General CBF

CBF commissions largest and most diverse group of church starters to date


June 20, 2016

By Carrie McGuffin

0001 - Copy0001GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will commission its largest and most diverse group of church starters June 24 during the evening worship service at the 2016 General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.

This group of eight new church starters is the largest and most distinct class in the 25-year history of the Fellowship, and the diversity of these starters’ contexts, approaches, ethnicities and gender reflects the aspirational attributes of CBF — striving to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic and global, raising the bar on excellence and committed to diversity.

0002 - Copy (2)0002 - CopyThese new church starters are expanding into new territories, practicing new ways of being the church and engaging a changing culture. Representing five of the Fellowship’s states and regions, the following church starters are beginning their journey alongside CBF: Asdrubal Forte, Sunrise Church, Miami, Fla.; Russell Jones, Mosaic Fellowship, Belton, Texas; Christopher Jones, Restoring Hope Fellowship, Carrollton, Texas; Ron McCaskill, Christ Church Cairo, Cairo, Ga.; Dustin Payne, The Forum Christian Church, Houston, Texas; Carrie Tuning, Hope Christian Fellowship Church, Roanoke Rapids, N.C.; Wayne Weathers, Vision of Hope Baptist Church, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Kennard Weever, Innovation Park Church, Lawrenceville, Ga.

0002.jpg0003 - Copy (2).jpgEach church starter will take part in a covenant signing ceremony with CBF and their respective CBF state/regional organization on Thursday afternoon. As part of this covenant, the new church starters will receive financial and spiritual support as well as two years of coaching through CBF. This covenant signing ceremony concludes an extensive process for the church starters which included a period of discernment and participation in a cohort alongside other prospective church starters.

Andy Hale, who leads CBF’s New Church Starts Initiative and is also a CBF church starter, expressed his gratitude for the Fellowship’s emphasis on church starting and his appreciation for this new class.

0003 - Copy0003“I am so humbly grateful for the support and prominence CBF is placing on church starting,” Hale said. “It is wonderful to see that the missional DNA of our Fellowship pours out of our established churches and pours into starting new faith communities. In turn this is an excellent return on investment as our church starters are leading the way in innovative approaches to church and fresh ways of engaging the emerging culture.

“This class of church starters is brilliant. They inspire me to build a stronger network, cast a wide net for future church starters and personally grow as a church starter myself. I hope that their stories will inspire the entire Fellowship.”

To keep up with news, photos and videos from the 2016 CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., visit


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.

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