By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Ministries Council and Movement Leadership Team gathered August 25-28 in Decatur, Ga., to dialogue, strategize and cast vision for its future work in 2014-2015.
The Ministries Council, an elected advisory body to the CBF Governing Board, gathered August 25-26 for its first meeting as a fully-populated body. Now in its second year, the council collaborates with individuals from throughout CBF to empower shared ministry networks and identify, develop and deploy the assets of the Fellowship.
In its inaugural year, the council, led by Michael Cheuk, senior minister at University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Va., focused on organizing its work into five specific focus areas, meeting with CBF partners in September 2013 and state and regional leaders in January 2014.
At the 2014 CBF General Assembly in Atlanta, attendees approved a slate of nominees from the CBF Nominating Committee to complete the population process, adding 17 Cooperative Baptists to the council.
Cheuk emphasized the importance of collaboration within the Fellowship and the council’s work to help meet the ministry needs of Cooperative Baptists.
“This is an exciting time for us as this is our first meeting as a fully-populated Ministries Council,” Cheuk said. “We want to walk alongside individuals and churches in the Fellowship to identify the ministry needs of their community and to help map and deploy the resources that they have to meet those needs.”
The council’s five focus areas include: mapping — identifying resources and assets within the Fellowship; curating — reviewing and vetting the assets that are within and outside of CBF for the purpose of serving churches and individuals across the Fellowship; connecting — promoting and nurturing communication, networks and collaboration throughout the Fellowship; developing and deploying — developing individuals and assets that the Fellowship does not currently have and deploying those assets to assist churches; funding — thinking through and implementing funding for the previous four focus areas.
Cheuk explained that the council aims to give special attention to different aspects of these areas in the coming months.
“We as the Ministries Council will be working closely with CBF staff and our state and regional coordinators to focus on one issue in each area to address this year,” Cheuk said.
Bo Prosser, CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships, added that the gathering served as an opportunity to collaborate on priority areas to serve congregational leaders.
“This was a formative time for the full council to come together,” Prosser said. “Much time was spent on developing communication tools to hear the needs of congregational leaders and to be able to respond in real-time to the needs that will be discovered. Several work groups have already been tasked with projects that will enhance the ministries of our churches.”
The CBF Movement Leadership Team (MLT) met August 26-28, in Decatur, Ga., to explore its purpose and dialogue about important CBF initiatives and discuss best practices within the Fellowship.
The MLT, a team comprised of the coordinators of the 18 autonomous CBF state and regional organizations, national CBF coordinators as well as the CBF moderator, gathers three-to-four times a year to promote effective communication throughout the Fellowship, cast vision and direction for CBF, share information and learn from one another.
During the three-day meeting, the MLT approved a new four-fold purpose statement:
• Steward — As the only identifiable leadership group in the CBF community without time-limited rotating terms, steward CBF’s identity and brand within and beyond the Fellowship.
• Strategize — From its unique position relating to national and state/regional councils and boards, develop and implement strategy to accomplish the goals of the Fellowship.
• Share — Serve as a forum for communication, collaboration, dialogue, asset-sharing, network development and fellowship building across the Fellowship.
• Speak — From its unique perspective as connectors between regional constituents and CBF’s global presence, speak to the Fellowship on matters affecting our shared mission and ministry.
Larry Hovis, coordinator of CBF North Carolina, presented the new purpose statement and noted the need for the team to claim its collective voice to the larger Fellowship.
“We believe the time has come for MLT to be a speaking body, not necessarily taking big positions, but a body that speaks to the Fellowship on issues we think are important,” Hovis said. “We cannot always speak for others, but we can speak to them.”
Hovis shared his hope that the new purpose statement would guide the team forward as the MLT looks to serve a more visible and important role in the Fellowship.
“We believe this new purpose statement can guide us, that in some ways are not radically different than in the past, but in other ways are a reframing,” Hovis said.
The MLT also selected a new leadership structure to guide the group in 2014-2015. The group selected Terry Maples, coordinator of Tennessee CBF, to serve as convener and chose Terri Byrd, coordinator of Alabama CBF, to serve as convener-elect. Florida CBF Coordinator Ray Johnson will serve the role of past convener.
Maples expressed his excitement to convene the MLT’s work with its revamped purpose statement.
“I’m excited and pleased about the work we are doing together to strengthen the work of CBF and enhance our capacity to cooperate and collaborate,” Maples said.
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.