September 30, 2016
By Aaron Weaver
DECATUR, Ga. — An unapologetic commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, love of the church and global focus are and have always been three cornerstones of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter told the CBF Governing Board during the board’s Sept. 29-30 fall meeting.
“We have worked hard for three years to come to a place of fruition,” Paynter said. “[We are] Christ-centered and unapologetic in our commitment to the centrality of the Lordship of Christ, unapologetic in our global focus and unapologetic in our love of the church. Between those three cornerstones, we are speaking to the best of our ability and using these gifts toward the Kingdom of God.”
Paynter highlighted the work of the CBF staff over the past year and noted several successes, including a new strategic plan for CBF Global Missions, a creative and thriving Young Baptist Ecosystem and a “brilliant integration” of CBF Ministries. She emphasized that the Fellowship is equipped in its 25th anniversary year as it looks toward the future.
“We go forth, and here we are in this particular time and particular moment — we are equipped,” Paynter said.
Following the example of Christ
The fall meeting of the CBF Governing Board opened Thursday with a devotional led by CBF Moderator Doug Dortch, who focused on the concepts of infinity and journey.
“While we really don’t know everything that’s ahead for us, we know that too much is at stake to stay where we are,” Dortch said. “When we think about where we’re trying to go — the place to which we’re trying to get, a lot of times we may not understand how best to get there or comprehend everything we need to keep moving in that direction, but if we keep walking, illumination comes to us along the way and we progress in the direction that we sense we ought to be going.”
As the Fellowship faces the future, Dortch added, the Governing Board should reflect on the old popular question, “What would Jesus do?” as they walk alongside the organization, and be directed through Christ’s example.
“As we walk, following the example of Christ, we come to experience out of infinity, out of the future, Jesus walking toward us to walk with us and work through us,” Dortch said.
Jeff Huett, CBF’s associate coordinator of communications and advancement, offered an update on the progress of the Fellowship’s 25th Anniversary Campaign, highlighting that $9.2 million has been given or pledged to the $12-million endowment campaign. Huett also shared some of the exciting ways that individuals and churches are showing their support.
“We have momentum in the campaign coming out of the General Assembly,” Huett said.
He added that this momentum drives the campaign forward and points toward CBF Celebration Week, scheduled for October 16-23. During this week, churches and individuals are encouraged to celebrate 25 years of CBF through special worship services, Wednesday night activities and Sunday school emphases. Learn more about the 25th Anniversary Campaign and download resources for CBF Celebration Week at www.cbf.net/cbf25.
The board also heard reports from CBF Global Missions and CBF Ministries staff, including updates on the Ministerial Excellence Initiative, advocacy efforts to combat predatory lending, Together for Hope and about upcoming events and retreats.
Devita Parnell, who leads CBF’s Young Baptist Ecosystem, shared that nearly 1,000 young Baptists have been involved in events and initiatives of the ecosystem within the past year and anticipated new initiatives for 2017, including an emphasis on laity through the Young Adult Network and the upcoming mission immersion experience, Pivot Bahamas.
Ron Fairley, CBF’s associate coordinator of projects and services, provided an update on the efforts of CBF Disaster Response in the aftermath of the August floods in Baton Rouge, La. With a long-term response desperately needed, Fairley highlighted local partnerships forming between CBF, CBF of Louisiana and the National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc. to focus on an area of Baton Rouge to create the greatest impact. In September, these local partners came together with representatives from CBF to plan their work together in this concentrated area, sharing ideas about how to make the affected population whole again.
“We are looking to where that partnership will lead us,” Fairley said. “No one lost sight of being the presence of Christ in this place.”
See photos from the meeting 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.