August 27, 2015
By Carrie McGuffin and Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Movement Leadership Team (MLT) of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gathered for a summit this week, Aug. 25-27, to collaborate and share about their unique settings and contexts for ministry.
The MLT, a team comprised of the coordinators of the 18 autonomous CBF state and regional organizations, 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. Joining state coordinators at the summit were their associate coordinators as well as state CBF moderators and moderators-elect.
MLT Convener Terry Maples, who serves as field coordinator for Tennessee CBF, highlighted the group’s four-fold purpose statement adopted last year:
- 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.
“We are going to spend time together reflecting on our identity, purpose and where we are going by the grace of God,” Maples told the group during Tuesday’s opening session. “We’re glad you are here to be part of that conversation.”
The group of 45 leaders from across the Fellowship heard a presentation Tuesday on CBF’s rebranding efforts over the past seven months. Jeff Huett, CBF’s associate coordinator of communications and marketing, and CBF Marketing Manager Candice Young spoke about the process of rebranding and its implementation at the state/regional level.
“The CBF brand has evolved over the last seven months,” Young said. “Through implementing new print materials like the Missions Portfolio, Ministries Portfolio and CBF: 20 Questions, the contents of our brand are inspiring positive commentary about the Fellowship. We are seeking to collaborate with you to provide pieces that give confidence to the people that you reach out to.”
“The use of complementary branding within states and regions,” Huett added, “helps the partners of CBF Global embrace identity as partners within the Fellowship.”
During the second day of the summit, attendees heard from a panel of pastors on Dawnings, CBF’s congregational renewal initiative — a visioning process of prayer, preparation and discovery for congregations in transition and in need of a new breath of life.
The panel was led by CBF Director of Missional Congregations Harry Rowland and CBF Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships Bo Prosser, alongside panelists Greg Smith, pastor of Scott Boulevard Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga.; Starlette McNeill, associate pastor at Village Baptist Church in Bowie, Md.; Stephen Cook, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Memphis, Tenn.; Monty Stallins, pastor of Second Baptist Avenue Church in Rome, Ga.; and Jill Jenkins, recently retired minister to children at Johns Creek Baptist Church in Johns Creek, Ga.
“Dawnings became a process that really came out of the fact that we are in a world that moves so quickly,” said Rowland, as he introduced Dawnings to attendees.
“For many years of pastoral ministry, I would gather leadership together and we would predict and we would plan — we tried to predict how we could be that engaged church. Dawnings moves from this predicting, planning and selling methodology to a renewal process.”
Each panelist shared about his or her experience of going through the Dawnings process, focusing on the ideas of visioning, formation and engagement. Every individual brought to mind different congregational styles and situations, as well as personal contexts that drew them to the Dawnings process and how their congregations are now engaging within their communities after participating in the process.
“Dawnings provided us an awakening to hope of discernment and a reminder that spiritual practices done together intentionally and consistently can create a profound and deep communion with one another and the God that leads us,” Stallins said.
Through this process of listening and praying as a community, churches are seeing the light that God is putting in front of them, finding niches of ministry and seeing the Kingdom of God come to be through engaging in relationship rather than focusing on conventional planning models.
During the summit, the group also heard an update from CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter on the status of the Global Missions strategic planning taking place throughout 2015-16, as well as updates on the 25th Anniversary celebration that will kick off in June 2016. Much of the time included opportunities to fellowship and dialogue with CBF Global staff and chances to connect to those with shared interest and investment in different Fellowship initiatives.
To view photos from the Movement Leadership Team Summit, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHskj78RX6.
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.