DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Governing Board announced at its January 22-23 meeting the formation of an ad hoc committee to support the strategic planning process that the CBF Missions Council launched in September 2014 in conjunction with the CBF Global Missions staff. The ad hoc Committee on Global Missions Structures and Staffing (CGMSS) will shepherd through the Governing Board any personnel policy and funding matters that emerge from the strategic planning process to ensure seamless planning and implementation.
The CGMSS marks the first collaborative venture between two of CBF’s new governance structures — the Governing Board and Missions Council.
CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter emphasized that today’s fast-paced world as well as faithfulness to the gospel necessitates a reimagining of the Fellowship’s mission structures.
“What started 25 years ago as a life raft for missionaries became a launching pad for Cooperative Baptist Global Missions with 125 field personnel in 30 countries,” Porter said. “That same passion to serve churches and Christians as they pursue God’s mission now invites us to reimagine the structures of CBF’s mission enterprise for a rapidly changing 21st century world. Indeed, faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ demands it.”
CBF Missions Council Chair Mike Oliver, who serves as senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Madison, Ala., expressed his enthusiasm for the strategic planning process and offered his hope that the process will lead to a clear and inspiring missions direction for the future of the Fellowship.
“I am very pleased with the progress the Missions Council is making related to the development of a comprehensive strategic plan for CBF Global Missions,” Oliver said. “This process is indeed a spiritually energizing one for our council, and we hope for CBF at large. I believe God is leading us to develop stronger bonds with Baptist Christians around the world, engage in more focused and effective missions, and support local churches in a truly cooperative approach to global short and long-term missions.”
Paul Baxley, Governing Board member and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga., who will chair of the new ad hoc committee, echoed Oliver’s enthusiasm and optimism for the future of CBF Global Missions.
“The members of the a Committee on Global Mission Structures and Staffing are committed to working collaboratively with the members of the Missions Council to insure that the compelling strategic vision discerned in their process becomes reality in the life of our Fellowship,” Baxley said. “Just as any congregation must align structures and budget with its vision, we have to make sure that we provide staffing structures, personnel policies and funding options required to implement the vision and allow us to participate more fully in God’s mission around the world.
“The Missions Council’s process has already revealed that we Christians now find ourselves in an entirely different missionary situation than the one that existed when many of our current structures were first developed. The world is changing. Our communities and congregations are changing. The Global Church is growing in new places and in new ways, and we have a responsibility to ask the bold question: As Cooperative Baptists are we being called to a new, even more excellent and ambitious way of participating in God’s mission? Please pray for the Missions Council as they prayerfully lead us in answering that question, and then pray that we will have the courage and necessary will to create structures and make changes that turn vision into a deeper commitment to mission.”
The ad hoc committee includes:
- Paul Baxley (Chair), Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga. (Governing Board member)
- Patricia Wilson, Professor of Law, Baylor University, Waco, Texas (Governing Board member)
- Alan Sherouse, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C. (Missions Council chair-elect)
- Pat Anderson, Former CBF Interim Executive Coordinator
- Linda Jones, Missions Coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina
- Bob Newell, Former CBF Field Personnel (Emeritus)
- Steven Porter, CBF Global Missions Coordinator
Striving for excellence
The Governing Board’s winter meeting kicked off Thursday with an update from CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter, who reflected on the implementation of the 2012 Task Force Report and efforts to strengthen CBF’s governance structure for the future. She said that the Governing Board, Missions Council, Ministries Council and Nominating Committee have brought new life and given new energy and focus to CBF staff and leadership. Paynter also highlighted the Fellowship’s branding work over the past year.
“A part of our striving has been for excellence,” Paynter said. “I love that the process we have followed in our branding journey has been a process marked by excellence. This is not about new logos or visuals. It is about our narrative, our story, who we are, how we take that forward.
“What God is doing in the world — how do we have a God-inspired voice for this century. That is what our branding process has been about. How do we speak with integrity and authenticity in this century from our community. That is what excellence in branding means.”
During the two-day meeting, Governing Board members heard reports from CBF’s governance bodies and elected officers as well as staff. CBF Moderator Kasey Jones reflected on changes she has seen in the past year in the Fellowship.
“CBF is changing in such a way that there is more intentionality about people working together cooperatively and collaboratively,” said Jones, who serves as senior pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C. “I’m excited to be part of the Fellowship. I’m really excited to see what has transpired. Change is happening and it’s good change. It’s not easy, but it’s good. And, I think it’s good because God is with us.”
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.