By Jeff Huett
DECATUR, Ga. – Today at its virtual General Assembly, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship launched into the second phase of its journey Toward Bold Faithfulness by reporting to participants on the findings of the prayerful Discovery process and transitioning into the process of faithful response.
CBF Moderator Kyle Reese and CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley led the Fellowship in that transition during Friday’s plenary session. The CBF Governing Board and Baxley began the work of Toward Bold Faithfulness in October 2019.
As part of the Toward Bold Faithfulness initiative, a Discovery Team representing the breadth of CBF life spent more than six months leading CBF through a season of discovering where God would have the Fellowship focus its energy, so that congregations can thrive and Christ’s mission can flourish.
The Discovery Team led a process to identify the most powerful gifts available to congregations and the larger Fellowship as well as reveal the most urgent needs facing congregations, communities, the Fellowship and the world. Its findings are available here.
The Discovery process displayed how the Fellowship is being called as it enters its fourth decade. The Response process will make sure the Fellowship is organized in the best possible way to live out that calling and is designed to identify ways to make sure that the Fellowship fully utilizes its gifts to address these critical needs in congregations, communities, across the Fellowship and beyond.
The Fellowship’s journey Toward Bold Faithfulness has been informed by the Acts 16 account of a new calling the Apostle Paul and his companions received as they set out on his second missionary journey. First, they heard a calling to cross over to Europe, and then they reorganized their lives to cross over and be faithful to that calling.
CBF Moderator Kyle Reese has appointed the following individuals to serve on the Collaborative Response Team:
- Rick Bennett, coordinator, CBF Tennessee; convener, Movement Leadership Team
- Matt Cook, assistant director, Center for Healthy Churches; former CBF Moderator
- Susan Crumpler, co-coordinator, CBF North Central Region
- Juan Garcia, member, Theological Education Commission; CBF Governing Board nominee; pastor, Primera Iglesia Bautista de Newport News, Va.
- Larry Hovis, executive coordinator, CBF North Carolina; member of 2012 CBF Task Force
- Lauren McDuffie, member, CBF Nominating Committee; associate pastor, First Baptist Church Morehead, Ky.
- Carol McEntyre, CBF Moderator-Elect; co-chair, CBF Discovery Team; pastor, First Baptist Church Columbia, Mo.
- Heather Mustain, member, CBF Missions Council; associate pastor, Wilshire Baptist Church, Dallas, Texas
- Charles Qualls, member, CBF Ministries Council; pastor, Franklin Baptist Church, Franklin, Va.
- Jeff Roberts, member, CBF Governing Board; pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C.
- Amanda Tyler, Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee, Washington, D.C.
- Patricia Wilson, nominee, CBF Moderator-Elect (2020-2021); professor of law, Baylor Law School
The team will be co-chaired by Kyle Reese and Paul Baxley and has been charged to prepare a recommendation for the CBF Governing Board to implement the findings of the Discovery process by answering these questions:
- How do the powerful gifts of our congregations and our Fellowship equip us to meet the most urgent needs of our congregations, communities, the Fellowship and the world?
- Where do the most powerful gifts reside to address the most urgent needs? (In other words, what work in CBF life is best suited for states and regions? For partners? For CBF Global?)
- What is required to sustain an ongoing culture of dynamic collaboration in CBF life?
- How can we attain a financial model for CBF life that seeks the thriving of congregations and our CBF community most generously defined?
At the beginning of the Response process, leaders across CBF life are being invited to offer perspective and input regarding these questions. As the response work unfolds, additional feedback will be sought.
The Collaborative Response Team will bring a report and recommendations to the CBF Governing Board at its fall meeting October 1-2.
Baxley said CBF enters the Collaborative Response phase of Toward Bold Faithfulness held in the conviction that the Fellowship has heard a significant calling through the Discovery process and with hope about CBF’s present and future.
“The calling we have received is more than any one entity in the CBF community can address on our own,” Baxley said. “We can only use the powerful gifts of our congregations and our Fellowship to address the urgent needs of our churches, our Fellowship and our world if we practice dynamic collaboration. Just as the deepest needs of our time are undeniably inter-related, so our faithful response must be interconnected and collaborative.
“Our Fellowship is blessed with a network of state and regional organizations, partners, exceptional staff in Decatur and field personnel around the world, and congregations uniquely gifted for faithfulness. If we offer our gifts to each other more generously and communicate with one another more intentionally, we will find that the Holy Spirit has given us more than we need to do all we are called to do.”
CBF Moderator Kyle Reese expressed appreciation for the Collaborative Response Team members.
“We need to match the intentionality of the Discovery process with a high degree of intentionality for the response,” Reese said. “We’ve appointed a group of leaders from large swath of CBF life including MLT members, partners and a few members of the Toward Bold Faithfulness team. I am grateful for each of the Discovery Team. I’m grateful they’ve said yes and grateful for their love of the Fellowship.”
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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