March 16, 2017
By Carrie McGuffin
DECATUR, Ga.—To inspire and resource the work of missions leaders, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has launched a new network to share best practices and encourage greater collaboration around mission engagement near and far.
The Mission Leaders Network will be an interactive community of individuals, organizations and global churches united and inspired by CBF’s mission commitments to create beloved community, bear witness to Jesus Christ and seek transformational development.
The network seeks to connect ministers of missions, lay leaders, state and regional associate coordinators, CBF Missions Council members, missions groups and committees, mission animators from across the Fellowship. This connection will take place through online engagement via Facebook, creating community around best mission practices, fostering cultures of mission engagement in congregations, coordinating endeavors and resources and birthing specific networks around topics and field teams. Leaders will find space for open dialogue on topics of mission and opportunities to engage in webinars and hear featured speakers.
CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter expressed her excitement for the new network of shared connection, noting that it will offer an additional space for leaders to partner together in global engagement in the Fellowship.
“Every church in CBF life is walking hand in hand with new believers, discipled Christians and vibrant ministry across the world — this is a gift,” Paynter said. “Planning mission engagement for a congregation is more than an annual trip or event. Mission Leaders Network is a home for church leaders and other practical dreamers who want to be great global partners by building mission identity in the congregation and sharing the love of Christ through sustained, deep, caring human connections — one person, one church, one moment at a time.”
CBF Global Missions Church Engagement Manager Ryan Clark will serve as facilitator for the network. Clark said he looks forward to the possibilities the network offers for resource sharing and church connection.
“The Fellowship has hundreds of churches involved in beautiful and creative mission engagements all around the world,” Clark said. “This network will connect the great work that churches are already doing as well as help churches get started with important ministries near and far. I’m excited that through this network more people who love missions will get to be involved the outstanding work our field personnel and churches are doing. ”
The Mission Leaders Network is envisioned as a “mother” network to birth other CBF-related mission networks based around specific mission practices and CBF field personnel teams.
Mark Wingfield, associate pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and CBF Missions Council member, pointed to the need for a network of mission leaders.
“Through the recent work of the renewal of CBF Global Missions, our Missions Council realized the many people across CBF who are passionate about missions often don’t have easy ways to know each other or to connect with each other,” Wingfield said. “And yet we have so much in common and so much to learn by sharing our stories and our questions. The Missions Leaders Network is a first step to connect the dots and help us build a relational foundation for the cause of missions.”
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.