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A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship •


2015 CBF General Assembly Pastors challenge Cooperative Baptists to “build bridges” across racial divides

SUZII PAYNTER is Executive Coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @SuziiSYP.

‘And’ plus ‘And’ plus ‘And’ The following is an edited excerpt from Suzii Paynter’s June 18 address to the 2015 CBF General Assembly in Dallas.View Paynter’s address and other 2015 Assembly videos at

With the invention of type and typewriters, the symbol took its place on keyboards — ubiquitous, but no longer the 27th character of our alphabet. Ampersand — it’s a powerful symbol for our time. There is tremendous power in “and.” As a community of Baptist Christians, we have been ministering, missioning and living a witness to the power of “and.” There is a yearning in the spirit to join, to congregate, to gather together — to be “and.” To some degree, we as CBF have built our identity on “and” — because Cooperative Christianity is an ampersand endeavor. mpersand (&) — this small character “AND.” Now this has been in our CBF — it languishes at the top of your DNA for 24 years. Recently, we used a keyboard, right over the seven. professional branding company to research The shape of the character predates the our community. The researcher asked a word “ampersand” by more than 1,500 wide range of people about CBF. It was so years. The symbol is both ancient and interesting to the research company: contemporary. 50 percent of the responses from across the The ampersand symbol originated in the country consistently framed their response in first century. It was created by Roman scribes. an “ampersand sentence.” These scribes wrote in cursive, so when they Here are some examples: penned the two Latin characters that form the • CBF connects like-minded Baptist Latin word “and” — e and t — they linked churches together and it offers global the e and the t to create this symbol: &. connections. Over time, the combined letters came to • The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a signify the word “and” in Latin, but what you group of Baptists who are working together may not know is that in later centuries the to do good things, and it’s a group of symbol came to mean “and” in English as people I trust and love. well. • We exist as a partner in missions across This little symbol was persistent in the world and to resource churches and to English. In fact, it became the 27th character change my personal life with Christ. in the English alphabet. The origin of its And what about your congregation? How name — ampersand — comes from that “ampersand” is it? placement in the alphabet, and is almost as • Young and old? bizarre as the name itself. • Blended and traditional? As the 27th character in the English • Bhutanese and English? alphabet, in the early 1800s school children • Liberal and conservative? reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet • Choral and contemporary? with the symbol meaning “and.” It would • Spanish and English? have been confusing to say “X,Y, Z, and.” • Town and gown? Rather, the students said “and per se and.” • Urban and suburban? Because “per se” means “by itself,” the • Suburban and rural? students were essentially saying “X,Y, Z and • Local and global? by itself, and.” Over time this phrase, “and • Ordained and lay? per se and” was slurred together into the • Provincial and cosmopolitan? word we know and use today: ampersand. • New and old?


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CBF and BGCT? CBF and BGAV? CBF and SBC? CBF and Alliance? Ampersand. And. This is what we mean when we say we are a denomi-network. Like the early churches of Asia — expressions and reflections of a great community loosely woven together but reflecting the leadership and call of each individual context. This is not relativism, syncretism or cultural dilution of the gospel. Ampersand is addition, not subtraction. Cooperative Christianity is an ampersand endeavor. We know this from Jesus — his ministry was characterized by “and.” In fact, Jesus began his ministry with “and” by calling disciples in Luke 4:18: • • • •

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake for they were fishermen. “Come follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” In Matthew and Mark, disciples are casting nets, washing nets and leaving nets to follow Jesus. Luke 5 describes Jesus teaching multitudes from a boat before directing Simon to push out and let down his net that is soon full of fish because of Simon’s obedience to Jesus’ command. A few chapters later in Matthew, the Kingdom of God is described as a net full of squirmy fish. It is a picture of abundance and God’s generous strength. Although laden, the net does not break. And then John returns to the net late in his Gospel. Post-resurrection when the disciples don’t know that it’s Jesus, he directs them to re-cast their empty net and find it full. Their eyes are opened to Jesus’ presence upon obeying his direction. These biblical reminders forever link us to the simple net as an image of call and resilient discipleship with a big collection of others, not of our choosing but of God’s choosing. The net is an ampersand device — the image of “and” plus “and” plus “and.”

Think about a net. CBF has been called a “big tent” organization, but I prefer a “big net” organization. What is a net? A tangle of twine creates unexpected strength in the form of very breakable knotted parts, which, when woven together are strong and fruitful. One direction is clear. God has brought us to the front porch of global faith, and we are beckoned toward a stronger relationship with Baptist Christians around the world. Our work in each congregation is to build resilient discipleship in all quarters of the world — in spite of our cultural and interpretive differences. Faced with the searing image of Coptic Christians martyred on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, the cruel brutality left me with the feeling of sheer helplessness, but also undeniable connectedness. In a small gesture of Christian solidarity, I had to speak their names in prayer. Because casting a wider net begins at home. The acts and the lives of ordinary Christians engaged in acts of love bear repeating. Were it not for her tragic death in Syria at the hands of a brutal murder by ISIS, we would never have seen the letters of Kayla Mueller. She was a faithful and beautiful 27-year-old woman. Before her death, Kayla wrote a letter to her mom and dad that said: “I have come to a place in experience where, in every sense of the word, I have surrendered myself to our creator because literally there was nothing else.” And in her letter she puts a giant plus sign + “by God” and another plus sign + “by your prayers I have felt tenderly cradled in freefall.” After reading these words, Krista Tippett of On Being remarked: “[Kayla’s] letter to her parents, sent while in captivity, reminds me of my reading of mystics and saints across the ages. Our world is abundant with quiet, hidden lives of beauty and courage and goodness. There are thousands, if not millions, of people at any given moment, young and old, giving themselves over to service, risking hope and all the while ennobling us all.” Kayla herself was a knotted place of Christ-like love. When Jesus pulled the fishermen away from the shore and said they would be fishers of men, he was creating of the disciples a net, asking them to be the leaders of the movement to catch this world and hold it

tenderly, cradle it tenderly in free fall. We need to be a big net, not for diversity sake, but because the world in free fall is so big and in need of reconciling and healing love. In the words of Richard Rohr — he beckons us with the voice of Christ to the shining word “and.” And teaches us to say yes. And allows us to be both/and. And keeps us from either/or. And teaches us to be patient and long-suffering. And is willing to wait for insight and integration. And keeps us from dualistic thinking. And allows us to live the always and perfect now. And keeps us inclusive and compassionate toward everything. And demands that our contemplation become action. And insists that our action is also contemplative. And helps heal our racism, our sexism, our privilege or classism. And keeps us from the false choice of liberal or conservative. And allows us to critique both sides of things. And allows us to enjoy both sides of things. And is far beyond one political party. And helps us to face the dark side of our own fears. And allows us to ask for forgiveness and apologize. And is the mystery of paradox in all things. And is the way of mercy. And makes daily, practical love possible. And does not trust love that is not also justice. And does not trust justice if it is not also love. And is far beyond my religious tribe versus your religious tribe. And allows us to be both distinct and yet united. And is the very mystery of the Triune God — the very mystery of our God. Just as the 450-year-old symbol “@” has seen a revival in use as the gateway to the internet, I propose the ampersand “&” as shorthand for cooperative, positive Christianity. This is who we are. This is who we are called to be at this time for the bridges at hand.

A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Volume 25, Number 4

August/September 2015

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


CBF’s website and staff e-mail addresses have changed E-MAIL WEBSITE





2015 GENERAL ASSEMBLY At the 2015 CBF General Assembly attendees formed together around the idea of “building bridges” in their churches and communities

FROM THE EDITORS Year in and year out, a week in June serves as a “family reunion” for us as Cooperative Baptists. This was especially true June 15-19 as about 1,700 members of our CBF family gathered at the Hyatt Regency 2015 CBF General Assembly hotel in downtown Dallas, home to one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks — Reunion Tower. We worshipped, fellowshipped and learned together. We prayed together. We lamented together the tragic deaths of the Charleston 9, our extended family members — victims of racial violence who were gunned down during a Wednesday evening Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. And, we prayed together again, receiving the call to action to heal our hurting world from the “gaping wound of racism.” On the cover of this issue, you see a photo of pastors Gary Simpson and George Mason sitting on the Assembly stage, sharing about the necessity of “bridge building” across racial divides in our churches and communities. “The power of a bridge is that it makes us get off our own side,” Simpson, senior pastor of the historic Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y., told his longtime friend Mason, senior pastor of Dallas’ Wilshire Baptist Church. In the pages ahead, read more about the Dallas Assembly and reflect on our shared holy call to build bridges, remembering, to quote pastor Julie Merritt Lee, that “Jesus is the living bridge.” A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship •


Pastors challenge Cooperative Baptists to “build bridges” across racial divides


MEET OUR NEW CHURCH STARTERS Get to know Michael Mills, Josh James and Doug McKinney of Inland Church and The Restoration Project


MEET OUR NEW FIELD PERSONNEL Get to know new field personnel who will serve in Cambodia, David and Lauren Bass


ASSET-BASED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CBF field personnel share God’s love in Togo, West Africa By Greg Warner

7 PRAY FOR CHARLESTON CBF offers prayer, solidarity and action in the wake of Charleston violence

16 2015 GENERAL ASSEMBLY A look at the 2015 General Assembly in photos


EXTENDING PARTNERSHIPS By Blake Tommey CBF of Florida marks 25th anniversary with yearlong celebration

AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at

30 AFFECT: AUGUST 2015 New CBF church starters

CARRIE MCGUFFIN is the Associate Editor of fellowship! Connect with her at

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Asset-Based Community Development

prayerspeople of the

Giving Thanks By Bo Prosser

IT IS A SIMPLE THING, saying, “Thank you!” This simple gesture — two little words — conveys a world of gratitude, humility and affirmation. It costs us nothing other than noticing the presence of another. The bagel shop owner smiled at me when I said “thank you” recently; I was the only one out of five customers who responded with gratitude. The UPS man smiled at me when I thanked him for his help. The lady in traffic responded with a “thank you” wave when I let her ease into my lane. Saying “thanks” costs us nothing other than noticing the presence of another. As you pray this month, sit quietly before God. Think of nothing other than God’s presence around you. Then pray simply, “Thank you, Lord!” God knows for what you are thankful. Just repeat the phrase over and over for a few minutes, “Thank you, Lord!” Now, add a “thank you” prayer for one or two of the names below. Then arise in the gratitude of your life... heart, soul, mind. And, say “thank you” at least 10 times today — each day — to people around you. Send some thank you cards to some of the people below or to people you treasure in your life. Saying “thank you” costs us nothing other than noticing the presence of another. Thank you for reading this column and praying with me, “Thank you, Lord!”

BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships. Follow him on Twitter at @BoProsser.

CBF Ministries Prayer Calendar CH = Chaplain FP = Field Personnel FPC = Child of Field Personnel GMP = Global Missions Partner PC = Pastoral Counselor PLT = Church Planter S = CBF Staff

AUGUST 1 Steven Safreed, Waynesville, NC (CH) Stephen Saunders, Live Oak, TX (CH) 2 Mike Beach, Knoxville, TN (CH) 3 Mina Podgaisky, Ukraine (FP) Scott Uzzel, Marietta, GA (CH) Mary Ellen Yates, Louisville, KY (PC) 4 Hannah, 1999, Thailand (FPC) Paisley, 2012, Southeast Asia (FPC) Mark Pruitt, Martinsburg, WV (CH) Diane Stamey, Clyde, NC (PC) Matthew Wysocki, Augusta, GA (CH) 5 Susan Allen, Midway, KY (CH) John Henson, Shreveport, LA (PLT) Ronald Howard, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH) Donald Lederer, Kingsport, TN (CH) Mary, Thailand (FP) John Oliver, Durham, NC (CH)

6 Larry Hamm, Greenwood, IN (CH) Deborah Jenkins, Novato, CA (CH) 7 Merrie Harding, Orlando, FL (FP) Vernon Westenbroek, Columbia, MO (CH) 8 Janée Angel, Belgium (FP) Donald Robinson, Spring, TX (CH) Jon Wyatt, 1995, California (FPC) 9 Elizabeth Sample, 1998, San Francisco, CA (FPC) 10 Elliott Sample, 2004, San Francisco, CA (FPC) Nicholas Wright, Waco, TX (CH) 11 Robbie Byrd, Fayetteville, NC (PC) Justin Murphy, Leesburg, FL (CH) Karen Rector, Jacksonville, FL (CH) Robert Townsend, Nathalie, VA (CH) 12 Charline Berry, Baltimore, MD (CH) Chris Boltin (S-Decatur) Rudolfo Rodriguez, Kernersville, NC (PLT) 13 Clyde Angel, Indianapolis, IN (CH) Rodney Bolejack, Denton, TX (CH) Thomas Dougherty, Mechanicsville, VA (PC) Martha Kate Hall (S-Georgia) Wayne Maberry, Alturas, FL (CH) Fortino Ocampo, Siler City, NC (PLT) Johnny Taylor, Plano, TX (CH) 14 Mike, Southeast Asia (FP) Maurice Graham, Richmond, VA (PC) 15 Daniel Shadix, Prattville, AL (CH) 16 Don McNeely, Emeritus (FP) 17 Joe Moffitt, Wetmore, CO (CH) Susan Rogers, Jacksonville, FL (PLT) Anna Sample, 2001, San Francisco, CA (FPC) 18 Ben Craver, San Antonio, TX (CH) Ron Fairley (S-Decatur) Brickson Sam, Charlotte, NC (PLT) Fran Stevenson, Fremont, CA (FP) 19 Jennifer Graham (S-Decatur) Kaela Ruble, 1998, Southeast Asia (FPC) Adam Stovall (S-Decatur) 20 Joyce Cleary, Emeritus (FP) Reid Doster (S-Louisiana) Jim Ivey, New Albany, IN (CH) 21 Jim Pope, Jackonsville, FL (CH) Inetta Taylor-Shuetz, Lubbock, TX (CH) Alice Tremaine, Corbin, KY (CH) 22 Doug Brown, Franklin, IN (CH) Daniel Hix, Maryville, TN (CH) Ana Podgaisky, 2001, Ukraine (FPC) 23 Mike Bumgarner, Norman, OK (CH) Keith Little, New Bern, NC (CH) Allen Williams, Rising Star, TX (FP) Richard Woodall, Memphis, TN (CH) Marc Wyatt, California (FP) 24 Timothy Boschen, Waynesboro, VA (CH) Craig Klempnauer, Hewitt, TX (CH) Brian Wilson, Louisville, KY (CH) 25 Arville Earl, Emeritus (FP) Robert McMillan, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) 26 Cindy Ruble, Southeast Asia (FP) Alan Tyson, Rogers, AR (CH) 27 Bernie Calaway, Franklin, NC (PLT) Jenny Clore (S-Virginia) Jim Kirkendall, New Orleans, LA (CH) Verr Dean Williams, Rising Star, TX (FP) 28 Randal Walton, Lynchburg, VA (CH) 29 Pam Foster, Haslet, TX (CH) 30 ________, son, North Africa (FPC) Teresa Darnell, Louisville, TN (CH) Becky Buice Hall (S-Decatur) Christiana Liem, Houston, TX (CH) Karen Sherin, Mitchell, SD (FP) 31 Karr La Dickens, Emeritus (FP) Michael Pimpo, Grayslake, IL (PLT) Cecelia Walker, Montgomery, AL (CH)

SEPTEMBER 1 Terry Eddinger, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Lucy Hearne, 2013, Danville, VA (FPC) Milton Snyder, Milledgeville, GA (CH) Ralph Stocks, Romania (FP) 2 Bob Coons, Owensboro, KY (PLT) Ruth Cuellar, Newnan, GA (PLT) Dennis McDuffie, Atoka, TN (CH) Sara Moran, Greer, SC (CH)

3 Jenny Jenkins, Haiti (FP) Ann Owen, Viera, FL (CH) 4 Monique Criddell, Waco, TX (CH) Vicki Lumpkin, Greensboro, NC (CH) Shirley Massey, Chapel Hill, NC (CH) 5 Eddie Aldape, Spain (FP) Kelly Belcher, Asheville, NC (CH) Roger Benimoff, Grand Prairie, TX (CH) Becky Brannon, Gainesville, GA (CH) David Brown, France (FP) David D’Amico, Emeritus (FP) Alexandria Geovanni, Waco, TX (CH) David Julian, Dublin, GA (CH) 6 Carla Cherry, Worthington, OH (CH) Daniel Edward Tatum, Marietta, GA (CH) 7 Martha Harper, Madison, MS (CH) Lee Hendricks, Greenville, NC (CH) Lita Sample, San Francisco, CA (FP) 8 Daniel Hall, Pineville, KY (CH) Jody Harrison, Roanoke, VA (CH) Trey Lyon, Atlanta, GA (FP) Chad Mustain, Dallas, TX (CH) 9 Jutta Cowie, Haiti (FP) 10 Timothy Brown, Dublin, GA (CH) Nancy Campbell, Kansas City, MO (CH) Keegan Glenn, 2009, Los Angeles, CA (FPC) Rick Jordan (S-North Carolina) 11 Larry Hovis (S-North Carolina) 12 Ryan Berlin (S-Decatur) Bryan Lake, Cumming, GA (CH) Laura Sejud-McConnell (S-Decatur) 13 Alyssa Aldape (S-Decatur) Andrew Gee, Marietta, GA (PC) Richard Morris, Lebanon, PA (CH) Scot McCosh, Hope Mills, NC (CH) Alan Redditt, Georgetown, KY (CH) 14 Bart Grooms, Birmingham, AL (PC) Priscilla Howick, Jacksonville, FL (CH) 15 Rebecca Holmes, 1994, Netherlands (FPC) Brandy Mullins, Manvel, TX (CH) 16 Dick Allison, Hattiesburg, MS (CH) Christopher Harrell, 1993, Kenya (FPC) Karen Heistand, Jacksonville, FL (CH) Luzzola Hunt (S-Decatur) Byron Johnson, San Diego, CA (CH) Charles Leggett, Lawton, OK (CH) 17 Angela Clark, Matthews, NC (CH) Jean Craddock, Lexington, KY (PC) George Rossi, Columbia, SC (CH) 18 Susan Barnett, Green Valley, AZ (CH) 19 ________, daughter, North Africa (FPC) Larry Baker, Commerce City, CO (CH) Josiah Maas, 2007, Belize (FPC) Wanda Ashworth Valencia, Homestead, FL (FP) 20 David Bluford, Lenoir City, TN (CH) Renée Owen, Marietta, GA (CH) Tanya Parks, Slovakia (FP) 21 Christian Byrd (S-Mississippi) Mark Flores, Lynchburg, VA (CH) Timothy Wagoner, McGuire Air Force Base, NJ (CH) 22 Kim Chafee, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) Josh Reglin, Tahoka, TX (CH) John Robbins, Maiden, NC (CH) Becky Shoaf, Atlanta, GA (CH) 23 Geoffrey Fuller, Chester, VA (CH) Bo Prosser (S-Decatur) Donna Seay, Baltimore, MD (CH) 24 William Stewart, Yukosuka Naval Base, Japan (CH) 25 David Christensen, Brownville, NY (CH) Gabe Orea, China (FP) Angel Pittman, Miami, FL (FP) 26 Randy Brookshire, Greenville, SC (CH) Sunny Mitchell, Milwaukee, WI (CH) Keith Parker, Brevard, NC (PC) Beth Sexton, Lincolnton, NC (CH) Lynwood Walters, Gainesville, FL (CH) Gloria White, Pearland, TX (PC) 27 Cathy Anderson, Kennesaw, GA (CH) Peggy Johnson, Hurst, TX (CH) Gilbert Sanders (S-North Central) 28 Renate Kruklis, Braselton, GA (CH) 29 John Harris, Pelham, AL (PC)


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FOR NEARLY 25 YEARS, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has been driven by its mission to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. We’ve sought to live into our vision to be a national and global community bearing witness to the Gospel in partnership with Christians across the nation and around the world. On the eve of the 25th Anniversary, we are celebrating our future. CBF is living into the same attributes that our founders instilled. We strive to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic and global. We aspire to raise the bar on excellence with inspiring partnerships, ministries and missions, and like CBF partner-congregations, we are committed to being diverse — hearing and respecting different perspectives. Join your fellow Cooperative Baptists as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of CBF in 2016 at the General Assembly in Greensboro, N.C.

The 2016 CBF General Assembly will be hosted and held at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel and Joseph S. Koury Convention Center in downtown Greensboro, N.C., June 20-24, 2016. Registration opens October 1.

CBF offers prayer, solidarity and action in the wake of Charleston violence About a dozen pulpits in partner congregations across the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship stood empty and draped in black on Sunday, June 21. This, in solidarity with the historic Mother Emanuel AME Church of Charleston, S.C., after the deaths of its pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, and eight others in an act of racially motivated, hate-filled violence on the evening of June 17 during a Wednesday night Bible study. Also killed were the Rev. Dr. Daniel L. Simmons, Sr., the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor and the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd and Susie Jackson. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF of South Carolina stand with the Mother Emanuel AME congregation and the families of the nine victims in this time of grief. We pray for a sense of God’s peace in the wake of this tragedy and that God would bind both our wounds and bind us together across our divisions in responding for good. CBF is committed to impacting our nation with Christ-like love and being a vessel and a force for racial reconciliation. One way of showing that commitment is to work alongside our Baptist sisters and brothers and with the New Baptist Covenant as we support Covenants of Action across Baptist life, where two or more churches from different races and possibly different Baptist denominations come together to address a pressing need in their community. Find more information about this effort at Another way is to prayerfully consider and act to reach across denominational boundaries to start a dialogue with a church or churches in your community about making a difference in the fight against racial division.

As churches gather for worship, missions studies, youth group and prayer meetings in the coming weeks and months, we hope resources on racial reconciliation will serve as a place to start important, Christ-focused conversations. A resource called “Racism,” published by The Center for Christian Ethics at Baylor University, includes a wealth of information, including a worship service with prayers, hymns, readings and scripture as well as a study guide. These resources and others are available at An additional resource, produced by is a DVD and study guide called “Beneath the Skin: Baptists and Racism.” “Beneath the Skin” shows that racism is far from eradicated, inside or outside of the church. Yet many Baptists are working together in proactive ways to break down the racial and ethnic walls of division and to be faithful to the Bible’s moral vision. Find more information and order a copy of the DVD at Also, in an effort to generate local and national dialogue on ways to address racism in America, houses of worship participated in a “Freedom from Racism Sunday” on July 5. In preparation for July 5, houses of worship were encouraged to download resources including prayers, scriptures and conversation starters for the day of repentance, confession and healing — coming just a day after Independence Day and representing an important time for a conversation about freedom from oppression. Partnership is powerful. Let’s work together to spread the hope of Christ and a spirit of reconciliation throughout our land. Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator Jay Kieve, CBF of South Carolina Coordinator


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I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace. ISAIAH 54:13, NLT

Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed. Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry

HEAR IMPACT STORIES FROM CBF FIELD PERSONNEL: Diann Whisnand Rio Grande Valley, Hidalgo, Texas

Angel and Jason Pittman Wanda Ashworth-Valencia Touching Miami with Love, Miami, Fla.

Ralph and Tammy Stocks Project Ruth, Bucharest, Romania

“For communities such as ours, where 60 percent of people over 25 do not have a high school diploma, education is absolutely critical. Education gives people opportunities to move ahead, to have a career where they can really fulfill their calling and be all that God created them to be. At TML we have the opportunity to work with incredibly bright young people who just need the right resources and the right help. They need someone to walk alongside so they don’t fall through the cracks, so they don’t end up in places that are dangerous.”

Jon and Tanya Parks Roma Community, Košice, Slovakia

– JASON PITTMAN, CBF field personnel at Touching Miami with Love Miami, Fla.

Support CBF literacy ministries and field personnel worldwide.



(Left) New CBF church starters (from left to right) Josh James, Doug McKinney and Michael Mills were commissioned during the Wednesday evening service of the Dallas Assembly.

(Right) Assembly attendees laid hands on newly commissioned field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors.

2015 CBF General Assembly opens with commissioning service By Aaron Weaver DALLAS — The 2015 General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship kicked off on the evening of June 17 in downtown Dallas with a commissioning service for new field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors. With more than 1,100 Cooperative Baptists gathered at the Hyatt Regency, six women and men were commissioned and added to the Fellowship’s growing group of 650 active chaplains and pastoral counselors who minister in diverse settings, from hospitals to jails and prisons to every branch of the United States military. Over the past year, CBF has endorsed 35 individuals as chaplains and pastoral counselors. “Chaplains and pastoral counselors are partners in renewing God’s world as they

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embody the presence of pastor of Inland Church “PAY ATTENTION TO THIS Christ in these specialized in Spokane, Wash., and MOMENT. IT IS SPEAKING settings,” said Gerry Josh James and Doug THE MESSAGE OF STRENGTH McKinney, pastors of Hutchinson, CBF’s endorser for chaplains The Restoration Project THROUGH HUMILITY, and pastoral counselors. in Salisbury, Md. THAT WE ALONE ARE NOT “Tonight, I say to Eric “As we commission Whitfield, Larry Johnson, SUFFICIENT BUT TOGETHER you, you go being the Jeff Walton, Lee Ann incarnational presence WE ENCOURAGE THESE Rathbun, Bisser Ovcharov of Christ as a partner EXPRESSIONS OF MINISTRY in renewing God’s and Cassandra Wilson: Your work is uniquely world,” CBF Church TO JOIN WITH OTHERS.” your calling. God has Starts leader Andy Hale equipped you for such a time and for such a told the new church starters. “Go with the work as this. Live out your calling so that God hope and power of the Holy Spirit, being calls out others through you.” fully formed even as we continue to form The Fellowship also commissioned three together.” new church starters, including Michael Mills,

(Above) CBF Endorser Gerry Hutchinson gave affirmation and offered a blessing to the new chaplains and pastoral counselors celebrated during the June 17 commissioning service.

(Above) David and Lauren Bass were commissioned as CBF field personnel to serve in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during the June 17 service.

(Above) New CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors took part in a hand washing and were presented with servant towels to acknowledge their commitment to serve others alongside the Fellowship.

Two new field personnel were also to ponder anew what it means to follow Jesus commissioned. David and Lauren Bass not only as Savior but as Lord.” will work alongside the Cambodia Baptist The opening General Assembly service Union as CBF field personnel in Phnom concluded with a litany and time of Penh, Cambodia, helping new churches in prayer and laying of hands on those being the urban center of a predominantly rural commissioned by the gathered body of country to become deep Cooperative Baptists. CBF and sustainable. “GOD HAS EQUIPPED YOU Executive Coordinator “What we do here FOR SUCH A TIME AND FOR Suzii Paynter led the tonight is holy work commissioning prayer SUCH A WORK AS THIS. — setting apart you, and litany and offered a David and Lauren, LIVE OUT YOUR CALLING reminder of the need to be for a sacred purpose,” community together as a SO THAT GOD CALLS OUT in said Steven Porter, Fellowship. OTHERS THROUGH YOU.” CBF’s coordinator of “These candidates are Global Missions. “Your here because we co-mission commissioning challenges us to remember together,” Paynter said. “They each manifest the commission implicit in our own baptisms, an individual call. They have come from

their local congregations of faith, but after discernment and training, after investment and prayer, they are here among us as a community of churches — with friends and strangers — seeking the hand of blessing and sending. “Pay attention to this moment. It is speaking the message of strength through humility, that we alone are not sufficient but together we encourage these expressions of ministry to join with others. Pay attention to this moment when you bless this stranger into ministry. It is an act of faithful body-life — Christ in them, Christ in their congregation, Christ in you, Christ in all of us for the sake of the world.”

For news, photos and videos from the 2015 CBF General Assembly, visit


(Right) Emily Snider Andrews led Assembly attendees in worship alongside singer/ songwriter Ken Medema during the morning and evening sessions.

(Left) More than 1,600 Cooperative Baptists attended the 2015 General Assembly, gathering around the worship theme of “Building Bridges.”

(Left) CBF Moderator Kasey Jones opened the Assembly’s June 18 business session with a prayer for the victims, their families and others affected by the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

At Assembly, pastors call on Cooperative Baptists to ‘Build Bridges’ in their communities By Aaron Weaver and Carrie McGuffin DALLAS — “Perhaps the most radical thing [we] can do is sit down and listen.” So began a conversation between George Mason, senior pastor of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-partner Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, and Gary Simpson, senior pastor of the historic Concord Baptist Church of Christ in Brooklyn, N.Y, during the second night of the 2015 CBF General Assembly. “The true sense of bridge building is that the bridge itself doesn’t belong to either side,” Simpson said. “It just keeps people moving.” Simpson and Mason shared a conversation before a crowd of 1,100 Cooperative Baptists with the worship theme of “Building Bridges,” relating their lengthy ministries and longtime friendships to famous bridges in Dallas and New York City. Simpson opened the dialogue with the definition of a bridge — “a means by which travel or transport is made possible across a terrain that was previously uncrossable.” This uncrossable terrain that Mason and Simpson challenged the Assembly to imagine spanning,

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in light of recent tragedies and increased With this, we must examine our current tensions in society, was the problem of racism climate, Simpson added, noting that we are in our nation. participating in climates that are making it “The power of a bridge is that it makes us very difficult to build bridges across racial, get off of our own side,” Simpson said. “To social and economic divides, because this build a bridge is risk-taking.” bridge building involves sharing of oneself Understanding that a bridge is built radically and taking risks. This involves with the underlying forces of compression tension and flexibility, he said. and tension, Simpson Mason emphasized “THE POWER OF A BRIDGE that this bridge building emphasized that there are forces that have to be IS THAT IT MAKES US GET also requires a bridge at work in tandem, and across generations — as OFF OF OUR OWN SIDE,” both Mason and Simpson flexibility is necessary in both architectural bridge SIMPSON SAID. “TO BUILD facilitate residency building and within and A BRIDGE IS RISK-TAKING.” programs for young leaders across communities. in their churches. He Simpson, the senior pastor of the church reminded the attendees of the centrality of once led for many years by the “Dean of Jesus to bridge building. Preachers,” the late civil rights icon Gardner “Jesus himself was the bridge to our Taylor, spoke passionately about the salvation. He was willing to put himself in challenge that weather brings to a bridge. The there…to sacrifice privilege to do this for us.” weather and the elements, he said, make it so that if there is no regular maintenance the bridge will corrode.

(Right) CBF of South Carolina Coordinator Jay Kieve called on Assembly attendees to pray for Charleston and pray and work for an end to racial division and violence.

(Left) Gary Simpson (left) and George Mason (right) discussed “building bridges” in their own churches and communities during the June 18 worship service.

Prayer for Charleston

CBF Global Missions update

Earlier in the day, the Dallas Assembly devoted time for prayer for the nine people who were killed by a gunman during a Wednesday night prayer service June 17 at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. “Our family has been injured,” CBF Moderator Kasey Jones told the room of Cooperative Baptists attending the morning business session. “I would like for us to pause and pray for another family in crisis. Lord, we ask that you will minister to us and minister to those who have been affected by this tragedy.” Jay Kieve, CBF of South Carolina coordinator, asked attendees to pray for the pastor of Mother Emanuel AME, the families of the victims, and to “pray for the healing of racial division and an end to racial violence.”

During the time of business, the Assembly heard an update from the CBF Missions Council by Chair Mike Oliver alongside CBF Global Missions Coordinator Steven Porter and Governing Board member Paul Baxley, who also serves as chair of the ad hoc Committeee on Global Missions Structures and Staffing. They shared about the ongoing strategic planning process that began earlier this year. “As the Missions Council studied and learned about our mission contexts, we all felt a deep sense that God was calling us to the visioning process,” Oliver said. “The commitment to share the gospel from those early days still remains, but changing contexts demand new models of witness and new structures to support them.” Porter reported that since January, CBF’s 120 career field personnel have been engaged in structured conversations with one another as part of this strategic funding process, discussing together ideas about possible

funding models. He added that the greatest contribution has been the development of CBF mission distinctives. “Our field personnel have moved us beyond slogans to offer the entire Fellowship a common language for our common witness to the Triune God,” Porter said. “They identify three commitments — cultivating beloved community, bearing witness to Jesus Christ and seeking transformational development — that provide a consistent and biblical way to talk about God’s mission in the world and our participation in it.” Oliver and Porter encouraged attendees to continue supporting the CBF Offering for Global Missions, which makes possible the ministries of CBF’s missions enterprise. To learn more or make a financial gift, visit

For news, photos and videos from the 2015 CBF General Assembly, visit


(Left) CBF Moderator Kasey Jones (right) passed on a book of wisdom and encouragement from former moderators to incoming CBF Moderator Matt Cook (left) as he transitioned into the moderator role during the Assembly’s June 19 business session.

(Left) During a devotional message, North Carolina pastor Julie Merritt Lee asked Assembly attendees to dream with her about the person and life of Jesus and the beauty in the messiness of the incarnation.

Cooperative Baptists challenged to build bridge over “gaping wound of racism” to conclude 2015 Assembly By Aaron Weaver and Carrie McGuffin


satirist Jon Stewart, “is what baby Jesus that cried and DALLAS — “Salvation is about healing our world needs to be saved GET OFF YOUR COUCH, a Jesus who went through and wholeness. Now our broken world could the terrible twos, a Jesus use some of that,” said Jim Somerville, senior from. Let’s build a bridge AND GO INTO YOUR over that. But what do you with acne and a Jesus with pastor of First Baptist Church in Richmond, COMMUNITY TO do, where do we start?” a bad haircut. Va., as he addressed the topic of salvation in EMBRACE ONE ANOTHER Somerville shared with “The Jesus baby, child, light of the tragic June 17 shooting at Mother adult that I believe in Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. attendees the advice he AND WEEP WITH ONE had offered his daughter, cries,” said Merritt Lee. Somerville’s devotional message came on ANOTHER. THAT’S WHAT “This is what makes the a resident of Charleston, the evening of June 19 during the final S.C., when she asked what YOU DO TO BUILD A incarnation so powerful. worship service of the 2015 Cooperative she could do in response Christ becomes one of Baptist Fellowship General Assembly in BRIDGE ACROSS THE to the deadly shooting. us….The moments of Dallas. RACIAL DIVIDE. THAT’S Sitting in silence can be life aren’t the ones that “We need to hear their names,” he said, are planned, anticipated speaking aloud the names of the nine victims. misinterpreted, he told her. HOW HEALING BEGINS. “Get up the nerve, get Somerville reflected on his life growing up THAT’S HOW WHOLENESS and neat. Truly human off your couch, and go moments are disordered, in Lowndes County, Ala., just outside of the BEGINS. THAT’S WHERE complicated and raw.” into your community to historic city of Selma, and on the racism that The messiness of the he witnessed as a young boy with a father who embrace one another and SALVATION BEGINS.” weep with one another,” incarnation, Merritt Lee was a United Methodist pastor. He vividly Somerville encouraged the Assembly. “That’s said, is hopeful for us, and teaches us that recalled a cross that was burned on his front what you do to build a bridge across the racial God is with us in the messy places of life. lawn because his father refused to give the divide. That’s how healing But we have difficulty with the incarnation, opening prayer at the begins. That’s how wholeness she asserted, as many times we prefer to only meeting of a local chapter “JESUS IS THE LIVING begins. That’s where salvation focus on the divinity of Jesus. of the White Citizens BRIDGE FOR US begins.” “The incarnation is scandalous, and what’s Council, relating his THROUGH DEATH — The Dallas Assembly also scandalous is that Jesus reconciles us to God father’s response that “he AND THE MATERIALS OF heard from Julie Merritt Lee, through his body….Jesus is the living bridge didn’t think Jesus would pastor of Providence Baptist for us through death — and the materials of say the opening prayer RECONCILIATION: HIS Church in Hendersonville, his body and his blood.” at the White Citizens BODY AND HIS BLOOD.” N.C., who asked attendees to reconciliation: “The living bridge of Christ,” Merritt Council.” Lee said, is our reconciliation as Christians The “gaping wound of racism,” Somerville dream with her about the life of Jesus — a and makes the body of Christ-followers said, borrowing the term from comedian and

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The 2015 CBF General Assembly concluded with Cooperative Baptists observing communion led by Ellis Orozco, pastor of First Baptist Church in Richardson, Texas, with La Rondalla de la Americas guitar ensemble of CBF partner Baptist University of the Americas providing music during this time around the table.

Jim Somerville addressed the Dallas Assembly, challenging attendees to build a bridge over the “gaping wound of racism,” and encouraged Cooperative Baptists to take action to reconcile racial tensions and divides in their communities.

Preston Clegg called on attendees to consider the bridges God built through words in the act of creation and the power of God’s love that continues to speak bridges into being.


reconcilers in the world. Preston Clegg, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Little Rock, Ark., followed the Assembly’s worship theme of “Building Bridges” in his devotional message. “Some of the most expansive bridges are made of words,” said Clegg, as he explored the creation story in the Book of Genesis and the risk of speaking powerful words.“Before the very first sermon was preached, before the first choir harmonied, before the first organ hummed, before the first prayer was prayed, there were words God spoke: ‘Let there be,’ and there was. God made a bridge out of words.” Wondering with attendees about the risks in bridging a gap with words, Clegg asked if God knew that speaking out of creation was risky. We know that there was trouble in the garden, we know the story of Noah — the biblical narrative is filled with pain and pricey situations, he pointed out. “The moment that God said ‘let it be,’ Clegg said, “a door was opened to pain, to agony, to suffering; simply in speaking, the divine became vulnerable.” With these words, Clegg emphasized, not only did this possibility for pain and suffering become real, but the possibility for risky and

vulnerable love became and it was met with mixed emotions.” real as well. Through the Jones spoke to the changes of staffing, pain God continues to governance structure, branding and even the create and continues to move to a new office that has taken place speak bridges into being within the Fellowship over the past year. because of this great love, “It seems like this change was continually he said. met with courage,” Jones said. “I’m going “Love always builds to submit to you, fear was met with faith. … the bridge. Always. People trusted in the unknown, and that was This is why God’s love major. And I want to share that with you as a — God’s relentless, testimony to CBF.” stubborn, real, eternal and cosmic love — Jones challenged the Assembly attendees God’s love is life to us.” to look to the increase of violence in the Earlier in the day, the Assembly heard a country and around the world, to look at the final address from outgoing CBF Moderator changing social environment, and to look at Kasey Jones during the Friday morning what CBF has been able to accomplish. business session. “We can take the testimony of how we’ve “Change conjures up a host of emotions,” formed together and how we’re moving Jones said. “Every institution I have been a forward as a seed into our communities,” part of has undergone “LOVE ALWAYS BUILDS THE Jones said. “I believe in change.” you. I believe in us. I BRIDGE. ALWAYS. THIS IS This change, added believe that we have a Jones, who serves as WHY GOD’S LOVE — GOD’S place in renewing God’s senior pastor of National RELENTLESS, STUBBORN, world.” Baptist Memorial Church REAL, ETERNAL AND in Washington, D.C., is something that describes COSMIC LOVE — GOD’S her time in the role of LOVE IS LIFE TO US.” CBF Moderator. “Coming into this position, there was a lot of change,” said Jones. “Over the last year, change was everywhere in the life of CBF, For news, photos and videos from

the 2015 CBF General Assembly, visit


Advocate and theologian Dr. Iva Carruthers spoke during the New Baptist Covenant luncheon on the need for racial reconciliation in light of the “soul lockdown” that blinds the nation to systemic racism and other injustices.

Devita Parnell, CBF’s young Baptist ecosystem manager (far left) and CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter (far right) presented the 2015-16 Vestal Scholarships to seminary students Jaime Fitzgerald (second from left) and Corinne Causby (second from right).

Matt Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church of Wilmington, N.C. and incoming CBF Moderator, shared his dreams for the Fellowship during the Friday morning business session.

2015 CBF General Assembly Dallas, Texas Twenty-five young students attended the Youth Assembly, which included a trip to Six Flags over Texas and the creation of home medical kits for refugee families in Texas.

Elijah Zehyoue and 15 other young Baptists took part in the Festival of Young Preachers hosted by the Academy of Preachers during the Dallas Assembly.

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter addressed the Assembly on Thursday morning about the power of being an “and” organization. Read an excerpt of her address on pages 2-3.

During the Leadership Alumni Banquet, Dick and Jane Tuten were honored with the Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler Alumni Leadership Award for outstanding service to the Fellowship.

Rebecca Adrian, pastoral care manager at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas (left), Joe Phelps, pastor of Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. (center), and Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas (right), shared their views during a panel discussion on LGBTQ and the church.

Cassandra Wilson (left) was one of six chaplains and pastoral counselors commissioned during the Wednesday evening service. Gerry Hutchinson, CBF’s endorser for chaplains and pastoral counselors, spoke words of affirmation and blessing over each commissioned individual.

Attendees had the opportunity to fellowship, shop and network in The Gathering Place and Missions Market throughout the Dallas Assembly.

The Assembly’s business and worship sessions were led by a variety of musicians from the Dallas area. The Sacred Jazz Quintet (SJQ) provided the music for Thursday’s business session.

CBF Moderator Kasey Jones shared with the Assembly about her confidence in the Fellowship through all of the change in the past year as she gave her final address to attendees on Friday morning.

Participants in the ‘Baptists Learning to Dance’ workshop got to let loose and talk about the issue of creativity and self-expression in the way that we worship.

This year’s Assembly hosted an art show around the worship theme of “Building Bridges,” featuring work from artists connected to the Fellowship.

Emily Hull McGee, pastor at First Baptist Church on Fifth in Winston-Salem, N.C., led a workshop on starting and sustaining ministry with young adults.

Babs Baugh (left) of San Antonio, Texas, was honored Friday morning by CBF Foundation President Jim Smith (right) with the Patricia Ayers Award of Excellence for her commitment to support the work of the Foundation.

Meet our new

Church Starters Michael Mills

Inland Church in Spokane, Wash.


ichael Mills serves as Connections Pastor at Inland Church in Spokane, Wash. A Texas native, Mills is a graduate of Texas A&M University and Fuller Theological Seminary, and now lives in Spokane with his wife and their two-year-old son.

Michael Mills

What led you to start a church? Sharing life with my college roommates provided me with a glimpse of what real community could look like. Several years later, we had the opportunity to take the community that we shared and invite others into it. This opportunity came in the form of starting a church. After much discernment, we decided that this was a perfect opportunity to do something significant for God’s kingdom together. How would you describe Inland Church? Inland Church is a diverse and eclectic bunch of misfits and outcasts. In some form or another, it seems like we’ve all had the experience of not fitting in, but thankfully we’ve found a welcoming and loving church home in Inland Church. We know that God is restoring us and Spokane, and that’s the movement that we want to join.

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Inland Church began with gatherings in a backyard in the summer of 2011, and is now partnering with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to fulfill hopes and dream bigger dreams as a community. The vision of Inland Church is to be a welcoming community of Jesus followers living for the good of Spokane. Their hope is to engage in God’s restorative kingdom-building work with faithfulness and trust in God as learners, community and citizens.

What is the greatest hope that you have for your congregation?

How can Cooperative Baptists pray for you?

Faithfulness. Sure, I have grand dreams of Spokane being swept up in waves of restoration that emanate out of the life of Inland Church, but regardless of that being actualized, if we are simply faithful to follow Jesus and build for God’s kingdom in our daily lives, that’s all I could hope for.

In the same manner that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, Inland Church hopes to see God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done, in Spokane as it is in heaven. We pray this prayer and then we seek to be the answer to it. We would love for you to join with us!

What gives you energy? What do you like to do for fun? Light bulbs! Not the kind in your lamp, but the moment-of-epiphany kind of light bulbs. Within myself and seeing it in others, I love the moment of discovery when dissonance becomes harmony. For that reason, I love to read and discuss ideas, especially with my spouse and our son (he’s the deepest thinker in our family).

For more information about Inland Church, visit

Josh James and Doug McKinney The Restoration Project in Salisbury, Md.


osh James and Doug McKinney are the pastors of The Restoration Project (TRP) in Salisbury, Md. Josh is a native of Laurel, Del., and is married to Kate and they have one son, Abram. Josh is a doctoral student in Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. Doug is from Whitewright, Texas, and is married to Rachel and they have four children: Brynna, Caden, Tobias and Jaxon. He is currently pursuing a degree in Organizational Leadership from Rogers State University.

Josh James

What led you to start a church?

The Restoration Project began as a gathering of four families at a home near Salisbury University in January 2013, and the church’s close proximity to the university has become a large part of its identity. The group has outgrown and moved through multiple spaces in Salisbury and now meets in a Methodist church close to the university campus. TRP believes that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, God is restoring all things. TRP seeks to participate in this restoration by preaching the gospel, loving its neighbors well, fighting for justice and building for the kingdom.

Doug McKinney

Josh: I think the primary factor leading me

How would you describe The Restoration Project?

How can Cooperative Baptists pray for you?

to start a church was an unrelenting call to do it. I just couldn’t see myself doing anything different. Also, knowing that I had a partner was really important. Collectively, Doug and I felt as though we had been given a vision for Salisbury and for a new church start that might reach a different demographic. It was the right time and the right place.

Josh: The Restoration Project is an

Josh: Cooperative Baptists can pray for my

extremely talented, passionate and highly relational community that is not scared of asking big questions. This group of people finds genuine satisfaction in serving one another and “doing life together.” They are creative in outreach, humble in their theology and genuine in their relationships.

family, especially my wife, Kate, and my son, Abram. Ministry is tough, and we will take all the help we can get.

Doug: Church starting had been on my heart

What is the greatest hope that you have for your congregation? Doug: My greatest hope for our congregation is that we will continue to be a people that wrestle with God, even if that means we come away limping. I hope this wrestling leads us to join with God in the restoration of our town and our world.

for a couple of years. As a youth pastor, I was trying to determine if it was a true call to church starting, or if it was just the cool thing youth pastors did when they were no longer youth pastors. Spending some time on staff at a church start confirmed that call for me.

Doug: Cooperative Baptists can pray that I learn to be better at balancing ministry, work and family life. They can pray that at TRP we will continue to ask the tough questions and be prepared to handle the tough answers. To learn more about The Restoration Project, visit


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Meet our new

Field Personnel David and Lauren Bass Phnom Penh, Cambodia


avid and Lauren Bass are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel appointed to work alongside the Cambodia Baptist Union in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Phnom Penh is the urban center of a predominantly rural country that is changing rapidly in the wake of the Vietnam War, the Khmer Rouge and political transition. During this time of growth and transition, the Cambodia Baptist Union has the ambitious goal to start a church in every one of Cambodia’s 12,000 villages.

What excites you most to start your ministry in Cambodia?

Lauren: While our first order of work will be language and cultural learning, I am really excited about the opportunity to live and minister in a cross-cultural setting overseas, and to be able to do that together in ways that complement both of our callings.

Within a dynamic church-growing movement, there is need for theological training for new church leadership as well as economic stability. David, a graduate of Southern Methodist University and Denver Seminary, will be supporting and equipping new church leaders with pastor training and theological education, while Lauren, a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University and Logsdon Seminary, will use her skills in economic development and bivocational leadership. The Basses will walk alongside Cambodian church leaders with the purpose of helping new churches to become deep and sustainable.

Dean Williams of CBF Global Missions. We were able to spend a few days with them in Cambodia, and now they’re really mentoring and encouraging us as we walk through this process.

What biblical image or passage connects most with your calling to missions?

a long time. I see my calling as walking with people, journeying with people where they are — whether that is for a little bit or a long time — and meeting people, treating them with dignity and helping others to see the transformation that comes from the gospel.

What do you like to do in your free time?

David: For years now I have wanted to focus

David: I was on a college trip, and I don’t

David: We like to go to the mountains.

on theological education. I have naturally been a teacher in all the roles that I have had, and have instinctively felt a call toward missions. So it’s the fact that these get to come together that is really exciting to me. I’ve been saying I want to serve like this for years now, and it’s becoming true.

know exactly what it was, but felt this stirring of calling into ministry. It wasn’t a voice, but it was real. I was reading my Bible the next morning and happened to be reading Romans 10, and I came to verses 14 and 15 which say, “But how are they to call on one in whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?... As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” As I was reading that I felt affirmation of what I had been feeling earlier, that God was in that moment calling me to be one who brings the good news.

I love ping-pong.

How have you felt most encouraged throughout the process of beginning your ministry?

Lauren: We have been really lucky to be supported on all fronts. Our parents and families are all very supportive of us living and ministering overseas. Our church family has been praying through this transition with us, encouraging us and even both of our workplaces have been really encouraging.

David: It has been extremely affirming to go through this process with Allen and Verr

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Lauren: More so than any particular verse or passage, what resonates most with me and my calling is the way Jesus went about his ministry and met people where they were and walked with people and traveled with people — sometimes for a little bit, sometimes for

Lauren: We enjoy cooking and drinking tea and coffee with friends. We are pretty low-key.

How can Cooperative Baptists pray for you?

David and Lauren: We would love prayer as we transition to living in another country and wrap up things here in the United States. Also, as we move to Cambodia we would appreciate prayer for the practical things, from finding an apartment in Phnom Penh to learning the language and understanding Cambodian culture. We would also like prayer for our partners in Cambodia as they continue in the dynamic ministry of planting churches throughout the country.


Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors LET US CELEBRATE these newly-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors. I encourage you to welcome and to pray for each of them and their families. Pray for the people and the communities where they serve. Pray that God will continue to work in and through them in mighty ways. The following individuals have been endorsed as chaplains or pastoral counselors in the past year by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship:

Chaplain (Capt.) Larry Aaron Civil Air Patrol Danville, Va.

Loris Adams Trinity Episcopal School Charlotte, N.C.

Kristin Atkins Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children Maitland, Fla.

Robert Fox

Allie Kilpatrick

R. Drexel Rayford

US Navy Reserve Richmond, Va.

Hospice Care Options Eastman, Ga.

Jessica Godfrey

Michael McGrath

University of Alabama, Birmingham Medical Center Birmingham, Ala.

Rutherford County Hospice Forest City, N.C.

Arkansas Children’s Hospital Little Rock, Ark.

Sarah Greenfield

Daniel Mitchell

US Navy Abilene, Texas

St. Francis Hospital Columbus, Ga.

Beverly Hatcher

Sarah Montoya

Wake Forest Baptist Christiana Bentz Medical Center Chaplain Candidate US Army Winston-Salem, N.C. King George, Va.

California Pacific Medical Center, Institute for Health and Healing San Francisco, Calif.

Karen Borchert

John Helms

David Morrell

Caris Healthcare Sevierville, Tenn.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville, Ga.

Baptist Health System Jacksonville, Fla.

Brian Bower

Courtney Hester

HCA Virginia Charlottesville, Va.

Northside Hospital Atlanta, Ga.

Centra Health Lynchburg, Va.

Robert Brown

Freddy Hinson

VCU Health System Henrico, Va.

Cleveland Clinic Cleveland, Ohio

TPC Integrative Psychotherapy and Pastoral Counseling Zebulon, N.C.

Jeff Ellison

Abina Johnson

Bisser Ovcharov

Texas Heath Harris Methodist Hospital of Fort Worth Fort Worth, Texas

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Winston-Salem, N.C.

Methodist Health System Dallas, Texas

Kyle Fishbaugh

Larry Johnson Bon Secours Richmond Richmond, Va.

Seton Healthcare Family CPE Center Austin, Texas

Cape Fear Valley Health Hope Mills, N.C.

Gerry Hutchinson, CBF Endorser for Chaplains and Pastoral Counselors

Melissa Neal

Terry-Michael Newell

Lee Ann Rathbun

John Thompson US Air Force Reserve Texarkana, Texas

H. Dean Vonfeldt Northside Hospital Atlanta, Ga.

Jeffrey Walton Bon Secours Richmond Health System Richmond, Va.

Eric Whitfield AseraCare Hospice Round Rock, Texas

Carol Wilkinson Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center Winston Salem, N.C.

Cassandra Wilson Mt. Carmel Health Systems Gahanna, Ohio

2d Lt. Trevor Wilson, USAF Chaplain Candidate US Air Force Knoxville, Tenn.


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Asset-Based Community Development CBF field personnel share God’s love in Togo, West Africa By Greg Warner

In a local fishing village in Togo, a high-school boy and his mother organized a neighborhood sweeping association to provide clean streets in the community and improve the health of neighborhood children.

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n the tiny West African country of Togo, hundreds of public latrines dot the landscape — unused and ignored — as an expensive testimony to a harsh principle of community development: a “better idea” has value only when the community sees it as valuable. The concrete latrines were built by well-meaning charities and non-governmental organizations as a more sanitary alternative to the age-old custom of relieving oneself along the path or in the nearest ditch. But the Togolese’s response was unpredictably simple — “They stink! Why would I want to go near that when it’s much cleaner outside?” And so they don’t — and the ancient tradition continues. It’s a hard lesson for outsiders who want to import modern solutions into an ancient culture. But it’s a lesson that Lynn and Mike Hutchinson, 29-year veteran mission workers who were commissioned in 2000 as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel, learned Lynn Hutchinson (third from right) gathers with Baptist women’s groups within her community. The Hutchinsons live in the community in which they serve and celebrate long ago. The couple’s approach, instead, is to offer assistance to the the assets that each individual brings to the table. indigenous culture as the Togolese people identify their own problems, values and solutions. who was still raising bush rats for himself, and asked him to help the “We feel that people in Togo can use the assets they have to Hutchinsons teach the techniques to others. make their lives better,” Mike said. Such an organic solution may The agouti project is one example of the Hutchinsons’ approach to incorporate outside resources, he added, but success ultimately community development: create a model that addresses a recognized depends on the people of Togo doing the work. need, draws from the region’s existing resources, is in harmony with “For every Togolese problem, there is a Togolese solution,” he said. the local culture and values and can be taught and replicated easily The Togolese Republic occupies a sliver of land on West Africa’s elsewhere. south-facing coastline. A former French colony, Togo is bordered on The approach the Hutchinsons take typically calls for one person the west by Ghana, the east by Benin and the north by Burkina-Faso to “loan” five agoutis to someone who wants to start a business. As the — all relatively poor, under-developed tropical countries that gained animals multiply, he repays the investor with 10 agoutis. independence from European colonizers after 1957. “The first two trainees have had good success,” Mike said. The 126th smallest country in the world at about the size of West One of these trainees is Daniel, an agriculture student at Lomé Virginia, Togo is also the 10th poorest nation with an average annual University and fellow church member of the Hutchinsons, who income of $584 per person. It lacks many of the natural resources of started with five bush rats and now has 18. “He’s making money and other African nations — no diamonds or oil, not even a major river is now able to share five bush rats with someone else in the church so to link its few cities. Until the 19th century, they also can start their business.” “WHEN WE SEE AN its “major export” was slaves, kidnapped and The same approach is used with rabbits. To feed bound for Europe and the New World. them, the trainees are taught to use local plants, INDIVIDUAL BECOME EXCITED Today, 65 percent of Togolese depend such as swamp grass and papaya leaves, instead AND HOPEFUL ABOUT on subsistence farming. With few sources of of expensive animal feeds. They also use scrap WHAT HE AND OTHERS CAN material to build the pens. income and a scarcity of nutritional food, the Hutchinsons say long-lasting community Finding “local solutions for local problems” is ACCOMPLISH TOGETHER, development will depend not on foreign what the Hutchinsons and others call “asset-based handouts but on developing income-producing THAT IS EXCITING TO US community development,” or ABCD. activities that are feasible, sustainable and The Hutchinsons have a low opinion of TOO. WHEN WE SEE THEIR accessible to all. “development” as traditionally practiced by EFFORTS LEAD TO ORGANIC, Enter the rats. Westerners. In a typical approach, “a community GRASSROOTS DEVELOPMENT, must be seen as having nothing” in order to receive Specifically the African bush rat, a large (8- to 20-pound) rodent similar to the nutria, IT IS A VERY GOOD DAY, AND help from outside organizations, Mike explained. coypu and river rat found elsewhere in the “This can promote a ‘deficit perspective.’ ALSO VERY MOTIVATING.” world. The meat of the bush rat is considered Sometimes the community themselves come to desirable to many West Africans. The French-speaking Togolese call it believe that they have nothing, which leaves them with little hope for the “agouti” — which sounds much better on a menu. improvement.” If the Hutchinsons have their way, the agouti would provide “Asset-based community development starts with the individuals the Togolese with a much-needed source of high-protein food who are there,” Lynn explained. “Instead of focusing on deficits, it and income. helps people recognize that they and others in their community have, The idea was developed in Togo a few years ago through a Peace and in fact are, assets.” Corps project. Mike met the Togolese partner behind the project, AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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The Hutchinsons believe this organic approach to problem-solving produces community buy-in, and hence long-lasting results. “We invest in individuals,” Mike said. “As they grasp the idea of it, they start things.” Severan is an eager high-school student from a nearby fishing village, where mothers were troubled about frequent illnesses among their children. After Mike shared the ABCD principles with Severan, the boy and his mother organized a neighborhood sweeping association. “They decided if their streets were cleaner, their children would be healthier,” Mike noted. Now every Saturday at 5:30 in the morning, villagers emerge from their homes with brooms in hand and sweep the trash from the dirt streets — plastic bags, wrappers, rotten fruit — a week’s worth of accumulated waste in a village where there is no “public works department” to do it. Those who participate contribute a tiny amount of money and a bar of soap which are raffled off to one lucky participant each week. “It’s kind of like a door prize but without the door,” Lynn said. The sweeping association is one way for villagers to practice community-based problem solving, one that the CBF field personnel would probably never suggest. Not only are the streets clean, but the sweeping association and the community have become empowered and confident enough to tackle much more.

Students at a local middle school now have a “compost club” and compost sites of school property. From learning these skills, students are now able to grow their own vegetables at home.

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Mike and Lynn Hutchinson help people in their community to discover their gifts, passions and assets that can lead to sustainable projects that lift them out of poverty and empower them to “be who God designed them to be.” Mike (right) is pictured with a local pastor, Dominique (left), who shared ideas about how to reach out and impact his community.

Later, when Severan accompanied Mike on a visit to a distant village, the teen spontaneously shared the street-sweeping idea with village leaders, prompting the local chief to seek more information. In asset-based community development, even something as mundane and disgusting as garbage can lead to a better quality of life. In a country desperately needing better nutrition, the Hutchinsons are teaching residents composting — allowing collected organic matter such as leaves and food scraps to decompose, creating a natural fertilizer. When the leaders of a middle school complained their students were coming to school hungry, Mike and a Christian teacher began a “compost club.” The students learned how to set up and maintain compost sites on school property, using only materials readily available. Now some students are using those skills to grow their own vegetables at home. “Compost activities also provide the opportunity to talk about God’s creation,” Mike said, “how God provides for our needs through that creation — heat, water, even the dead leaves which go to enrich the soil needed for good crops.” Although Christians make up about one-fifth of the Togolese population, Mike said many residents have seen only a limited or shallow view of the Christian life. “In this society, evangelism tends to mean street-preaching and showing Christian films,” Mike said. “When we share ABCD principles with pastors, they see the larger scope of evangelism: Jesus wants to save the whole person — physically, mentally, spiritually.” “It’s not just praying for the sick or buying medicine,” he continued. “It’s enabling the sick to make the environment cleaner, healthier.” “Our goal is not simply to get people out of poverty,” said Mike. “It’s to encourage them to recognize their assets, to build on their capacities and to be who God designed them to be.” “Asset-based community development is a good fit with our understanding of God’s love for us and his desire for each of us to become all that he has created us to be,” Lynn said. It also focuses on the value of each person, the need for cooperation and love of neighbors. “The Bible has a lot to say about these concepts,” she said. “This is a natural way to carry them out.”

That is the payoff for the veteran mission workers. Community development can be painstakingly slow, and it can try the patience of even experienced field personnel, who may have to bite their tongues and bide their time while an ill-conceived “solution” plays out. But seeing Christians work together to reach their full potential and spiritual maturity still excites the Hutchinsons, even after 29 years of ministry. “When we see an individual become excited and hopeful about what he and others can accomplish together, that is exciting to us too,” Lynn said. “When we see their efforts lead to organic, grassroots

Among the first to benefit from that housing were Aaron and Grace Ogburn, students from Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University. As part of their seminary practicum, the couple spent the summer as interns living at Togo House. Aaron planned with and worked alongside local volunteers in conducting children’s activities and day camps for middle-schoolers, with the goal of building capacity in young leaders. Grace used her organizational skills and background in linguistics to advise and assist in ministry projects. Before going to the mission field, Lynn was a social worker and Mike a pastor in Mississippi. Their career in the field began in Togo in 1986 as Southern Baptist church-planting missionaries. Lynn gave birth to their first son while there. Later they opened SBC mission work in Guinea-Bissau, a small Portuguese-speaking country in West Africa. In 2000, they became field personnel for CBF, working with internationals in France, including West Africans looking for a better life. The Mississippi natives said they were attracted to CBF’s emphasis on partnership and commitment to “the least evangelized and the most marginalized” people. “We came together in such a way that I had no doubt the Lord brought CBF Global Missions and us together,” added Lynn. After six years in France, the couple took a new assignment in North Africa from 2006 to 2010. Then it was back to Mississippi for a year and a half, where Mike served as coordinator of CBF of Komla, after a motorcycle taxi accident that left him in a coma and with his left leg amMississippi and Lynn worked with Together for Hope. During that putated, has begun work at Togo House: A Home for Development — a ministry that the Hutchinson’s established earlier this year. Here, Komla can exercise some of his greatest time, the couple founded St. Martin Baptist Fellowship, the first spiritual gifts to impact the lives of children in his community. CBF-affiliated church on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, near Mike’s hometown of Long Beach. development, it is a very good day, and also very motivating.” In 2013, CBF asked the Hutchinsons to return to West Africa, Komla is one of those individuals. The Hutchinsons were which took them back to Togo for a second time. Since they left in preparing him to lead a children’s ministry when, last December, 1989, the country has changed a lot, the couple noted, but the need while returning from teaching at another church, he was gravely for the gospel has not. injured when the motorcycle taxi on which he Today the majority of Togolese still was riding had an accident. Komla was in a coma, “OUR GOAL IS NOT SIMPLY practice Vodun, the indigenous tribal awakening only to discover his left leg had been religion that gave rise to the syncretistic and TO GET PEOPLE OUT OF amputated. more familiar voodoo. About a third of the “The accident cost him his job as an ironworker, POVERTY. IT’S TO ENCOURAGE population identifies as Muslim. But now but it didn’t squash his commitment to ministry,” THEM TO RECOGNIZE THEIR 22 percent of Togolese claim the Christian Lynn reported. In fact, Komla already has begun ASSETS, TO BUILD ON THEIR faith, up from single digits in 2000. Mike is his assignment at Togo House. skeptical things are all that different, however. CAPACITIES AND TO BE WHO “Many of those I meet in that group cannot “He is exercising some of his greatest spiritual gifts to develop and impact the lives of the GOD DESIGNED THEM TO BE.” tell me who Jesus is,” he said. children,” she said. “His joyful spirit, kindness and As for the population as a whole, “these faithfulness are a witness to all who meet him.” are people who have extremely limited access to the gospel,” said Komla is working at “Togo House: A Home for Development,” Mike. “These are people who are not ever going to be seeking Christ. the couple’s new base of operations, a small two-story house on the “Christ uses us to seek them.” edge of Lomé, the country’s capital and largest city (pop. 839,000). Previously the Hutchinsons could only work out of their home or travel from village to village. “Togo House is a whole new aspect for us, a place where we can bring people in,” Mike said. The rented property has “a good configuration,” he explained. The house and a separate warehouse-type building offers space for association or club activities, children’s groups, training classes, composting models — even group sports on a separate lot in front of Togo House that the owners let them use. “Plus there is housing for volunteers,” Mike added. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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Forming Relationships


Extending Partnerships

CBF of Florida marks 25th anniversary with yearlong celebration By Blake Tommey

Every day, two quadrillion gallons of water move through the Floridan Aquifer, the underground water source underlying the entire Florida landscape and providing fresh water to 60 percent of its residents. From Destin to Sarasota, glassy blue springs emerge from the depths to reveal the lifeblood that courses through the limestone beneath and sustains the nation’s most diverse communities of plants, animals and humans. If you studied the landscape of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Florida over the past 25 years, according to coordinator Ray Johnson, you would find a constant mission to extend itself in partnership coursing through its life as a fellowship. Relationship is CBF of Florida’s lifeblood. 26 |


CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter (second from right) presented a tribute letter to CBF of Florida’s former coordinators Pat and Carolyn Anderson and current coordinator Ray Johnson during the May 15 anniversary celebration.

“Our hope is that the state of Florida is more like the Kingdom of God because a CBF of Florida church exists,” Johnson explained. “And God’s Kingdom is about crossing boundaries and opening doors for relationship; it’s about learning from one another and relating to people who experience life differently because of their language or their context. All of these things inform and enlarge our ability to understand God and what God is up to.” In May 2015, Johnson and the entire state fellowship kicked off a year of celebrating the 25th anniversary of CBF of Florida, now (From left to right) Latino pastors Jesus Garcia (Carolina, Puerto Rico), Asdrubal Forte (Miami), Rubén Ortiz (Deltona) officially CBF of Florida and the Caribbean and Robert Lopez (Ocala) gathered together at First Baptist Church of Tallahassee to celebrate CBF of Florida’s Islands. More than 125 Cooperative Baptists silver anniversary. gathered for a banquet at First Baptist Church in Tallahassee to honor the work of joined in renewing the Homestead and roots, but now we are receiving pastors, congregations, coordinators, staff and other Overtown neighborhoods of South Florida missionaries, natural-born church planters ministers across the state, as well as to simply through development among marginalized and professionals. The response must be collect the memories that led them through and migrant families. CBF of Florida was also different.” the past quarter-century. propelled to embrace now long-time partner A different response first began in 2008 One of those memories, former Passport, Inc., as the ecumenical ministry when Ortiz and Carlos Peralta, both pastors coordinator Pat Anderson recalled, occurred that holds camps and educational programs in Florida, spearheaded a formal partnership in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew swept across for youth and children first began in the between CBF of Florida and the Convención South Florida and left more than 175,000 Sunshine State in 1993. Bautista de Cuba Oriental (Eastern Cuba people homeless. But through more Baptist Convention). More recently, CBF “Everybody who recent efforts to build of Florida began a partnership with the “OUR HOPE IS THAT THE was engaged in CBF radically mutual Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba. of Florida immediately STATE OF FLORIDA IS MORE relationships with Through these relationships, Cooperative came alongside the LIKE THE KINGDOM OF GOD churches in the Bahamas, Baptist churches are learning how God people in South Florida Puerto Rico and Cuba, is already on mission in Cuba with local BECAUSE A CBF FLORIDA to give aid,” Anderson CBF of Florida is churches to build wells, construct affordable CHURCH EXISTS, AND said. “We were looking deepening its mission housing and grow new church plants, and for an alternative to extend in partnership are exchanging mission teams with those GOD’S KINGDOM IS ABOUT way to be Baptist in beyond what the churches to continue sustainable development CROSSING BOUNDARIES Florida, but [Hurricane Fellowship could have work. AND OPENING DOORS FOR Andrew] was really dreamed in 1990. When the birthing energy. It RELATIONSHIP; IT’S ABOUT the goal of mission is was the opportunity to relationship, there is no LEARNING FROM ONE respond in a Christ-like room for preconceived ANOTHER AND RELATING TO way to our friends that outcomes or even an really propelled us from PEOPLE WHO EXPERIENCE intended recipient, said that day on.” former moderator Ruben LIFE DIFFERENTLY BECAUSE Ortiz, and the church in That sense of OF THEIR LANGUAGE OR relationship and Florida must develop an mission propelled entirely new response to THEIR CONTEXT. CBF of Florida to cross-cultural mission. form Homestead, Fla.-based Open House “God is calling us to do something here Ministries, which has this year merged with in Florida, even before church planting Touching Miami with Love, one of the or social justice, and that is to go to our Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s flagship neighbor to reach them at the same level, at Vania Llovera, assistant director of Florida State urban ministries. Through spearheading a level of mutual respect,” Ortiz emphasized. University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, educated workshop attendees about the realities of human the organization in 1995 as well as now “In the past, we in Florida were receiving trafficking in Florida and offered ways churches and sustaining its facilities, the Florida fellowship Catholics or people with African religious individuals can respond. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2015

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Rachel Gunter Shapard, CBF of Florida’s associate coordinator, noted that partnership is also about providing equitable and sustainable ways for churches in the United States to engage in cross-cultural mission. She recalled the many months that Christ Journey Church in Miami spent earnestly trying to establish a mission presence in Cuba, only to be disappointed when their endeavor collapsed. Shapard says the key was eventually to pair Christ Journey’s passionate sense of mission with the relationships that Ortiz and Peralta had established with Cuban Baptists. “This is why relationships are so important to us,” Shapard explained. “Relationships connect us with the people who can help us invest in ministry that is lasting and that won’t just fall apart. We know the kind of ministry that our churches want to be involved in and we have the connections. It’s been a real gift for Christ Journey Church to connect with and work alongside Cuban Fran Buhler (left) was presented with the Findley and Louvenia Edge Award for Leadership in Christian Education after pastors and churches. They aren’t just mission serving for 21 years as a Christian educator and associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Tallahassee. Buhler pictured communities. They are a part of us as much with his wife Nancy (center) and Bill Shiell (right), pastor of FBC Tallahassee. as our stateside churches.” In addition to celebrating the past 25 years On the other hand, Cuban pastors, church and began to learn from churches in Grand in 2015, CBF of Florida and the Caribbean planters and youth leaders are receiving Bahama, Abaco and Acklins Island about Islands is discerning its trajectory into the theological education and training through what God is doing there. “GOD IS CALLING US TO future and discovering how CBF’s network of coaches and teachers. Last In the summer of 2014, best to resource its network year, CBF of Florida, in partnership with Hendricks Avenue Baptist DO SOMETHING HERE IN of partnerships. One of Upper Room Ministries and the Cooperative Church in Jacksonville FLORIDA, EVEN BEFORE those resources includes Baptist Fellowship, led the first-ever spiritual traveled to the east end of CHURCH PLANTING OR the formation of a mission formation academy for ministers in Cuba, Grand Bahama to learn coordinator position to help and has already received invitations from and serve alongside three SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND churches connect more churches in Chile and Colombia to provide Bahamian churches already THAT IS TO GO TO OUR fully in mission and develop the same. engaged in mission projects sustainable relationships. NEIGHBOR TO REACH In 2011, the Florida fellowship formed there. In the same manner, Besides, Johnson said, a partnership with eight churches in the a Bahamian partner church THEM AT THE SAME that relational lifeblood is Bahamas, now officially CBF of the Bahamas, in Abaco has sent teams to the only way forward into LEVEL, AT A LEVEL OF serve at Touching Miami with God’s future in Florida. MUTUAL RESPECT.” Love. Last year a Bahamian “If CBF of Florida is church even sponsored one of going to have any meaningful future, it will be its students as a camp staffer with Passport, a future interwoven in relationship with other Inc. to serve middle and high school students cultures, language groups and communities,” in the United States. Johnson said. “If we stay a white, Southern “Relationship is a goal in itself,” Ortiz group, we will not survive in Florida. Our said. “So we are treating these conventions new friends have a lot to offer us, and what’s always with respect. We aren’t going with more, they are a part of our communities previous plans. We are going to meet people already. We will learn from those we serve and have friendship with people that are with as much as they learn from us.” constructing with us in the kingdom of God, learning mutually from me to them and them Charles Atkins Sr., of Florida State University’s Blues Lab, to me. It’s about being always ready to hear performed “The Original Florida Song” with his son Charles and understand and learn.” Atkins Jr. at CBF of Florida’s 25th Anniversary reception.

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It’s time to

Turn over a new leaf in your Bible study.

Download the 2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions curriculum for Adults, Youth and Children, as well as Worship Resources at Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.

Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.

Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.

Love God. Teach Neighbor. Be Transformed.

2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions

Bible Study

2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions

Bible Study

2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions

2015-2016 CBF Offering for Global Missions

Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry

Bible Study

Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry





Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry

Sharing Christ’s great love for us through literacy ministry

Worship Resources



Opportunities to

August 2015

Michael Mills (pictured center) and other new church starters were commissioned during the 2015 CBF General Assembly in Dallas, Texas.


Visit for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups Around the Table: At Home

LEARN Watch the video featuring CBF’s new church starters at

PRAY Pray for the work of new CBF church starters throughout the year. Their specific prayer concerns and requests are featured in the Prayers of the People resource, available in print and online at

NETWORK Interact with church starters, field personnel and other faith sharing ministries through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit

GIVE Your generous gifts enable CBF to continue encouraging new church starters and field personnel. Find out more at

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Church Starters IN WORSHIP: A MISSIONS MOMENT Missions Education Resource

The resource below can be used in a worship service or other misson-focused group experience.. 1. Watch the video about CBF’s new church starters and read the interview on pp. 18-19 about Inland Church in Spokane, Wash., and The Restoration Project in Salisbury, Md., in this issue of fellowship! magazine. 2. Begin by saying: “You have probably heard the parade of statistics telling us that younger generations of Americans attend church less often and have less religious affiliation than older generations. But the good news is that these statistics do not necessarily mean that younger generations are not interested in matters of faith.” 3. Explain, “New church starts are one way to reach out to people who have little connection with traditional churches. CBF has intentionally invested in church starts as an outreach to those who are seeking community but don’t fit in somehow with established congregations.” 4. Share the three-minute video at with the congregation. 5. Say, “Michael Mills describes Inland Church as ‘a diverse and eclectic bunch of misfits and outcasts’ who have ‘all had the experience of not fitting in.’ But at Inland Church, these folks have found

‘a welcoming and loving church home.’” Note that Jesus was intentional about reaching out to those who didn’t fit in easily. 6. Expand by saying, “In a similar vein, Josh James says that he and Doug McKinney had been given ‘a vision for Salisbury and for a new church start that might reach a different demographic’.” Say, “Instead of expecting this demographic to adapt to traditional churches, church starts adopt ways of reaching unreached demographics.” 7. Remind the congregation that since its beginning, the church has looked different in different times and places. End by thanking God for these church starts and all whom they reach, praying that these churches could truly take root and flourish in the communities where God has planted them.

BOOK CLUBS CBF offers reading group study guides over selected books that intersect missional topics. The 2015-16 reading list promises to enrich and challenge as you explore faith through literature. Find out more at

Opportunities to

September 2015

CBF field personnel Lynn and Mike Hutchinson encourage community development and local leadership in Togo, West Africa.


Visit for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: Around the Table: At Church Around the Table: At Home

LEARN Learn more about Lynn and Mike Hutchinson’s ministry at

PRAY Pray for CBF field personnel on their birthdays. Download CBF’s Prayers of the People resource at

NETWORK Connect with other CBF churches and partners, including ministries focused on asset-based community development, through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit

GIVE Your generous gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions support field personnel worldwide. Find out more at

Asset-Based Community Development 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 centers on the community development work of CBF field personnel Lynn and Mike Hutchinson in Togo, West Africa. Gather copies of this issue of fellowship! for participants and read the article on pp. 22-25 to prepare for the discussion. 2. Ask someone to read Matthew 28:18-20. As a group, discuss the significance of the Great Commission in the history of Christianity and your congregation. 3. Read the following quote from the story: “The couple’s approach, instead, is to offer assistance to the indigenous culture as the Togolese people identify their own problems, values and solutions.” 4. Ask: How does this approach to missions compare to your understanding of the Great Commission and the work of CBF field personnel?

5. Reflect on aspects of asset-based community development (ABCD) described in the article. 6. Discuss ways that our society approaches problems from a deficit perspective in politics, education, neighborhoods, relationships or other segments of public and private life. 7. Ask: How would adopting an asset-based approach change the way our society functions? 8. Observe Mike Hutchinson’s suggestion that ABCD offers Togolese pastors a more holistic approach to evangelism: “Jesus wants to save the whole person — physically, mentally, spiritually.” 9. Discuss the ways your congregation cares for the whole person and ways it tends to address only one or two areas of a person’s life. 10. End with a prayer for Lynn and Mike Hutchinson and their ministry in Togo. Also pray for other CBF field personnel, chaplains, pastoral counselors and church starters serving around the world.


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Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 102972 Atlanta, GA 30369-2972

fellowship! magazine - Aug/Sept 2015  
fellowship! magazine - Aug/Sept 2015