June 15, 2022
By Jeff Huett
DECATUR, Ga – A minister, interim pastor and consultant who has invested in the formation of new generations of ministers within and beyond the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship community is the unanimous choice of a diverse search committee tasked with selecting CBF’s new Coordinator of Congregational Ministries.
After the CBF Governing Board approved his selection, Brian Foreman, who serves as executive director of the Center for Church & Community as well as Community Engagement and Leadership at Campbell University, is now scheduled to begin his work in July.
Foreman has been active in CBF life, including his leadership in the CBF Fellows program, which assists young Baptists clergy in making a healthy transition from seminary to congregational ministry in their “first-call”. He also has served as a church consultant with The Center for Congregational Health.
Foreman will oversee CBF’s support for congregations and their leaders as well as the vital collaboration with CBF state and regional organizations and partners to unleash our Fellowship’s collective gifts to help congregations thrive, to prepare and encourage leaders, and to strengthen our capacity to know and respond to evolving needs of congregations. He will also work to cultivate a community of mutual equipping and fellowship learning where all congregations and leaders can both offer their best gifts.
Foreman earned a Doctor of Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte with a research focus in organizational motivation and community engagement and a Master’s in Religious Education from Duke University Divinity School.
Foreman expressed his excitement about the new role, his love for CBF and passion for creating more thriving in congregations.
“My calling has always been to congregational ministry,” Foreman said. “As a result, I’ve served congregations as youth minster, preschool director, custodian, interim pastor, consultant and coach. Most recently I’ve served churches by being a friend to pastors in rural and underserved areas. None of those church experiences have been perfect, but in each I have always seen the handiwork of God in the lives of individuals and congregations.
“CBF has been my denominational home since college which happened to coincide with CBF’s earliest days,” Foreman said. “Its people, congregations and partners have played a role in my spiritual formation and worldview. The ministries highlighted at General Assembly, the laughter late into the evening at ChurchWorks, and the stories shared of imaginative ministry throughout the Fellowship has developed in me a deep love for CBF, its churches and its people. I see evidence of how God is still working through congregations. And so again, I come back to my calling for congregational ministry, and a new role in which to serve.
He continued: “I am humbled and honored to be called as Coordinator of Congregational Ministries. I recognize the sacred tasks of coming alongside congregations and hearing their stories of joy and lament. There is so much for us to be thankful for and to continue building upon to create more thriving in congregations. As CBF asks and accepts invitations to walk in bold faithfulness together with you, I cannot wait to learn, share, and connect with you. There is so much creativity alive and well in CBF. And this creativity is yet another place congregations will thrive, as we lean into God’s imagination for us, together.”
CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley said Foreman is uniquely gifted and prepared to serve as CBF’s Coordinator of Congregational Ministries.
“Brian is a gifted teacher and remarkable facilitator who has an innate capacity to create spaces where voices can be heard and participants can learn from one another,” Baxley said. “These qualities and others enable him to take primary responsibility for helping our Fellowship be a place where congregations of different sizes and personalities and their leaders come together, equip one another for bold faithfulness, experience God’s transformation of their own lives and participate in God’s transformation of communities and the world through Jesus Christ.”
Baxley also expressed his appreciation for the diligent, prayerful work of the search committee.
“A group of eight Cooperative Baptists, most of whom had never served with the others in that space, became a community that experienced the Holy Spirit’s guidance and in the midst of meeting a number of remarkable candidates felt a clear calling toward Brian Foreman,” Baxley said. “Being in the midst of their journey and coming to know them better has been an incredible gift and source of deep encouragement to me.”
Members of the search committee shared their reflections on the process and about Foreman’s strengths that made him the right choice for the role.
Debbie McDaniel, CBF’s moderator-elect, said she is filled with anticipation and a grateful heart as she thinks about the shaping and forming of Foreman’s ministry at CBF.
“Brian’s heart for the mission of the Fellowship was evident,” McDaniel said. “His adaptive and collaborative leadership style along with his natural ability to form relationships are skills and gifts needed for this role. As he spoke, Brian’s ability to relate to and address each person in the room reinforced in me that he could work not only with clergy but also with laity to invite them to come and see how CBF can be the uniquely perfect fit for their congregations.
“Brian’s words ‘Know who you are, what you do, where you are headed’ are a reminder to those who call themselves Cooperative Baptists to continue to invite, equip and transform ourselves and others for the glory of God.”
Roland Johnson, pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista of Keller, Texas, expressed appreciation for the search process and said Foreman will be an asset to CBF.
“I consider it a privilege to have served on this search committee,” Johnson said. “I believe that the process in finally selecting Brian Foreman was thorough and fair. I believe that Brian eventually rose to the top as the best candidate. In the final interview, Brian presented an articulate, original and very compelling vision for CBF. He believes in the mission, theology and philosophy of CBF and has many networks that he has cultivated through the years.”
Speaking from her leadership role as chair-elect of the CBF Ministries Council, Ellen Di Giosia said she is delighted to recommend Foreman as our Coordinator for Congregational Ministries.
“The Council is eager to have strong leadership, and Brian has so much experience and wisdom to bring to us,” Di Giosia said. “His work at Campbell Divinity School helping churches and clergy to thrive makes him the ideal candidate to help CBF move forward as a resource for congregations who want to serve Jesus faithfully in a changing culture. He communicates the CBF story with warmth and energy, and he is an invitational leader who can help us to better live into our priorities to invite, equip and transform people, congregations and communities for the sake of Jesus’s kingdom.”
Marnie Fisher-Ingram, Associate Pastor for Youth and Their Families at River Road Church, Baptist, in Richmond, Va., and a member of the CBF Governing Board, said Foreman is a creative storyteller with a vision for what is needed for the future of CBF.
“I was drawn to Brian’s honest, thoughtful and clear-spoken vision,” Fisher-Ingram said. “He painted a picture of a fellowship that is diverse, collaborative and thriving. Brian has devoted his career to CBF, therefore, he is not a stranger to us, and I find this to be a strength.
“His history, along with his gifts for listening, storytelling, dreaming and natural curiosity will serve us well as we seek to better connect our states, partners and churches so that we truly are a fellowship that is living into our calling.”
Les Hollon, the retired pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas, expressed appreciation for the search team and its discernment process.
“The search team experienced God’s grace and the best of people in a wide-open discernment process for the currently right person with whom to partner in the development of congregational life in CBF churches,” Hollon said. “Brian Foreman is a treasure ─ equally possessing heart warmth, strategic clarity, spiritual passion and the steady character to help guide us through the dynamic development of congregational ministries.”
CBF is a Christian network that helps people put their faith into 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.