By Lauren McDuffie
I grew up in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. I became a person of faith and learned what church is all about in a CBF congregation. I gained my first ministerial experience in the Collegiate Congregational Internship program (now Student.Church). I have been supported in my path to my first position on a pastoral staff by peers, mentors and friends from throughout my life in the Fellowship.
As someone who attended an ecumenical seminary, CBF is not the only faith community that has influenced my development as a minister, but CBF is my family and my foundation.
These days, I find myself thinking frequently about ways that I can build upon that foundation. For my part, since CBF has supported me as a young Baptist following a call to ministry, I want that opportunity to be available for others. I hope to see those opportunities expanded for others. This compels me to give back in honor of those who have formed me, and to be part of the future that is taking shape as we speak.
The 25th anniversary has been a unique opportunity to take stock of where we’ve been, and where we’re going…and I want to be part of that conversation.
The goal of the Lenten Giving Challenge for Young Baptists is to contribute $15,000 to the CBF 25th Anniversary Campaign. The campaign seeks to sustain the future of the CBF in three areas: sustaining global missions, forming healthy churches, and nurturing young Baptists. I hope that we as young Baptists who have been shaped by the Fellowship can find ways to commit not just to the specific financial goal of this campaign but also the broader invitation to give of ourselves to this Fellowship that has formed us.
Giving to the CBF financially isn’t just, for me, about “paying back” any financial support that I’ve received in the past. I support CBF financially, in whatever small ways I am able, because I believe in what the CBF already does to support global missions and local churches and young Baptists, and because I want to be part of creating and sustaining growth in all those areas. I show up for every opportunity possible to let my voice be heard for the exact same reason.
I’m no longer a little kid running around the resource fair at General Assembly, looking for free bookmarks from publishers and pens from seminaries. (Okay, I’ll tell the truth, I do still stock my office with those pens, but that’s beside the point.) I am now a minister myself, ready to add my voice to the work of this Fellowship. Young Baptists, we are not just the future of the CBF, we are the present. And I take this Lenten Challenge as an opportunity to recommit to this community.
The first 25 years contributed significantly to making me who I am as a person and as a pastor…and so I am committed to staying at this table, to be an active part of what the next 25 years will look like.
We challenge you to join us in giving sacrificially and considering giving to the Fellowship as spiritual practice this Lenten Season. If you would like to join us in this challenge, visit www.cbf.net/young-baptist-lenten-challenge.