liFebruary 6, 2017
By Carrie McGuffin
DECATUR, Ga.— The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Missions Council gathered Feb. 2-3 in Decatur, Ga., to hear reports from staff and continue its work providing vision, strategy, education and sustainability to CBF’s mission enterprise.
The second day of the winter meeting began Feb. 3 with a focused time of prayer for all of CBF’s field personnel serving in 30 countries around the world. Meditating over photos of field personnel, council members offered prayers for each ministry and lifted these individuals and their families up in their work to share the love of Christ.
Along with prayers from field personnel, the Missions Council heard updates on finances, church engagement, mission resources as well as a report from CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter.
“Mission is the heart of our movement,” said Porter, celebrating the success of field personnel training that took place November 2016 and January 2017, as well as the work of field personnel honored with impact awards in December for their great dedication to their ministries.
Porter shared that the stories of Global Missions will be featured at the 2017 General Assembly in Atlanta on June 26-30. Attendees will hear from long-time field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks of Romania, as well as from Missions Council Chair Caleb Oladipo, who is professor of Christian Evangelism and Missions at Campbell School of Divinity in Buies Creek, N.C.
The council also heard an update on CBF’s advocacy efforts on behalf of immigrants and refugees from Stephen Reeves, CBF associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy.
“We want to root all of our advocacy efforts in mission,” said Reeves, “in love of neighbor —whether that is down the street or around the world.”
Reeves said that CBF is focusing on responding to the passions of Cooperative Baptists and working to offer resources to equip them for advocacy.
“We want to start with missions, equip the local church, make connections and highlight issues that already have expertise in the Fellowship,” Reeves said. “We want to the best of our abilities to help CBF folks speak out in the most effective ways they can.”
One way to engage Cooperative Baptists in this advocacy work is through Advocacy in Action, a four-day experience in Washington, D.C., dedicated to cultivating a faithful public witness at the intersection of missions and advocacy, giving participants tools to be effective advocates in their communities, Reeves said.
The Council also heard an update from CBF Governing Board member Paul Baxley on the work of the Illumination Project. Baxley, who serves as the senior minister at First Baptist Church in Athens, Ga., is a member of the Illumination Project Committee of the Governing Board. The Illumination Project is a process of discernment and accompaniment involving CBF congregational leaders to build and strengthen unity through cooperation, focusing on illuminating the qualities that have built unity in CBF and identifying processes to maintain and grow unity through cooperation.
Baxley shared an update about the committee’s ongoing work and plans for listening and reflecting sessions to hear and receive the stories of Cooperative Baptists at upcoming CBF state and regional meetings this spring and at the General Assembly in June 2017.
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.