By Aaron Weaver
Cooperative Baptist leaders gathered Sept. 29 at First Baptist Church, Decatur, Ga., for the Fall meetings of CBF’s governance bodies. During a joint time of worship centered on Ephesians 4, CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley called on each member to reflect on the group, to lift voices in praise and prayer together, as well as to reflect on their unique gifts to bring to the work of leadership and service.
The elected leadership of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship gathered Sept. 29 for the first-ever joint gathering of the CBF’s Governing Board, Ministries Council, Missions Council, Nominating Committee and Foundation Board.
During the opening plenary session, CBF Executive Coordinator Paul Baxley offered updates initiatives, processes and transitions underway. Baxley highlighted an internal and external focus on God’s call to equip one another in 2022-2023.
“CBF has embraced the words invite, equip and transform as essential language to describe who our Fellowship already is while also pushing us to live more fully into our calling…As we enter this year, I encourage us to consider: How is our Fellowship being called to participate in the Holy Spirit’s equipping of congregations and their leaders? How can we encourage our Fellowship to be a community of mutual equipping?
“As our Fellowship grows racially, ethnically, geographically and generationally, how are we even more powerfully positioned to be a community of equipping? How can our governance bodies equip one another and our Fellowship for higher levels of faithfulness?
“By living into a deeper commitment to participate in God’s equipping, even as we continue to invite more and more congregations into our Fellowship, we will experience transformation and become a kind of denominational community that is necessary for the thriving of congregations and pursuit of an even more faithful participation in Christ’s mission.”
Baxley closed his Executive Coordinator Report with some reflections on Cooperative Baptist identity and related embrace of the language of invite, equip and transform.
“If you want to know what kind of Baptist we are trying to be, you don’t have to say #NotThatKindOfBaptist anymore,” Baxley said. “You can say in your own words, with your own accent and your own testimony that you are part of a Baptist community that has been invited by the Holy Spirit to equip one another for bold faithfulness, so that by God’s sheer grace you can participate in God’s transformation in the world.”
Women-led governance bodies offer updates, reports
CBF leaders heard during the opening plenary session of the joint gathering updates from the Fellowship’s elected governance bodies. In 2022-2023, each of CBF’s four bodies are chaired by women leaders.
Debbie McDaniel, who serves as CBF Moderator, offered an update on the work of the CBF Governing Board. Members also heard reports from CBF Ministries Chair Ellen di Giosia, CBF Nominating Committee Chair Amy Cook, and CBF Missions Council Chair Tammy Snyder. Ellen Sechrest, CBF Global Missions staff member, gave the report on behalf of Snyder, who stayed at her residence in Tampa, Fla., to coordinate disaster response work in her primary role as coordinator of Florida CBF.
The Sept. 29-30 Fall meetings included extended time for working groups within the individual governance bodies as well as a joint dinner Thursday evening and a Friday lunch.
View an album of photos from the Sept. 29-30 joint gathering of CBF’s governance bodies here.