By Xiomara Reyboras-Ortiz
Many things happen when you attend the CBF General Assembly.
If it is your first time and you are new in the Fellowship, you will be exposed to a new and challenging language; unknown to many and mastered by few. You will be learning or you will be confused by the use of MLT (Missions Leadership Team), PLG (Peer Learning Group) BWIM (Baptist Women in Ministry), CBB (Church Benefits Board), TFH (Together for Hope), TML (Touching Miami with Love), OGM (Offering for Global Missions) OMG… There are so many!
Don’t let this discourage you, this is just the easy way to refer to those teams and people that do the hard and fantastic work so we can all be proud to be CBF. Also remember, you are new at this and for many of us who have been around a long time, this language is still a work in progress.
When you attend Assembly you will learn that in this Fellowship, heroes come in all sizes, colors, nationalities, cultures, genders, ages and even religious backgrounds. These heroes are the ones that devote a season of their life to do God’s work around your neighborhood, state, country and world, and as their only super power they have our prayer, emotional and financial support. When you attend Assembly you will discover how powerful you are and how much you are capable of doing by joining and obeying God’s calling to be His hands and feet. You will see that you too are a hero and have the power to be in places, doing fantastic things for others and changing their reality…from the comfort of your home.
When you attend Assembly you will be given the fantastic opportunity to celebrate and be thankful for all we have and how we can impact lives with it.
When you attend Assembly you will be challenged in many ways. You will be challenged to do more and do better, to love more and love better. You will be challenged by God’s Word every time the Fellowship gathers to Worship.
When you attend Assembly, you will meet people — hundreds of people — all beautiful and committed to do Kingdom work in creative and innovative ways; people that will become friends and some of them, life and journey companions. When you attend Assembly, your heart will be filled with hope for the Church as you listen to students and seminarians preach or speak.
When you attend Assembly, you will have the blessing to witness how business sessions, workshops and meetings are conducted with excellence and, most importantly, with compassion.
When attending Assembly, you will learn that titles before a name don’t make a person more relevant, it don’t grant privileges or special treatment. In CBF our badges, with only our name, will remind us that we are ONE FELLOWSHIP — all important, all welcome, all Familia.
When you attend Assembly, there are four things you will do every day. First, you will smile a lot; in elevators and every place where there is a Cooperative Baptist. Second, you will eat a lot, and hopefully this will happen in one of the breakfasts or lunches hosted by one of the organizations because they bring amazing speakers and preachers. Third, you will have fun — lots of fun. It could be at the Missions Market, enjoying the beautiful work and handcrafts from around the world, learning about all the vendors that participate or just meeting with friends around tables. Fourth, you will see that we are “that kind of Baptist” — those that spend hours enjoying each other’s company after a long day of work.
When you attend Assembly, you will participate in the most wonderful opportunity: laying hands over new church planters, chaplains and field personnel as they are commissioned to serve with the blessing and prayers of the Fellowship.
When you attend Assembly, you will be proud of being part of this “denomi-network,” and when you leave and say goodbye to old and new friends, you will be energized, committed and prepared to keep doing the job. Most importantly, when you attend Assembly and you them return to your mission field, you will do it knowing that we are where we need to be, doing what we need to do.
Until next Assembly, see you in Dallas in 2018!
Xiomara Reyboras-Ortiz serves as a certified community health worker and minister at Primera Iglesia Bautista de Deltona in Deltona, Fla.