By Lawrence Powers
Twenty five years ago, as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was being formed, I was a curious four year old that cared more about dressing up like Spiderman than I did about anything church-related.
It has been said that my generation is one that only supports those organizations where we can see movement. We want to know that our investment, whether it is through time or financial resources, is going directly to the places its needed most.
Honestly, this is the lens through which I scrutinized CBF as I considered giving to the 25th Anniversary Campaign. I, after-all, was not a charter member of this fellowship- I’ve really only been a part of CBF for just over six years. I have no memories of relatives participating in CBF ministry or of a CBF congregation where I grew to understand the things of faith. Half a decade ago CBF was nothing more to me than three letters I’d see in the halls of my Divinity School.
With all of this being true why, then, do I support CBF? Why do I give money that is often scarce and time that is even less available?
I support CBF because ‘Baptist’ isn’t just a tagline for CBF, it’s at the core of who we are. CBF is unapologetically Baptist and holds to the historic freedoms that have defined what it means to be a part of this great tradition since its earliest moments in 17th century England.
I support CBF because our mission to build the Kingdom of God is seen around the world as bridges are built, restoration is discovered, and the beloved community of God is empowered in our call, no matter who we are or where we’re from.
I support CBF because of CBF’s commitment to the local church. During my time as a congregational minister, it has been amazing to see the ways that CBF journeys alongside local congregations as our Fellowship stares down a message of a dying Church and proclaims there is immeasurably more ahead.
I support CBF because of CBF’s commitment to young Baptists through internships, scholarships, networking, and more. CBF is not a fellowship that proclaims young Baptists should wait our turn to lead, ours is a fellowship that says, “the time is now and you are a critical component to the work of God’s kingdom in the world.”
I support CBF because our fellowship is one that supports me. I can honestly say that I may not be in ministry today if it were not for CBF’s role in my life. This fellowship has surrounded me with support, empowered me, and has given me the room to be, not just a minister, but a minister called by God.
I support CBF because my support, no matter how large or small, ensures that generations of people, some who are just children at this point, will be able to find their own place in this fellowship. I support CBF because I can’t imagine a world where its important voice is not proclaiming justice, hope, grace, and forgiveness. I support CBF because the ministry being done across the world, and the people that are doing it, are too important to see fade away.
Whether you’re a 25 year veteran of the Fellowship, or one who is younger than the whole movement, know that your support is vital, not just to CBF, but to those places and lives in the world where our fellowship is providing restoration and hope.
For 25 years of being the beloved CBF community of Christ, and for the next 25 to come, I give thanks.
Rev. Lawrence Powers was a member of the 2014-2016 CBF Fellows cohort. He currently serves as the Triangle Area Cooperative Baptist Student Fellowship Campus Minister for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina. Join Lawrence Powers and other churches and individuals from across the Fellowship in celebrating 25 years of CBF and looking forward to our future as a Fellowship. Resources are available at www.cbf.net/cbf25.