By Jay Kieve
Around Easter of 2000, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina ran an ad in newspapers around the state to introduce CBF as Baptists for whom grace is important. I remember that ad for two reasons: I love the tag line, “the new Baptists you’ve always known;” and, my three-year-old son was featured in the photo.
CBF as always been a “family affair” with us. Not only was my son in the ad, but my wife created it as a freelance writer and I was serving as a member of CBFSC’s coordinating council at the time. Our daughter, who was born just before the ad ran, didn’t make the newspaper, but now has attended Passport Camp at least six times and served on mission trips to four different CBF sites.
At 25 years old, CBF is not the “new Baptists you’ve always known” for my children but rather the “only Baptists they’ve ever known.” So when we had the opportunity to contribute to the 25th Anniversary Campaign, my family made a three-year commitment that is financially significant for us. We believe in the grace that laid the foundation for CBF’s birth and we believe in the future toward which Christ’s love compels the Fellowship.
We believe in the importance of the sustainable presence for field personnel so that our children, and others’ children, will see and experience transformational missions. We believe in cultivating healthy churches through prayer-filled and innovative initiatives and partnerships because that is where we want to attend church. We believe in nurturing young Baptists through creative partnerships, scholarships and experiences because the child in the ad is now 19 and his sister is 16.
The decision was quick and easy because know the value to them as individuals, their churches, and CBFSC of well-funded missions, vibrant churches, and engaged laity. Contributing to the 25th Anniversary Campaign is a tangible expression of our CBFSC mission to “nurture spiritual development,” “value innovative and collaborative missions and ministry” and “encourage congregations to thrive.”
For some of us, Cooperative Baptists are “the new Baptists we’ve always known.” For others of us, Cooperative Baptists will be “the only Baptists we’ve ever known.” And now, because of the 25th Anniversary Campaign, Cooperative Baptists will be the missional, healthy and future-oriented Baptists we’d like to know and serve alongside for years to come.
Jay Kieve serves as the coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of South Carolina. Join Jay and other churches and individuals from across the Fellowship in celebrating 25 years of CBF October 16-23. During this week, Fellowship churches and individuals will set aside intentional times of celebration to honor CBF’s 25th Anniversary. Through special worship services, mission projects, Bible studies, state and regional gatherings and other special events, this CBF Celebration Week will be an opportunity for Cooperative Baptists across the country and around the world to thank God for the past 25 years and look forward to our future as a Fellowship. Resources are available at www.cbf.net/cbf25.