For congregations to thrive and Christ’s mission among us to flourish, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has entered a season of discovering where God would focus our work together. Take CBF’s online survey about your church and your personal ministry aspirations before Feb. 2.
This devotional is part of a series in January that tells stories of “Bold Faith” written by CBF field personnel and members of a team composed of clergy and laity from across the Fellowship who are leading of process of prayerful discovery that will result in a faithful response. Find out more about this process called Toward Bold Faithfulness.
By Megan Turner Doud
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is at work—work with one another, with God, the Church and the world.
God’s mission can take you to different places—places you have been before and some that are new; some you are ready for and some you may not seem ready for.
New is hard because it means that the past might be forgotten. As partners of CBF, let’s give thanks to where CBF has been and be grateful; but let us move on toward a place where we are openly listening from where God has called us, to that place God is now calling us.
In Philippians 3:12-14, we see Paul is at work with the church. For Paul, bold faith was running toward the goal. His goal was to be with Christ in the resurrection.
What if that was one of your goals? Shouldn’t that be what the calling is, for yourself, for the church, and for this Fellowship? Being a Christian you are called by faith from God in Jesus Christ, a call which has its fulfillment through the presence of God. We need to celebrate what needs to be celebrated, but move toward what God’s holy aspirations are for CBF in writing this new chapter.
What would it look like if you just sat still and listened? Too often we do not pause long enough to listen, long enough to hear. I wonder what would happen if that should change. Indeed, I wonder what we would hear if we were even half as open as Paul was in Acts where he receives a vision of a man in Macedonia calling him and so he and Silas simply go.
Three years ago, Hurricane Matthew hit the South Carolina coast. I was sitting at the house of a church member whose daughter had just gotten home from the College of Charleston.
While sitting there, I came to the realization that a hurricane was hitting my state. I felt a tug at my heart that we needed to do something.
I had a Student Ministry Fall Retreat on the schedule for the following weekend. Now, all I wanted to do was go participate in relief work with my students instead of going to a camp for the weekend. However, with this being my first Fall Retreat with this group, I hesitated even dreaming of changing what was already planned. But 10 minutes later I had a call from a parent who had the same idea weighing on her heart. So, with her support, and the support of my church staff, I took this idea to the parents of my students. After our meeting, they all agreed this was an opportunity that God put in front of us, and we needed to respond.
I do not think I would have received such a vision if I did not open my eyes, ears and heart, to see and hear God calling.
You are busy; we all are.
There are a thousand ways you can spend your day. However, in the midst of our busyness, what would it mean if we simply wondered how God is speaking through everything in our lives. You might find yourself like Paul, called to Macedonia. What would it look like for you to hear a calling from God and simply just go?
Paul was open to seeing the vision God offered to him. I wonder how you might be open in this way and how we all might be open like Paul. What would the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship look like if all of us heard God’s call and answered?
Megan Turner Dowd serves as the Minister for Students and Missions at Aiken’s First Baptist Church in Aiken, S.C., as well as a member of the CBF Ministries Council and part of the Discovery Team for Toward Bold Faithfulness. You can help the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship hear more clearly as we look to the future by taking CBF’s online survey today at www.cbf.net/survey.