A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship â€˘ www.cbf.net
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ARE YOU READY FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY?
SUZII PAYNTER is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziiSYP.
We choose deep and wide... CBF IS A 21ST CENTURY MISSION-SENDING AGENCY In the same way that an airline is more than a plane and a pilot, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is more than field personnel and the mission field. CBF is a mission-sending agency with a capacity to send and sustain more than 100 field personnel around the world. State conventions are not mission-sending agencies; churches are not mission-sending agencies. CBF Global Missions is built by our cooperative efforts for depth and strength that surpasses what congregations, state conventions and other mission organizations can do alone. As others scale back or focus exclusively on short-term missions, CBF is doubling down on its commitment to the long-term presence of missionaries. After more than two decades of Christian witness in more than 30 countries, CBF stands convinced that there are no shortcuts to making “disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19). Whether translating the Bible into a previously unwritten language or resurrecting hope in rural America, the transformation we seek requires a patient, incarnational witness with others. STANDING WITH PEOPLE FOR LONG-TERM RESILIENCE IN THEIR CALLING Global ministry happens in a culturally sensitive and sometimes culturally brutal world. Deep respect and true partnership are at the root of Christ-like witness. CBF provides continual training and experienced team members for field personnel because mission preparation to foster resilience is a full-time endeavor. As one leader of a different mission enterprise said, “I thought sending people for the long-term would not be more challenging than sending them on short-term missions. I was mistaken. And sadly, good people suffered for my mistake.” Depth of support means financial support, member care, infrastructure, emergency services and accessible global relationships for our field personnel. CBF is committed
to fruitfulness for them and the people with whom they share ministry. UNASHAMEDLY COOPERATIVE TO BUILD AND KEEP GLOBAL NETWORKS “Go ye therefore into all the world,” compels every church beyond just their backyard. Good news — we are up to it! CBF is your best global missions partner to cultivate beloved community, to bear witness to Jesus Christ in word and deed and to seek transformational development in communities around the world. CBF is not bringing missionaries home from the field. CBF is not settling for drive-by collaboration that happens only at global meetings. Thanks to Keith Parks, the founding leader of CBF Global Missions, and the leaders of Global Missions since his tenure, CBF has managed funding for missions wisely, even while navigating many pressures at home and abroad. CBF is invested in true global partnerships that multiply the impact of ministry and strengthen Christian bonds of love and the joy of long-term, integral service. We are witnessing genuinely relevant and powerfully spiritual forces for global engagement in every corner of the Fellowship. Be assured that God is at work in this sacred space. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship can be a 21st century mission-sending agency only because you and your church take a step to cooperate in missions with other churches for the Gospel. As stewards of the Great Commission, encourage the call to missions in your members. Join field personnel in global engagement by volunteering and giving to the Offering for Global Missions. Renew and expand your partnership with CBF Global Missions.
Read more about CBF’s efforts to double down on its commitment to the long-term presence of its field personnel on pp. 12-13.
A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Volume 26, Number 2
Fellowship! is published 6 times a year in Feb./March, April/May, June/July, Aug./Sept., Oct./Nov., Dec./Jan. by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Inc., 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500, Decatur, GA 30030. Periodicals postage paid at Decatur, GA, and additional offices. USPS #015-625. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Fellowship! Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030. EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Carrie McGuffin ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600
LOVE GOD. TEACH NEIGHBOR. BE TRANSFORMED. CBF field personnel share Christ’s great love through literacy ministry in South Florida By Blake Tommey
FROM THE EDITOR
BEING A NEIGHBOR
WE ARE JUST three months away from General Assembly. Are you ready? As registrations come in, the first item I check is previous attendance. Did you know that one-third of Assembly attendees each year are ARE YOU READY newcomers? It’s exciting to think that one-in-three people will choose our 25th anniversary celebration year as their inaugural Assembly experience. The cover of this issue of fellowship! magazine, featuring CBF Global Missions interns Caitlyn Furr and Kevin Pranoto, aims to get readers ready for Assembly. But we know there is more to making plans than just remembering to bring a pen… A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net
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FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY?
CHURCH OUTSIDE FOUR WALLS Philadelphia church start ministers in and among a struggling community By Blake Tommey
WHAT CAN YOU DO NOW?
Register to attend Assembly. Book your travel and accommodations. Invite friends and coworkers.
MINISTRY OF COMMITMENT
WHAT CAN YOU DO SOON?
CBF field personnel and Florida church partner to reach remote island nation
Sign up for special events. Check out the slate of workshops. Learn more about Greensboro and the area surrounding the Sheraton Hotel.
By Greg Warner
WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOU ARRIVE? Read through your event Guidebook and plan your entire Assembly experience.You don’t want to miss a thing! Check out pp. 6-7 of this issue for information about Assembly worship, workshops and celebrations. However, this issue is about much more than General Assembly. Stories of transformation, community, presence and generosity from CBF churches and field personnel burst forth from the following pages. Many of the Cooperative Baptists featured in these stories may also be making Assembly plans. I hope you’re ready.
GENEROUS FELLOWSHIP By Jeff Huett South Carolina congregation adds to its CBF support with missions giving from surplus
6 2016 GENERAL ASSEMBLY Learn about highlights of worship, workshops and celebration for the upcoming annual Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.
12 CBF ‘DOUBLES DOWN’ ON LONG-TERM COMMITMENT TO
FIELD PERSONNEL PRESENCE IN NEW GLOBAL MISSIONS PLAN
By Jeff Huett
2016 SEMINARIAN RETREAT By Michelle Ballard Students gather to form together in Montreat, N.C. CANDICE YOUNG is the Assistant Editor of fellowship! Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org
30 AFFECT: APRIL 2016 Literacy Ministry
31 AFFECT: MAY 2016 Being a Neighbor
A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 6
prayerspeople of the
Praying the Questions By Bo Prosser
’ve recently completed another session of coach training. This particular training reminded me of the powerful insights gleaned from good questions. Trevor Hudson reminds us of some of God’s powerful questions in his insightful book, The Questions God Asks Us (Upper Room). “Where are you?” “What is in your hand?” “Who do you say that I am?”
Questions help us grow closer to God instead of settling for simple solutions. For the next few weeks, focus on God’s questions for you instead of your questions for God. Perhaps focus on one question you think God is asking each week. Pray for a deeper relationship with God, for deeper insights into the question, for deeper discernment around what God might be asking. Settle into your prayer space. Write the question down and simply pray the question over and over. Spend time in silence waiting for God to respond, hear the question and listen for clarity. This is a challenging prayer practice, so be patient as you pray and as you wait. After several minutes, write down any insights that may have come to you. After a week of praying one question, you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ve gleaned! You will see tangible evidence of God’s leadership in your life. Now, add one more step. Speak aloud the names of two people on the prayer calendar. Ask God to impress a question and insights on their lives too. You have no way of knowing what these friends might be wrestling with or praying for, but God knows. And just as God is leading you to discernment, God is leading them too. Perhaps God’s questions lead us to deeper spiritual journeys than we can imagine! What question does God have for you today?
BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships. Follow him on Twitter at @BoProsser.
CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar 4 |
CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor CST = Church Starter S = CBF Staff
1 Frank Dawkins, Greenville, NC (PC) Jennifer Dill, Pittsburgh, PA (CH) Greg Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP) 2 Christie McTier, Dearing, GA (CH) Leonora Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP) Wayde Pope, Crestview, FL (CH) 3 Charles Mason, Mansfield, OH (CH) Mark Reece, Elkin, NC (CH) Wayne Sibley, Pineville, LA (CH) Thomas Wicker, Salado, TX (CH) 4 Truett, 2011, Southeast Asia (FPC) 5 Darcie Jones, Columbia, SC (CH) Eddy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP) 6 Lauren Deer, Wallace, NC (CH) Kathy Gore Chappell (S-North Carolina) Steven Mills, Flat Rock, NC (CH) 7 LaCount Anderson, Scotland Neck, NC (FP) Tricia Baldwin, Fort Worth, TX (CH) Nathan Dean, Atlanta, GA (CST) Bonnie Hicks, Woodstock, GA (CH) Mary Timms, Hawkinsville, GA (CH) Mary Wrye, Henderson, KY (CH) 8 Laura Johnson, New Bern, NC (CH) Drexel Rayford, Birmingham, AL (CH) 9 Olen Grubbs, Hixson, TN (CH) Jessica Hearne, Danville, VA (FP) Scarlette Jasper, Somerset, KY (FP) Jim Pruett, Charlotte, NC (PC) Steve Vance, Charlotte, NC (CH) 10 George Hemingway, High Springs, FL (CH) Ben Hodge, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Alan Rogers, San Diego, CA (CH) 11 Laura Broadwater, Louisville, KY (CH) Steve James, Haiti (FP) 12 Ryan Clark (S-Decatur) Andy Hale, Clayton, NC (CST) Beverly Hatcher, Winston-Salem, NC (CST) Allie Kilpatrick, Milledgeville, GA (CH) 13 Steve Sullivan, Little Rock, AR (CH) Brian A. Warfield, Spencer, OK (CH) 14 Kerri Kroeker, Calgary, Alberta, Canada (CH) 15 _______, Turkey (FP) Jeff Flowers, Evans, GA (CH) Jeff Langford (S-Heartland) 16 Kaitlyn Parks, 2006, Slovakia (FPC) Victoria A. White, Richmond, VA (CH) Kay Wright, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) 17 Allison Anderson, Morgantown, WV (CH) David Jones, Newberg, OR (CH) Doug McKinney, Salisbury, MD (CST) 18 Cyrus Bush, Pfafftown, NC (CH) Ray Cooley, Wallingford, CT (CH) Susan Crumpler (S-North Central Region) Mason Jackson III, Fort Myers, FL (CH) Nathan Solomon, Swansboro, NC (CH) 19 Michael Lee, Hendersonville, NC (CH) 20 David Chan, Houston, TX (CH) Susan Stephenson, Edmond, OK (CH) 22 Tere Canzoneri (S-Decatur) Judith Wortelboer-Grace, Temple, TX (CH) Lucas Newell, 1997, San Antonio, TX (FPC) Barry Pennington, Blue Springs, MO (CH) 23 David Kolb, Lexington, NC (CH) 24 Brenda Atkinson, Greenville, SC (CH) Rhonda Gilligan-Gillespie, Wichita, KS (CH) Laura Mannes, San Antonio, TX (CH) Travis Smith, Forest City, NC (CH) Leslie Stith, Liberty, MO (CH) 25 Connie Graham, Fitzgerald, GA (CH) Victoria Whatley (S-Decatur) 27 Pat Davis, Baton Rouge, LA (CH) Carter Harrell, 1995, Kenya (FPC) Pete Parks, Williamsburg, VA (CH) 28 Joy Hammond (S-Decatur) Gary McFarland, Charlotte, NC (PC) 29 Ted Dougherty, Winston-Salem, NC (PC) 30 Joseph Caldwell, Alameda, CA (CH) Melissa Neal, Floyd, VA (CH) Charles Wallace, Fort Worth, TX (CH)
1 Michael Coggins, Navarre, FL (CH) Bob Whitten, Springfield, VA (PC) 2 Karen Borchert, Talbott, TN (CH) Cathy Cole, Aiken, SC (CH) Stephen Murphy, Hull, MA (CH) Deborah Reeves, Atlanta, GA (CH) Matthew Sherin, 2004, Mitchell, SD (FPC) Lynn Walker, Chickasha, OK (CST) Terry Wilson, Mt. Pleasant, SC (CH) 4 Johann Choi, Decatur, GA (CH) Gary Metcalf, Kingsport, TN (CH) Skip Wisenbaker, Atlanta, GA (CH) 5 Austin, 2004, Thailand (FPC) Bruce Gourley, Bozeman, MT (CST) Karen Long, Birmingham, AL (CH) 6 Carol Dalton, Swannanoa, NC (CH) Terry Maples (S-Virginia) 8 Rusty Elkins, Edmond, OK (CH) Bruce Hunter, Midlothian, VA (CST) Brenda Pace Jones, Hendersonville, NC (PC) 9 Rich Behers, Lakeland, FL (CH) David Harding, Orlando, FL (FP) Leigh Jackson, Austin, TX (CH) 11 Larry Ballew, China (FP) Leah Boling, Waipahu, HI (CH) Robbi Francovich, Emeritus (FP) Jonna Garvin, Manassas, VA (CH) Cy Miller, Marion, NC (CH) 12 Lori Irons-Crenshaw (S-Decatur) 13 Tracy Dunn, Hereford, TX (CH) Samson Naidoo, Denison, TX (CH) 14 Doretha Bailey (S-Decatur) Scott McBroom, Charleston, SC (PC) JoAnne Morris, Louisville, KY (CH) Rob Norman, North Brunswick, NC (CST) 15 Paula Settle, Eastern Kentucky (FP) 16 Lauren Bass, Cambodia (FP) Lauren Hall, Wilmore, KY (CH) Steven Harris, Salem, VA (PC) John Reeser, Sautee Nacoochee, GA (CH) Alex Ruble, 2001, Southeast Asia (FPC) Barry Wright, Jacksonville, FL (CST) 17 Jennifer Call, Salem, VA (CH) Robert Duvall, Lawrenceville, GA (CH) Nell Green, Houston, TX (FP) Filip Zivanov, 1998, St. Louis, MO (FPC) 18 Ciera Maas, 2003, Belize (FPC) Clay Polson, Waco, TX (CH) Christa Sfameni (S-Decatur) Greg Slate, Littleton, CO (CH) 19 Mary Ahn, Round Lake, IL (CH) Gwyen Driskill-Dunn, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 20 Eddie Hammett (S-North Carolina) Micah James, 1994, Haiti (FPC) Julie Perry, Charlottesville, VA (CH) Marcy Thomas, Brentwood, TN (CH) 21 Carson Foushee, Japan (FP) Pat, New Jersey (FP) Ron Winstead, Emeritus (FP) 22 Jon Ivy, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH) Gabe Lyon, 2005, Atlanta, GA (FPC) Steven Unger, Falls Church, VA (CH) 23 Cheryl Adamson, Conway, SC (CST) Polly Barnes, Brandon, MS (CH) Jared Neal, Atlanta, GA (CH) John Schumacher, Smyrna, GA (CH) Stephanie Vance (S-Decatur) 24 Harold Phillips (S-Heartland) Paulette Porter-Hallmon, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 26 Jack Causey (S-North Carolina) Valerie Hardy, Loganville, GA (CH) Hunter, Thailand (FP) Gerry Hutchinson (S-Decatur) 28 Hardy Clemons, San Antonio, TX (PC) Kenneth LeBon, Fayetteville, NC (CH) 30 Randy Ridenour, Norman, OK (CH) Winston Shearin, Jacksonville, NC (CH) 31 Stacey Buford, Murfreesboro, TN (CH) LouRae Myhre-Weber, Twin Bridges, MT (CH) Kelley Woggon, Louisville, KY (CH)
ellowship WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS South Carolina congregation adds to its CBF support with missions giving from surplus Members of Trinity Baptist Church in Seneca, S.C., present CBF Director of Missional Congregations Harry Rowland (right) with a check for more than $44,000 in support of innovation in CBF Global Missions.
By Jeff Huett One Sunday in 2012, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship staff member Harry Rowland was on hand for worship at Trinity Baptist in Seneca, S.C. He was there to present a contribution from CBF to support a meal ministry for the area’s homeless that the church was leading alongside other churches in the city. One Sunday morning in January 2016, Rowland again stood in the pulpit of Trinity. This time, Trinity Deacon Chair Ed Evans presented to Rowland a check for more than $44,000 in support of innovation in CBF Global Missions. In a beautiful example of CBF’s denomi-network in action, Trinity Baptist — whose staff includes two full-time ministers from CBF partner seminaries — has completed the circle. “You see a lot of churches these days doing their own thing in missions, and as Baptists, there is the autonomy of the local church,” said Ryan Wilson, Trinity’s pastor. “But through ties to a larger organization like CBF, we can do more together. “The larger organization can support the smaller local congregation, and the smaller church can support the larger organization. This is especially true in missions, through which Baptists have partnered for a long time.” Trinity’s gift will support innovation in CBF Global Missions by helping to endow the launch of a redesigned medium-term missions program, formerly called Global Service Corps, CBF’s two-year service opportunity. An endowment for innovation is an important part of CBF’s new comprehensive plan for Global Missions. The choice to support CBF Global Missions in this way was especially meaningful to Trinity’s Associate Minister Tony Vincent. Both his sister, Karen, and his wife, Kristen, had life-changing experiences serving overseas on mission. In fact, Kristen was part of CBF’s Global Service Corps program. Both, he said, have had conversations about the power of their experiences with members
of the congregation — a group that Vincent describes as vibrant and intergenerational. It is also faithful. In the early fall of 2015, it became apparent that because of faithful giving by church members, including completion of a $2.6-million building campaign, Trinity would have a budget surplus. “We realized that we were in sound financial shape; we had paid off a loan; and giving was up. We were going to be up for the year. “We decided that we should do something extraordinary,” Wilson said. “We wanted to recognize that God had gotten us through a capital campaign and provided for us in so many ways. We also wanted to celebrate how God continues to bless Trinity.” Vincent said the deacons were tasked with deciding what to do with the surplus. “In a beautiful ‘God moment’ in a deacon’s meeting, one deacon said ‘why don’t we just give it all away,’” Vincent said. “The conversation was over five minutes later.” The Missions Committee then decided to give half of its $90,000 surplus to a local homeless shelter and the other half to CBF. After conversations with CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter, Trinity decided to focus its CBF giving on innovation in Global Missions and in launching the new Global Service Corps program. This is nothing new for Trinity, Vincent said. “Our church has the mindset that we can do great things.”
JEFF HUETT is the CBF Associate Coordinator of Communications and Advancement. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHuett.
For more information about giving to CBF, go to www.cbf.net/GiveNow or contact Jeff Huett (770-220-1600 or email@example.com). A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 6
WORSHIP Throughout our time in Greensboro we will be led in worship through the music of our General Assembly Artist-in-Residence, Singer/Songwriter Pat Terry, as well as other ensembles and musicians.
WEDNESDAY EVENING On Wednesday evening, we will kick off our 25th year and celebrate how Christ’s love compels us to gather as a Fellowship, each bringing our diverse passions and gifts to a table set for all. As we reflect on 25 years of being CBF together, our keynote speaker will be Dr. Tom Long, Bandy Professor Emeritus of Preaching and Director of the Early Career Pastoral Leadership Program at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.
THURSDAY EVENING On Thursday evening, we will be encouraged by the voice of scholar and author Diana Butler Bass on how CBF is uniquely positioned on the religious landscape for the future. CBF Moderator Matt Cook will help us reflect on Diana’s work as we consider our future together in light of our first 25 years.
SHERATON HOTEL REGISTER NOW HOTEL HIGHLIGHTS: Free parking Newly remodeled accomodations Onsite and nearby restaurants
FRIDAY EVENING On Friday, we will bless and commission CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors, as well as our largest-ever group of church starters. We will be led in worship by two field personnel units, and we will celebrate the future of CBF Global Missions as all of our field personnel will be re-commissioned to continue their good work around the world. Our final service and gathering of this year’s General Assembly will conclude with the laying on of hands on all being sent back out into our world to serve, as well as a meaningful time of Holy Communion.
AGE ASSEMBLIES Assembly has activities for the entire family with age-specific programming and personalized care from trained childcare providers. Preschool, Children’s and Youth Assemblies are offered Thursday and Friday only. Child care is available for Wednesday night activities.
Learn more and register at www.cbf.net/assembly
Make plans to gather with other Cooperative Baptists around sharing best practices and resources by attending Assembly workshops. There are dozens of opportunities from which to choose including: • Conversations about timely topics like the death penalty, racial reconciliation and ministering to and with millennials • Workshops focused on civil rights through the lens of CBF Advocacy • Lectures and panel discussions in a variety of areas ranging from congregational leadership to children’s ministry
Twenty-five years ago, Christ’s love compelled a group of courageous Baptists to form the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Christ’s love continues to compel us today as we partner in renewing God’s world through global missions, forming healthy churches and nurturing young Baptists.
A few highlights include:
You are invited to celebrate CBF’s 25th anniversary at a party following Wednesday night worship. This is the only place where you can get a free copy of CBF at 25: Stories of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, featuring more than 80 personal stories of CBF missions and ministries. Contributing authors will be present for autographs and conversation. We’ll have plenty of food, fellowship and an announcement from Suzii Paynter about a special way you can play a part of CBF’s next 25 years.
SHOWING THE SERMON John Jay Alvaro THE STATE OF WOMEN IN BAPTIST LIFE, 2015 Pam Durso
2 C ’s l OR ov .5 e :14
B co eca m us pe e ls Ch us ris t
HOW TO MAP THE ASSETS OF YOUR COMMUNITY Jenny Hodge and Lane Riley
CREATING YOUR OWN YOUNG BAPTIST ECOSYSTEM Devita Parnell
From our foundations to our future, we have much to celebrate. Don’t miss it!
CREATE SPACE Jaime Fitzgerald
SPECIAL EVENTS AT ASSEMBLY PRAYER RETREAT led by Glenn Hinson and Johnny Sears LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE led by Tom Long 25TH ANNIVERSARY kick-off celebration and book launch THURSDAY NIGHT MARKET in the CBF Missions Market FRIDAY NIGHT RECEPTION in The Gathering Place
Many CBF leaders and churches are joining in efforts toward dismantling racism, including churches engaged in Covenants of Action through the New Baptist Covenant and other congregational ministries. The horror of the massacre in Charleston galvanized the commitment of CBF leaders to maintain energy and focus on efforts to live the Gospel message of love for neighbors and to conscientiously seek meaningful actions toward ensuring racial justice. This includes listening and learning from one another. In remembrance of the Charleston Nine, CBF is proud to bring the live drama, DIVISION: THE TRAYVON/JORDAN PROJECT, to the CBF stage at General Assembly, Thursday evening following worship. The director of this performance and one of the co-writers of the play is Carolyn Ducker, a student at Valencia College and the great niece and namesake of Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler, a founder and former CBF moderator.
Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.
CBF field personnel share Christâ€™s great love through literacy ministry in South Florida
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS
Touching Miami with Love: Overtown and West Homestead serves children and youth in neglected neighborhoods of Miami-Dade County, Fla., with yearlong after school programming focused on literacy, education and empowerment.
Touching Miami with Love programming focuses on basic literacy as well as academic achievement in other areas in a safe environment. Children who attend TML programming have unique opportunities and resources in place for them to succeed and break out of cycles of poverty.
By Blake Tommey
rian was 10 years old when he first enrolled at Touching Miami with Love, an organization sharing Christ’s great love through literacy and educational ministries. Yet, Brian couldn’t read. Although he had struggled with dyslexia for most of his life, his teachers never identified his need for special training. At the time, Brian’s mother was simultaneously raising multiple children and struggling to find employment. So he and his family would often sell candy bars in their neighborhood just to maintain enough money to live. His peers frequently enjoyed teasing and bullying him because of his height and his thick Haitian accent. Needless to say, most days Brian did not have enormous cause for celebration. But one quiet afternoon in Overtown, the doors of Touching Miami with Love suddenly burst open as a young man came crashing in, bounding through the hallways. Between the booming thuds of his shoes on the building floor, he was distributing spontaneous hugs to anyone he could get his hands on. It was Brian, and still clutched in his hand was the first book he had ever read. As excitedly as he entered that day, Brian grabbed three more books from TML’s lending library and took his beaming smile home as programming ended. “When I mastered that book I was so happy and proud of myself, and now I can read anything I want,” Brian said. “Education is important. I want to work at a great job where I can one day feed my kids and help my family. I want to follow God and make my neighborhood better.” It is because of students like Brian, TML directors and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Angel and Jason Pittman and Wanda Ashworth Valencia said, that they are living out their callings in the Overtown and West Homestead
neighborhoods of Miami to love God, teach neighbor and be transformed. Through support from the CBF Offering for Global Missions, TML is forming together with CBF, CBF of Florida and the residents of Overtown and West Homestead to renew God’s world through literacy training in two of the most neglected communities in the United States. Overtown, referred to as “Colored Town” during the Jim Crow era, is located on the northwest end of downtown Miami and has an average per capita income of $13,000, which is 36 percent less than the Miami average and 50 percent less than the Florida average. The overall crime rate in Overtown is 155 percent higher than the national average, and on any IN THESE COMMUNITIES THAT given day you have a 1 in 13 HAVE BEEN CONTINUALLY chance of becoming a victim BYPASSED BY DEVELOPMENT of a crime. West Homestead, formerly AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY, Open House Ministries and JASON PITTMAN SAID, now TML’s West Homestead site, began ministry in response EDUCATION AND LITERACY to Hurricane Andrew in 1992, TRAINING ARE THE MOST is located 35 miles southwest CRUCIAL SOURCES OF of Miami and is classified as safer than only four percent of EMPOWERMENT FOR PEOPLE. United States cities. In West Homestead, 43 percent of children are living below the poverty line and 60 percent of young people report that they are living in a household where someone is struggling with addiction. In these communities that have been continually bypassed by development and economic opportunity, Jason Pittman said, education and literacy training are the most crucial sources of empowerment for people. Yet, while it would be easy to see only A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 6
she added, is the same story as always — a lack of education, a lack of knowledge and a lack of job training. For TML, literacy is not simply the ability to read, but rather the complete competence and educational empowerment needed to emerge from poverty and systemic injustice. “Our children are faced with so much, whether it’s poverty, whether it’s single households, whether it’s parents that are incarcerated, whether it’s just a financial struggle, a struggle simply to have a meal or to maintain a healthy mindset,” Harris said. “Education is the way to bridge the gap between living in poverty and climbing out. Children and youth from different cultures and Through education, we’re finding a way backgrounds participate in programming at the Overtown and West Homestead sites. Brian (right) to strengthen our community, to get them was unable to read when he first began at TML, trained, to be able to obtain jobs that can pay but now he can read anything he wants. a decent salary so they can provide for their families and still be a part of the community.” For an increasing number of Overtown and West Homestead residents, climbing out of poverty is not at all synonymous with climbing out of their neighborhood. In fact, according to Krissy Crumiel, a kindergarten and first-grade instructor at TML, the real joy skills development and a healthy snack, as need in Overtown and West Homestead, more than 97 percent of their students qualify comes from cycling back to your community he added, TML’s literacy ministry is less and teaching your neighbors everything for free and reduced meals. In a specialized about saving and more about unlocking the you were taught as a student. Crumiel first effort, Tomorrow’s Leaders also offers enormous gifts and strengths that already came to TML as a seventh-grader and had daily enrichment in science, technology, exist in these communities. an amazing experience learning in their engineering and math. “We are working from an asset-based children’s and youth TML’s youth approach,” Jason explained. programs, having programs focus on “That means we start with the assets of “OUR PRIMARY MISSION IS and serving as the community, be that people, organizations high school students REALLY TO EMPOWER, ENRICH mentors a junior intern during or physical assets. It also means that we don’t with programming on AND PROVIDE THE RESOURCES high school. Monday, Wednesday start with what we think are the needs. We go But the pivotal and Thursdays. to our neighbors and form a relationship in FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO moment came when Gathering for a full which we meet their felt needs. Our primary REACH THEIR POTENTIAL, TO Crumiel received her sit-down dinner, mission is really to empower, enrich and acceptance letter to instructors, volunteers BECOME THEIR BEST SELVES provide the resources for our community also students engage to reach their potential, to become their WITH THE RIGHT EDUCATION college. Though she was unsure about going off in a variety of best selves with the right education and AND OPPORTUNITIES.” to school and affording activities and classes opportunities.” the college experience, to increase academic Through their relationships with the the TML staff held a fundraiser for her, took West Homestead and Overtown communities, skills, engage in creative arts, worship and her shopping for dorm materials and even learn biblical truths and build social skills, TML is developing educational literacy in drove her to school. Now that Crumiel has elementary and high school students through with mentorship and case management to returned as an instructor, she said she finally their Tomorrow’s Leaders Children’s Program help build resilience to overcome a high rate sees the big picture and how much education and their Today’s Leaders Youth Development of family dysfunction. can transform people. Trina Harris serves as the site director Program in Overtown and Open House Youth “TML was probably the sole reason I was for TML in Overtown, the neighborhood Program in West Homestead. Tomorrow’s able to go to college,” Crumiel said. in which she was born and raised. She Leaders focuses on students in kindergarten “When I was in TML’s program, I was shared that she faced the same challenges through eighth grade with after-school mentored and led a certain way and now I’m that students and families face today. curriculum, which includes tutoring, in a position where I’m able to mentor and Furthermore, the cause of those challenges, homework help, literacy class, fitness, social
Order CBF Offering for Global Missions resources for FREE at www.cbf.net/OGMorder See the full complement of Offering resources, place your order and view videos and other materials online at www.cbf.net/OGM.
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS
CBF engages in three primary contexts: Global Poverty, Global Migration and the Global Church, and participates in God’s mission with and among the most marginalized and least evangelized people on Earth.
2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry
Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed. www.cbf.net/OGM
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry
Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.
in Offering resources
Turn over a new leaf
CBF OGM Bulletin Insert/ Poster Combo (Packs of 20)
Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed. Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry
I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.
Much of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s global missions impact is funded by the Offering for Global Missions. The Offering is the foundational means of support for the CBF mission enterprise and provides access to a wide array of tools and resources to serve people to equip churches.
ISAIAH 54:13, NLT
Support CBF literacy ministries and field personnel worldwide.
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS
BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
to empower them with the great message of hope, and to provide hands-on tools to help them be all that God has called them to be. When a child can read on grade-level, when a student understands math for the first time, it opens a world of opportunity to them. It literally transforms their lives.”
When you support the Offering, you make ministry possible by supporting all CBF field personnel. Your gifts provide much-needed materials and support to enrich the lives of children and families through life-changing literacy ministries.
lead. I hope every day that these kids follow that path, and it doesn’t have to be my exact path. I would love to see my students at their college graduations, getting their diplomas. I’m going to be right there when they get off stage, hugging them, because education is my passion.” “The CBF Offering for Global Missions provides Krissy, Trina, Brian and every other TML partner in Overtown and West Homestead the opportunity to live out their passion through education,” Angel Pittman said. As TML has grown its programming at the Overtown and West Homestead sites in the number of students served and depth of programming offered, they depend not only on local partners but on Cooperative Baptists all across the country to form together with them in their mission to love God, teach neighbor and be transformed. “Partnering with TML means offering education that transforms,” Angel said. “God is already at work in the lives of our children, our youth and their parents. And it is our opportunity to join with them
Offering At A Glance Booklet (Packs of 20)
CBF 2015-16 OGM Bookmarks (Packs of 40)
CBF 2015-16 OGM Envelopes (Packs of 100)
Trina Harris (right) serves as the site director at the Overtown site and is a mentor to the children and youth there. Krissy Crumiel (below) was a youth at TML and after college has committed herself to her community as a kindergarten and first-grade instructor at TML.
CBF 2015-16 OGM DVD Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed. Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS www.cbf.net/OGM
CBF 2015-16 OGM Flashdrive with video resources TIPS FROM FELLOW CBF CHURCHES
TIME-BASED PROMOTION STRATEGIES
Engaging your congregation in renewing God’s world through the CBF Offering for Global Missions
TALKING POINTS ABOUT CBF AND THE OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS
OFFERING FOR GLOBAL MISSIONS
2015-16 CBF OGM Bible Study Curriculum for adults, youth and children along with Worship Resources available for download.
CBF ‘doubles down’ on long-term commitment to field personnel presence in new Global Missions plan By Jeff Huett DECATUR, Ga. — As others scale back or focus exclusively on short-term missions, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is doubling down on its commitment to the long-term presence of field personnel around the world in a comprehensive plan for Global Missions announced January 28. The new plan, the result of 18 months of work led by CBF’s 15-member Missions Council and including input from staff, field personnel, CBF state and regional leadership and other stakeholders, clarifies the vision of CBF Global Missions and addresses its present sustainability and future growth, while creating equity among its field personnel. Under the current model, some field personnel raise a majority of their own support while others are funded primarily by CBF’s Offering for Global Missions. The new plan creates a sustainable funding model that consolidates all CBF field personnel under a single employment category with equitable funding. The new model consists of three elements:
• Offering for Global Missions for Presence: The annual Offering for Global Missions will secure the long-term presence of all CBF field personnel by funding their salaries, benefits, housing costs and children’s educational needs.
• Partner-Support for Ministry: All CBF field personnel will raise partner-funded support primarily from friends-and-family networks to support their personal ministry operating budgets. This includes everything from ministry materials to capital costs and travel — namely, everything except costs to sustain their “presence” in the field.
• Endowment for Innovation: Global Missions will adopt an intentional strategy to grow its pre-existing, unrestricted endowment to fund mission innovation and stabilize CBF’s mission budget over time. The first priority for endowment funding will be the launch of a redesigned Global Service Corps, which was CBF’s former two-year service opportunity. CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter said that the church and the world that the Fellowship’s 20th century denominational mission structure served so faithfully no longer exist.
“These shifts have presented CBF with an opportunity to recommit ourselves to God’s mission as individuals, as congregations and as a Fellowship,” Porter said. “After more than two decades of Christian witness in 30 countries, CBF stands convinced that there are no shortcuts to making ‘disciples of all nations.’ “Whether translating the Bible into a previously unwritten language or resurrecting hope in rural America, the transformation we seek requires patient, incarnational witness with others,” Porter said. As part of the new plan, CBF will implement growth strategies that challenge the Fellowship to explore new approaches to cooperative mission beyond traditional models of mission sponsorship, including the development of deeper relationships with congregations and global partners.
• Church Engagement: CBF Global Missions aspires to be the premier mission partner of CBF-affiliated congregations. Building on its strong identification with the missional church under former CBF Global Missions Coordinator Rob Nash, CBF Global Missions will adopt a consultancy model that leverages the experience of its field personnel and staff to strengthen the witness of local churches in their own backyards and facilitate their work around the globe.
• Global Church: Latin American theologian Samuel Escobar observes that we live in an age when Christian mission is “from everywhere to everyone.” CBF Global Missions seeks to deepen friendships with Baptist Unions and other Christians around the globe, in order to share the gifts God has given and receive gifts from others that will help the Fellowship reach cultural diasporas in its own communities. CBF Governing Board member Paul Baxley, who serves as senior minister of First Baptist Church, Athens, Ga., and who chaired the ad hoc Committee on Global Missions Structures and Staffing, emphasized that the committee came away with a clear call to re-commit to the long-term presence of field personnel serving around the world during its year-long discernment process. “For more than a year, our Missions Council, in collaboration with field personnel, Global Missions staff, state and regional leaders, congregational ministers and lay leaders, have been engaged in an
intense process of spiritual discernment related to our Fellowship’s participation in God’s mission in the world in the present and the future,” Baxley said. “The result of their careful, prayerful and steadfast efforts is a compelling vision for our Global Missions efforts. Now we have the opportunity to embrace that vision and live into it faithfully, sacrificially and joyfully. “In an era when so many Baptists and Christians are moving mainly to short-term mission strategies and partner-funded approaches to sending missionaries, in our discernment process we have heard a clear and unmistakable call to recommit to long-term presence.” To implement the plan, the ad hoc committee, which included representation from the Governing Board, Missions Council, state and regional organizations, field personnel and a former interim CBF Executive Coordinator, developed three policies, each of which was passed by the full Governing Board on January 29. The policy on the Offering for Global Missions set forth that CBF will continue to receive an annual Offering for Global Missions and will encourage affiliated congregations and others to contribute funds each year through a special emphasis and/or through budget allocations. It also clarifies that “when field personnel visit churches, their priority will be encouraging support for the Offering for Global Missions.” The second policy, which will be included in the Field Personnel Guidebook, states that “all field personnel will be required to raise the amount of their annual, approved ministry budget (including funds for emergency use) from partner sources.” They will also be provided in-person training, coaching and time away from the field to fulfill the requirements of the policy. According to the policy, CBF’s proven model of partner-funding for ministry expenses focuses on friends-and-family networks, but field personnel also may receive support from other sources, including organizations, foundations and congregations. Beyond their approved ministry budget, per the policy, field personnel will raise partner-support for emergency purposes held in a reserve fund designated for use by the field personnel to whom the funds were pledged. Once the funds in that bank reach the maximum threshold set by the administration of CBF Global Missions, additional funds are freed for ministry.
Finally, the Governing Board passed a policy that will govern the establishment of partnerships in Global Missions that promote and facilitate deeper ties between global Christians and CBF’s core constituency. Friendships between the Global Church and CBF-affiliated congregations can provide essential cultural and linguistic support to churches that lack the skills necessary to reach cultural diasporas within their own communities in the United States. CBF Global Missions seeks to foster relationships characterized by reciprocity, generosity, transparency and accountability. Alan Sherouse, chair of the CBF Missions Council and senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C., said that he sees the fulfillment of long-standing hopes and visions of Cooperative Baptists in this doubling down on the Fellowship’s commitment to the long-term presence of field personnel “The work of our Missions Council and complementary committees has been done with gratitude for the many who have gone before us,” Sherouse said. “I hope those who have supported the missions enterprise of CBF for 25 years will recognize in this plan some of the best parts of their hopes and visions.” Linda Jones, member of the ad hoc committee and missions coordinator for CBF of North Carolina expressed her excitement for this new day for CBF Global Missions and the larger Fellowship. “This is such an encouraging and exciting time for all of us as Cooperative Baptists,” Jones said. “Heading into the future with a new structure will empower our field personnel and engage our churches more deeply in mission and relationships. It is a new day for CBF, a day with clarity of purpose as we share God’s love together.”
Visit www.cbf.net/missions to learn more about the work of CBF Global Missions and its field personnel serving around the world.
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Being a Neighbor Since moving to the “Weed and Seed” neighborhood of Shelby, N.C., Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Cecelia Beck has established herself as a presence in the lives of children, youth and adults. “It is important to be present in order to build relationships and trust,” Beck said. “The original vision and the essence of this ministry is to live in the neighborhood. Otherwise I could not experience life as my neighbors do.” Beck’s neighborhood was identified by the United States Department of Justice as an
CECELIA BECK FOCUSES ON “BEING WITH” RATHER THAN “DOING FOR” HER NEIGHBORS IN SHELBY, N.C. By Ashleigh Bugg
area in need of revitalization. Since moving to Shelby, Beck has experienced many of the challenges her neighbors face. “My house and van have both been hit by stray bullets. My back storm door was broken out, and my van window was broken on separate occasions,” Beck said. Children talk to Beck about the actions they take to hide when they hear gunshots — diving for the floor, running into the bathroom or crouching behind furniture. “It always strikes me when the subject of conversation with and among the children is
‘did you hear those gunshots?’ and discussion of which direction the gunshots were coming from,” Beck explained. In order to “weed out” violence, officials say the area should be “seeded” for positive growth. Beck’s ministry aims to put this idealistic rhetoric into practical action. Beck’s primary responsibilities are serving as an advocate and maternal figure for local children and youth. She arranges, coordinates and facilitates resources for their involvement in various churches including First Baptist Church of Shelby, Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Shelby and Winter Park Baptist Church in Wilmington. Activities for children include Sunday worship, youth choir, Passport camp, Caswell retreats and an upcoming mission trip to Belize. Beck ensures that youth can participate in different experiences despite logistical or economic issues. For example, she worked with three boys in Wilmington who had never sat in a restaurant or ordered from a menu. Every Sunday, Beck takes the youth out for a meal. Members of the community may help, and a family from First Baptist Church recently invited the group to their home for Sunday lunch. “In addition to church activities, it is important to expose the children to opportunities that broaden their horizons — like seeing the ocean and hiking in the mountains,” Beck added. Although her work in the neighborhood is a full-time job, Beck also has what she refers CBF field personnel Cecelia Beck (center) is an advocate and maternal figure for children and youth in Shelby, N.C. From providing transit, connecting them with faith communities and extracurricular opportunities, Beck invests her time into the lives of the youth and is a source of encouragement and stability.
Agnam escia eost aut ento mo dolorepuda vidiorestem illatem nim ullanis dolor magnam, cuptation re nossimet eaquam volorib to usapient es ut auteceat facerspit omnia Children and youth in Beck’s neighborhood have grown accustomed crime and violence, but this motivates Beck to “try harder to teach the children to live differently.”
to as her “tent-making job” — working as a hospice chaplain in a nearby county. “As a trained chaplain and grief counselor, I have been sought out and been able to provide grief support to neighbors,” she said. Beck was previously working 40 hours a week on top of her duties in Shelby. However, after missing the funeral of a neighbor because of work commitments, Beck made the decision to raise additional financial support so she could be consistently available to her neighbors. Since decreasing her hours at hospice, she has been able to invest more time in the lives of youth: attending numerous sports events and being available for transportation. Two high school players always tell her when they see her sitting in the stands or when they aren’t able to find her at a game. Because Beck’s home is on a visible corner of the neighborhood with constant foot traffic,
youth stop by to talk about their struggles and triumphs at home or school. Adults also share concerns. Neighbors look out for Beck, taking the time to speak with her and tell her she is appreciated. “On several occasions as I have spoken to folks passing by, they say, ‘Hi, Ms. Beck, pray for me.’ These were people I did not know,” Beck said. “One of my favorite neighbors was a man who once told me that ‘there are a million eyes watching out for you.’” Ministry in the Weed and Seed neighborhood can be overwhelming as Beck works with an increasing number of families, organizations and churches. She has faced theft and vandalism of her home from a group of children as young as 11. Lately, the increased frequency of gunshots has caused Beck to discontinue visits from her own grandchildren. However, this has not stopped Beck from her ministry with the youth and
children of Shelby, who are achieving success despite systemic challenges. “I am not discouraged by the violence. It motivates me to try harder to teach the children to live differently,” Beck said. “It saddens and frightens me that they are so accustomed to so much violence as a way of life.” Beck encourages the youth to get involved in mission and volunteer projects. In the community, the youth have been involved in volunteering with the Cleveland County Potato Project, helping Beck pick up and distribute potatoes. Recently, they joined the FBC Youth Choir at its Veteran’s Ceremony on the square in Shelby. On spring break trips to Charleston, S.C., they have participated in hands-on-mission activities including singing at nursing homes and cleaning up yards. For two years, three teenage boys have been volunteers with the FBC Shelby ESL (English as Second Language) program, playing with children who come with their parents to the class. “The boys are very dedicated, purposely leaving sports practice a little early in order to be at ESL on time, and two of the boys are excellent athletes,” Beck said. Three brothers also had the opportunity to participate in Boy Scouts for three years with help from a network of support: earning badges, attending camping trips and going to summer camp. “This was something they had wanted to do for years but did not have funds,” Beck said. “People donated uniforms, camping equipment and funds enabling them to participate.” Beck has learned to rely on her neighbors, whom she considers family. In response to A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 6
the idea that ministers face the “I SAW MY NEIGHBORS AS NEIGHBORS, NOT PROJECTS. temptation to start seeing people as IT HAS BEEN VERY IMPORTANT THAT I CONCENTRATE projects, Beck disagrees. ON ‘BEING WITH’ RATHER THAN ‘DOING FOR’ MY “Folks have invited me to special NEIGHBORS EVEN THOUGH I DO MUCH FOR THEM.” events with them. They come by what was going on, and we all commiserated to talk and check on me. They share food with one another. We are experiencing the with me when cooking out,” Beck noted. trauma and fear together as neighbors.” “From the beginning, I saw my neighbors Although the neighborhood has its as neighbors, not projects. It has been very dangers, Beck reaffirms her decision to live in important that I concentrate on ‘being with’ Shelby. rather than ‘doing for’ my neighbors even “If I were a missionary in China, I would though I do much for them.” move to China and live among the people This “being with” can come in many and learn their culture and their language,” forms from meeting physical to spiritual said Beck. “Being a missionary in the United needs. Beck says the struggle to keep States is the same. If I just come and go from electricity running is a challenge she hadn’t the neighborhood once in a while, it is like considered before moving to Shelby. putting a Band-Aid on a gaping wound. In “All of the children I work with except for one family have experienced having electricity neighborhoods with major challenges, it is not helpful to come and go.” turned off for varying lengths of time,” Beck Beck will continue to minister in her said. “One family with two elementary-aged children lived without power for four months. neighborhood while learning from and encouraging the community. She reflects on They had a fireplace and survived by all moments that confirm she is working in the sleeping in the same room and cooking over right place. the fire. They took showers and baths at the “Last year, I was driving some boys home home of a relative.” from wrestling practice. One of the boys is Beck and her neighbors have faced difficult times together, including events after part of a family I met my first summer here,” Beck esplained. “Out of the blue he said, ‘You the shooting death of a 26-year-old man know, Ms. Beck, I think God sent you here to involved in local gangs. “Some members of his gang drove through help us.’” the neighborhood shooting from a car. I was in the process of picking up children and youth for Wednesday night church and had a van full,” Beck said. “We all dove for cover. My neighbors came out of houses to find out Beck and her neighbors have faced tough times together, but through her commitment to live in the community she serves, she is working to meet physical and spiritual needs and offer opportunities to neighborhood children and youth despite systemic challenges.
ASHLEIGH BUGG works as a community content producer at the Center for News and Design in Austin, Texas.
Asking Good Questions by Joshua M. Speight, Missional Congregations Resources Manager
ecently I participated in training for coaching within the context of ministry. A basic philosophy of the coaching relationship honors the client as the expert in their work, believing that every person is creative, resourceful and whole. A coach’s role is to encourage self-discovery in their client and to unfold, not mold the process of revealing in them. During training I heard the phrase “pull, don’t push” as a way of aligning the client with what they want to achieve in a coaching/client relationship. Coaching is about listening and asking good questions of the client. During this training, I reflected on how ministers are asked to resource their congregations — specifically through discipleship and faith formation. Granted, ministry is not a coaching relationship, but some of the philosophy is the same.
In a coaching/client relationship, it is the questions that help to guide a conversation. The coach and the client work together remembering that the client is the expert in their life. Ministers function in a similar way; relationships and thoughtful questions guide faith formation. As a minister, you might find some of these questions helpful prompts for supporting your congregation and determining how to be a useful resource to them.
WHERE ARE YOU g
Where are you in relation to God these days? g How would life be different if God were closer? g Where are the stresses in your life now?
HOW ARE YOU g
How are you feeling about yourself? How are you looking at your life? g How are you feeling about others? g
As ministers — whether with children, youth or adults — you are tasked with being a resource to each of them. Your relationship with them is unique, much like a coaching relationship, as no two will look exactly the same. The questions that one might use with a coach are questions that also work with faith formation with a minister. Ministers are asked to lay aside their own agenda and give space for the work of the Holy Spirit in the formation of other people. Ministers are also asked to walk alongside people as they work with God to discover God’s love and hope-filled life within them.
Ministers asking good questions of one another while at ChurchWorks 2016 in Asheville, N.C.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON g
What is something you are doing that you are proud of? g What gives you energy? g What challenges are you coming up against?
WHAT IS NEXT g
What is the next goal for you in spiritual formation? g What do you want for yourself next? g What would God want for you next? Adapted from Eddie Hammett’s “What To Talk About With Your Coach.”
Whether or not you define yourself as a coach, your ministry is one of resourcing and supporting spiritual formation in each person connected to your congregation. Your ministry is one of speaking hope and empowering the other person in front of you to trust God’s leadership in their life to form them and shape them. As minister, you are called to see God’s potential in each person and to speak a word of blessing into the lives of the people. Go and live out of your calling as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ by listening, asking good questions, and pulling people toward the eternal hope discovered in God.
Cooperative Baptist students come together for renewal, networking and worship Devita Parnell, CBF’s young Baptist ecosystem manager (left) and Craig Janney, CBF’s congregational reference and referral manager, served as the musicians for the opening worship session.
By Michelle Ballard
Jeffrey Howard (second from left), a Leadership Scholar and student at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary at Lenoir-Rhyne, reflects upon his experience at the retreat and the meaningful conversations that he had with other retreat participants.
CBF Vestal Scholar Jaime Fitzgerald of Gardner-Webb School of Divinity shares her thoughts following a lecture on “Millennial Culture and Christianity” by Nadia Bolz-Weber.
During the final day of the retreat, participants were encouraged to embrace the breath, bread and blessings of Christ as they reflected upon their personal retreat experience in Montreat, N.C.
The 2016 Seminarian Retreat took place at the Montreat Conference Center, located in the mountains of western North Carolina, January 5-8. This annual retreat aims to build up a foundation of CBF identity in seminarians and faculty across both partner and non-partner theological institutions by introducing them to CBF staff, resources and core values. The retreat provides practical content for both students and faculty to establish CBF as a life-long partner in ministry. The 2016 retreat began with a lecture from Nadia Bolz-Weber, accomplished author and pastor of the Church for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colo., as well as a debriefing conversation following the lecture. Throughout the week, participants were asked to plan and lead worship experiences and had the opportunity to engage in conversations about challenges facing the church in the 21st century. Students led workshops for their peers on these topics throughout the retreat. The final worship experience challenged students and faculty to live into the breath, bread and blessings of Christ as they returned to their academic institutions to begin the spring semester.
Students from Texas led retreat participants in a prayer exercise during the Thursday night worship session, in which all were challenged to pray out loud at the same time for the needs of those within their communities.
During the opening worship service, students created objects from Play-Doh that represented one of the many gifts they bring to the community.
Mario Ramos, associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Baptist University of the Americas, discussed his experience pastoring a house church in South Texas.
At the retreat, students led workshops and facilitated conversations about redefining the church in the 21st century and how to adapt to changing leadership, practices, structures and economic realities within the church.
CBF Leadership Scholars Lauren Evans (left), Brittany McDonald-Null (center) and Bethany Busby (right) discuss the dreams that they have for the future of the Fellowship.
Kevin Pranoto, a student at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary and CBF Global Missions short-term missions engagement intern (center) shares in laughter during large group games.
Adam Banks, a student at Princeton Theological Seminary discusses the gifts that he offers to the retreat community as part of the student introductions.
Sam Harrell, CBF associate coordinator of Global Missions, discusses the social justice element of Nadia Bolz-Weber’s lecture on “Millennial Culture and Christianity.”
Wesley Spears-Newsome, a student at Duke Divinity School, led retreat participants in the practice of lectio divina during the Wednesday evening worship service.
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Philadelphia church start ministers in and among a struggling community By Blake Tommey With a name like Strawberry Mansion, it would be easy to assume one of Philadelphia’s most notorious neighborhoods is full of lavish abodes and Lamborghinis. But Wayne Weathers, CBF church starter and pastor of Vision of Hope Baptist Church, will tell you the opposite is true. In a community that is home to one of the country’s most dangerous schools and a crime rate 96 percent higher than the national average, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and newly planted Vision of Hope Baptist Church are partnering to renew God’s world in Philadelphia. After a year of work and discernment with CBF’s New Church Starts Initiative, Wayne Weathers will be the Fellowship’s first commissioned African-American church starter at this summer’s General Assembly in Greensboro. Yet, Weathers didn’t wait for commissioning or even a worship space before he and his core group launched Vision of Hope in 2014. Following a departure from his Philadelphia pastorate of 10 years, Weathers said prayer and fasting revealed a deep desire in him to start anew and reveal God’s hope to a hurting community. Since then, the church’s motto, “It’s not just a name; it’s a Christ-centered lifestyle,” has propelled a group of nearly 50 people into the life of the Strawberry Mansion community where they worship and are establishing relationships. “We’re not just a church that meets or a church that is concerned only with how many members are sitting in the seats. We’re a church that wants to embody God’s transformative power,” Weathers said. “Our calling is to illustrate God’s hope in a community dealing with disparities, economic challenges, violence, illegal drugs and the common problems people face in everyday life. So when you become a part of Vision of Hope, you’re going to be trained in how to be a servant and how to go out and disciple the community, especially those living in despair.”
From the beginning, partnership has been the lifeblood of Vision of Hope’s mission to renew the Strawberry Mansion community, from the fellowship hall in which they worship — given by Prince of Peace Baptist Church — to the local pastors who volunteer their time to lead music and even serve on the visioning team. Vision of Hope’s newest and most pivotal partnership, however, has come through forming together with CBF’s New Church Starts Initiative. Weathers became acquainted with CBF during his time at Duke Divinity School’s Baptist House of Studies, and shortly after he and his core group launched Vision of Hope, he reached out for a relationship. Following Weathers’ completion of the eight-week online cohort, Andy Hale, CBF church starts specialist, invited Weathers into the exploratory conference in Decatur, Ga., where church starters engage in leadership assessment, budgeting, fundraising training and networking. Ultimately, Hale said, it was Weathers’ desire for lasting partnership rather than momentary resources that made him a leading candidate for commissioning. “We’re building a strong reputation for what missional, innovative ministry looks like and word is getting out about how we approach church starting,” Hale said. “The days are long gone when denominations parachute church starters into given areas and pile in the money. For the most part, CBF commissions church starters who are already living in a location and are working in a given context they understand. Our role is to walk alongside them in their journey as a catalyst and support, and to facilitate opportunities for discernment, growth and coaching. That really hits home for a lot of people.” In the last year, Hale added, CBF has ramped up what it means to partner and be commissioned as a church starter. Where in previous years the Fellowship would contribute $12,000, a year of free coaching and a basic support network, the CBF New Church Starts Initiative now contributes $15,000, three years of coaching, two site visits,
Wayne Weathers (second photo from right) leads Vision of Hope Baptist Church in Philadelphia, worshipping in the fellowship hall of Prince of Peace Baptist Church, and reaching out to the community of Strawberry Mansion.
Vision of Hope Baptist church seeks to challenge people’s notion of what the church looks like, and is an innovative church start that moves beyond tradition to reach people in their community.
“IT’S DANGEROUS WHEN THE CHURCH GETS TOO COMFORTABLE WITH THE STATUS QUO. THE CHURCH SHOULD NEVER GET TOO COMFORTABLE. IT SHOULD ALWAYS BE CHALLENGED TO GROW, TO MOVE BEYOND TRADITION AND ACTUALLY GO OUT AND TOUCH PEOPLE FROM ALL KINDS OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS.” leadership training with the church’s core group and even retreats on the second and third year of the start. While CBF intentionally has very few prerequisites to partnering with a church start, Hale said, perhaps the biggest requirement is an ability to see a surrounding context and connect to a community in authentic, missional ways — an attribute that quickly emerged from Weathers and Vision of Hope. “Jesus is saying ‘I’m accessible, I’m available’ to those living in a community where few other things are accessible and available,” Weathers said of the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood. “When you’re facing challenges, your focus is really not on Christ, it’s on crisis. When you’re in survival mode just trying to get from day to day, you can often set yourself up to sink deeper. But Jesus is saying that there’s hope in a hopeless situation, that there’s an alternative to the current state we may be living in. That is where we’re called to be.” For Vision of Hope, identifying opportunities to be missional in the community wasn’t exactly a difficult task, associate minister Benita Weathers said. In the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood, average school test scores are 56 percent lower than the national average and a student is three times more likely than other Philadelphia students to drop out of high school. Because of this, 42 percent of households live below the poverty level. Benita Weathers explained that in a neighborhood like Strawberry Mansion, the bulk of ministry simply cannot take place within four walls. Through building partnerships with residents, local churches, housing networks, food providers and other resourcing organizations,
Vision of Hope is beginning to discover their role in bringing renewal. Consequently, Benita said, Vision of Hope is also challenging people’s notions of what church looks like, which, in her mind, is one of the best gifts of church starting. “It’s dangerous when the church gets too comfortable with the status quo,” Weathers said, “The church should never get too comfortable. It should always be challenged to grow, to move beyond tradition and actually go out and touch people from all kinds of different backgrounds.” Moving forward in partnership, CBF and Vision of Hope Baptist Church will continue to resource and empower each other. CBF’s leadership training and site visiting, not to mention pairing Weathers with a ministry coach, has helped move Vision of Hope forward in pivotal ways, Weathers said. In addition, the CBF New Church Starts Initiative will begin to reinvest in their church starters by creating an in-house coaching network comprised of experienced church starters for new church starters. This and other expressions of an ongoing relationship with church starters, Hale noted, will not only empower bolder and more innovative churches across the country, but create countless opportunities to partner in renewing God’s world in years to come.
BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
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CBF AT 25: Stories of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Join us during the Wednesday evening reception at the 2016 General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C., for a time of food and fellowship and to hear an announcement from CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter about a special way you can play a part in CBFâ€™s next 25 years. All attendees will receive a free copy of CBF at 25: Stories of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This edited volume celebrating CBFâ€™s 25th anniversary shares a history of our denomi-network of free and faithful Baptists through more than 80 first-person stories of mission and ministry from across the
Fellowship. Published in partnership with Nurturing Faith, CBF at 25 gives a glimpse at how Cooperative Baptists have been the presence of Christ around the world, and how the Fellowship is forming together as we focus on the future together, living into our attributes to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic, global, diverse and to seek excellence. Contributors to CBF at 25 include field personnel, church starters, chaplains, clergy and laity, state and national leaders, theological educators, young Baptists and many more.
We are the
CBF Foundation HERITAGE SOCIETY
Join us at our annual breakfast at the 2016 CBF General Assembly,
JUNE 24th IN GREENSBORO, N.C. to enjoy music by Pat Terry and a word from Dr. Bill Leonard. For more information, contact Jennifer Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
of CBF field personnel and Florida church partner to reach remote island nation By Greg Warner
t an IHOP restaurant in Tampa, Fla., a waitress finishes her shift and heads home, where she stashes the day’s cash tips in a safe place. Each week she deposits the money in her bank and writes an equivalent check to Bayshore Baptist Church. Those funds are combined with other gifts — from Sunday school classes, individual members, a special Christmas offering, etc. — and deposited into a special account. Halfway around the world, on the tiny Indonesian island of North Pagai, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Karen Alford needs to swipe her debit card at the only bank on this primitive island to retrieve the waitress’s gift and other donations from Bayshore Baptist. With her small withdrawal, Alford can walk to the nearby open-air market and buy fish and vegetables for the next few days. That scenario or something very similar has been happening regularly for the past eight-plus years, illustrating not only the depth of the waitress’s commitment, but the way modern technology can shrink the distance between Cooperative Baptists and their field personnel, even in the most remote corners of the globe. The waitress, who is not even a Bayshore member but the daughter of one, never met Alford but — like many in the church — was touched by her story. As a newly-minted wildlife biologist from Oregon, Alford served as a Peace Corps volunteer in a remote national park in Morocco. The experience convinced her that,
instead of biology, she would pursue a career in medicine, with the intent of returning to serve as a doctor among the country’s legendary Berber tribe. She moved to Tampa to enroll in medical school but decided that, in the developing world, she could accomplish just as much as a nurse practitioner. She began a grueling eight-year journey — working three jobs, going to nursing school at the University of Tampa, becoming a registered nurse, working in a hospital ER and training under a midwife. “I was delivering babies all night, then trying to go to school during the day and work my ER shifts,” Alford recalled. With her nose to the grindstone and eye on the goal, the arduous journey at times seemed like a blur to her. “There are whole chunks of time that I barely remember,” she admits. Nonetheless, Alford knew she wanted to go to a church somewhere. Along the way, she found a refuge at Bayshore Baptist Church, an anchor in historic South Tampa, where her aunt and uncle were members. Having grown up in churches of various denominations, Alford said, “I didn’t care what denomination it was. I just wanted to find a good church, preferably one with a gospel choir.” But she was taken aback when her aunt and uncle asked, “Why don’t you come to this Baptist church?” “I thought, ‘Really…Baptist?’” Her only knowledge of Baptists was as a stereotype of being extremely conservative, a bit out-of-touch with the world and “odd.” But her aunt and uncle “were very cool,” so she said, “Okay, it can’t be that bad… then I walked in the door and just knew this was going to be my home church.”
And members of Bayshore Baptist, especially those in the choir, fell in love with this personable and passionate young woman with a dream of changing the world. “The choir was my anchor for eight years,” she said. “They knew what I wanted to do. They knew that I was doing this so I could go back [to Morocco].” Church and choir members soon picked up on the young woman’s tender heart and deep devotion to the world’s neglected people. They started telling her about the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and its philosophy of ministering to “the least of these” in far-flung places. They convinced her she could find a home with CBF Global Missions. “Again, I thought, ‘Oh no. Really…Baptist missionary?’ It’s bad enough that I’m going to a Baptist church! “But a lot of people I knew at Bayshore had been part of CBF,” she continued. “They were the kind of people I wanted to be like. They were my spiritual giants. So maybe it wasn’t that bad.” She attended an exploratory conference for people curious about serving as CBF field personnel. “You know how sometimes you meet someone and know immediately that you really like them?” she said. “Everyone I met, all the staff who were there, were like that. They were just so interesting and dynamic. I thought, these are the kinds of people I want to be around. So I went with it. I went with CBF.” But there was a roadblock — the first of several actually. CBF Global Missions was changing its funding model and now would require field personnel to raise their own personal financial support — a policy which was recently changed.
“It was a deal breaker,” Alford recalled sadly. “I’ve never asked anybody in my life for money.” Since leaving home after high school, she had paid her own way — through college, Peace Corps, nursing school. Her plan all along was to work for a non-governmental organization — a non-profit relief agency, UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders or other group that would pay her a salary. Alford hates public speaking and detests anything that feels like self-promotion. “That’s creepy. You think about raising money for a project. It’s exciting to raise money for a clinic or to buy medical supplies. But to raise money for my living expenses so I can go buy Cheetos or whatever? That’s just…No.” But her Bayshore friends had a different reaction. They would raise her support — all of it. Gloria Scarle, who has been friends with her since Alford first moved to Tampa, is the point person for all of Bayshore’s assistance for Alford. She handles her bank accounts, insurance, retirement plan and other bills —
things that would be hard to do long distance, especially from an island essentially cut off from the world. “I’m in charge of fundraising, but I’m the world’s worst fundraiser,” Scarle said. But it turned out she was pretty successful. In the past eight years, the church has provided more than $254,000 in financial support for Alford and her work. And until recently the church was Alford’s sole financial support. “It requires very little effort because everybody loves her,” Scarle said. Alford’s passion and personality “make what I do so much easier,” she added. “There are a lot of people who love her and love what she does.” Bayshore decided to support Alford with designated gifts and special offerings. It was the first — and only — time Bayshore has funded a specific missionary directly. Bayshore is designated as Alford’s Encourager Church, a congregation that links up with a specific CBF field personnel or team to provide assistance in four areas — funding, prayer, administration and short-term mission engagement.
In 2007, with her funding dilemma resolved, Alford was ready to return to her beloved Morocco. But visa problems forced a change of direction — like 8,000 miles to the southeast. Alford joined a CBF medical ministry in Sumatra, traveling on a boat that provided free medical care to villagers along Indonesia’s Musi River. “I absolutely loved the boat ministry. I was so happy doing that. It was an amazing experience!” Three years later, on October 25, 2010, an earthquake off Sumatra’s western coast triggered a tsunami that killed 500 people on the small island chain of Mentawai (MEN-ta-why), 400 miles away from Alford’s location. The need was urgent. Meanwhile, funding was running out for the boat ministry and Alford was looking for options. A friend invited Alford to join a relief effort in Mentawai led by an Indonesian Christian group, CFK, which was funded by Baptist World Aid Australia among others. The four islands of Mentawai sit on a major fault line that is part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire.
CBF field personnel Karen Alford (first row, far right) serves on the Mentawai islands of Indonesia, using her skills as a Registered Nurse alongside non-governmental organizations to support long-term, sustainable community development.
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Part of the training that Alford provides includes teaching the Mentawai people to be creative in emergency care situations. Here villagers are practicing the use of natural materials to create splints and bandages.
The main church on North Pagai received its official recognition from the Indonesian government after 97 years. Church choirs from different villages gather here to lead in worship before an official ribbon-cutting ceremony and celebration of the recognition.
Alford travels to island villages to train residents on simple medical care, prevention and hygiene. She also trains local women to serve as midwives in their villages to reduce infant and maternal deaths during childbirth.
Mentawai’s earthquake was a 7.7-magnitude earthquake only 100 miles offshore in the Indian Ocean and produced a 15-20 foot tsunami that wiped out 20 villages. In a strange coincidence, the very next day, the Mt. Merapi volcano erupted 1,000 miles to the southeast on the giant Indonesian island of Java. “The volcano was horrible,” Alford recalled. “It impacted more people than the tsunami did. [Non-governmental organizations] that had come to help in Mentawai literally picked up and moved to the volcano. It was unfortunate for Mentawai because they got maybe 12 hours in the limelight. Then that was it.” When CBF transferred Alford in early 2011 to North Pagai, where the Mentawai Islands relief effort was set up, she initially gave medical assistance to tsunami victims. But it was obvious the islands’ medical needs were more profound than that. “The living conditions on the island were so bad before the tsunami that it really wasn’t about getting them back on their feet,” Alford explained. “They had really never been on their feet.” “The longer we were there, the more we realized they don’t just need recovery,” she recalled. “They need a complete overhaul. They need long-term community development.” The island of North Pagai has three medical clinics — run by Protestants, Catholics and the Indonesian government. Alford works at the two Christian clinics, neither of which has a doctor. The government clinic has a doctor about half the time, she said. Other NGOs on the island do some health education but without any trained healthcare staff, she said. “They ask me sometimes to come in and consult and give them ideas or provide the materials for a health program they want to do.” And she travels to inland villages to train residents in simple medical care, prevention and hygiene. She also trains local women to serve as midwives in their villages, in order to reduce infant and maternal deaths during childbirth, especially in rural areas. In the port village of Sikakap, where Alford lives, supplies arrive on the once-a-week boat from the mainland. If it’s not on the boat, you don’t get it for another week. If you’re not on that boat when it leaves, you won’t go anywhere for another week. Ninety miles to the east of Mentawai is the mainland of Sumatra, the largest of the 18,000 islands that comprise Indonesia. But treacherous currents and reefs historically have kept Mentawai isolated from the mainland, allowing its people to retain much of their starkly primitive culture — marked by deep spirituality, tattooing and other body art, including a custom of sharpening their teeth to enhance their beauty. Life on the islands is as simple as it gets, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Residents live much as they did
hundreds of years ago. There is, however, electricity in Sikakap — some days — but the gas-fueled generator is subject to fuel shortages and the whim of local administrators. The islands’ isolation means the people of Mentawai are used to being ignored. So Alford and other CFK workers help residents lobby to receive government funds for schools, infrastructure, medical care and other basic services. The Mentawai people live a peaceful existence, with acceptance and deep respect for people of other faiths, Alford said. Like others along Sumatra’s Indian Ocean coastline, they were historically animistic but became largely “Christianized” by the Dutch during colonial rule, which lasted until World War II. “Most of them have converted to Christianity, although in a lot of places Christianity has grown on top of the animism,” she said. “Some of their beliefs are mixed, but they don’t really know the difference. The newer generation thinks it’s all one and the same.” Like the rest of Indonesia, which is the largest Muslim country in the world, a significant portion of the Mentawai Islands’ populous remains Muslim, but it’s a much less strident version than the Islam that dominates Sumatra. Residents of Mentawai respect all faiths and encourage all believers to be faithful to their religion, Alford said. When Alford made the transition to Mentawai from the boat ministry, Bayshore Baptist Church continued to support her without missing a beat, although Alford is seldom able to return to her supporting church. Even her communication is limited by the remoteness of Mentawai, where internet access is almost non-existent and electricity is sporadic. Despite these challenges, Alford’s low expenses and the loyalty of Bayshore members have kept her on the field for eight-plus years. A lot can be accomplished in Indonesia with a modest amount of money, especially when one lives as simply and frugally as Alford does, said Scarle. For instance, with $10,000 Bayshore paid Indonesian workers to build Alford a small wood-frame house built with a simple earthquake-resistant design that mirrors the simplicity of local housing. Alford boasts she now has “indoor plumbing,” but that consists of a hole in the ground that empties into a small septic tank, and a drain in the floor that drains the water used from stand-up bathing, Scarle said. A local church that donated the land will take ownership of the hut when Alford leaves the area. It’s a lot easier for CBF to support personnel like Alford because “she lives in a remote area and lives like the locals,” said Jim Smith, CBF director of global networks and development. “Karen is one of those who can live with the heat and the bugs and sleep on a mat resting on concrete.”
The pastors of the church on North Pagai received leis during the celebration of the official recognition from the Indonesian government.
Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time is held in people’s homes on a regular basis. Here, the group meets in Alford’s home, which like other traditional homes in North Pagai, does not have furniture, so participants sit on the floor.
Alford travels around the island of North Pagai on a motorcycle, which is the local form of transportation. Without many accessible roads, Alford uses the beaches to travel between villages on the east coast, with hopes that the tide doesn’t block her return.
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When Alford works with women during healthcare training, she also gives them opportunities to present their thoughts to the group and practice their skills in public speaking.
The island of North Pagai, where Alford ministers, is accessible only by boat. All supplies come on this boat once each week, and a 14-hour ferry to the mainland is available when it leaves.
Alford (center) is a member of a local church choir. Here she poses with the director of the women’s choir (left) and a fellow choir member and friend (right).
Richard Phillips, interim pastor of Bayshore Baptist, knew Alford before he joined the church and always has found her work “fascinating and amazing,” he said. “For a young single woman to take on such a challenging ministry in such a difficult situation shows unusual, even unique, commitment.” This year, Alford and Bayshore got some outside funding help from a foundation grant. Since the money is designated specifically for medical work, Alford fit the bill. It will cover almost all of her funding needs for 2016 and is renewable for future years, but not guaranteed. So what about Bayshore Baptist’s funding? It keeps coming. Even though few Bayshore members could even find this tropical island on a map, Alford’s supporters are not willing to quit giving to support their hometown mission worker. “I told them, ‘You guys don’t have to do this anymore — stop!’” Alford explained. “Even when I try to get them to stop giving me money they’re so loyal, so supportive — almost insanely generous!” So this year Bayshore’s money will be used to help the midwives that Alford trains to deliver babies more safely. An American doctor and her husband, a solar engineer, have developed an economical, portable power unit that uses small solar panels to provide electricity in remote areas for midwives delivering babies in those locations, particularly at night. Called a Solar Suitcase, the unit’s panels charge a battery that powers LED medical lighting, a Doppler fetal heart-rate monitor, 12-volt power outlets for laptops and small medical devices, and battery chargers for a cell phone and AAA and AA batteries. Donors at Bayshore Baptist are buying eight Solar Suitcases, which cost about $1,645 each that Alford will provide to villages on North Pagai where she has trained midwives. Bayshore members clearly have been inspired by watching Alford’s determination — eight years of hard preparation and now eight years of hard work under tough conditions halfway around the world. Alford went to Indonesia as part of a disaster-relief effort, but what keeps her there, long after other relief workers have left, is her love of the people, her determination to fight systemic poverty and the dedication of Bayshore Baptist members. And a waitress.
GREG WARNER is retired executive editor of Associated Baptist Press (now Baptist News Global) and a freelance writer living in Jacksonville, Fla.
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CBF Church Benefits was created nearly 20 years ago by CBF leadership to provide a ministry of benefits and financial expertise for CBF-affiliated local church ministers and staff, CBF field personnel and CBF staff as well as CBF state/regional employees.
We’ve already done the hard work. We’ve established a top-caliber retirement plan, the CBF 403B, a comprehensive life and disability program, and we can help your church and staff navigate a confusing healthcare marketplace.
We currently serve more than 200 churches and CBF-affiliated nonprofits with nearly 1,000 participants. Our plan has surpassed the $50 million milestone with your support.
Don’t wrestle with retirement or benefits questions on your own! Join others in growing your CBF Church Benefits plan. In benefits, the bigger the team, the better the financial rewards to each member! Your benefits are our ministry. Call 1-800-352-8741 or visit www.churchbenefits.org.
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CBF field personnel Angel and Jason Pittman and Wanda Ashworth Valencia share the hope of Christ through the literacy ministries of Touching Miami with Love.
Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: A Mission Moment At Home: Around the Table
LEARN Learn more about the work of Touching Miami with Love at touchingmiamiwithlove.org
PRAY Pray for Angel and Jason Pittman and Wanda Ashworth Valencia and other CBF field personnel on their birthdays using CBF’s Prayers of the People resource at cbf.net/pray
NETWORK Videos, printed materials and Bible studies for all ages about CBF literacy ministries are available at cbf.net/OGM
GIVE Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions support literacy and other ministries as well as field personnel worldwide. Find more information at cbf.net/give
Literacy Ministry IN SMALL GROUPS
Missions Education Resource The outline below is designed for adult mission groups, Bible study classes and other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame.
1. This session focuses on the ministry of Touching Miami with Love (TML) and CBF field personnel Angel and Jason Pittman and Wanda Ashworth Valencia. Read the article on pp. 8-11 in this issue of fellowship! and gather copies for the participants.
5. Say, “While the challenges of poverty are great, Trina Harris, former child of the neighborhood and now site director for TML Overtown, points out ARE YOU READY that ‘For TML, literacy is not simply the ability to read but rather the complete competence and educational empowerment needed to emerge from poverty and systemic injustice.’” A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net
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FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY?
2. Read aloud the statistics about the Overtown community in paragraph 8. Ask, “What words would you use to describe this neighborhood?” Write down responses on a flip chart or whiteboard. 3. Explain that while economic development and opportunity has bypassed this part of Miami, the community is not without assets or hope. TML works with the people of Overtown and West Homestead toward empowerment and growth, especially through education and literacy training. 4. Tell how TML’s Tomorrow’s Leaders Children’s Program, Today’s Leaders Youth Development Program and Open House Youth Program provide an after-school curriculum focused on academic, physical, nutritional and social support, as well as mentoring, case management and Bible study.
6. Ask, “How has education changed your life? Can you imagine what your life might have looked like if you hadn’t had an education and people to support you in that endeavor?” Allow for discussion. 7. Share the story of Krissy Crumiel, who now teaches at TML after having been blessed by their programs as a youth. 8. Close by explaining that the CBF Offering for Global Missions supports the work of TML, enabling CBF churches to partner in “offering education that transforms,” a tangible way to bring renewal to God’s world in the midst of much hurting and despair. End with a prayer for the ministries and people of TML.
CBF field personnel Cecilia Beck lives and ministers in a Shelby, N.C., neighborhood in need of revitalization and encouragement.
Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: At Church: Around the Table In Worship: A Missions Moment
LEARN Learn more about the ministry of Cecilia Beck at cbf.net/beck
PRAY Pray for Cecilia Beck and other CBF field personnel using CBF’s Prayers of the People resource. Download the PDF at cbf.net/pray
Being a Neighbor IN SMALL GROUPS
1. This session focuses on CBF field personnel Cecelia Beck in Shelby, N.C. She lives and ministers in a neighborhood identified by the United States Department of Justice as an area in need of revitalization. 2. Read the article about Beck on pp. 14-16 in this issue of fellowship! Gather copies for participants.
4. Begin the session by asking, “What qualities make a good neighbor?” 5. After a brief discussion, introduce the session by saying, “CBF field personnel Cecelia Beck lives in a ‘Weed and Seed’ neighborhood in Shelby, N.C. — a neighborhood identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as an area in need of revitalization. Officials say that in order to ‘weed out’ violence, the area should be ‘seeded’ for positive growth. Beck seeks to do this with practical actions. She has many opportunities and challenges as a good neighbor.”
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The outline below is designed for adult mission groups, Bible study classes and other small groups. Share copies of fellowship! with group members prior to the meeting and have extra copies available. These suggestions are for a 45-minute time frame.
Explore opportunities to join a network of support and service at cbf.net/serve
Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help Cecilia Beck share Christ’s love with her neighborhood. Give online at cbf.net/give
Lots of ideas shared during are workshops. Bring a notebo ok for jotting
Missions Education Resource
3. Prior to the session, enlist someone to read about Beck’s ministry in fellowship! and on the CBF website at www.cbf.net/beck. Ask them to be prepared to share information about her ministry.
A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net
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ARE YOU READY FOR GENERAL ASSEMBLY?
6. Call on the person enlisted to give additional information from the article and website as well as opportunities for giving, serving and learning related to Beck’s ministry. 7. After discussing Beck’s ministry, consider the following questions as a group: • Cecilia Beck decided to remain in her Shelby neighborhood in spite of the dangers from gun violence and vandalism. Why is it so important for her to live among the people she ministers to? How might her ministry change if she lived in a nearby neighborhood that was safer? How might God be calling us to live a riskier life? • Beck makes sure neighborhood youth have new experiences, like ordering from a menu or going on mission trips. She also shares important life events with her neighbors, like high school sporting events and family funerals. How is sharing life experiences related to sharing the gospel? 8. Lead the group to discuss possible actions to support Beck’s ministry. Close with prayer for Cecelia Beck, her neighbors and her ministry.
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Published on Mar 29, 2016