Feb/March 2015 fellowship!

Page 1





Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission

You shared. After a year-long conversation about our Fellowship...

Forming Together

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

as a soaring flock

WE ARE A living congregation. Each one of us is a unique expression of the gifts and callings of committed Christians — the lives within each church that provide energy and growth as we form together toward God’s kingdom vision. Whether reading the Bible, singing God’s praise, caring for children, feeding the hungry, digging for fresh water or tending to the sick and bereaved, each person is tailored just a little more nearly to God’s perfect image. There are no experts in the kingdom of God, but brothers and sisters who are at once both caretakers and caregivers, who share together and are forming together toward a new heaven and earth. Through this process of forming together, God is transforming each heart and mind. But we are not autonomous congregations alone, “For we are laborers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9). The identity statement from the 2012 Task Force Report says of our Fellowship: “We are a community of Baptist Christians and churches walking together and drawn toward the center of our common life in Jesus Christ.We share this fellowship with God, whom we have come to know through Christ.We serve as co-laborers with the Holy Spirit in God’s mission.Within these relationships we freely offer this expression of our identity, not to bind the conscience of any believer or the freedom of any congregation but as an expression of the nature of our fellowship.” Consider how flocks of birds are able to demonstrate such amazing coordination and alignment, with thousands of independent bodies that move as one, reacting together in nanoseconds to changes in geography, topography, wind currents and potential predators. Scientists have discovered that just three simple rules govern their interaction: maintain a minimum distance from your neighbor; fly at the same speed as your neighbor; and always turn toward the center.

2 |


All three rules are essential for flocking. When these rules are in place, it is as if all birds collectively see what each other bird sees and respond as each other bird responds. Taken from the field of complexity science, “emergence” is a term used to describe events in human endeavors which, like flocking, are unpredictable, which seem to result from the interactions between elements and which no single organization or individual can control. The Fellowship is an emergence endeavor. Although made up of autonomous congregations, we are constantly forming together in responsive mission and ministry. Is it any wonder that the Celtic Christians chose the image of a flying wild goose as the symbol of the Holy Spirit that forms and guides us? Like soaring birds, as a Fellowship we are flocking toward our center of the Christian way — living and loving in an array of congregational and missional expressions. As we are traveling together on this holy emergence endeavor, we can be responsive to the leading of the Holy Spirit; we can fulfill God’s imaginative vision for our community. Our vision is to be a national and global community bearing witness to the gospel in partnership with Christians across the nation and around the world. Individuals, churches and field personnel throughout the Fellowship are joining together in ministry and missions to advance the work of God’s love. Where does forming together as a soaring flock happen? It happens in 1,800 congregations and in more than 70 places around the world through collective ministries. We are forming together. Be on the lookout, just a little to your left and just a little to your right, fly together and turn toward Christ, our center. We will be forming together.

A Publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Volume 25, Number 1

February/March 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 Harris McGuffin ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600


CBF’s website and staff e-mail addresses have changed E-MAIL fellowship@cbf.net WEBSITE www.cbf.net

A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net


We listened.

Introducing a new way to share the CBF story — Forming Together


WORDS WITH FRIENDS Six attributes that connect our Fellowship By Candice Young




IT’S FUN to watch a climactic prize reveal on game shows. The suspense of seeing what is behind door number 1 (or 2 or 3) is exciting. This issue of fellowship! feels a little like the prize behind the door, and we are eager for you to open and enjoy it.

What we learned from the audit process, how we interpreted the results and how you can use the brand By Jeff Huett


One year ago, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship decided to examine its brand and talk to people about who and what our Fellowship is. When you think of CBF, what comes to mind? What is its purpose? What vision do you have for CBF? What should CBF look like 10 years down the road?

RENEWING GOD’S WORLD CBF field personnel partner with Park Avenue Baptist Church to create a ‘beloved community’ in Southeast Atlanta

You shared. We listened.

By Blake Tommey

In the pages that follow, we lay out the entire rebranding journey from the first processes to the final product. We share stories of Cooperative Baptists forming together through an HIV/AIDS ministry, and we tell of CBF field personnel and a CBF church that are partnering to renew God’s world, creating a beloved community in Southeast Atlanta. We hope what is also reflected in this issue is YOU — the ways you see CBF, the purpose it has in your life and your dreams for the future of our Fellowship. Take a look and enjoy!


FORMING TOGETHER Tennessee partner expands reach of CBF through HIV/AIDS ministry By Emily Holladay

6 RE-BRANDING CBF By Jeff Huett and Jason Orme CBF’s Jeff Huett and Matchstick’s Jason Orme give insight to the Fellowship’s branding journey


FORMING TOGETHER MATTERS By Bo Prosser Voices from across the Fellowship reflect on the idea of forming together AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net


CANDICE YOUNG is the Assistant Editor of fellowship! Connect with her at cyoung@cbf.net


Cooperative Baptists urge Congress to #StopTheDebtTrap, support payday loan reform

Renewing God’s World

31 AFFECT: MARCH 2015 Forming Together

4 |


prayerspeople of the

Forming Together By Bo Prosser


orming together is one of the guiding principles of our new brand and public face. This came about after many conversations with the goal of clarifying who we are and what we are doing as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The basic words that resonated throughout those conversations were that we are forming together and being formed together. This is true for us as a fellowship, for your congregation, for your family and friends and for you. We are all in the forming business. The questions that then come to mind are: • To what are we forming together? • How are we forming together? • Why are we forming together? • Where are we forming together? We are a fellowship! Anytime we come together, we are forming each other. Anytime we pray together, we are forming each other. Any place we gather for worship or service together, we are forming each other. “Each other” refers to everyone. We are all forming one another. I am forming you as I write these words. You are forming me as you read these words and pray. Here’s the beauty of it: we cannot be formed in isolation! You can’t conjure up spiritual maturity or deeper discipleship by yourself. We need to be in community to be formed personally and corporately. Hear the words of Jesus in Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The best part is that as we are forming together, Jesus is transforming us! And that is something to praise and celebrate. Our forming together leads us collectively to transformation through Christ! When you pray this month, focus on the goal to be formed and reformed with the community with whom you work, worship and live. Choose one name from the prayer calendar, pray for that person to also be formed and reformed, and for the community that they encounter to be forming with them. (You see how forming together works?) Now, pray that as we are forming one another in our fellowship, that Christ would transform us in knowledge and in truth and in love.

BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships. 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

FEBRUARY 1 Susan Collins, Stone Mountain, GA (CH) Carrie Dean, Atlanta, GA (PLT) Brad Jackson, Springfield, OH (CH) James Touchton, Ithaca, NY (CH) 2 Joe Alverson, Nicholasville, KY (CH) John Fogarty, Freeport, FL (PLT) Jaisis Orea, 2002, China (FPC) Dianne Otwell, Dunwoody, GA (CH) Terry Tatro, Louisville, KY (CH) 3 Richard Dayringer, Grove, OK (PC) William Elliott, Lexington, KY (CH) 4 Delores Kay Smith, Hickory, NC (CH) 5 Brian Cleveland, New Orleans, LA (CH) Joanna Tarr, Norfolk, VA (CH) 6 Donn Poole, The Villages, FL (PLT) 8 John Boyles, Lynchburg, VA (CH) Biju Chacko, Morrisville, NC (CH) C.J. Wehmiller, Murrayville, GA (FP) 9 Shaquisha Barnes, Durham, NC (CH) Nathan Cooper, Greenville, SC (CH) Ray Johnson (S-Florida) Jo Kirkendall, Biloxi, MS (CH) Judy McReynolds, Durham, NC (CH) Elizabeth Milazzotto, Louisville, KY (PC) Willie Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (CH) 10 Karen Estle, Indianapolis, IN (PC) James Rentz, Spartanburg, SC (PC) Sam Southard, Naples, FL (PC) Cynthia Thomas, Houston, TX (CH) 11 Lauralee Estes, Northport, AL (PC) Tom Everett, Yorktown, VA (CH) Katee Harris, Rose Hill, NC (CH) Will Runyon, Maryville, TN (CH) Rick Stevenson, Odenton, MD (CH) 12 Mera Corlett, Louisville, KY (CH) Sasha Zivanov, St. Louis, MO (FP) 13 Dianne Swaim, North Little Rock, AR (CH) 14 Roger Bolton, Conyers, GA (PC) Iris Dickerson, Chester, SC (CH) Charla Littell, Burlington, NC (CH) 15 Tolly Williamson, Decatur, GA (CH) 16 Rebecca Hewitt-Newson, Glendale, CA (CH) 17 Nancy James, Haiti (FP) Ryan Wagers, Salisbury, NC (CH) 18 Edward Fleming, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Jean Pruett, Charlotte, NC (CH) 20 Timothy Doremus, Mt. Washington, KY (PLT) Amanda Ducksworth, Columbus, MS (CH/PLT) Younsoo Park, Aiea, HI (CH) 21 Rebecca Church, Louisville, KY (CH) Wesley Craig, San Antonio, TX (PLT) Linda McComb, Clinton, MS (CH) Jeffery Thompson, Gainesville, GA (CH) 22 Stephanie McLeskey, Mars Hill, NC (CH) 23 Michelle Wildes, Columbia, SC (CH) 24 Edwin Badillo, Levittown, Puerto Rico (CH) Danny Tomlinson, Belton, TX (CH) 25 Lindell Anderson, Fort Worth, TX (CH) Rick Foster, Lynchburg, VA (CH) 25 Mira Zivanov, St. Louis, MO (FP) 26 Christa Chappelle, High Point, NC (CH) Rodney Craggs, Louisville, KY (CH) Zeke DeLozier, Bogart, GA (PC) Sheryl Johnson, Richmond, VA (CH) Louise Mason, Richmond, VA (CH) 27 Linda Moore, Greenville, NC (CH) Lori Myrick, Kenya (FP) 29 Ricks Edmondson, Saginaw, TX (CH)

MARCH 1 Vicki Hollon, San Antonio, TX (CH) Brent Peery, Conroe, TX (CH) Chris Scales, Lubbock, TX (CH) Rebecca White (S-Decatur) 2 Michael Patterson, Harker Heights, TX (CH) Laurice Rogers, Hodgenville, KY (PC) Hector Villaneuva, Siler City, NC (PLT) Glenn Williams, Louisville, KY (PC) 3 David Bosley, Vienna, VA (CH) 4 Ed Lemmond, Athens, TN (CH) Jane Martin, Emeritus (FP) 5 Buddy Corbin, Asheville, NC (CH) Ray Higgins (S-Arkansas) Donnie Marlar, Rochester, NY (CH) 6 Ronnie Adams, New York City, NY (FP) Jarrod Foerster, St. Augustine, FL (CH) Chad Hawkins, Pearland, TX (CH) 7 Duane Binkley, De Soto, KS (FP) Laura Foushee, Japan (FP) Wade Rowatt, Louisville, KY (PC) 8 Marian Boyer, Nottingham, MD (CH) Isaac Pittman, 1999, Miami, FL (FPC) 9 Stuart Collier, Vestavia, AL (CH) Michelle Norman, Spain (FP) 10 Dean Akers, Schweinfurt, Germany (CH) Cindy Bishop, Piedmont, SC (CH) 11 Julia Flores, Lynchburg, VA (CH) Lisa Nisbet, Louisville, KY (PC) Ronald Nordon, Frederick, MD (CH) Beth Ogburn, Oklahoma City, OK (CH) Rebekah Ramsey, Concord, NC (CH) 12 Kenneth Bentley, Carbon Hill, AL (CH) Jameson Williams, Shelby, NC (CH) 14 Mary Beth Caffey, Lewiston, ME (PLT) Mary Beth Foust (S-Virginia) Wayne Lanham, Forest, VA (CH) 15 Carita Brown, Catonsville, MD (CH) Mary van Rheenen, Netherlands (FP) 16 Trisha Miller Manarin (S-Mid-Atlantic) 17 Mary Gessner, Madison, AL (PC) Blake Traynham, Richmond, VA (CH) 18 Dodie Huff-Fletcher, Louisville, KY (PC) Denny Jones, Douglasville, GA (CH) Gregory Qualls, Mooresboro, NC (CH) Beth Riddick, Fredericksburg, VA (CH) David Robinson, Newport News, VA (PC) 19 Jennifer Bordenet, Orlando, FL (CH) Kim Schmitt Holman, Fayetteville, GA (CH) 20 Anna Allred, Asheboro, NC (CH) Cynthia Corey, Brunswick, GA (CH) William Hemphill, Stone Mountain, GA (CH) 21 Walter Jackson, Louisville, KY (PC) Alan Melton, Waynesboro, VA (PC) Michael Strickland, Falls Church, VA (CH) Aaron Weaver (S-Decatur) 23 J. Claude Huguley, Nashville, TN (CH) Andy Overmon, Mustang, OK (CH) 24 Michael Gross, Roswell, GA (CH) Kevin Quiles, Canton, GA (CH) Mark Spain, Canyon Lake, TX (CH) Todd Walter, Inman, SC (CH) Sara Williams, South Africa (FP) 25 Jade Acker, Uganda (FP) Bryan Cottrell, Abilene, TX (CH) Gary Nistler, Oak Ridge, TN (CH) 26 Gale Dollar, Glen Carbon, IL (CH) 27 Ken Chapman, Jefferson City, MO (CH) David Gladson, Pendleton, SC (CH) Amy Karriker, Great Falls, MT (CH) Joshua Witt, Jefferson City, TN (CH) 28 Lynda Schupp, Corinth, TX (CH) Megan Whitley, 2002, France (FPC) 29 Phil McCarley, Charles Town, WV (CH) 30 Phyllis Borchert, Oakridge, TN (CH) John Emmart, Stoughton, WI (CH) Layne Rogerson, Winterville, NC (CH) 31 Dale Cross, Lawrenceville, GA (CH) Larry Davidson, Goshen, AL (CH) William Davidson, Wetumpka, AL (CH) Tim Madison, Clearwater, FL (CH)

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 5

Re-branding CBF A conversation on the Fellowship’s branding journey By Jeff Huett and Jason Orme


o build community and to help people and congregations embrace their identity as partners within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, in January 2013, CBF embarked on a yearlong process of assessing our brand and using what we learned to better articulate the identity of the Fellowship in words and visuals. Scores of interviews with Cooperative Baptists from across the Fellowship, along with leadership from CBF staff and an Atlanta-based branding firm have led to a new visual identity system, a clarified way to tell the CBF story and a new tagline for CBF, “Forming Together.” In this interview, Jason Orme, CBF’s lead strategist from the firm, Matchstic, and Jeff Huett, CBF’s associate coordinator of communications and advancement, discuss the branding process, the results and what both mean for CBF.

What is a “brand” and a brand audit?

Jason: The simplest and most helpful definition of a brand is a reputation. It’s way more than all of our marketing efforts, our logo or our tagline. It’s what people perceive about our organization and what they say about us when we aren’t in the room. Our work at Matchstic centers around helping businesses and organizations get to a preferred future state when it comes to

6 |


that reputation. We identify their essence and then express that to people who will care. We have a defined process that we guide each client through — starting with an audit of the current reality of the brand, moving into strategy where we define an ideal future, expressing that strategy with visual and verbal creativity and then activating that creativity in a variety of channels.

Jeff: To me, brand has a lot to do with identity. At CBF, how are people, churches and partners expressing their identity with CBF? That gets to the reputation that Jason is talking about. Several years ago, a task force was brought together to help CBF live into its next 20 years of ministry. That group of committed Cooperative Baptists listed “clarifying our identity” as an area of great concern and one with the best potential for positive change. I see that charge as the driving force behind this branding work. We are living into CBF’s next 20 years of missions and ministry by clarifying our identity while providing many additional points of connection.

Describe the brand audit and strategy processes that your team went through.

Jason: In the audit phase of the process, we talked to a number of key constituents to

understand the current perceptions of the brand. We also look at what the organization is saying about themselves in their marketing materials and what similar organizations in the field are saying about themselves. We attended a couple of church services where we were able to immerse ourselves in the atmosphere of CBF. All of these inputs led us to key insights that helped us to shape where we needed to take the brand. Through our findings and strategy exercises, we worked closely with the CBF team to paint a picture of the core of who and what CBF is.

Jeff: The brand audit phase is really the research phase. A diverse cross-section of Cooperative Baptists — including pastors and laity, Baptists young and old, those active in CBF life and those less active — participated in open-ended interviews. We wanted to know what they like about CBF, how they describe it to others, as well as their critiques of CBF and their vision for the future. The key insights Jason and his team developed told our team of 10 CBF staff members from across the organization that Cooperative Baptists see ourselves as a “both/and” organization — opposite sides of the same coin. We appreciate, even celebrate, the fact that we are made up of individuals and congregations that, while autonomous,

invite collaboration. We do not want to be defined by who we aren’t or spread ourselves too thin, but embrace the opportunity to clearly articulate our story and offer meaningful connections and opportunities to take action, to lead and to spread the hope of Christ. Participants used words to describe CBF such as family and freedom, connected and forming. CBF was described as both local and global. When asked what CBF does best, many responded with “missions” and “local church support.”

partnerships, ministries and missions. We are this way because the approximately 1,800 congregations that comprise our Fellowship are this way. CBF partner congregations are innovative in their ministries and seek global impact through their mission work. They strive for excellence in the ways they carry out ministry and missions. Like CBF partner congregations, CBF aspires to be diverse — in race, in gender, in geography and in age. These words describe our past and will describe our future.

Why was this process important for the future and growth of CBF?

What changes can people expect to see?

Jason: We find that all good organizations

Jason: Once we defined the essence of

the brand, we were able to leverage that in reintroducing CBF to the world. We worked on designing a visual identity system and creating a brand messaging package that would reflect the fruitful and global nature of the ministry and missions efforts of CBF. You will see a new look and feel that is fresh, thoughtful and flexible. An entire system was developed to facilitate a robust brand architecture for all the ministry initiatives, states and regions and partner Jeff: As Cooperative Baptists, our identity organizations. We also retired the use of some and those things that make us distinct from older logo assets to strengthen the equity other Christian, even Baptist, organizations of the CBF visual identity. For a tagline, we should roll off our tongues. If they don’t, we decided on “Forming Together.” This, to us, should explore that. CBF has a clear mission encompassed so much of the organization. and vision — “To serve Christians and As CBF partners to renew God’s world, churches as they discover and fulfill their they do so by collaboration and spiritual God-given mission.” How we do that — growth. Abstract enough to be left up to including with whom we partner and how interpretation, “Forming Together” is as we’re structured — help make up our identity. much of an invitation and challenge as it is a The way we talk about CBF is vital, and method of operation. rattling off a mission statement doesn’t Jeff: The brand research confirmed what always communicate who we are in the many of us knew to be true. We appreciate the most effective way. Developing our brand, freedom we have to worship in autonomous our reputation, that gut-level reaction when congregations. But we also appreciate and people think and speak of CBF, requires celebrate collaboration with others and the clarity and intentionality. Often, in crafting important exchange that happens while that clarity and practicing that intentionality, spreading the hope of Christ in ministry community is formed. In important ways, and missions. Those with whom we minister the goal of building community across the have a lot to give. “Forming Together” Fellowship propelled us through the valuable celebrates the spiritual formation process process of refining the way we tell our story. molding us in the image of Christ, but also How does this work harken back the cross-cultural “forming together” that to CBF’s founding? happens among CBF field personnel and Jeff: We’re living into the same values that the most marginalized people on earth. So, CBF’s founders instilled nearly 25 years ago. you’ll notice that we will use the “Forming We strive to be the presence of Christ, to be Together” narrative often as we put words and Christ-like, innovative, authentic, global and images to telling the story of the Fellowship. to raise the bar on excellence with inspiring Visually, you’ll see a system and logo that

have a clear idea of why they exist and what they should focus on. When they try to be all things to all people, they end up meaning very little to anyone. CBF has a lot of value and purpose that simply needed to be articulated in a strong way. By doing so, we were able to achieve a great deal of clarity and a filter through which CBF can grow into the future without diluting themselves or their offerings.

represents the individuals, congregations and partners that make up the Fellowship, first and foremost, to witness God’s work in the world. You’ll see parts forming a whole because that is our strength.

What else can you tell us about CBF’s new tagline, “Forming Together”?

Jeff: “Forming Together” provides handles that Cooperative Baptists — individuals, churches and partners — can use to talk about their engagement in the work of the Fellowship. And when I say the Fellowship, I mean (to borrow a word from Suzii Paynter) the whole “denomi-network.” Individuals are forming together with congregations; those congregations are forming together with other congregations and with state and regional CBF organizations, which are forming together as a group of autonomous CBF bodies, as well as with CBF Global. The parts making up the whole is our strength. The “Forming Together” concept is abstract enough to prime our thinking about all the ways we are “forming as one” and ways we are “forming together.” It is a concept that allows us to talk about CBF’s missions and ministries in fresh ways and in ways that invite others to the innovative collaboration that is a hallmark of CBF. This is collaboration around things like chaplaincy, church starting, advocacy, Student.Go and Together for Hope, and collaboration alongside field personnel all over the globe.

With the brand audit and strategy processes complete, what are your hopes for CBF?

Jason: It was such a pleasure to work with CBF on this initiative, and we built great relationships with the team. I personally hope to see CBF stay true to what we built and have the courage to act out of who CBF is — as God has created the organization to be. I would hope to see the organization extended in its effectiveness of missions, ministry, community and encouragement. Jeff: My hope is that we are better able to say why we are Cooperative Baptists and better equipped to invite others to join us as we partner in renewing God’s world.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 7

Words with Friends L

ast fall, Starbucks introduced a new advertising campaign and asserted that if you went to any Starbucks anywhere in the world, you would find likeminded people doing similar things. In one day, they shot a commercial at 80 different Starbucks cafes globally and pieced together the footage to prove this continuity. They say you can travel the globe visiting their coffee shops, be exposed to new sights, new smells, new cultures (and maybe even find a new favorite dark roast), but the atmosphere is always familiar, and the goal is the same — to make you feel at home, as though you’ve been there before. More recently, I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and thought I saw a picture of my home church’s sanctuary on a friend’s profile. I immediately went back to read more and realized that it wasn’t my home church at all. In fact, it was a photo of a church to which I had never been, faces of people I had never met. Why did it look so familiar? Then I remembered Starbucks. Maybe the sanctuary I saw on Facebook looked familiar because if I went into any CBF church, I would find likeminded people doing similar things with similar emotion and intent. Throughout the brand audit process, the branding committee kept in mind the duality of CBF — the autonomy of every congregation and individual to practice ministry in their context, and our collaboration as a unit to be laborers with each other and with God. CBF is a lot like that Starbucks commercial. You can travel the globe visiting Fellowship churches and partners and be exposed to new ideas for ministry, new methods for mission work, new challenges within the community

8 |



(and maybe even find a new favorite hymn), but the atmosphere is always familiar and the goal is the same — to partner in renewing God’s world. As we worked to rebrand CBF, we wondered how to give Cooperative Baptists common language about who we are. We used a lot of sticky notes, Sharpies and dry erase markers trying to figure it out. We came up with six attributes we want people to associate with CBF, born from our personal and ecumenical relationships, from formal surveys and our own experiences as members of the Fellowship. They are ideas that contribute to that familiarity of CBF and give us this common language: l Christ-like l Authentic l Excellence

l Innovative l Global l Diverse

As a Fellowship, we aspire to these attributes within our own lives and ministries. Because of that aspiration, pictures of strange sanctuaries feel familiar and newness feels very much like home. If, like Starbucks, we filmed at 80 different CBF churches on the same day and pieced together the footage, you’d find likeminded people doing similar things: striving to be Christ-like, innovative, authentic and global, and to reflect excellence and diversity in forming together as one and forming together as a Fellowship.

CANDICE YOUNG is Marketing Manager for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Connect with her at cyoung@cbf.net


First and foremost, we witness God’s work in the world, both as a witness to others for Christ and an observer of God’s grace.


CBF is ever exploring ways to renew the church and the world—from how we start churches to our partnerships that bring clean water to impoverished areas.


We value and nurture genuine relationships that are built on respect, where we create opportunities for dialogue about issues facing the modern church and the modern Christian.


Our impact reaches every corner of the globe, with a CBF presence spanning from rural villages in Thailand to the United Nations office at Geneva, Switzerland.


The Fellowship is raising the bar with inspiring partnerships, ministries and missions and insisting on integrity in our work and in our being.


Cooperative Baptists are strongly committed to hearing and respecting different perspectives, and to creating sacred space to hear God in multiple ways.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 9

CBF field personnel in Bali, Indonesia, use art as an innovative healing ministry at a local prison.

Advocacy in Action trips allow participants to meet with CBF partners like Bread for the World in Washington D.C., encouraging authentic conversation about the biblical basis for advocacy and how issues such as hunger affect our congregations and communities.

The impact of our Christ-like love is evident as women learn trades and life skills in the safe environment of a women’s shelter in Kampala, Uganda.

10 |


Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, offers an inspiring keynote of excellence at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty’s annual luncheon at the 2014 CBF General Assembly.

Churches and individuals who support the CBF Offering for Global Missions make possible a global response to the Syrian refugee crisis, with food distribution projects in the Bekaa Valley as well as much-needed assistance for students at a Bedouin school.

CBF field personnel in Houston work alongside their diverse international community in a ministry of hospitality and understanding.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 11

You shared.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM THE BRAND AUDIT PROCESS. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was after more than just a new logo when it embarked on a year-long journey to conduct research on perceptions of Cooperative Baptists, craft a strategy that clarified our identity and design an elevated look and feel to our visuals. We sought innovative ways to tell the CBF story that precisely articulate who we are without resorting to who we are not. We aimed for authentic ways to cohesively convey the value and distinction of CBF. And we sought excellence in reimagining the way we present ourselves to the world.

In lengthy, open-ended interviews, dozens of Cooperative Baptists from across the Fellowship appreciated that CBF is a “both/and” organization.

We function as an organization from opposite sides of the same coin.

When asked for descriptive words for CBF and what we do best you said: • • • •

Family and freedom Missions and local church support Home and community Theological education and global missions

• We’re made up of individuals and congregations. • We appreciate the autonomy of congregations and partners, while celebrating collaboration. • We collaborate in missions and in ministries — locally and globally. • We support churches and send field personnel all over the world.

We listened.


What makes CBF different?

Forming Together

CBF is a Christian network that inspires people and churches through both encouraging autonomy and inviting collaboration!

The essence of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is captured by the idea of formation. Encouraging individual growth while growing local churches. Helping Christians form into their faith as well as living out their faith. Forming diverse partnerships locally and globally. It’s forming as one and forming together. What does this look like across the Fellowship? CBF Chaplaincy and Pastoral Counseling Ministries and its 750-endorsed chaplains and counselors are forming together to comfort individuals and families facing illness and grief. CBF’s 122 Peer Learning Groups and the ministers who participate are forming together to worship, shape each other spiritually and discuss ministry-related issues. CBF’s Global Missions work, including 123 field personnel ministering in more than 30 countries on five continents, are forming together, cross-culturally, among all of God’s children. Through Student.Go, undergraduate and graduate students explore their call as they serve among and advocate for the most neglected people in our world alongside CBF field personnel.

Our Core Purpose: We exist to partner in renewing God’s world God calls and equips us to spread the hope of Jesus Christ to the least evangelized, most marginalized people on Earth. Whether we’re feeding the hungry, lifting up the voiceless, digging for water or helping families get back on their feet after a disaster, we and those we are serving are remade just a little more nearly to God’s image. Renewing is spiritual. It’s a movement that takes faithful believers and active participants — participants who don’t just “talk the talk” but are Christ’s presence in the world.

12 |


Bold Simplicity + Colorful Community + Forming Together ARCHITECTURE OF OUR NEW LOGO The CBF monogram is a visual representation of “Forming Together.” It is a combination of squares, circles and the cross, each having a visual purpose and a deeper meaning within the context of our mission, vision and work.




In the CBF monogram, squares represent individuality and foundation. Affiliation with CBF is measured by contribution. Any church or individual who sends a contribution of any amount is considered a member of the Fellowship. This kind of connectivity at a personal and individual level is foundational to the Fellowship.

In the new logo, circles and curvature represent community and the formation of unified partnerships that renew God’s world. Circles allow for fluidity in the design. One of the strengths of CBF is our ability to be a nimble organization, meeting the needs of our local and global communities as they arise.

The cross in the “f” signals that, first and foremost, we are here to bear witness to God’s work in the world. It was important to us that our monogram be easily recognizable as representing a Christian organization. For example, if CBF were on the side of a disaster response trailer, you wouldn’t need the words Cooperative Baptist Fellowship to know that the relief work was being done by a Christian organization.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 13

Forming as One, Forming Together: 5 TIPS FOR ENGAGING THE BRAND As the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship journeyed through the branding process, at the forefront of our minds was this notion: The Fellowship is a Christian network that inspires people and churches through encouraging autonomy and inviting collaboration. Ultimately, the real value of this work will depend on how helpful it is to the people, churches and partners that comprise the Fellowship as, together, we partner in renewing God’s world. While the level of engagement and the form that the joint efforts with CBF and the CBF brand take will vary by context, Cooperative Baptists know that we are stronger when we work together in missions and ministry. Here are ways you and your congregation can connect with CBF and the CBF brand and invite others to do the same.

Open the toolbox.

Display the artwork.

Individuals, congregations and partners are encouraged to access the CBF Brand Style Guide, available on the CBF website, for a toolbox complete with everything needed to visually communicate engagement with the Fellowship. The publication includes guidelines for use of visual components, including the CBF logo, fonts, colors and icons.

Numerous versions of the CBF logo are available for download for use in church e-newsletters, orders of worship and slide presentations. Show that you partner with CBF by displaying the CBF logo alongside relevant news items and on special-emphasis days.

Promote our partnership.

Articulate mission engagement.

Stay up-to-date.

A great way to show the value of collaboration across the Fellowship is to create links from church websites and social media platforms to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and other partners. Our strength is our work together. Clearly articulating the focus of these partnerships and ways to learn more about them takes intentionality and planning.

The concepts of “Forming Together” and “Partner in renewing God’s world” provide launching points for congregations to discuss the ways they engage God’s mission. Speaking clearly about this engagement could be a catalyst for increased involvement in missions and ministry and additional impactful partnerships.

CBF’s website and staff email addresses have changed. To ensure that you and your congregation can access the latest information about the Fellowship and stay in contact with your CBF staff, make sure to note that the website is www.cbf.net and that staff email addresses now use the format: first initial and last name @cbf.net. For example: jhuett@cbf.net

JEFF HUETT is the CBF Associate Coordinator of Communications and Advancement. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffHuett.

14 |


Forming together matters By Bo Prosser

From our beginning, this wonderful Fellowship has been forming together! We took a couple of tries to form our name; this happened in community. We’ve taken several steps toward being on mission together. We’ve been a “new way of being Baptist” together. We’ve been formed by those around us being the presence of Christ to us. We are the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship — our very name reminds us that, while autonomous, we also are community, bound together in Christ. For the past 15 years, we’ve made spiritual formation a priority. We’ve put a significant emphasis on Christian formation, emphasized prayer and prayer practices and woven spiritual disciplines into every aspect of our work. One of the three main foundational aspects of Dawnings, CBF’s congregational renewal initiative, is “formation.” None of this is by accident and none of this occurs in isolation. We cannot “poof” ourselves into spiritual maturity. The definition of spiritual formation that our Spiritual Formation Task Force developed several years ago reminds us: “Spiritual formation is the process of formation in the image of Christ, by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit in community, for the transformation of the world.” This definition emphasizes the work of the Holy Spirit who does the transforming, as well as the work of a communal spirit that reminds us we are not formed in isolation. We open ourselves to receive God’s Spirit, and God’s Spirit empowers those around us to engage others. We are formed in the totality of experience with God and with one another. Consider several words from Scripture: Genesis 2:18 —“it is not good that man should be alone…” Isaiah 45:18 — “God formed the earth and made it and established it; not formed in chaos but to be inhabited…” Matthew 18:20 — “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there…” Matthew 22:39 — “Love your neighbor as you love yourself…” Matthew 28:19 — “Teach all nations…” God’s Spirit is still empowering us to be the presence of Christ in the world. And to what end? That we might all be formed, reformed, perhaps even transformed into a community of beloved brothers and sisters of Jesus followers. “We are formed together when we practice compassionate, active listening, when we avoid assumption that we know everything already and when we have the gumption to be self-aware,” says Connie Stinson, pastor of Luther Rice Memorial Baptist Church in Silver Spring, Md. Karen Massey, associate dean and associate professor of Christian education and faith development at Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, echoes this view.

“Forming together most importantly happens through shared, common experiences, in face-to-face dialogue, sharing stories, being present in important life passages through which the formative and transformative power of God is felt and accessed by God’s people.” Kyle Tubbs, a CBF church starter in Williamson County, Texas, recalls the period of forming together that his new congregation experienced. “Forming together took a while and was frustrating. It wasn’t until we were faced with churchwide challenges that we realized how much we needed each other and how interconnected we had become.” Forming together is the “big idea” in this new chapter in the life of CBF. It is not the only idea. We are still a new way to be Baptist. We are still on mission in a world without borders. We are still finding ways to be the presence of Christ in the world. As my colleague, John Hendrix, so succinctly puts it, “Nothing never happens!” We are forming and being formed together in a multitude of ways to engage the world with the transforming love of Christ. Terry Maples, field coordinator for Tennessee CBF, reminds us: “This forming together cannot be programmed, and is caught more than taught. Certainly, our formation is not complete until we invest our lives in the lives of others.” Ray Higgins, coordinator of CBF of Arkansas, adds, “We need to form together: around global missions, new church starts, young leaders, intentional congregational ministries, Peer Learning Groups, chaplains and pastoral counselors, Together for Hope, Baptist Women in Ministry and state and regional organizations.” Forming together matters. I am not the person I was years ago when I answered the call to the Christian faith and the call to Christian ministry. There are a great cloud of witnesses who have contributed to my formation. They have loved me, cajoled me, held me accountable, cried with me, corrected me, prayed for me and so much more. We have been formed together, as individuals, as churches and as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Consider these words from Jesus, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” (John 13:34) As we embrace this new generation as the Fellowship, may we embrace this “new commandment,” perhaps for the very first time, and be formed, reformed, maybe even transformed together!

BO PROSSER is the CBF Coordinator of Organizational Relationships. Follow him on Twitter at @BoProsser.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 15

Renewing God’s World


CBF field personnel Trey and Jen Lyon (pictured upper right) partner with Park Avenue Baptist Church in Southeast Atlanta and are committed to a full-time presence of relational ministry within the church and the surrounding area. Lanta Carroll (pictured bottom right), children’s minister at Park Avenue Baptist, partners with the Lyons in ministering to a diverse group of children from throughout the Grant Park community.

CBF field personnel partner with Park Avenue Baptist Church to create ‘beloved community’ in Southeast Atlanta By Blake Tommey 16 |



t every church or gathering they attend, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Jennifer and Trey Lyon receive the same question over and over again from confused crowds: Do you work for CBF or do you work for Park Avenue Baptist Church? “The answer is always, ‘Yes!’” Trey said. It’s not that the Lyons delight in puzzling people as to who they represent in their work in Southeast Atlanta; it’s just that they have a deep hope to never untangle the intricate web of partnership that has come to define their work, the work of Park Avenue Baptist Church and the community they all call home. Through relational ministry, the Lyons and Park Avenue are not only partnering with each other, but with the entire Grant Park community to renew God’s world. “Partnership is the air we breathe; it’s everything we do,” Trey said. “We can all tend to adopt the rugged individualism that says, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself.’ And you can do ministry that way, but when it’s relational, magic can happen. We want to provide the space for that to happen together.” In a community that is home to remodeled craftsman homes alongside damaged subsidized housing, hip new coffee joints and an abandoned urban middle school, the process of renewal is neither quick nor always clear. But the partnership is dedicated to discovering the gaps in their community’s development, and through increasing literacy among low-income students, training young urban leaders and providing missional learning experiences for groups across the country, Park Avenue and the Lyons are bringing God’s mission into view in Southeast Atlanta. Seven years prior to their commissioning in 2011, the Lyons’ long-time friend, Tony Lankford, moved to Grant Park with his family to serve as pastor of Park Avenue and lead the congregation in partnering with their community. As he quickly learned, the stage would not only have to be set, but would also have to be built. Lankford amusingly recalls one of his first evenings in Grant Park when he and his wife, Tiffany, decided to tour the community and talk with their new neighbors about the church. “People thought we were closed,” Lankford laughed. “Person after person told

me they thought the church had shut down, or worse, they had no idea what church I was talking about. We were two blocks from the giant church building and most folks had no idea. It was kind of a horrific experience.” Yet, from Lankford’s earliest dismay in the neighborhood, grew an unyielding commitment from the entire church to come alongside their neighbors in trust and mutuality to seek a role at the center of the community. The congregation hired Henra Chennault as its associate pastor, who had long been a vital presence in the lives of many young boys in the neighborhood through Boy Scouts. The church also began cultivating racial diversity among members and singing gospel tunes in addition to the traditional hymns with which they were familiar. They eventually even relinquished their own annual fall festival to provide crucial staffing for fall festivals sponsored by Grant Park and Parkside Elementary School — community festivals which struggled to recruit parent volunteers. Lankford says it was the church’s commitment to being a trusted neighbor that laid the foundation for partnership with the Lyons. “The biggest gift that Park Avenue brings to the partnership is our established

relationship with the community,” Lankford said. “Because of that presence, we provide the trusted space for Trey and Jen to listen to our neighbors’ needs and invite the congregation into that role with them. Without the local church, I don’t think their work could have taken root like it has.” Subsequently, the Lyons’ biggest gift quickly became clear after a phone conversation in which Trey vented to Lankford about failing to find help for a destitute family seeking resources at his former church. Park Avenue had enormous amounts of space, but not enough personnel to commit to a full-time presence outside of those walls. If Park Avenue could provide the presence and space for missional ministry, then the Lyons could provide the independent and entrepreneurial mobility needed to engage the deepest social needs of the community. Jennifer emphasized that after exploring communities across the world in which to plant their ministry, the idea of partnering with their friends in their own hometown just felt right. “Trey and I are Atlanta natives, and we knew the history, the people, the places, the resources,” Jennifer said. “We had been looking into serving in San Francisco and Park Avenue Baptist Church seeks to be a trusted neighbor within the Grant Park neighborhood, working to meet the needs of their community and provide opportunities for lower-income children and students from the area.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 17

The Lyons and Park Avenue facilitate a literacy camp for children throughout the summer as well as a leadership development program for older students. They aim to engage families within the community and offer space throughout the summer for learning and growth among all ages.

even Bulgaria, but suddenly it occurred to us that God was calling us toward the place we knew the most. So we met with Tony and drew up a basic plan for the partnership. We even moved into Grant Park before we were commissioned.” From the beginning, the Lyons committed to “discovering the gaps,” Jennifer added. They now had the freedom to listen for those who were not being served and those who were falling through the cracks. With backgrounds in social service and youth ministry, the Lyons and Park Avenue turned their focus toward children and teenagers from low-income households who had few resources for developing literacy and leadership skills. “Of all the issues we were hearing over and over, it always came back to what was happening in the summer for our low-income kids in the neighborhood,” Jennifer noted.

18 |


“They lose about three months of progress in school during the summer, especially in regard to reading and literacy. Yet, middleclass kids gain a month or two. And so that achievement gap gets wider and wider, and by the time they hit middle school, the gap is two and a half years or so.” During their first summer, the Lyons created a one-week literacy camp at the church, complete with curriculum, a meal, 30 minutes of one-on-one reading time with each student and transportation to and from the church. Over the course of the next few summers, the Lyons developed a close partnership with CBF partner, Passport, Inc., and began staffing teenagers from across the country during three and four weeks of literacy camp. This year, through the New Baptist Covenant, the Lyons and Park Avenue are partnering with Greater Piney Grove Baptist Church and Atlanta’s historic

Ebenezer Baptist Church, the home church of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to extend the literacy camp to six weeks across two sites in Southeast Atlanta as they seek to help students increase their reading scores. In addition to literacy, the Lyons and Park Avenue identified another gap in leadership development among middle and high school students as they formed relationships with students at the church through Henra Chennault. As Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed reopened the Grant Park Recreation Center and after-school programs emerged in the community, Jennifer said they wanted to join in helping students discern good choices among the violence and negativity that surrounded them. So together with the Andrew P. Stewart Center, a ministry that promotes strong communities through various initiatives, the partnership has now developed a summer leadership camp,

Lydia’s House, one of Park Avenue’s ministries, offers space in the church’s large facility for groups from across the United States to serve and partner with the church and the Lyons through short-term mission trips and Passport, Inc. The residents of Lydia’s House enjoy a full urban-immersion experience and engage in numerous ways with the diverse Grant Park neighborhood that the Lyons and Park Avenue serve alongside daily.

focusing on both leadership skill building and service learning. For two days of camp, students interact in a classroom setting to engage each other in topics such as responding to violence, public speaking and identifying their unique gifts. In addition, the students spend two more days serving as junior counselors with the after-school program at the Stewart Center to help discover their own sense of leadership. Nikki Frazier, a resident of Grant Park and a camp volunteer, said that learning and leadership are important, but the most striking transformation has come as families learn to trust the church’s presence. “Families really do trust us to help their kids dream and think outside the box,” Frazier said. “We’re not fixer-uppers, we don’t come from a place of assumption and we aren’t going to be gone in a puff of smoke. They count on us, and we want to

rise to those occasions. They see us as friends because we are friends!” As the Lyons and Park Avenue sought to invite others into their partnership in Grant Park, they utilized a long-time ministry of the church called Lydia’s House, an entire floor of the church building used for hosting mission groups from across the country. Partnerships with a local furniture bank as well as Mercer University led to the donation of more than 75 beds, which allow Passport mission groups to staff summer literacy and leadership camps each year. Yet, more than service opportunities, the Lyons seek to offer a holistic urban-immersion experience as they help others learn to listen and see themselves as recipients of what lower-income communities have to offer them. It’s about creating a community of mutuality, Trey noted. At every opportunity they get to tell others about

their role in Atlanta, the Lyons and the Park Avenue Baptist Church will tell you that partnership is not just useful, but completely central to what God is doing in the city. “Our goal is that we never act or move from a place of assumed deficit,” Trey said. “Most of the time, harmful or unhelpful ministry happens because folks want to solve a problem and just be in and out. That’s not a partnership and that’s and not relational. But when the outcome is beloved community, you not only get stuff done, you reach the point where you realize that you need your neighbors just as much as they need you.”

BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 19

At General Assembly, we’re Forming Together around learning, loving and leading as a Fellowship.


Leadership Institute, Wednesday afternoon, attendees get a free book! Workshops centered on opportunities and models for mission involvement


• •

• • • •

Evening receptions in The Gathering Place Prayer retreat centered on spiritual formation for congregational ministries Group fitness opportunities and free health screenings Meal events like the Newcomer breakfasts, WE lunches, Network breakfasts and auxiliary events with CBF partners


Business Sessions impacting the work of CBF Addresses from CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter and CBF Moderator Kasey Jones State and regional gatherings with your local CBF office

• • •

Worship services with special music led by Ken Medema Commissioning service honoring new field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors Worship, music and ministry opportunity workshops


• • •


Make plans now to join us in Dallas June 15-19, 2015 for:

• • •

Workshops about issues facing the modern church, trends and tools in ministry and resources for teaching and learning Exhibitor booths in The Gathering Place Offering for Global Missions information and material

You shared. We listened.

WE’RE DELIVERING SOME NEW AND SOME IMPROVED ELEMENTS TO HELP YOU GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR EXPERIENCE. HERE ARE JUST A FEW… • Offsite workshop excursions offering field discussions on issues like payday lending • Simplified onsite registration with a self-check-in kiosk • Return of the silent auction • Increased number of spaces in the age-level assemblies • Childcare available for the Wednesday night service The whole event is still under one roof. Assembly will be hosted and held at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Dallas, Texas. DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) has added new routes and is a convenient way to get from the airport to Assembly. Learn more about this transportation option at cbf.net/assembly

Pre-BWA World Congress

Mission Experience hosted by the South Africa Ministry Network and CBF field personnel in South Africa, Josh and Caroline Smith

Five days of mission engagement with partners of CBF’s South Africa Ministry Network

Reserve your spot

Worship and enjoy cultural experiences

prior to the Baptist World Alliance World Congress Following orientation, participants will travel to three different areas: one group will travel to the urban center of Johannesburg, one group will go to Refilwe just outside of Joannesburg and the third group will travel four hours south to the rural Winterton area. Teams will work at their respective ministry sites from July 16 – July 21 Mission projects include: •

Leading Backyard Bible Clubs with children in three different urban congregations in Johannesburg

Ministering with other volunteers at one of the “baby houses” for abandoned children

Serving at the Refilwe Bophelo Medical Clinic

Leading a youth retreat for abused and vulnerable children through the Isibani Ministry Center in Winterton

Conducting home health visits with caregivers through the Thembalatu Ministry Center in Winterton

Participating in Backyard Bible Clubs, light construction projects and pastor training at the Thembalatu Ministry Center in Winterton


Register for the BWA World Congress at bwanet.org/congress


Contact Stephen Cook, senior pastor, Second Baptist Church, Memphis, Tenn., at stephen.cook@2ndmemphis.org for more information.

For To

Samaritan Ministry seeks to raise awareness around HIV/AIDS and provide hope and support. Pictured above is a participant’s T-shirt honoring his mother and her team at FaithWalk — a 5k walk held to raise awareness about HIV in Knoxville, Tenn.

22 |



By Emily Holladay


ore than 50,000 people receive a positive HIV diagnosis each year in the United States. This rise has been particularly painful in the “Bible Belt” region, where HIV is now considered a “Southern Epidemic.” Due to the stigma of HIV and AIDS in many Christian communities, the same resources are not always available to infected patients who live in the South as in other areas of the country. Wayne Smith, a member of Central Baptist Church of Bearden, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship partner church in Knoxville, Tenn., saw this lack of resources in his own community and decided to respond. “Wayne saw an incredible need and a lack of response in the Christian community to that need,” shared Wade Bibb, pastor of Central Baptist Bearden. “He approached the previous pastor, Larry Fields, about the ministry opportunity. Larry wisely advised him to focus on the biblical imperative of caring for the sick, and the ministry took off from there.” Smith founded Samaritan Ministry in 1996 to serve people affected by HIV in East

Wayne Smith is director of Samaritan Ministry at Central Baptist of Bearden in Knoxville, Tenn., which he founded in 1996, following his call to respond to those suffering from HIV/AIDS and a lack of resources in his community.

The Samaritan Ministry strives to share Christian love to individuals living with HIV and AIDS through personal care, communication and support. By ministering in a spirit of sensitivity without judgment, the ministry seeks to restore Christian trust to a group of people who often feel abandoned by their churches and their God.

Tennessee through direct support and education. The organization started as a ministry of Central Baptist, and many church members quickly embraced Samaritan Ministry’s commitment to providing compassionate care to those living with HIV. Five years later, when he retired from his career in education, Smith sought to expand his base of partners for Samaritan Ministry. After attending a workshop led by Ircel Harrison, former coordinator of the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (TCBF), Smith knew that CBF was just the kind of partner he was looking for. “Both Central Baptist and CBF have given much to us with in-kind support of our organization,” Smith noted. “The role of CBF for us has been to infuse into our organizational DNA that the most important thing we can do to help others, especially the disenfranchised, is to be the presence of Christ in their lives.” Empowered by the church community at Central Baptist and CBF to fulfill its important mission, Samaritan Ministry

often finds itself serving alongside the most marginalized individuals in East Tennessee. Being the only faith-based HIV-advocacy organization in the area, they have a unique voice to bring to those suffering from the debilitating and dehumanizing disease. “The last time that Wayne and I were in the Women’s Detention Center doing an education class with a group of women who were incarcerated for various reasons, I remember one woman asking, ‘Why do you take your time to come and talk to us?’” recalled Stacey Bristow, a volunteer tester and educator with Samaritan Ministry. “Wayne and I were able to share that we care about their health and well-being, but more importantly, that God cares for them. “It was amazing to see the looks on their faces, because so often these women don’t receive any love or respect. We were able to commit to them that we would remember and F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 23

pray for them as they learned how to make better choices in their lives moving forward.” Smith regularly attends conferences on AIDS education as an ambassador for Samaritan Ministry. More often than not, he finds that Samaritan Ministry is the only faith-based organization represented at such events. “Wayne has incredible stories to share about the annual AIDS conference he attends,” Bibb said. “As people see the ‘Baptist Church’ booth, some respond with anger saying, ‘Why are you here?’ until they meet and talk to him. Others will just stop, look, start crying and ask things like, ‘Where are the others?’ or ‘Why did it take so long?’” This commitment to faith-based advocacy has led Samaritan Ministry to serve many places and people who are marginalized by the same church that worships Christ who healed the sick and touched the skin of even the most unclean. As a representative of this healing and compassionate God, Smith and

Samaritan Ministry are able to share the hope of the gospel with those who need to hear it most. Because of this unique platform, doors continue to open for Smith to share his passion. Smith was recently invited to attend a White House Summit to address the continued spread of HIV in the South. “The White House Summit was an effort to bring together stakeholders from all over the South to take a look at and define the new HIV epidemic,” Smith explained. “I was part of the Tennessee delegation, a group of state Department of Health experts and several leaders of AIDS service organizations from across the state. I was greatly honored to be included, and once again, we were the only faith component.” But Smith is not satisfied for Samaritan Ministry to extend its voice only where the church isn’t normally present. As a partner

Samaritan Ministry volunteers (pictured right) from a partner congregation help to serve at the annual Thanksgiving banquet hosted at Central Baptist Bearden. Mike Young, spiritual development minister at King’s Cross Church in Tullahoma, Tenn. (pictured below), discusses new HIV research at the U.S. Conference on AIDS in San Diego, Calif.

24 |


with CBF and many other area churches, Smith provides education and support within Christian communities as well, helping people of faith see beyond the stigma of HIV, so they can reach out with Christ’s love. Samaritan Ministry’s partnership with CBF is a significant example of the way CBF and its partners are forming together to respond to God’s mission in the world. Smith is a constant presence at TCBF events, as well as the annual CBF General Assembly. As part of the CBF HIV Network, he helps to plan workshops at General Assembly, and even organized a breakfast at the 2014 Assembly in Atlanta.


In a special service at Central Baptist Bearden recognizing World AIDS Day on November 30, 2014, Stacey Bristow’s children dedicated more than 150 Holiday Hope Buckets for the Hope Center at Ft. Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn.

Wayne Smith (top left) poses with a group of HIV/AIDS leaders and advocates from Tennessee at the White House Summit on HIV in the South held June 23, 2014. At the summit, leaders discussed how to confront and define the new HIV epidemic plaguing numerous southern states.

Smith’s relationship with CBF has allowed him to act as a resource for the Fellowship in conversations about HIV ministry. His support has helped countless CBF field personnel and partner churches respond in Christ-like ways to HIV and AIDS patients in their reach. “I think the greatest strength of the partnership is that a local congregation, a state organization and a national entity can collaborate and form together to address human needs,” remarked Terry Maples, TCBF field coordinator. “The ministry is vitally connected to the church as congregational leaders seek to be missional and responsive to meet needs in the world. “I sense there is significant pride about TCBF’s support of and partnership with Samaritan Ministry. As part of the larger CBF community, we desire to provide significant ministry in Jesus’ name to the marginalized of our world. That’s exactly what Samaritan Ministry does.”

TCBF, in turn, is a strong advocate for Samaritan Ministry. For this to truly be a ministry of forming together, Maples knows that such a strong partnership cannot and should not stay within the boundary of Tennessee. For that reason, he intentionally shares about Samaritan Ministry to leaders of other CBF state and regional organizations, so that they hear about the ways the ministry can resource them. “I feel the partnership will grow stronger as we tell the story and awaken consciousness about the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS,” Maples added. “I also hope the ministry will continue to grow and flourish into the future, expanding its impact beyond Tennessee.” Samaritan Ministry is a vital partner for CBF, not only because of the resources it provides related to HIV/AIDS support and education, but because it provides an avenue for CBF churches, partners and state and regional organizations to grow together as servants of the gospel. Through

this partnership, CBF, Samaritan Ministry, Central Baptist Bearden and countless others are forming together into more caring, compassionate people, responding together to the needs of the growing number of God’s children suffering from an unforgiving virus. “My hope is that through Samaritan Ministry, people will continue to become more educated about this virus, and the fear and misconceptions surrounding it will decrease,” Bristow said. “I am so thankful that the ministry is supported so that it can continue to respond to this epidemic with open arms and hearts, living out the model set for us by Jesus.”

EMILY HOLLADAY is Associate Pastor of Children and Families at Broadway Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.

F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 25

1 in 8 suffer from hunger


million people globally More than

Twice the U.S. population

Join CBF on mission with Christ to

#ENDHUNGER through the Offering for Global Missions

The numbers are staggering. 842 million people in the world go hungry every day. To put that into perspective, the current population of the United States is roughly 320 million. If we are not careful, the sheer scale of this crisis can overwhelm us to the point of inaction. And in the face of such need, we wonder if we truly can make a difference. What can I do? What can my church do? What even can a network of 1,800 churches do? Fortunately, we serve a God who multiplies modest gifts. A few fish and loaves can feed the multitudes if we break through our complacency and allow God to bless the gifts that have been given to us. The question is not whether we will wipe hunger off the face of the earth, but whether we will be faithful with the resources we have been entrusted. Not only does Jesus devote a significant amount of his public ministry to feeding the hungry, but he also bequeaths the church two gifts to advance God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven — and one of them is a meal. We spend a lot of time, talent and treasure seeking the kingdom that Jesus continually made visible in the breaking of bread. Perhaps God’s mission is not so difficult to discover and fulfill as we sometimes make it out to be. Perhaps it is as simple as setting the table for a feast and inviting those on the highways and byways to come in. The Offering for Global Missions supports the efforts of 123 field personnel in more than 30 countries to set such tables around the world. Won’t you bring your gifts to the banquet?

Steven Porter, CBF Coordinator of Global Missions


www.cbf.net/OGM If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10

Food distribution and feeding programs

Partnerships with schools and food pantries

Urban farming and rural economic development

Emergency food assistance


CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help #EndHunger and impact CBF’s Global Missions work meeting other needs worldwide.

2014-15 Offering for Global Missions emphasis:


Cooperative Baptists urge Congress to support payday loan reform By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — “Stop the payday loan debt trap.” This was the message of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship pastors to members of Congress during two visits to Washington, D.C. These CBF-sponsored advocacy events were held to urge key elected officials to support forthcoming regulations on payday loans by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and to pass legislation in the next Congress to cap interest rates on these short-term, small-dollar loans at 36 percent. During a three-day event, Nov. 19-21, hosted by the Center for Responsible Lending, a diverse group of more than 80 faith leaders from 22 states, which included a nine-person CBF delegation, gathered in the nation’s capital to call for strong federal regulation against predatory payday lending and to discuss effective ways to address the problem of payday loans in their respective states and communities. The faith leaders met with more than 75 lawmakers or their staffs, including members of the House Financial Services Committee, as well as Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., the new chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. In addition to CBF, religious groups represented included the National Association of Evangelicals and the National Baptist Convention USA. Two weeks later, CBF’s Stephen Reeves, associate coordinator of partnerships and advocacy, and CBF Advocacy Specialist Graham Younger led a small group of Cooperative Baptists from Texas to Washington D.C., Dec. 1-2, to discuss payday loan reform with members of the Texas congressional delegation. While in D.C., the group also met with CFPB staff and consumer advocate leaders, strategizing on how to best advocate for state and national reform of the payday loan industry. These events come at a critical time for advocates of payday loan reform. In the coming months, the CFPB is expected to issue new regulations for small-dollar loans. Many faith leaders, including Reeves and the two delegations of CBF pastors, wish to see the bureau establish strong restrictions on debt-trap lending. “Over the past few decades, a systematic and deliberate dismantling of traditional usury laws has taken place across the country,” Reeves said. “The result is a multi-billion dollar industry built not on expensive loans given to risky borrowers, but on the creation of previously illegal loan products designed to act as debt traps for working Americans desperately trying to make ends meet.” Reeves stressed the need for a fair marketplace that recognizes a lender’s responsibility to offer products where the borrower has a “fair shot to get out debt without the need to re-borrow.” He noted that, while many churches are assisting those caught in the payday debt trap, government action remains essential.

28 |


CBF’s advocacy coordinator Stephen Reeves (pictured far right) led a group of Cooperative Baptists from Texas to Washington, D.C., Dec. 1-2, 2014, to urge key members of the Texas congressional delegation to support payday loan reform..

“What churches cannot do on their own is ensure a fair marketplace, only government can do that. And, while churches will continue their efforts to offer direct aid to individuals, we must also seize the opportunity to raise our voice as advocates and call for change from those who represent us.” Reeves and other Cooperative Baptists are asking the CFPB to adopt a “strong rule” that mandates lenders assess a borrower’s ability to repay, prohibits the lender from direct access to a borrower’s bank account as a condition for the loan and limits how long a borrower can stay in debt in any 12-month period. Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas, condemned the usurious practices of payday lenders and emphasized the need for a comprehensive solution to this national problem. “Payday lenders are evil, well-financed and unprincipled. That combination has allowed them to proliferate by changing their legal charters as cities and states have tried to regulate them,” explained Wells, who was a key voice in persuading the Houston City Council to adopt an ordinance in December 2013 to regulate the payday loan industry. “What we need is a single, national comprehensive set of regulations,” Wells said. “The good news is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has the authority to regulate their practice, though not interest rates themselves. The best hope we have today to curb predatory payday lending is regulation from the CFPB.” Reeves emphasized that the participants have seen up-close the devastating effects of predatory lending in their communities and that the current time presents an unprecedented opportunity to address the problem of payday lending. “CBF pastors and churches across the country have witnessed first-hand the exploitative practices of predatory lending, trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. CBF now has the opportunity to be a leading voice for reform nationwide. I believe this is exactly the kind of witness for which we should be known and so far the response has been tremendous.”

AARON WEAVER is Communications Manager for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net.



s a minister, how do you form together? Fellowship? Resources? Best practices? Within the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, more than 600 people form together through their experiences in Peer Learning Groups. These CBF-sponsored small groups gather regularly as a community to worship, pray, dialogue, discuss books, host speakers, share ideas, fellowship and find renewal. The Fellowship is home to bright and talented ministers with hearts and passions for ministry, and these ministers are leading congregations in meaningful and creative ways. In order to encourage healthy ministers, healthy ministries and healthy congregations, we as CBF seek to make space for ministers to grow, share and learn from one another. CBF Peer Learning Groups provide a safe space for ministers, who often feel alone in their work, and create communities that can gather for fellowship, shared learning and much needed self-care. These groups can form around a variety of unifying reasons: common ministries, geographical proximity, specific topical interest, shared general interests, former seminary classmates and beyond. We see that as groups come together and meet regularly, relationships form. Book discussions can lead

to sharing personal challenges and insights. Prayers for group members lead to care and concern for each other’s churches. Sharing a meal together leads to celebration of communion in a covenant community. Most Peer Learning Groups meet monthly throughout the fall and spring, and some gather together for an annual retreat. Many groups meet in person, while there are those that share in virtual community through Skype or Google Hangouts, interacting in person only a few special times each year. These groups work with our four regional directors, who train conveners, provide resources as needed, facilitate communication, answer questions, offer suggestions, serve as sounding boards and give guidance to help each group to reach its full potential. Every group is facilitated by a dedicated and trained convener who coordinates meetings and communicates with us at CBF about the group’s activities and available resources. Each convener receives monthly updates with pertinent information and resources for facilitating PLGs, and new suggested resources for ministers to share with their group. Peer Learning Groups are a great way to connect with other ministers and create a network of resources and support. If you are

interested in joining the more than 600 PLG members and becoming part of a group, we would love to hear from you! Many groups are open to new members, and we would be happy to connect you to one of these. We are also always looking for new groups to form, and these can be started with as few as five participants. Those interested in forming a new group should submit a proposal form that may be found online at www.cbf.net/peer-learning-groups. We are happy to walk you through this process. The regional directors are a great resource in answering questions and giving guidance in the forming of new groups. Conveners and those interested in becoming a convener are invited to the Peer Learning Groups Conveners’ Breakfast in June at the CBF General Assembly in Dallas. Information on this event may be found in the monthly PLG e-newsletter. To find more information about a Peer Learning Group close to you, or information about beginning a new Peer Learning Group, contact us at plg@cbf.net.

RUTH PERKINS LEE serves as Director of Ministries for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Follow her on Twitter at @ruthperkinslee. F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 29

Opportunities to

February 2015

CBF field personnel Jennifer and Trey Lyon and Park Avenue Baptist Church engage families in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood through a number of thriving ministries.


Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: A Litany In Small Groups

LEARN Learn about CBF field personnel Jennifer and Trey Lyon at cbf.net/lyon

PRAY Pray for the work of CBF field personnel, churches and partners serving urban neighborhoods and families. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at cbf.net/pray

NETWORK Connect with other CBF churches and ministries focused on community development and education through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit missioncommunities.org.

GIVE Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at cbf.net/give

30 |


Renewing God’s World AROUND THE TABLE: AT HOME Missions Education Resource

The outline below is designed for families to use as a guide for discussion and futher action. 1. To prepare, read the piece on Jennifer and Trey Lyon and their partnership with CBF and Park Avenue Baptist Church in Atlanta in serving the Grant Park neighborhood. 2. Ask, “What’s a job or chore you really don’t like to do by yourself?” Allow for discussion and then ask, “How does working with someone else help?” 3. Explain that you read about field personnel who work in Grant Park, a neighborhood in Atlanta, Ga. Tell about how Jennifer and Trey Lyon partner with Park Avenue Baptist Church and CBF to work with their neighborhood, a diverse and economically-challenged area. 4. Say, “Several years ago, the church’s neighbors thought the church had closed down and some people didn’t even know it existed. But God called a pastor there who helped the church

get to know its neighbors and then connected the Lyons to the church to serve as community ministers.” 5. Describe how the church’s neighbors expressed concern about the local children, reading and youth development. Share how the Lyons and the church created a literacy camp and a leadership development program in partnership with other churches. 6. Ask, “How do you think these ministries and partnerships could affect the neighborhood?” Allow for discussion. 7. Explain that the neighborhood ministries have grown so much that the church now serves as a missions immersion site for other groups to learn about ministry partnerships in an urban setting. 8. Share how God calls all of us to be in partnership with one another to serve our neighbors and our neighborhoods. Invite everyone to stop and pray briefly for the Lyons and the ministries in Grant Park and also for creativity and collaboration in our own neighborhoods.

Opportunities to

March 2015

Central Baptist Bearden recognized World AIDS Day in a special service on November 30, 2014, dedicating more than 150 Holiday Hope Buckets for the Hope Center at Ft. Sanders Hospital in Knoxville, Tenn.


Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: A Missions Moment Around the Table: At Home

LEARN Learn more about Central Baptist Bearden at cbcbearden.org


Forming Together 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 highlights the collaboration between Samaritan Ministry, Tennessee CBF and CBF Global to serve people living with HIV/AIDS. Collect copies of this issue of fellowship! for participants. Read the article on HIV/AIDS ministry on pp. 22-25 to prepare for leading the discussion.

Pray for CBF field personnel, churches and partners ministering in difficult situations. Prayers of the People is a great resource for your daily prayer: cbf.net/pray

2. Ask, “What have you heard or read recently about HIV/AIDS concerns in our area?” Allow for discussion. Then ask, “Do you think it is still a prevalent issue in the United States?”


3. Read the opening paragraph of the article. Ask, “How surprised are you that HIV/AIDS is considered a ‘Southern Epidemic?’” Allow for discussion.

Connect with other CBF churches and partners focused on HIV/AIDS and other caregiving ministries through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit missioncommunities.org.

GIVE Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at cbf.net/give

4. Explain that people living with HIV/ AIDS have often been neglected or even rejected by the church, especially in the South. Say, “But Wayne Smith of Central Baptist Church of Bearden in Knoxville, Tennessee, is working to change that.” 5. Say, “In the mid-1990s, Wayne responded to God’s call to help the sick, specifically those living with HIV/AIDS by starting Samaritan Ministry.” Invite someone in the group to read Luke 10:25-37. Explain that God’s people are called to reach out to those that others may see as “untouchable” or unworthy of help.

6. Say, “As the only faith-based advocacy group for people living with HIV/AIDS in East Tennessee, Samaritan Ministry provides support and care for people who often feel forgotten by the church. They also offer education for local congregations.” 7. Invite someone to read aloud paragraphs 10-12 on p. 24. Ask, “What do you think it means for people who have felt rejected by the church to learn about Samaritan Ministry?” After discussion, ask, “How could our church learn more about HIV/ AIDS in our area and reach out to affected people? Where could we partner with others doing this ministry?” 8. Offer this quote in closing: “Through this partnership, CBF, Samaritan Ministry, Central Baptist Bearden and countless others are forming together into more caring, compassionate people, responding together to the needs of the growing number of God’s children suffering from an unforgiving virus.” Pray that God will shape us into a more caring, compassionate people who respond lovingly to people living with HIV/AIDS in our area. F E B R UA R Y/ M A R C H 2 0 1 5

| 31

160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.cbf.net (800) 352-8741

Take Note:

CBF’S WEBSITE AND STAFF EMAIL ADDRESSES HAVE CHANGED. The CBF website is now www.cbf.net. To contact CBF staff, use the person’s first initial and last name@cbf.net. A full list of staff email addresses is available at www.cbf.net/staff

Advocacy in Action Conference March 9-11, 2015 Washington, D.C. $25 registration fee • Meet advocacy partners including Baptist Joint Committee and Bread for the World • Discuss how faith informs issues like immigration, hunger and poverty, payday lending and more • Learn how to become an effective advocate • Visit your elected officials

Find out more and register at: www.cbf.net/advocacy