By Aaron Weaver and Emily Holladay
ATLANTA — “The power of the gospel and the love of Jesus of Nazareth is as simple as one word — ask,” said former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young in his message during worship Thursday night at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly.
Young shared that he learned a lot about the world from Jimmy Carter, a “country Baptist farmer who was also a nuclear engineer.” He recalled being sworn in as U.N. Ambassador and receiving a tiny piece of paper from the President telling him to go to Africa and ask the leaders how the United States could help them and what they expected of his Administration.
“‘What is it that they expect of us?’ I would say that this is the most Christian sentence ever spoken by an American president,” Young said. “And as a result of that, we changed the world and didn’t kill anybody and didn’t get anybody killed.
Young explained that he viewed his work as an ambassador as a ministry — “to teach the world to learn to live together.”
He also reflected on his time as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1960s, where he helped to defeat public segregation in Birmingham, Ala., a year prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act. He reminded the crowd of the importance of dialogue and its critical role in the struggle for civil rights.
“While you read only about marching and dogs and fire hoses, every day there was a dialogue going on between those of us in the movement and the business community,” Young said.
The former Ambassador challenged Cooperative Baptists to remember and take action on behalf of the plight of the more than two billion women worldwide who are living in slavery.
“The mission is for us to see that in those skinny bodies of hungry people is the heart of the child of God. It’s complicated and it’s amazingly simple,” Young said. “I’ve always felt that the earth have no horror that heaven cannot heal.
“So, the mission of the church is to heal the horrors of the world through the simple humble giving of oneself in the service of one’s brothers and sisters. …We may not know what the future holds but we know who holds the future. And we know that we are also held in the power and palm of God’s hand. And wherever he leads, we will follow.”
A Celebration of Churches
Assembly attendees enjoyed the music of the Chapel Choir of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and acclaimed opera singer Indra Thomas and received greetings from CBF of Georgia Coordinator Frank Broome.
“What we offer you is not something we can boast about,” Broome said. “It is simply a warm welcome. It is given with outstretched arms and a hearty embrace. We are glad you are here.”
The celebration of churches that began during the Thursday morning session continued in this evening worship service with reflections from a North Carolina pastor on why she loves her church.
“At crucial moments in this church’s history, people who loved God and people who loved each other dared to have tough conversations,” said Andrea Dellinger Jones, pastor of Millbrook Baptist Church in Raleigh, N.C. “Many of them also dared to stay at church and keep loving each other, even when things didn’t go their way.”
An offering was also collected to benefit the CBF Offering for Global Missions. Steven Porter, CBF’s new Global Missions Coordinator, encouraged the Assembly to join in partnership with the ministries of CBF field personnel around the world by supporting the missions offering.
“The Spirit is moving from Virginia to Lebanon and beyond transforming lives with the gospel through Cooperative Baptist ministries,” Porter said. “And the Spirit invites us to join this beautiful dance.”
“The CBF Offering for Global Missions provides support for the life-changing ministries of the 125 field personnel — friends whom Christ has called, the congregations represented in this room have nurtured and together with the Holy Spirit we have sent into the world to join the dance.”
CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.