a deeper level. It is not enough to understand “just the facts” — we must confront the divine dimensions of Jesus’ entrance into the world and his all-or-nothing claim on our lives.
Facilitator: Andy Wakefield, Dean, Campbell University Divinity School, Buies Creek, N.C.


Worship with Friendship Baptist Church
Friendship Baptist Church is pleased to present a worship experience illustrating the music styles often heard in African-American worship. Pastor Emmanuel McCall will present a brief review of how worship is changing in our churches.
Preacher: Emmanuel McCall, Pastor, Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.

Worship with Johns Creek Baptist Church
In Christ, there is never NOT a next. This worship service, hosted by Johns Creek Baptist Church, will provoke the imagination of worshippers to consider what new and next step of faith Christ may be bidding them to make. Music will be led by a full choir and orchestra, and the sermon, based on Genesis 1:1-2, will employ the creative use of multimedia technologies.
Preacher: Shaun King, Senior Pastor, Johns Creek Baptist Church, Alpharetta, Ga.

Worship with First Baptist Church of Decatur
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” In this postmodern worship experience hosted by First Baptist Church of Decatur, our text from Mark’s Gospel invites us to honor our God-given need to pause and rest. Postmodern worship (a.k.a. “alternative,” “emerging,” and/or “experiential” worship) is marked by organic movement through the liturgy, experiential elements designed to challenge or decode dogma and tradition, hands-on congregational participation and non-linear modes of thinking.
Text: Mark 1:32-38; Message: Life Beyond the Hamster Wheel
Preacher: Julie Pennington-Russell, Pastor, First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga.

Worship with Northside Drive Baptist Church
Liturgical worship enacts the sacred drama of God’s pilgrim people. The crucifer’s slow walk with the processional cross, the Bible carried high, the frail but tenacious candle, all joyfully join with litanies, lectionary lessons, chanted Psalms, the Gospel reading among the people, plus the sermon’s outing of a transcendent/immanent intersection. These carry a reverent community’s dense theological freight and grace.
Preacher: James Lamkin, Senior Pastor, Northside Drive Baptist Church, Atlanta, Ga.


CBF Festival of Young Preachers
The Academy of Preachers sponsors its third annual CBF Festival of Young Preachers, a two-day event (Thursday and Friday afternoons) featuring 16 CBF young people (ages 14-28) preaching sermons inspired by the 2014 theme, TELL ME A STORY. Come and support these young preachers.
Presenters: CBF Young Preachers and Brittany Krebs, Worship Leader, Georgetown, Ky.

His Own Received Him Not: Jimmy Carter, the Religious Right, and the 1980 Presidential Election
Jimmy Carter rode to the presidency on the twin currents of his “born again” credentials and his reputation as a “New South” governor. This lecture explores how and why Carter’s fellow believers turned so rabidly against him.
Facilitator: Randall Balmer, Mandel Family Professor in the Arts & Sciences and Chair of the Religion Department, Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H., Episcopal Priest and Author, Redeemer: The Life of Jimmy Carter

Christian Churches Together: A Model for Christian Reconciliation
Christians and our culture are divided on theological and moral issues, yet the church is called to be an agent of reconciliation. Should dialogue and reconciliation be a priority for the church? Christian Churches Together offers a model for inter-Christian healing and reconciliation as well as a model for Christian unity.
Facilitator: Carlos Malave, Executive Director of Christian Churches Together in the USA (CCT), Indianapolis, Ind.

Mission Engagement Portfolio
Making strategic decisions about our mission engagement is more important than ever. This breakout introduces the Mission Engagement Portfolio — a church resource you can use to evaluate your congregation’s mission impact. Come celebrate what God is doing through your congregation and gain a process for clarity about planning and serving in the future.
Facilitator: Ryan Clark, Partner-funded Field Personnel Specialist and Training Manager, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

Dawnings: Welcoming a New Day in Your Church’s Missional Journey
Tired of predicting, planning and inventing a church vision and asking God to bless it as you try to gain congregational buy in? Experience this organic, contextual and collaborative process for visioning, forming and engaging. The rhythm of prayer, preparation and discovery helps shift from doing a church-shaped mission to being a mission-shaped church. Hear from those using Dawnings in their churches.
Facilitators: Bo Prosser, Coordinator of Ministries, CBF, and Harry Rowland, Director of Missional Congregations, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

A Christian Response to Immigration Reform
This workshop will provide participants with a Biblical basis for a Christian response to the issue of immigration reform, give a legislative update and suggest practical ways in which the Church can engage immigrants and immigrant communities in a Christ-honoring way.
Facilitator: Jesús Romero, Director of Immigration Service and Aid Center (ISAAC), San Antonio, Texas

THRIVE: Successfully Negotiating the Search Process
THRIVE will feature a panel of lay church leaders and ministers who have recently journeyed through the search process and navigated its challenges. They will share lessons learned along the way and this discussion-based workshop will focus on practical assistance for both candidates and congregations.
Facilitator: Pam Durso, Executive Director, Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Ga.

New Baptist Covenant: How to Make a Covenant of Action
The New Baptist Covenant is calling on Baptist churches across the nation to make Covenants of Action and to partner together in collaborative ministry projects. In this workshop, we will outline what it means to make a Covenant of Action and give participants more information about how they can join these efforts.
Facilitator: Hannah McMahan, National Coordinator, New Baptist Covenant, Washington, D.C.

Religious Liberty and the U.S. Supreme Court: Current Cases
Get an update on the latest religious liberty developments, including Supreme Court decisions on government-sponsored prayer and the religious liberty implications in the contraception mandate. Learn what these decisions mean and gain an appreciation for the necessity of protecting the free exercise of religion while refraining from its establishment.
Facilitators: Brent Walker, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and Holly Hollman, General Counsel, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, Washington, D.C.

Crime, Punishment and Redemption
During this age of mass incarceration, more people have been imprisoned in our country than ever before. In the last 30 years, the number of people incarcerated in federal prisons has risen over 800 percent. In this context, what does redemption mean? What does social and individual redemption look like in 21st century America? As Christians, what are we called to do?
Facilitator: Pat Anderson, Former Moderator and Former Interim Coordinator, CBF, Beech Mountain, N.C.
Presenters: Wendell Griffen, Pastor, New Millennium Church, Little Rock, Ark; DeeDee Coleman, Pastor, Russell Street Missionary Baptist Church, Oak Park, Mich; Susan Bishop, Chaplain, Lee Arrendale State Prison, Habersham County, Ga.; Doug Ammar, Executive Director, Georgia Justice Project, Atlanta, Ga.

Telling Stories on the Lord’s Day: Worship and Narrative Ritual
Worship is about telling the story of God, the community and the world. But, it seems many congregations have lost these narratives in their weekly rituals. This presentation will give an overview of these claims, and then provide practical suggestions for telling the story of God, people and the world in public Christian worship.
Facilitator: Eric Mathis, Assistant Professor of Music and Worship and Director of anima: the Forum for Worship and the Arts, Samford University School of the Arts, Birmingham, Ala.

Not a Second Chair: Effective Church Staff and Associate Ministry
Serving on church staff in the areas of youth, education, children, counseling or other supportive ministry can be challenging. This seminar will help senior pastors and staff/ministers to work more effectively together using family systems theory and best church staff practices.
Facilitator: Alan Rudnick, Author, The Work of The Associate Pastor and Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Ballston Spa, N.Y.

Developing a Biblical Basis for Advocacy
CBF is committed to advocacy at a national level, and many CBF-related congregations and individuals share this commitment. But what exactly is the biblical basis for this advocacy? This seminar offers seven foundational biblical themes for Christian advocacy in the public arena.
Facilitators: David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics and Director, Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University, Atlanta, Ga., and Stephen Reeves, Associate Coordinator of Partnerships and Advocacy, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

Predatory Lending
Attendees will learn about predatory lending practices common in most communities today including payday and auto title lending. Come learn the basics of how these products work, why they are so harmful and how the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, our churches and other Christian organizations are responding through both public policy advocacy and direct service.
Facilitator: Stephen Reeves, Associate Coordinator of Partnerships and Advocacy, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

We all have HIV — Welcome to the Neighborhood
This session will explore HIV from a neighborhood perspective. We will review disease trends and research and developments toward a cure for HIV. Critical to the discussion will be the role of the local church in facing stigma and partnering in the community to help those infected with HIV.
Facilitator: Wayne Smith, Director of Samaritan Ministry, Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Knoxville, Tenn.

Women’s Leadership Development
While we celebrate significant strides for women, the “stained-glass ceiling” still exists. Central Seminary is calling for radical transformation of the horizon for women called to leadership in ministry. While many women lead in CBF organizations and congregations, there is more to be done!
Facilitator: Sally Holt, Coordinator, Central Seminary’s Tennessee site and Associate Professor of Christian Ethics, Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn.

The Arts of Ministry: How Art Bridges the Divides of Congregations and Communities
Art is an effective tool for bridging the generational, ethnic and economic divides that affect churches and their local environments. This workshop will explore how churches can use art in specific ways to facilitate worship, build fellowship and engage the wider community.
Facilitator: Todd Thomason, Pastor and Kristen Thomason, First Baptist Church, Hyattsville, Md.

Zombies, Vampires and the End of the World
This workshop will examine: 1) the popular fascination with zombies and vampires, 2) the deep underlying social anxieties about dystopic and apocalyptic scenarios, 3) the Christian understanding of human existence and the hope of the resurrection of the dead as a way of addressing questions of popular culture.
Facilitator: Curtis Freeman, Research Professor of Theology, Director of the Baptist House of Studies, Duke Divinity School, Durham, N.C.

Affordable Care Act 2014 Fall Enrollment: What did we learn and what is new?
October brings the second year of the new Healthcare law and we will share what we learned from year one and how some churches found coverage for staff and individuals. We will also discuss how your church can assist a vital ministry helping people in the community enroll for healthcare.
Facilitator: Gary Skeen, President, Church Benefits Board; Victoria Whatley, Manager, Church Benefits Board; Patterson Coates, Assistant Manager, Church Benefits Board, Decatur, Ga.

Disaster Response: The Question is not “If?” but “When?”
Cooperative Baptists are passionate people. We want to do something to help others, particularly those who are hurting. How do we participate in disaster response efforts? How can I be a part of this? How do we partner with others for the greater good? How can I prepare for a disastrous event in my community and neighborhood? How can my church prepare? These are just some of the questions to be addressed during this workshop.
Facilitator: Tommy Deal, Disaster Response Coordinator, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

Church Starts
Some of the most innovative expressions of the Kingdom’s vision are coming from new church starts. Two examples come from this year’s commissioned church starters, Kyle Tubbs and George Linney. Join Kyle and George for a conversation about what they are doing in their contexts. In addition, we will discuss how the Fellowship provides support for church starters exploring or engaging in a new church start vision.
Facilitator: Andy Hale, CBF Church Starter, Mosaic of Clayton, N.C.
Presenters: Kyle Tubbs, CBF Church Starter, Grace Baptist Church, Williamson County, Texas, and George Linney, CBF Church Starter, Tobacco Trail Church, Durham, N.C.

Claiming the Future of Mission
Christian understanding of mission is changing. The “sending” body is no longer thought to steward all the resources, nor all the truth. Learn what Central Seminary has discovered through its global partnerships about how this “flattening” mission invites holistic transformation with a special video introduction by President Molly T. Marshall.
Facilitator: Duane and Marcia Binkley, CBF Field Personnel, De Soto, Kan.

Co-Pastors: A Picture of Ministry
Many Baptists who have never experienced the ministry of co-pastors will be interested to hear how it works for churches and ministers. Also, those who have co-pastored will be interested in comparing notes. Join us as we talk with some co-pastors about their experiences in church ministry.
Facilitator: Amber and John Inscore Essick, Co-Pastors, Port Royal Baptist Church, Port Royal, Ky.

“Born Again, Again:” Revisiting Religious Experience in a Believers’ Church
Session explores the nature of religious experience for Baptists, the meaning and process of conversion in a believers’ church. Questions: 1) What do Baptists mean when they claim to be a believers’ church? 2) What processes of conversion have they developed? 3) Are there new ways of retelling the “old, old story?”
Facilitator: Bill Leonard, James and Marilyn Dunn Professor of Baptist Studies and Professor of Church History, Wake Forest School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Weaving the CBF Story into the Local Congregation
Engaged congregations are the heart of the Fellowship. Working together, Cooperative Baptists serve the least evangelized and most marginalized and develop missional identity through participation in ministry opportunities. Session attendees will see results of recent CBF brand research and become better CBF Ambassadors to help increase congregational involvement in CBF.
Facilitator: Jeff Huett, Associate Coordinator of Communications and Advancement, CBF, Decatur, Ga.

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