By Martha Kate Hall
While this was not my first time attending CBF General Assembly, this year did include several firsts for me as a participant.
It was my first Assembly as a member of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia staff, I planned my first auxiliary meal for Current, I attended the Festival of Young preachers for the first time, my daughter attended her first preschool assembly, and to be quite honest, I attended my first General Assembly business session.
Most of my General Assembly experience for the past three years has been related to Current, which is CBF’s network for young leaders under the age of 40. General Assembly is one of the few times during the year that individuals who are a part of Current are able to gather together in one location to network, share ideas and visit with one another.
One way we have built this time to gather into the busy Assembly schedule is by hosting a meal for the past two years. This year our group gathered on Friday night for a wonderful time of food, fun and fellowship. It was great to see families with children, students, young ministers and even a few “older” folks all enjoying a meal together.
I never knew what I was missing by not attending the business sessions during previous years. It is so helpful to see and hear what is being done by churches and members of the Fellowship. I was especially inspired by the words of Suzii Paynter as she addressed the Assembly during the Thursday morning business session. She spoke of so many wonderful things happening throughout the life of the Fellowship. One of her key points illustrated the importance of young Baptists in the life of CBF.
She said, “several years ago as CBF we chose to put an emphasis on young Baptists as a priority and we have a dynamic young Baptist ecosystem…. Connecting congregations and young leaders will continue to be a focus for CBF.” I am thankful to be part of a Fellowship that recognizes the significance of connecting young Baptists to each other as well as our local congregations.
For the first time members of the Current steering committee helped to host one workshop during each session. These were topics that we felt would be especially applicable to young Baptist leaders as we seek to minister to an ever changing culture. As a follow-up, members of the committee will host continued conversations online for the four workshops sponsored by Current during General Assembly. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in order to RSVP for these conversations.
- How to have a Difficult Conversation – July 21 at 10:00 am
- Trail Marks – August 5 at 10:00 am
- Developing a Biblical Basis for Advocacy – August 12 at 10:00 am
- Imagineering and the Art of Worship – September 4 at 10:00 am
Here I have described a few of the ways that young Baptists could participate in the General Assembly. There were opportunities for CBF Fellows, sessions for College students, sponsored tables at auxiliary meals and a multitude of informational areas in the Gathering Place.
Young Baptists, do not miss out on the chance to be a part of General Assembly in the future. It is an invaluable experience and a wonderful time to learn what the Fellowship is all about. I would like to encourage our churches and leaders to invite young Baptists to be a part of the General Assembly experience. This is truly the best place to learn about this wonderful family we call the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Martha Kate Hall serves as the Associate Coordinator for CBF of Georgia and is the Coordinator for Current, CBF’s network for young leaders.