September 12, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — The Ministries Council of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship kicked-off the first day of its two-day fall gathering Monday with updates from CBF Ministries staff as well as time to learn about the Fellowship’s 25th Anniversary Campaign and the upcoming CBF Celebration Week slated for October 16-23.
A 20-member elected advisory council to the CBF Governing Board, the Ministries Council collaborates with individuals from throughout CBF to identify, develop and depl0y the assets of the Fellowship and to empower shared ministry networks.
Griff Martin, chair of the Ministries Council and senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Austin, Texas, emphasized that the role of the council is to gather together to talk about their collective great love for the local church.
“We sense that God is doing something big and new in the church right now, and we want to be here to bear witness to this birth and to experience what God is doing anew,” Martin said. “Our priority action groups look at what work we can do to support local churches, better equip ministers and ministries, grow and nurture young Baptists and cultivate partnerships and advocacy.”
Martin said that in 2016-17 the council will be focusing on issues of continued education for clergy and laity, renewing and cultivating effective partnerships, developing pastoral resources for financial literacy as well as continuing to grow the Young Baptist Ecosystem.
Following a welcome from Martin, council members received updates from CBF Ministries staff about ongoing initiatives and other ministries including Peer Learning Groups, Dawnings — the Fellowship’s intentional process for congregational renewal, the Sabbatical Initiative, New Church Starts Initiative, Together for Hope, and ChurchWorks and Leading Women — two upcoming conferences scheduled respectively for February 20-22 at Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla., and April 26-28 at First Baptist Church of Knoxville, Tenn.
The council also heard an update on the work of CBF Advocacy on behalf of payday and auto-title lending reform. Stephen Reeves, CBF’s associate coordinator for partnerships and advocacy, encouraged Cooperative Baptists to take part in the comment process of the Consumer Financial Protection Process and advocate for a strong rule to effectively regulate the short-term loan industry characterized by excessive and usurious interest rates and fees.
“This is an incredibly important opportunity for national reform,” Reeves said. He noted that the well-funded payday loan industry is working diligently to overwhelm the bureau with as many as 1 million comments in support of these predatory financial products that trap thousands in debt each year.
“We need to counter the industry,” Reeves emphasized.
The deadline for leaving comments is October 7, Reeves said. Comments can be made at Faith for Just Lending.
Josh Speight, CBF’s Missional Congregations Resources Manager, reported that the CBF Fellows program just launched its next two-year cohort to assist young clergy to thrive in their first full-time ministry position. Sixteen ministers from 16 CBF congregations met recently in Decatur, Ga., for a time of training and fellowship.
Bo Prosser also spoke about the ongoing progress of the Ministerial Excellence Initiative — an initiative made possible by the Lilly Endowment — which seeks to provide financial counseling and debt relief to pastoral leaders facing economic challenges. The council also heard from Gerry Hutchinson, CBF’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling endorser, who shared about highlights from 2016, most notably the Fellowship reaching the milestone of its 1,000 endorsed chaplain — Erin Lysse, a chaplaincy resident at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Movement Leadership Team
The Movement Leadership Team (MLT) of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship will hold its fall meeting, September 13-15, also at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., adjacent to the CBF headquarters. The MLT — a team comprised of the coordinators of the 18 CBF state and regional organizations, CBF coordinators as well as the CBF moderator — gathers three to four times per year to promote effective communication throughout the Fellowship, cast vision and direction for CBF, share information and learn from one another.
The three-day gathering will feature conversations with CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter and will include updates from CBF staff about CBF Disaster Response’s flood relief efforts in Louisiana and on initiatives such as the 25th Anniversary Campaign, developments in CBF Church Benefits, Offering for Global Missions 2016-2017 campaign, and the Clergy Sexual Misconduct Work.
Other sessions will include roundtable discussions on congregational and institutional challenges, vision casting, and presentations on upcoming CBF conferences and events, such as the aforementioned Leading Women and ChurchWorks conferences in early 2017 as well as Pivot Bahamas on February 16-20, a learning immersion experience for young adults that include six studies exploring God’s mission in the world ahead of 4.5 days of Caribbean cultural acquisition and reflection on Abaco Island.
Learn more about the Movement Leadership Team here.
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.