Mark Wingfield, executive director of Baptist News Global, published the following article featuring an interview with CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley regarding the upcoming Oct. 1-2 meeting of the CBF Governing Board. Read an excerpt below via BNG:
When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Governing Board convenes tomorrow and Friday, its decisions could reshape the organization more than at any other time in its 30-year history.
Those decisions include both financial and structural changes made in response to a recent strategic planning initiative and facing the reality of a financial rightsizing years in the making.
In an interview with BNG, Paul Baxley, CBF executive coordinator, laid out a broad outline of issues the Governing Board will address Oct. 1 and 2. He anticipates the board will adopt a budget that calls for up to $2 million less in spending than the current $16 million budget — reductions that most significantly will be made through personnel changes.
Toward Bold Faithfulness
The financial changes have not arisen in a vacuum, however. Last year, Baxley initiated a strategic planning process called Toward Bold Faithfulness. Several special task forces have been processing the information gleaned from across the Fellowship’s constituency, including from churches, lay leaders and partner organizations.
A summary document released June 1 identified the six “most powerful gifts” identified as assets to CBF: Sustained engagement in global missions and rural poverty; the presence and cultivation of young Baptist leaders; networks and partnerships; a place of belonging; a desire for diversity; and women in leadership.
Likewise, the summary identified seven “most urgent needs” in CBF life: Identity clarity; communication, connection and networking; finances and funding; diversity; prophetic voice and advocacy; growth; and resources for development, networking and blessing.
Those 13 statements of gifts and needs have been used to shape not only a budget proposal but also a structural proposal that will be considered by the Governing Board this week, Baxley said.
It had been nearly a decade since CBF undertook a comprehensive Fellowship-wide strategic planning process, Baxley noted. More narrowly focused — but highly discussed — work had been done in 2013 and 2014 around Global Missions and then in 2018 around LGBTQ inclusion.
Toward Bold Faithfulness began with an online survey that was open to anyone in the Fellowship. Specific efforts were made to include laity as well as clergy. In the end, 80% of the 4,600 responses received came from laity. The survey also reached 762 congregations nationwide.
As CBF begins its fourth decade, “this seems like a right time for us to name with clarity who we are and what we are called to be,” Baxley said. When crafting the survey, leaders feared it might not produce enough clarity, but that turned out to be unfounded fear, he added: “It was amazing how much clarity there was.”
Continue reading at Baptist News Global here.