By Aaron Weaver and Carrie McGuffin
DALLAS — “We cannot be the organization we envision for the future without our infrastructure catching up to our dreams,” Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter told the CBF Governing Board at its June 16 meeting in Dallas prior to the 2015 CBF General Assembly.
Paynter emphasized that CBF is working to fulfill its organizational objectives through a team approach. Highlighting the work of the CBF Leadership Team, Paynter emphasized the staff’s successes in forming together around Global Missions, Ministries, Advancement and Organizational Relationships.
She described the life breathed into CBF Ministries within the last six months as “a B-12 shot to Ministries.” Through new staffing, realignment and marketing, CBF Ministries is reaching Cooperative Baptist leaders and churches through 122 Peer Learning Groups, Reference and Referral placement ministry and a fuller commitment to more than 650 active CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors, Paynter said.
For CBF Global Missions, the challenge is to create the future of CBF’s mission enterprise in a new missionary situation, she said, praising the work of the strategic planning that has already taken place to clarify CBF’s mission distinctives under the leadership of CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter, CBF Missions Council Chair Mike Oliver and CBF Governing Board member Paul Baxley, who also serves as chair of the ad hoc Committee on Global Missions Structures and Staffing (CGMSS).
“Cultivating beloved community, bearing witness to Jesus Christ, seeking transformational development — these work at a congregational level, at a state and regional level and they work at a global level,” Paynter said, speaking to the importance of these distinctives through stories of CBF field personnel serving around the globe.
To ensure that the fulfillment of these organizational objectives can be successful, Paynter spoke to the importance of the changes that have been made within the infrastructure of CBF — from newly-hired employees to new ways of expense reporting and new ways of engaging with Cooperative Baptists.
“These are not the sexy topics of CBF life, yet they are crucial to the work that we are doing,” Paynter said.
With an evolving infrastructure and dedicated staff and Governance bodies, CBF is reaching out, doing more and clarifying the ways that we form together both as an organization and with other organizations. Through a renewed covenant relationship with each CBF state and regional organization, the exploration of deeper partnerships with the Baptist World Alliance and partner theological institutions and calling on partners to work together with CBF to engage in initiatives that encourage healthy congregations, CBF will have a bright future, Paynter said.
During the meeting, the Governing Board approved a memorandum of understanding between CBF Global and many CBF state and regional organizations including Alabama CBF, CBF of Arkansas, CBF of Georgia, CBF Heartland, CBF of Louisiana, CBF of North Carolina, North Central CBF, Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast, CBF of South Carolina, Tennessee CBF, CBF West, CBF Mid-Atlantic and Florida CBF. The Governing Board accepted the Covenant of Missional Collaboration of the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship with CBF in lieu of a MOU, accepted CBF of Mississippi’s agreement in lieu of a MOU and accepted the annual partnership agreement for CBF of Texas and CBF of Virginia in lieu of a new memorandum.
The adoption of these MOUs and agreements comes following a year-long internal audit process by CBF Partnerships of the relationships, files, and financial documents associated with all of CBF’s partnering organizations. Much of this work has been in response to the recommendations of the 2012 Task Force and motions of the CBF Governing Board. Currently, there are more than 66 organizations that engage with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in a collaborative way. Within these groups are 18 state and regional organizations, 15 partner theological schools and host of long-standing groups that have been a part of the Fellowship landscape for decades.
These MOUs adopted by the Governing Board come following an adopted motion during the January 22 meeting of the Board where the Networking Committee proposed a motion requiring all CBF state and regional organizations to have in place a written and approved MOU affirming their relationship with CBF Global.
The Governing Board also honored its members who are concluding their terms of service at the 2015 CBF General Assembly. CBF Moderator Kasey Jones and CBF Past Moderator Bill McConnell presented special CBF engraved bookends to Governing Board members Patricia Wilson, Joy Yee and Wayne Patterson. Officers rotating off the Governing Board also recognized included CBF Recorder Jason Coker and McConnell.
“I am so grateful for your wisdom and your participation and your press and push to do all things with excellence and to stretch us in our conversation,” McConnell told Coker. “Jason [Coker] is an idealist, he’s a pusher, he’s a great man and I’m going to miss him.”
Jones thanked McConnell for his years of service as CBF Moderator-Elect, Moderator and, in the past year, as Past Moderator.
“I want to give you a personal thank you,” Jones said. “Thank you for all that you have done, for the quiet support, public support and a shoulder to lean on.”
Jones was also recognized for concluding her term as CBF Moderator. Paynter noted that Jones will continue to serve on the Governing Board in the role of Past Moderator in 2015-16, and will join Paynter and other CBF leaders in July as representatives of the Fellowship at the Baptist World Alliance World Congress in Durban, South Africa.
To keep up with news, photos and videos from the 2015 CBF General Assembly in Dallas, Texas, and for information on watching the online livestream of the evening June 17-19 worship and commissioning services of Assembly, please visit www.cbf.net/Dallas2015.
CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry efforts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.