By Jeff Huett
During some of Joshua Breazeale’s most formative years in ministry, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been there for him. Now his support for CBF and for helping to make sure others have those same opportunities has come full circle.
Breazeale, minister of education and children at Oakmont Baptist Church in Greenville, N.C., points to his time at Campbell University School of Divinity and his attendance at one of CBF’s annual Church Works conferences as his first connections with the Fellowship.
Campbell is one of CBF’s 15 partner theological education schools. That close connection, along with the volunteer opportunities provided by CBF of North Carolina in his divinity school years, attending Church Works for the first time (and nearly every year since) and eventually being chosen to participate in the first cohort of the CBF Fellows program have made quite an impact on him.
Church Works, an annual three-day event for all practitioners of education and spiritual formation in the congregational setting, creates space for renewal in ministry through practices of creativity, community and worship. The CBF Fellows program assists young Baptist clergy in their “first-call” in making a healthy transition from seminary into congregational ministry.
“As CBF dreams about the future and continues to do the work God has set before us, there are many like me who will answer the call to serve in full-time congregational ministry,” Breazeale said.
“Financial contributions I make will help ensure that many others will be blessed by CBF’s commitment to support and encourage young CBF leaders just like me.”
The CBF Fellows experience had an especially profound impact that continues to show itself.
“I learned so much about myself and how to be a better minister during those two years,” Breazeale said. “The coaching I received during the Fellows experience was one of the richest blessings during those two years. Many of the tools I gained throughout that process I continue to use on a regular basis in my ministry setting.
“The biggest surprise was the deep, life-long friendships that I developed with my fellow cohort members. We stay in regular contact with each other and often share struggles and successes we each face along our various journeys.”
Breazeale said the friendships he has developed with people in CBF life and the many ways for churches to connect with each other and to share resources have kept him involved with CBF. Now, he hopes his family’s pledge to CBF’s 25th Anniversary campaign helps that same ministry of connection into the future.
“The CBF Fellows experience enriched my life in so many different ways,” he said. “It’s my prayer that my pledge to the Campaign will be a small part of being a blessing to someone else who will have the opportunity for an experience like the Fellows program. CBF’s commitment to invest in young people like me will be a blessing to CBF and will enrich the Fellowship in countless ways for many years.”
Ensuring financial support for the initiatives that have been instrumental to Breazeale and to so many others are part of CBF’s 25th Anniversary Endowment Campaign.
Born out of our love of Christ and each other, CBF’s 25th Anniversary Campaign is a fundraising effort that engages all of CBF, including individuals, churches and partners.
The Campaign aims to raise $12 million by June 2017, and it focuses on the long-lasting benefits of increasing CBF’s endowments to support three goals that have been priorities throughout the Fellowship’s 25-year history: sustaining the long-term presence of field personnel ($6 million), forming healthy churches ($4 million) and nurturing young Baptists ($2 million). The Campaign will also provide generous grants to CBF states and regions to support their ministries in these three areas.
Jeff Huett is the CBF Associate Coordinator of Communications and Advancement. For more information on how your congregation can be a part of CBF’s 25th Anniversary Campaign, including creative ways your church can be recognized for its leadership in the Campaign, contact Jeff Huett at 770-220-1600 or firstname.lastname@example.org.