bold faith / COVID-19 / Newsroom

CBF to offer virtual ministry and mission experiences for students during summer

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April 16, 2020

By Aaron Weaver

Student.Dot-Bright BlueDECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced today it will offer undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity for ministry and mission during the summer through virtual placements with Student.Go and Student.Church, CBF’s student missions and congregational internship programs.

CBF will not be sending students to any physical location for face-to-face experiences due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In this new model, CBF will provide a virtual orientation for students May 18-19, and throughout the summer, supervisors will guide the student participants to engage their ministry sites through online interactions with the diverse communities served by their placements. These initiatives will also offer collaborative learning opportunities using a cohort model.

Student.Go and Student.Church leaders Devita Parnell and Taisha Seabolt noted that in previous summers CBF congregations, field personnel and mission partners have been busy with outreach efforts, summer feeding and educational programs, camps, mission trips and Vacation Bible School.

“College and graduate students serving through CBF’s Student.Go and Student.Church programs have played a crucial role in executing these ministries while also growing in their understanding of mission and ministry,” said Parnell, who serves as director of CBF’s Young Baptist Ecosystem.

“As congregations and mission sites are exploring new, bold and transformative models for ministry in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no better time for students to be engaged in imagining and creating a faithful expression of church and mission using their unique gifts, abilities and perspectives,” added Taisha Seabolt, CBF’s Global Missions Student and Training Specialist. “And, students are now, more than ever, asking questions about their future and God’s calling on their lives.”

Student.Go is the student missions program of CBF that provides opportunities for students to serve with CBF field personnel and engagement partners around the world, as they live out the Fellowship’s mission commitments of cultivating beloved community, bearing witness to Jesus Christ and seeking transformational development. Students provide crucial assistance to these ministries and can discover their place within God’s mission to change the world.

Student.Church partners with congregations to host students as summer interns who are interested in a deeper experience of church life or pursuing a call to ministry. The internship offers invaluable opportunities for mentorship, leadership development, spiritual growth, and discernment of calling, while students explore the breadth of congregational ministry through a variety of learning experiences guided by seasoned ministers.

Students who have already participated in the application process with Student.Go and Student.Church will be offered the opportunity to continue with the virtual placement.

Student.Go will not be receiving any new applicants. However, any new student or congregation interested in exploring a virtual experience with Student.Church may apply until April 30 at www.cbf.net/studentdotchurch.

“We are looking for students and congregations who are willing to experiment and innovate alongside us during this season of ministry,” Parnell said. “It will be a different kind of summer experience, but we are confident that God will show up and transform lives in the process.”

Parnell and Seabolt said that no determination has been made regarding an in-person Selah Vie, CBF’s annual end-of-summer retreat held in August for college and graduate students, at which both Student.Go and Student.Church participants also gather for a time of debriefing.

Short-Term Mission Teams suspended through August 1

CBF leaders recently informed partner congregations with scheduled short-term mission engagements alongside CBF field personnel that both domestic and international short-term mission teams were suspended through August 1, 2020. This announcement extends the April 30 suspension date announced in early March.

“As COVID-19 places more and more communities and individuals at risk, CBF seeks to minimize the threat we pose to the communities in which our Global Missions field personnel serve as well as their ministry partners and volunteers,” said CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter and CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley in a letter to affected congregations. “The fluidity of conditions created by this pandemic make planning mission engagements in the near-term nearly impossible.”

CBF Global Missions will determine the viability of teams scheduled beyond August 1 at a later date. For the latest COVID-19 news and updates regarding CBF programs and initiatives, please visit www.cbf.net/covid-19.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has created a resource hub for the benefit of individuals and congregations in these uncertain times. Bold Faith Resources features original and curated resources for children, youth, adults, worship, missions, prayer, spiritual care, Spanish speakers and digital ministry resources for churches. This hub also includes all COVID-19-related news and updates for the Fellowship. Learn more at www.cbf.net/boldfaith

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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.

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