June-July 2015 fellowship! magazine

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



CBF joins global Baptists in support of earthquake victims

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

Growth. Excellence. Innovation.

OTHERS MAY FEEL decline, but we are a Fellowship of growth, excellence and innovation. No single congregation can grow its own leaders for tomorrow. So, who is growing future leaders for Cooperative Baptist Fellowship churches? For your church? CBF cooperates with and scholarships 70 students per year at 14 seminaries and divinity schools throughout our 18 states and regional organizations. These are excellent institutions that are training pastors and leaders today for the needs of your congregation tomorrow. Don’t take my word for it — these are excellent schools by many standards. GROWTH: The Association of Theological Schools recognized Central Baptist Theological Seminary as one of the 12 fastest growing theological schools in the United States. Central was highlighted because its attendance has grown by more than 50 percent, and it has overseen a record growth of more than 179 percent during the past five years. Central is led by Dr. Molly Marshall, the first female president of a Baptist seminary accredited by the Association of Theological Schools. “We are preparing creative leaders for diverse ministry contexts through accessible educational delivery,” Marshall said. “Our core values of disciplined learning, diversity, justice and hospitality thread through all our courses and experiences of community. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve churches and the larger social landscape through theological education.” With course offerings in a dozen locations and serving more than 30 Christian denominations, Central is both ecumenical and evangelical. EXCELLENCE: The Center for Faith and Service at McCormick Theological Seminary announced the 2015 list of “Seminaries that Change the World.” This year, 26 institutions were named,

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including four CBF partner schools: Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas; Candler School of Theology and McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta; and Wake Forest University School of Divinity in Winston-Salem, N.C. “The very title, ‘Seminaries that Change the World,’ is a provocative reminder of what theological education has meant in the past and what its purpose and promise is for the future,” said Wayne Miesel, a Presbyterian minister and director of the Center for Faith and Service. INNOVATION: The 14 CBF partner schools are Baptist in the sense that they were started without coordination. Our DNA is clearly Baptist. Before CBF, Baptist theological education existed apart from colleges and universities, but now many of these partners are affiliated with universities, and it is to mutual benefit. The relationship of schools to larger institutions has made it possible for there to be so many Baptist centers of theological education, and today the larger institution is helping to sustain theological education. CBF partner schools have surely made a rapid and tremendous start. The Fellowship has an important function to support this innovative system and complement it with a Reference and Referral ministry to connect seminary graduates with church opportunities. Our Reference and Referral ministry is both high touch and high tech. Craig Janney, CBF’s new Reference and Referral Specialist (read more about Craig on p. 29), has joined CBF Director of Ministries Ruth Perkins Lee to enhance the Fellowship’s services to aid search committees seeking ministry staff and also to aid candidates seeking placement. Churches using our proprietary virtual relationship-matching database receive targeted resumes for their ministry openings based on experience, preference, compensation, geography and philosophy. Visit www.cbf.net/leaderconnect to create your profile or upload your resume.

A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship

Volume 25, Number 3

June/July 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 fellowship@cbf.net WEBSITE www.cbf.net


A LISTENING SERVANT Sam Bandela lives into missionary calling, serves God in India By Emily Holladay

FROM THE EDITOR DEVASTATION. DESPAIR. These two words inadequately describe what thousands in Nepal have witnessed and felt in recent weeks. Words are not sufficient to sum up what the student pictured on the cover of this issue was experiencing as he sat in the middle of ruins, head buried in his lap. A photographer snapped this shot of the Nepalese teen at Durbar Square in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu, just a day after the April 25 earthquake that killed more than 7,350 people and injured thousands more in the South Asia country. Durbar Square is where kings once lived and ruled, as well as home to much of the country’s cultural heritage — the location of Kathmandu’s most spectacular architecture and historic temples. Now, the Square is a symbol of what the deadly earthquake wrought on one of the poorest countries in the world. Cooperative Baptists have joined with the global Baptist family and other Christians from around the world to bring relief and renewal in the midst of the devastation and despair. A new global Baptist network is at work in Nepal, pooling its resources together and providing emergency medical assistance, shelter and food to thousands while also planning for long-term recovery. Learn more about CBF’s efforts in Nepal in support of the earthquake victims on pp. 12-13.



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


CBF joins Global Baptists in support of earthquake victims


By Aaron Weaver

CBF joins global Baptists in support of earthquake victims

For those unable to attend the 2015 CBF General Assembly, be sure to visit www.cbf.net to watch the sessions live. You can also keep up with everything happening at Assembly by visiting www.cbf.net/blog.


SEARCHING FOR RESURRECTION After merger, two South Carolina churches find a new life and vision of mission together By Blake Tommey


A LOOK AT CBF MINISTRIES An introduction to a selection of ministries that strengthen, resource and connect ministers, lay leaders and congregations across the Fellowship

5 FELLOWSHIP VOICES By Jason Coker In the Northeast, Baptist leaders are Forming Together with faith leaders in their community



30 AFFECT: JUNE 2015

Searching for Resurrection

AARON WEAVER is the Editor of fellowship! Connect with him at aweaver@cbf.net

31 AFFECT: JULY 2015 A Listening Servant

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prayerspeople of the

Praying with Hope By Bo Prosser


BF General Assembly is upon us. June 15-20, we will come together for our “family reunion” in Dallas. I’m hopeful for the forming together that will happen in these days. So for the next few weeks, pray with hope. Hope is positive prayer, hope sets us on an optimistic journey and hope opens us up to new possibilities. Hope is certainly a spiritual practice that must be learned. Too many of us pray with predetermined expectations, telling God what we want and that we want it now. This type of prayer puts us in a position to be disappointed. Praying with our “shopping list” of expectations very quickly leads to a negativity that may turn into despair. Hope puts us in a posture of patiently waiting for God to act. When we pray with hope, we are confident that God hears our prayers. When we pray with hope, we pray consistently with optimism. Praying hopefully issues from our faith in God and praying hopefully leads us into a deeper love of God. Yes, this can be a bit of a challenge, but in a few days you’ll live into a hopefulness that you didn’t imagine. Your prayers will move from “Lord, I want…” toward “Lord, I hope…” Praying hopefully implies a patience to wait and to let God’s will be done “on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Pray hopefully for yourself and your life. Pray hopefully for your church and for all of God’s churches. Pray hopefully for our General Assembly and all that will happen in those days of worship, learning and fellowship. Pray hopefully for one or two of the names to the right. All of us who are on this prayer list covet your prayers, and we pray hopefully that you are praying for us and with us. Pray hopefully for peace, for people on your path and for the presence of Christ to continue forming us together as a people of hope!

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

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JUNE 1 Betsy Young (S-Decatur) 2 Carmen Beard (S-Decatur) Susan Hunter, Troy, VA (PLT) Inakali Kuruvilla, San Antonio, TX (CH) Gary Sparks, Tyler, TX (CH) 3 Susan Arnold, La Grange, KY (CH) Rachel Brunclikova, Czech Republic (FP) 5 Stacy Sergent, Mount Pleasant, SC (CH) David Smelser, Lucedale, MS (CH)

6 Erskine Alvis, Black Mountain, NC (CH) Wayne Bruner, Augusta, GA (CH) Linda Cross, San Antonio, TX (FP) Todd DeLaney, Alexandria, VA (CH) Greg McClain, Lillington, NC (CH) Norberto Prado, Oak Ridge, TN (PLT) 7 Bill Peeler, Cambodia (FP) Diana Place, Tucson, AZ (CH) Gary Skeen (S-Decatur) Butch Stillwell, Candler, NC (CH) Diann Whisnand, McAllen, TX (FP) 8 Larry Lawhon, Stephens City, VA (CH) Janice Newell, Emeritus (FP) Randy Parks, Sparta, NJ (CH) Clay Porter, Stanton, TX (CH) Joseph Primeaux, Pensacola, FL (CH) Jeromy Wells, Great Falls, MT (CH) 9 Michelle Cayard, China (FP) Sara Stubbs, Monroe, NC (CH) Patricia Taylor, Tuscaloosa, AL (CH) Doug Wiggington, Pineville, LA (CH) 10 Cindy Goza, Little Rock, AR (CH) Christopher McDaniel, Charleston, SC (CH) Michael Osment, Martin, TN (CH) Kim Wyatt, California (FP) 11 Joshua Hearne, Danville, VA (FP) 12 Mark Chambers, Ness City, KS (CH) Brady Lanoue, Danville, VA (CH) 13 Richard Forest, Louisville, KY (CH) Kim Thompson, Columbia, SC (CH) 14 Chaouki Boulos, Lebanon (FP) Tracey Lopez, Vienna, VA (CH) 15 Jack Brown, Dublin, GA (CH) Robbin Mundy, Fairview, NC (PLT) 15 Josh Speight (S-Decatur) Melissa Whaley, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) 16 Kimberly Emery, Hartville, OH (CH) 17 Linda Jones, Winston-Salem, NC (S-North Carolina/PLT) 18 Bill Hayes, Bogart, GA (CH) George Linney, Durham, NC (PLT) 20 Tim Johns, San Diego, CA (CH) Jeff Lancaster, Cartwright, OK (CH) Cherry Moore, Bryan, TX (CH) Lonnie Turner, South Africa/Zambia (FP) 21 Jim Cook, Salisbury, NC (CH) Susan Harthon, Indianapolis, IN (CH) Jeff Hoppe, Albuquerque, NM (CH) Ken Lake, Fort Mill, SC (CH) Adam Page, Kingsport, TN (CH) 22 Sharon Eldridge, Smithfield, NC (CH) Joanne Henley, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Kirk, Southeast Asia (FP) Jessica Prophitt, Palmetto, GA (CH) 23 Andrew, 1998, Southeast Asia (FPC) Sarah Ballew, China (FP) David Lowe, Fort Worth, TX (CH) Helen McNeely, Emeritus (FP) 24 Robert Fulkerson, Tulia, TX (CH) 25 Franklin Duncan, Atlanta, GA (CH) 26 ________, North Africa (FP) Michael Ferguson, El Paso, TX (CH) Anna Jacks, Birmingham, AL (CH) Tim Myrick, Kenya (FP) 27 Roger Dobbins, North Charleston, SC (CH) Alicia Lee, Macedonia (FP) 28 Michael Brainerd, Alexandria, VA (CH) Carol McCann, North Dinwiddie, VA (CH) Roger Rich, Lexington, SC (CH) Scott Sterling, Whispering Pines, NC (CH) 29 Kevin Adams, Cincinnati, OH (CH) Jeni Cook, Poquoson, VA (CH) 30 Ira Campbell, Nashville, TN (CH) Margaret Guenther, Richmond, VA (PC) Amy Holtz, Richmond, VA (CH)

JULY 1 David McDaniel, Kansas City, MO (CH) Alysia Pennington (S-Decatur) Debra Walters, Lawrenceville, GA (CH) 2 Jennifer Dockum, Ashland, VA (CH) Steven Smith, Springfield, MO (CH) Kyle Tubbs, Round Rock, TX (PLT) 3 Nathanael Ballew, 1994, China (FPC) Elizabeth Ellis, Crestwood, KY (PC) Brenda Lee, Williamsburg, VA (CH) Ascanio Peguero, Fort Worth, TX (CH)

4 Rachel Coggins, Navarre, FL (CH) 5 Coy Callicott, Spartanburg, SC (CH) Jeff Fryer, Murfreesboro, TN (CH) Julie Maas, Belize (FP) Amy Moore, Atlanta, GA (CH) Bob Potts, Emeritus (FP) Mark Snipes (S-Virginia) 6 Shelah Acker, Uganda (FP) Sam Harrell, Kenya (FP) Debbie Kubo, Arlington, TX (CH) William Womack, Columbia, MO (CH) 7 Barbara Dail, Greenville, NC (CH) Steven Flowers, Waynesboro, VA (PC) Paulo Orea, 2005, China (FPC) Julie Rowan, Washington, DC (CH) 8 Ruth Perkins Lee (S-Decatur) Renato Santos, Miami, FL (CH) Steve Sexton, Lenoir City, TN (CH) Robert Summers, Lexington, KY (CH) 9 Miriam Dakin, Lynchburg, VA (CH) Amanda Miller, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 10 Heather Rothermel, Lilburn, GA (CH) Whitney Edwards Russell, Whiteville, NC (CH) Tiffne Whitley, France (FP) 11 Allie McNary, 1995, Slovakia (FPC) Steven Shaw, Jacksonsville, NC (CH) 12 ________, North Africa (FP) Christopher Morris, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) Stacey Pickering, Laurel, MS (CH) Mark Podgaisky, 1999, Ukraine (FPC) 13 Craig Stevens, Saluda, SC (CH) 14 John Deal, Emeritus (FP) Denise Massey, Lilburn, GA (CH) Christopher James McRorey, Kansas City, MO (CH) 15 Jean Randolph, Swannanoa, NC (CH) James Tippins, Fernandina Beach, FL (CH) 16 Mark Hart, Fair Oaks Ranch, TX (CH) 17 Wayne Boyd, Honolulu, HI (CH) Caleb, 1996, Southeast Asia (FPC) Cindy Meadows, Roanoke, VA (CH) Leanna Pearse, St. Louis, MO (CH) Kimberly Sheehan, Nashville, TN (CH) 18 Timothy Hunter, Gatesville, TX (CH) Tom O’Neal, Charlotte, NC (PC) 19 Steven Hill, Knoxville, TN (CH) Jason Pittman, Miami, FL (FP) 20 Tim Mayhall, Birmingham, AL (CH) Errol Simmons, Hattiesburg, MS (CH) 21 _______, daughter, Turkey (FPC) Peter Arges, Durham, NC (CH) Susan Lanford, Wichita Falls, TX (CH) Twyla Nelson, Jackson Springs, NC (CH) Matthew Pogue, Cumming, GA (CH) Keith Tekell, Beaumont, TX (CH) Walter White, Arlington, TX (CH) Lavonia Winford, Doraville, GA (CH) 22 Steve Abbe, Waco, TX (PLT) Dorothy Potts, Emeritus (FP) Bonnie Reedy, Lumberton, NC (CH) 23 Butch Green, Houston, TX (FP) Donald Proctor, Lubbock, TX (CH) Mark Traeger, Peoria, IL (CH) 24 Glynn Ford, Reston, VA (PC) Jeff Huett (S-Decatur) Laurel Link, Winston-Salem, NC (PC) Ronald Oliver, Goshen, KY (CH) 26 Scott Jensen, Saint Joseph, MO (CH) Richard Min, Dallas, TX (CH) Rick Sample, San Francisco, CA (FP) 27 Peter Ott, Oak Harbor, WA (CH) Sandra Smith, Moore, SC (CH) 28 Emily, 2000, Thailand (FPC) Daniel Fairchild, Goldsboro, NC (CH) 29 Michal Patrik Brunclik, 2006, Czech Republic (FPC) Jay McNeal, Richmond, VA (CH) Wayne Morris, Lawton, OK (CH) Karen Morrow, Aledo, TX (FP) Martha Crocker Strong, Olive Branch, MS (PLT) Briana Whaley, Clearwater, FL (CH) 30 Paul Byrd, Birmingham, AL (CH) James Francovich, Emeritus (FP) Garnett White, Midlothian, VA (PC) 31 Amber Blackwell-Childers, Inman, SC (CH) Cindy Thorpe, Greenwood, SC (CH) James Tille, Lakewood, WA (PC)

fellowship voices Forming Together By Jason Coker


Rabbi, a Presbyterian minister and a Baptist preacher walk into a saloon…This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it has been an integral part of my personal and professional life for nearly eight years. Rabbi Dr. Leah Cohen and Rev. Dr. David Graybill have been among my closest ministry friends since I have been the pastor at Wilton Baptist Church in Wilton, Conn. Together, we helped start an initiative that included all our faith groups — Muslims, Jews, Christians, among others — to bring a refugee family to our town. We have preached in each other’s pulpits. David and I were guests of honor when Leah dedicated the new worship space at Temple B’nai Chaim. I even finished my dissertation in New Testament and Early Christianity in the synagogue’s library! Leah and I read a poem we wrote in David’s honor upon his retirement from Wilton Presbyterian Church (22 years of faithful ministry!). When Leah became executive director at the Joseph Slivka Center for Jewish Life at Yale University, we decided to begin driving to New Haven to continue our monthly lunches together. I love them, they love each other and they love me. We have shaped each other’s theology, worldviews, concepts of ministry and even identity. Our friendship has dramatically formed us together. When the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship announced its new tagline “Forming Together,” I immediately thought of my colleagues and friends, David and Leah. Maybe I should have thought more about my church’s place within the Fellowship or our place in the Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast (BFN) or, even more personally, my place in CBF or the BFN. Instead, I thought of David and Leah because they have had such a profound impact on my life and ministry through their friendship. I mean, all our families celebrated Sukkot at Leah’s house in the Sukkah she built! Don’t imagine that we never disagree, either! When the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted to divest from several multinational corporations that do business in Israel and encouraged other faith groups in the United States to do the same, we had some serious conversations. When the Israeli military bombed Gaza for several months last year, we had some serious conversations. Put simply, we don’t always agree, but that’s a major way we shape each other and at the end of the day our friendship is more important than our disagreements.

Forming Together gives us an opportunity to develop a theology of fellowship. In this simple phrase — Forming Together — we can say with conviction that our fellowship is more important than our disagreements; but even in our disagreements, we can shape each other’s theology, worldview and even identity. We can, and do, mold each other through our dialogues and discourses about difficult issues. Forming Together takes seriously our capacity to represent different beliefs while sharing a commitment to fellowship. We can do more (and be better) together! Forming Together within CBF, we can send field personnel all over the world for global transformation in the name of and for the sake of Christ. Together, we can leverage our assets to transform rural poverty into rural development by partnering with the incredible people of Together for Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative and one of our most exemplary collective efforts as a Fellowship. Together, in our Fellowship we can form each other and be a part of God’s transformational work in our world. In March, I had the privilege of going to Mississippi to participate in mission work with two CBF-partner churches from Texas. We all met in Shaw, Miss., where Lane Riley directs programs for Delta Hands for Hope — one of CBF’s Together for Hope sites. Lane is originally from South Carolina and grew up in First Baptist Church, Greenwood, S.C., a CBF partner congregation. Dallas’ Wilshire Baptist Church and Waco’s First Baptist Church landed in the middle of the Mississippi Delta and worked alongside local church folks from Shaw’s Rock of Ages Missionary Baptist Church and Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church. After that week of cleaning, painting and children’s camp, Rock of Ages and Mt. Zion are planning to go to Dallas and Waco to join these two Texas churches in some of their local mission endeavors. Everyone involved experienced transformation from that trip! These sorts of transformative experiences and relationships only happen when we are together. We are only formed when we are together. May we all let it be so.

K. JASON COKER is pastor of Wilton Baptist Church in Wilton, Conn., and currently serves as Recorder of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Coker is also the founder of Delta Hands of Hope, a CBF Together for Hope rural poverty initiative site in his hometown of Shaw, Miss. J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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

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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.



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(Top) About 20 years ago, Sam Bandela and his late wife, Latha, were commissioned as CBF field personnel to serve Southeast Asian immigrants in northeast Atlanta. For the past decade, Bandela has ministered to unreached people groups in his home country of India, establishing medical clinics and planting churches. (Bottom) Bandela (pictured center) presents a certificate and sewing machine to each graduate of his sewing center, a ministry which trains women to sew to support their families.

A Listening Servant

Sam Bandela lives into missionary calling, serves God in India By Emily Holladay

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Then the Lord came and stood there, calling just as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel said, “Speak. Your servant is listening.” The Lord said to Samuel, “I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of all who hear it tingle!” 1 SAMUEL 3:10-11 Much like the Hebrew Samuel, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel Sam Bandela’s missionary journey began at a young age. Growing up in a small town in South India, Sam never heard the name of Christ until a group of missionaries moved into his hometown for training. The missionaries came to Bandela’s town to practice speaking with the people, including his mother and family, in the local language of Telugu. And when Bandela’s mother was diagnosed with cancer, one missionary couple did all they could to help her find healing. While just three years old, he lost his mother to cancer, and the same missionary couple that helped to care for his mother took Bandela in as a child. Seeing so many parallels between his story and Eli’s young apprentice in scripture, the missionaries named him Samuel and made sure that he and his siblings received an education. Bandela’s older brother was the first in his family to become a Christian, and he now serves as pastor of a church in South India. When Bandela finished high school, the missionaries that he had become closest to helped pay for him to go to college. He would later leave India to enroll at North American Baptist Seminary in Sioux Falls, S.D., where he earned his Master of Arts degree in Christian education and Master of Divinity. “I felt that this was God’s call,” Bandela explained. “The first week of July, I arrived in the seminary feeling successful. Ever since then, I’ve been serving God — doing nothing but serving God.” After working for Habitat for Humanity International and serving as a pastor in New Jersey, Bandela and his late wife, Latha, were commissioned in 1994 as CBF field personnel to start a ministry center in Atlanta.

skill. Over the past five years, Bandela has been able to put sewing machines in the hands of more than 400 women and teach them to sew, thanks to the generous financial support of CBF churches. These women are now able to support their families. “The biggest transformation with the sewing centers is that these girls now have the training and have developed a skill,” Bandela said. “They are now earning money, sitting at home with the sewing machine that Cooperative Baptists purchased for them. Some are now married and earning double or triple what their husband is earning. That is the biggest transformation I have seen happening — among the educated and uneducated.” Teaching others about the love of Jesus is one of Bandela’s greatest passions. While his entire ministry is based around sharing Christ’s transformative presence with people through healing and empowerment, he also seeks to start churches throughout India. Through his church planting ministry, Bandela equips lay leaders to become ministers in India. In April, Bandela hosted 50 people for a discipleship training program, challenging each person to live into the Great Commission, to go and make disciples and baptize them.

Together, the Bandelas led the ministry to help the Southeast Asian immigrant community in northeast Atlanta, creating jobs for 10 full-time employees and starting a variety of community-based programs. But Bandela eventually felt called to serve God in his own country. In 2000, he took on a new assignment with CBF to minister to unreached and unevangelized people groups in India. During more than a decade of ministry in India, Bandela has provided disaster relief ministry to tsunami survivors, planted numerous churches across South India and established medical clinics in the most remote areas of the country. With a passion for bringing transformation to neglected and marginalized peoples, Bandela has lived into his calling to spread Christ’s love and work to meet the needs of those “There are many opportunities, such as a he ministers to and with. sister church, for partnership,” Bandela said. While Bandela has helped “They can now engage themselves every meet the pressing needs of many throughout his long ministry, year to go have a mission project. Whether he is most proud of the sewing it’s a church or a school or an individual, the centers he launched in partnership opportunities are wide open.” with Cooperative Baptists to assist widows and teenage girls in supporting their families with dignity and “Right now, my goal is to plant churches,” respect. Bandela added. “Having come from a Hindu “All of those women, the widows and family, when I see mosques and Hindu teenagers, God forbid, if CBF had not come temples on every corner, my desire is for in and offered help, they would have become Christians to have a simple, decent and trapped in a life of prostitution,” Bandela affordable worship place. said. “Agents from brothel homes parade in “A small building costs about $10,000 to villages finding girls between the ages of 12 $15,000 and would seat about 200 to 300 and 15, giving them false promises, saying ‘I people. A church building with a cross and a will take you to the urban area; I will educate steeple — that will send a clear message that you and make you a teacher, typist, secretary Christ is present in this community. That’s or an administrator.’” my strong belief and that is what I’m keenly Faced with the dire need for these women engaged in.” to find a better way to make a living, Bandela Bandela notes that India is still a place sought to provide training in a marketable where many harbor prejudices against J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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Over the past five years, Bandela has been able to put sewing machines in the hands of more than 400 women and teach them to sew, thanks to the generous financial support of CBF churches. Christians, even to the point of persecution. He hopes that, by building churches, people can learn about God in a safe and welcoming environment, and help to lessen the stigma around Christianity. “The persecutions are at an increased level due to a present ruling party which is anti-Christian,” Bandela noted. “We could make some noise, but who will listen?” To provide solidarity and encouragement for the Christian churches in India, Bandela is asking CBF churches to adopt Indian churches as sister congregations.

“There are many opportunities, such as a sister church, for partnership,” Bandela said. “They can now engage themselves every year to go have a mission project. Whether it’s a church or a school or an individual, the opportunities are wide open.” The CBF Offering for Global Missions is the foundational means of support for Bandela. Gifts to the Offering provide Bandela and other field personnel access to a wide array of tools and resources to serve people and equip churches. You may give online at www.cbf.net/OGM. In addition to the Offering for Global Missions, churches and individuals can

also support Bandela’s ministry through purchasing sewing machines for the women in his training centers. Learn more at www.cbf.net/giftcatalog. “A sewing machine costs $125,” Bandela said. “With $125, you are giving a life.”

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

(Top left) Over the past five years, Bandela’s ministry has put sewing machines in the hands of more than 400 women and taught them to sew thanks to the generous financial support of CBF churches. With this marketable skill, these women are able to earn a living and avoid becoming trapped in a life of prostitution.

(Bottom left) Bandela encourages evangelists and church planters in a remote South Indian village. One of Bandela’s ministries is to provide these ministers with bicycles to more easily reach the unreached. (Bottom right) In April, Bandela hosted 50 men and women for a discipleship training program in Hyderabad, challenging participants to live into the Great Commission — to go and make disciples and baptize them.

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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.

2016 General Assembly Greensboro, N.C. June 20-24, 2016

CBF joins global Baptists in support of Nepal

earthquake victims (Left) Men and women from the small remote village of Ranchow wait in the rain as supplies are delivered by the Nepalese Army. The April 25 earthquake left 22 villagers dead and another 15 injured. (Right) An elderly man rests in the shade behind his demolished home in Khadichaur, Sindhupalchowk, a district located northeast of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu. ARTHUR NEWMANN PHOTO

By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is partnering with a network of Baptist groups from around the world to provide relief to the victims of the April 25 earthquake in Nepal, which killed more than 7,350 people, injured thousands more and left the impoverished South Asia country in a state of disarray. CBF has contributed an initial $10,000 to the global Baptist relief efforts and is encouraging Cooperative Baptists and friends to support the Fellowship’s response to the Nepal crisis. Gifts can be made to the CBF Nepal Response at www.cbf.net/nepal. More than $14,200 had been raised by May 11. CBF also deployed Eddy Ruble, one of CBF’s field personnel who serves in Malaysia and is a seasoned disaster response expert, to Kathmandu, the densely-populated capital of Nepal where at least 1,150 people died, to make initial needs assessments and determine capacity support for the global Baptist network’s relief efforts in conjunction with United Mission to Nepal, an ecumenical cooperative organization of Christian groups from nearly 20 countries. Ruble is also working with the development arm of the Nepal Baptist Church Council and other smaller Christian organizations to develop their disaster response capacity and link them to wider networks of support. “Eddy Ruble is assisting in the assessment and collaboration with the global Baptist network to help determine a way forward that

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matches our resources with the needs of the victims,” said David Harding, CBF’s international disaster response coordinator. “Initial needs are for food, water and shelter, but this will transition quickly to the longer-term needs of the victims in the poorest communities that are served by local churches within our partnership.” The 7.8-magnitude earthquake occurred April 25 at 11:41 a.m. local time while many churches were holding worship services (churches typically meet on Saturdays in Nepal) causing church buildings to collapse and leaving thousands homeless and most areas without power and water. This was followed by a 6.7-magnitude earthquake with continuing aftershocks. The United Nations estimates that more than 6 million people have been affected and nearly one million children in Nepal urgently need humanitarian assistance. More than 3 million people are estimated to be in need of food assistance, and 1.4 million have been prioritized for immediate food assistance. According to the Nepalese government, the earthquake destroyed more than 190,000 houses and damaged an additional 175,000, and hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley have treated 28,000-plus patients. Nepal, a nation of 27.9 million, has an economy dependent on tourism and is best known for Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world where at least 18 people were killed. U.N. officials note

that the hospitals in the Kathmandu Valley are overcrowded and running out of water and other emergency supplies as well as space to store corpses. The response of the global Baptist network — known as BReaD (Baptist Relief and Development Network) — is being led by BMS World Mission, a United Kingdom-based mission organization formerly known as the Baptist Missionary Society. BMS was selected as the lead agency on behalf of the network due to its significant pre-existing partnerships and personnel in Nepal and the surrounding region. Through pooling its resources together, as of May 4, the network had made three emergency relief grants totaling $40,000 for emergency medical assistance and possible treatment of up to 9,500 persons, shelter (including the purchase of approximately 500 tents to assist 1,578 households in four communities) and 1,000 emergency food packages. The network is also working to develop proposals for a long-term response, which has been CBF’s focus — finding ways for the Fellowship to make a meaningful impact for the long term following a disaster. “The crisis in Nepal is heart-wrenching to watch on television,” said CBF Director of Field Ministries Jim Smith. “It’s staggering to see images of centuriesold temples reduced to rubble. Our hearts are moved as we see these images. Please join CBF and the global Baptist family as we share our resources with the people of Nepal.”

Donations to support CBF’s Nepal Response efforts may be made online at www.cbf.net/nepal or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with 17029-42050 in the memo line to:




Women carry long-awaited food aid on their backs in Khadichaur, Sindhupalchowk. CBF field personnel Eddy Ruble traveled to the district to view the devastation, meet with Christian leaders in the area, make assessments and coordinate relief efforts.


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Boulevard Baptist Church in Anderson, S.C., is now home to the combined community of Clearview Baptist and Boulevard Baptist. After the life-giving merger of the two congregations, Boulevard rededicated itself to a holistic vision of mission in its local community and around the world.

By Blake Tommey


The day Jack Couch realized that the church he founded and pastored for 20 years wasn’t going to survive any longer, he could only see death. Clearview Baptist Church had lost the critical mass of families and individuals needed to sustain its budget. It had lost the ability to retain a seven-acre property just north of Anderson, S.C., and continue ministry there. The church had lost footing in a community that had drastically changed around it. Yet, at a time when Clearview had few resources to speak of, there was one commodity still in abundance. It had partners. It had friends. And ultimately, through a long-standing relationship with Boulevard Baptist Church in Anderson, it had a plan to continue partnering to renew God’s world. It just took a little time and some trusted friends to see new life, Couch said. “I struggled for a long time because I saw it as a death,” Couch explained. “It takes a strong commitment to a bigger picture to say ‘What is past is past,’ give God gratitude for what you’ve experienced and embrace a new opportunity. Now I can say it has been resurrection and new life.” It was in a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Peer Learning Group in 2009 that Couch and ministers from Boulevard first began to see new life. Clearview had a gifted ministerial staff, relationships in the Anderson community and a seven-acre piece of property to sell — not to mention a group of people still dedicated to being a part of this church family. After many meetings and a couple of votes, Clearview closed its doors, transferred its assets and formed together with Boulevard to continue its story in Anderson. “One of the biggest hindrances for churches is when they confuse themselves with a place rather than a movement of people,” Couch noted. “We get attached to our fixtures and our furnishings, but we’re part of a larger church, which means giving up our separate identity, our name, our space. I never dreamed of the opportunities that our congregation would get to join God in a way they could not have before.” Those opportunities began as a transition team, comprised of four members from each congregation, created a covenant to guide the church as they formed a new family and identity together. The team appointed two members of Clearview to the Boulevard deacon team, planned a series of congregational information sessions J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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(Top) Boulevard members Paul Jones and Sarah West share in fellowship at a community gathering. (Middle) Pastor Johnny McKinney (right) greets member John Hodges after church. (Bottom) Rose Rettew takes part in a sensory experience of Easter.



and drafted a three-part plan for the allocation of Clearview’s financial assets — namely from the sale of the church’s property. First, the plan provided Couch and his administrative assistant, Karin Watson, a salary to officially join the Boulevard staff. Second, no more than 25 percent of Clearview’s resources would be used toward retiring Boulevard’s debt. Third and finally, the remainder of resources would be allocated to mission partners outside of Boulevard’s walls in Anderson and around the world. During his first two years as minister of community care at Boulevard, Couch conducted 40 funerals, 75 percent of which were for families who did not belong to the church, and found more missional freedom than he had ever dreamed. In this new role, Couch was instrumental in launching an affiliate of Family Promise, an interfaith hospitality network committed to helping families facing homelessness in Anderson County. Couch also brokered a partnership with United Way and helped establish South Main Chapel & Mercy Center, a churchseeking community and sustainable assistance initiative for low-income individuals in Anderson’s Orrville neighborhood.

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Boulevard pastor Johnny McKinney said Couch and Clearview members made a seamless transition and created new opportunities for the church to engage its community. The two congregations came together harmoniously, he said, because they already saw themselves as part of the same story. “The real key to this partnership is that we had such a healthy relationship with Clearview before merger conversations ever took place,” McKinney said. “There was so much connecting us already, that ego and turf battles have never been part of the mix. This new Boulevard grew out of a dream and a vision to help a partner transition in a healthy way and to join in a mission we already shared.” That mission blew wide open earlier this year as Boulevard completed the sale of Clearview’s property and appointed a Mission Council to designate $370,000 to the church’s mission partners. The council, made up of both Clearview and Boulevard representatives, met to pray, discern, tour Anderson together and even dialogue with local leaders about the community’s needs.

Members of the local community come together at Boulevard Baptist’s Annual Community International Dinner hosted by the church’s international ministry, which offers Japanese worship services, counseling and Bible study, and partners with other congregations and agencies in the region to reach out to the diverse international community in Anderson, S.C.


The result was an initial distribution of $140,000 in 2015, with another $105,000 to be distributed over the next three years to partners in Anderson and around the world. Recipients include CBF-partner Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries in New York City, Free Clinic of Anderson, South Main Chapel & Mercy Center, Anderson Interfaith Ministries, and Project Ruth in Bucharest, Romania, a ministry of CBF field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks. The Mission Council also boosted Boulevard’s ministry scholarship fund to assist seminary students pursuing full-time ministry and even started a mission endowment fund to grow an initial $125,000 and create a continual stream of funding toward mission partners in the future. Ellen Sechrest, Boulevard’s minister of spiritual formation and missions, said the Mission Council has not merely enabled the congregation to give more money to its partners but has inspired the individuals of Boulevard to partner with them in the work of renewing God’s world. One of those opportunities, Sechrest said, is with Safe Harbor, a local partner that provides safe shelter, counseling and

advocacy for victims of domestic violence in a four-county area. Safe Harbor will receive $4,000 over the next two years as well as teams from Boulevard to provide ongoing help in cooking meals and remodeling its facilities. “This Mission Council has given us a new vision,” Sechrest said. “Boulevard was birthed as a church with a passion for missions, and our calling has always been to help as Jesus did. But now we are looking at sustainable partnerships and opportunities for our congregation to get involved in what God is doing, and Clearview has been the crucial piece in helping us continue that calling.” In December 2014, the Barna Group reported that the number of “unchurched” people in the United States (around 156 million) would comprise the eighth most populous country in the world if put together. And in an increasingly post-Christian context, Boulevard and Clearview are modeling a way to embrace a new and even exciting reality, said Jay Kieve, coordinator of CBF of South Carolina. “It’s so tempting for a church in a challenging moment to only see deficit,” Kieve pointed out. “But instead of deficit,

Boulevard Baptist saw a great staff, property that has value and most importantly, people who still want to engage in the church and life together. Whether you’re opening doors or closing them, the model is to build on assets rather than focus on deficit. That’s what is so exciting about these churches forming together.” Ultimately, McKinney said, forming together has enabled Boulevard to do more than the two churches ever could have done alone.

Boulevard Baptist Church’s other partners and recipients of the church’s missional giving include Dawnings, CBF’s congregational renewal initiative, and Meals on Wheels of Anderson, Homes of Hope, Haven of Rest, the Baptist Medical Dental Mission in Honduras and Sanga Kunwar, a mission worker in Nepal. Learn more at www.boulevardbaptist.com. BLAKE TOMMEY serves with the Baptist General Association of Virginia as a collegiate minister at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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2015 CBF General Assembly DALLAS, TEXAS June 15-19

When you register for Assembly, you are automatically entered to win one of three prizes! • A one-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Dallas • An iPad mini • A basket full of goodies with the new CBF logo

Sign up for free: www.cbf.net/assembly



In a city where an impressive bridge has become a symbol of strength and barrier breaking, we will celebrate the “bridges” within the life of the Fellowship. As we are forming together, we will be blessed for the bridges we are building and challenged by the bridges left to build.

THURSDAY EVENING, pastors George

WEDNESDAY EVENING, we will bless and

FRIDAY EVENING, we will close the Assembly

commission field personnel, church starters, chaplains and pastoral counselors as they build bridges across the United States and around the world. These committed men and women are partnering with us as we seek renewal in God’s world.

celebrating the “bridge” that God has built to us through Jesus the Christ by joining around the Lord’s Table in communion. Additionally, pastors of three CBF congregations, Preston Clegg, Julie Merritt Lee and Jim Somerville, will challenge us to continue spanning the obstacles that loom in our culture.

Mason and Gary Simpson will share how they have built bridges. While there are still chasms to span in our world, Mason and Simpson will share with us how their “bridge building” is making a difference in their communities and congregations.

THE GATHERING PLACE There will be more than 50 interactive booths representing the Fellowship, our partners and our friends. Come meet field personnel and learn about CBF programs and initiatives at dedicated spaces for our missions and ministries, the Young Baptist Ecosystem, Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation.


The Missions Market sells a variety of global goods from artisans directly connected to the work of field personnel. The proceeds of items sold go directly back to their crafters. The Silent Auction is back, so bring your money to pay and trucks to haul it away! We have more than 20 unique (and some big) items from all over the world that will be ready for bids.


WE LUNCHES The WE Lunch “welcomes everyone” who wants to share a lunch time and space with others from CBF. Attending General Assembly alone? A first-timer? Would you enjoy meeting others from the Fellowship? Sign up. NETWORK BREAKFASTS Attend a networking breakfast for conversation, learning and fellowship with people who share your ministry practice and can offer a community of support. Choose from a variety of networking breakfast opportunities available both Thursday and Friday of Assembly. NEWCOMER BREAKFAST Never been to Assembly? The Newcomer Breakfast is a great time to ask questions and meet new friends. PEER LEARNING GROUP BREAKFAST Join us for a celebration of Peer Learning Groups! Ken Medema and Meredith Stone will lead our time together as we gather over breakfast to celebrate the stories, relationships, learning, worship and fellowship experienced in Peer Learning Groups. BAPTIST JOINT COMMITTEE’S RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COUNCIL LUNCHEON Join friends of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty at the annual Religious Liberty Council Luncheon with keynote speaker, Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Ph.D., President, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. In 2014, Dr. McMickle published “Pulpit & Politics: Separation of Church & State in the Black Church.” There are even more great events:

This year, we will be offering four workshop sessions with more than 80 options for learning and sharing. There will also be topical tracks to make finding workshop resources easier, including: • • • • • • • • • •

Women in Ministry Congregational Leadership Global Missions Church Starting Worship Current Issues Spiritual Formation Bible Study Religious Liberty Internationals and Refugees

• • • •

Preschool Assembly: Registration fee: $75 Children’s Day Camp: Registration fee: $95 Youth Assembly: Registration fee: $110 Dallas Sessions for College and Graduate Students — Topic: A Conversation about Mental Health: Registration fee: $68

• • • • •

• Childcare will be available for preschoolaged children during the Wednesday night Commissioning Service. Cost: $15 per child

CBF Prayer Retreat Leadership Institute New Baptist Covenant Luncheon Church Benefits Luncheon Leadership Banquet (for current Governing Board and former Coordinating Council Members) Receptions and meal events hosted by CBF-partner seminaries and theological schools CBF Foundation Heritage Society Breakfast Annual Gathering of Friends of Baptist News Global Dinner

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A Look At CBF Ministries

CBF Ministries are the programs and services coordinated by CBF in Decatur, Ga., and supported by the CBF Ministries Council to strengthen, resource and connect ministers, lay leaders and congregations from across the Fellowship. Through a network of 1,800 congregations, Cooperative Baptists are able to focus on forming together rather than in isolation. Those partnering with CBF contribute their unique gifts and draw strength from the community the Fellowship provides. The diverse array of churches that claim a home within CBF celebrate autonomy and invite collaboration in partnering together to renew God’s world.

Strong, healthy churches are the cornerstone of the Fellowship. CBF strives to uphold the Baptist foundation of freedom by honoring and valuing local church autonomy, while also inviting congregations into collaborative partnerships to strengthen one another. Fellowship congregations often represent a unique Baptist witness in their contexts. Through cooperation, interaction and authentic relationships, CBF Ministries provides a place where shared experiences result in vibrant churches. Through the programs and initiatives of CBF Ministries, Cooperative Baptists of all types find opportunities for connection, identity and

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shared vision. Whether they are pastors, church ministerial staff, chaplains, deacons or Sunday school teachers, CBF Ministries is a valuable resource that can enhance their effectiveness. CBF Ministries seeks to help church leaders thrive, offering leadership development, educational materials, spiritual formation support and opportunities for networking and renewal. Programs for mutual support and conversations around important issues allow individuals to find a nurturing community within the Fellowship. The work of CBF Ministries is enhanced by the Ministries Council, an advisory group to the CBF Governing Board that is made up of both


Supporting Congregations ministers and lay leaders from each CBF state and region. The Ministries Council works alongside Fellowship staff to identify needs and assets, develop and coordinate ministry networks, nurture and encourage church leaders and increase connections with and among churches. The following pages serve as a brief overview of what CBF Ministries has to offer. For additional information about any of the programs, resources or events described, please visit www.cbf.net/ministries, email ministries@cbf.net or call 1-800-352-8741.

REFERENCE AND REFERRAL FOR CHURCHES The reference and referral program assists churches seeking ministerial staff during the search process. Participating churches can receive resumes that match desired qualifications, and search committees can request assistance in the search process, such as conducting informed interviews and finding qualified interim ministers.

Dawnings is a suite of resources and spiritual practices that provides a process leading to congregational renewal. Through a series of intentional conversations, the focus is on assisting churches to clarify vision, deepen formation and discern purposeful engagement. These resources and experiences include a retreat, congregational design sessions, missions portfolio, leadership team coaching and spiritual formation resources.


MISSIONS EDUCATION Form™ and Spark™ are curriculum resources for missions education (produced bi-monthly) designed to teach preschoolers and elementary-aged children respectively about missions and the missional life through experiential learning and mission engagement. e3 (Engage, Equip, Extend) is a free missional resource for teenagers that challenges them through Scripture and the stories of CBF field personnel to love their neighbors as themselves. Affect™ gives adults insight into the missional journey and engages readers in meaningful prayer and active response. Affect™ is produced as a part of fellowship! magazine. Each issue includes discussion guides and insights for leading congregational learning.

Through a network of valued ministry partners, CBF introduces churches to the benefits of congregational coaching. The coaching model creates a discerning culture within the church where challenging situations can be addressed in a healthy manner.

SUPPLY PREACHING AND INTERIM SUPPORT CBF, alongside the Fellowship’s state/ regional organizations and ministry partners, serves as a valuable resource for churches in need of supply preachers, interim and trained intentional interim pastors.

DISASTER RESPONSE CBF Disaster Response seeks to deliver the hope of Christ in times of crisis and to enhance the effectiveness of those called to respond. Through direct service coordination and monetary contributions, Disaster Response connects the efforts of individuals and churches, state/regional organizations, national and local ministry partners, as well as CBF field personnel around the world. J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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PEER LEARNING GROUPS A key element of ministerial health is the support of peers through shared learning. CBF is committed to supporting ministers in their local congregations by helping them find connection and community among other ministers. More than 120 Peer Learning Groups (PLG) meet regularly to provide opportunities for worship, spiritual growth, interpersonal support, study, discussion of ministry-related issues and fellowship among ministers. Each PLG is eligible to receive a grant of up to $500 per year to offset group learning expenses.

CHURCH STARTS CBF’s new church starts initiative equips individuals and churches with resources for spreading the gospel through a new church start in the United States. As a catalyst of support for those discerning and living into a call to establish new contextualized expressions of the church, this initiative begins with an online eight-week exploratory cohort. Candidates who are ready to take the next step following the cohort are invited to a leadership development and training conference from which candidates are selected for commissioning.

CHAPLAINCY AND PASTORAL COUNSELING MINISTRIES There are currently more than 650 active CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors serving in a variety of specialized settings. Endorsement is an official declaration by the Fellowship that a chaplain or pastoral counselor is in good standing as a minister. CBF’s chaplaincy and pastoral counseling staff facilitate the initial endorsement process, updating and maintaining endorsements while also providing professional, personal and prayerful support to endorsed personnel.

REFERENCE AND REFERRAL FOR MINISTERS The reference and referral program of CBF serves ministers seeking new places of service through referral opportunities. Qualified ministerial candidates using the LeaderConnect system can expect informed and compatible congregational inquiries about potential ministry calls. Candidates can find help in strengthening their resumes, tips on navigating the search process and information on the many ways they can engage with the Fellowship through their search process and as a minister in a new position.

Equipping Ministers and Lay Leaders

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MINISTRY NETWORKS Ministry networks have been formed in the Fellowship to create community, to vet resources and to share best practices. These networks include the Children’s Ministry Network, Youth Ministry Network, Collegiate Ministry Network, South Africa Network, Mission Teachers Network and several others.

LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE The Leadership Institute is an annual gathering for ministers and lay leaders at the CBF General Assembly. Each year, the institute addresses key topics, resources and best practice models that bring value to congregational leaders and their churches.

SPIRITUAL FORMATION CBF offers spiritual formation opportunities, support and educational resources for congregations, ministers and laity. In alternating years, CBF partners with The Upper Room of the United Methodist Church to lead a five-day Academy for Spiritual Formation, emphasizing holistic spirituality — nurturing body, mind and spirit. Every three years, CBF partners with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Cumberland Presbyterian Church and Passport, Inc. to provide Faith in 3D — a national, ecumenical winter youth conference held at Walt Disney World. A suite of spiritual formation resources are also produced by CBF including: “Klesis: God’s Call and the Journey of Faith,” “Becoming Like Christ: Helping Children Follow Jesus,” and “Becoming Like Christ: Grounding Youth in Jesus.”

MONTHLY MINISTRY CONVERSATIONS CBF and Baptist Women in Ministry host monthly group phone conversations featuring presentations and dialogue on a variety of practical issues that today’s women and men face as ministry leaders. Conversations may focus on family matters and feature topics such as family systems, marriage and ministry, work-family balance, co-pastoring, family leave policies and ministry spouses among others.


CBF partners with other resource groups to produce peer learning events. These events often have CBF staff among event CHURCHWORKS leadership and CBF congregational leaders Through worship, education and small are invited to participate and are warmly group interaction, this annual conference welcomed. These are usually continuing gives opportunities for ministers to discover education in nature and peer learning by new ideas and meet others in vocational design. At most events, a CBF specific time ministry. Whether serving in a traditional for hospitality is built into the larger schedule. church setting or creating aspects of church in Previous events have included: The Festival a non-traditional atmosphere, ChurchWorks for Homiletics, Soul Feast, Leadership is a time of networking, renewal, fellowship Network Learning Immersions, Academies and learning. The event, held each February, for Spiritual Formation, Faith Forward, Fresh is designed for both young leaders and Expressions, among others. Christian educators of all ages. J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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LEADERSHIP SCHOLARS CBF awards up to 70 Leadership Scholarships annually to Baptist students enrolled in one of the CBF partner seminaries and divinity schools. Scholars not only receive tuition assistance, but also receive a travel stipend to attend General Assembly where they are given opportunities to build community, network and further develop leadership skills. Recipients are chosen through a collaborative process between schools and CBF.

Nurturing Young Baptists Resourcing and networking Young Baptists for the Christian journey is at the heart of CBF’s Young Baptist Ecosystem. Through experiences, ministries, programs, connections and local church support, we are creating an environment in which young adults can thrive, be energized and have opportunities to give life to the world around them as they use their gifts in service of God and others.

CBF FELLOWS The Fellows program provides resources to a cohort of ministers in their first two years of their first ministry experience. This program offers tools for these ministers to excel as they maneuver through congregational ministry. Learning experiences are designed around on-going CBF events to allow for maximum exposure to CBF staff and resources. Additionally, the Fellows’ congregations are expected to enter into a covenant of support with the minister and with CBF.



CBF Days are annual events held on the campuses of CBF’s partner seminaries and divinity schools. CBF staff representatives visit campuses and interact with students and faculty. They are often joined by pastors of local CBF churches as well as CBF-endorsed chaplains. Events throughout the day allow students, faculty and staff to join in celebrating CBF’s partnership in training women and men called to vocational ministry and to learn more about opportunities for service, resources and support available from CBF.

This program provides summer and semester opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to serve in hands-on ministry. Students can choose to serve in a congregational context in which they are mentored by seasoned ministers who journey alongside them in service and learning, or with CBF field personnel in a wide variety of locations and unique ministry settings where they learn to stand with, advocate for and live among the most neglected people in our world.

CURRENT Looking for community and connections with other Young Baptist leaders? Want to learn more about the missions and ministries of CBF alongside like-minded colleagues? Current is your network and entry point into the Fellowship and is open to young minsters, leaders and theology students. Join Current for regional events, retreats, meal gatherings and online conversations.

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Pause life. Put everything on hold. Paying attention to life requires periods of Sabbath rest and reflection. Young adults, in particular, feel strongly the expectations and demands of family, school, society, social media and technology. Making life decisions in the midst of such busyness and under so much pressure can be difficult, even paralyzing. Selah Vie, an end-of-summer retreat for college and graduate students, provides space and guidance for such discernment and reflection. Specialized tracks give attention to the different life stages in which students may find themselves.

“SESSIONS” AT GENERAL ASSEMBLY Annually, young Baptists have a chance to gather before General Assembly with undergraduate and graduate students for a two-day in-depth exploration of a social justice issue through Bible study, dialogue, field trips and community-building.

Cultivating Partnerships and Encouraging Advocacy PARTNERSHIPS


Together we can do more. This is a core organizational principle of the Fellowship. Since its founding, CBF has adopted a partnership model for doing ministry and mission. Working with other missions and ministry organizations has allowed CBF to more effectively equip individuals and churches in service to Christ. CBF maintains a diverse network of partner relationships, with each partner making a unique contribution that enhances the broader mission of the Fellowship.

CBF Advocacy aims to spread the hope of Christ through service to those that are neglected and marginalized through encouraging, equipping and promoting the voices of advocates within the Fellowship as they encounter need. CBF Advocacy seeks to encourage new advocacy as an outgrowth of our collective mission efforts within CBF Mission Communities. In doing so, CBF ministers and lay leaders exercise responsible Christian citizenship by modeling a more effective, positive and inclusive public witness.

ADVOCACY IN ACTION Advocacy in Action is an annual three-day journey to Washington, D.C., to meet CBF advocacy partners and discuss issues of importance with lawmakers and their staffs. This springtime event helps participants develop a biblical basis for their advocacy efforts and teaches the basics of how to be an effective advocate.

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Sabbatical Covenant Your Church and CBF Investing in the Health of Ministers and Churches The CBF Sabbatical Covenant is designed to invest in the health of ministers and local congregations. It does this by promoting sabbaticals — making the setting aside of funds easier for churches, providing grants and encouraging significant sabbatical experiences.

WHY SHOULD OUR CONGREGATION INVEST IN THE SABBATICAL COVENANT? The idea of Sabbath as a time of rest and renewal is introduced in the Book of Genesis, and its impact carries out through all creation. There are both theological and practical reasons for a congregation to invest in sabbatical practices. Thinking of your congregational narrative, consider the value of Sabbath within these three unique chapters of your ministry: Seeking a Minister: When your congregation is seeking a new minister, consider the value of including a sabbatical experience as part of the ministers salary and benefit package. This will be attractive to the potential minister, and will speak to the value your congregation puts upon the health of their clergy.

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Commit together to create a Sabbatical Covenant in your church’s name. Commit together to set aside one week’s salary per year for five years for your pastoral leader. Build together with CBF state/regional organizations, CBF Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation to enhance grant and other sabbatical funding. Fulfill together. After five years, your church withdraws funds set aside for a minister’s sabbatical expenses, to resource rest and renewal that benefits the church through revitalized pastoral leaders.

Retaining a Minister: Clergy assess their • Sabbatical coaching and cohort ministry effectiveness every couple of years. opportunities for your minister. Ministers with a planned sabbatical • Grant opportunities for ministers and experience are more likely to retain their churches invested in the CBF Sabbatical momentum as they enjoy opportunities to Covenant. rest and reflect along the way. Renewing a Minister: For long-term HOW DOES OUR CHURCH GET ON clergy, a sabbatical opportunity is a welcome BOARD? and needed point of reflection and rest. To 1. Contact CBF to get the details (call invest in sabbatical for a minister is to invest 770.220.1600; email sabbatical@cbf.net; in renewed energy and direction for the or visit www.cbf.net/sabbatical) congregation. 2. The church and CBF sign the Sabbatical Covenant. HOW DOES THE CBF SABBATICAL 3. The church contributes funding for five COVENANT BENEFIT OUR CHURCH? years. The Sabbatical Covenant offers at least 4. The church and minister experience a three significant benefits: transforming time of renewal and hope • Sabbatical policies and procedures and for continued vibrant ministry. other guiding resources for your church.

CBF SABBATICAL COVENANT STEP BY STEP • For a Covenant template call 770.220.1600; email sabbatical@cbf.net or visit www.cbf.net/sabbatical

Church provides funding for the CBF Sabbatical Covenant


• One week’s salary per year for each of five years is a suggested target. • CBF Foundation seeks a modest return on these investments. • CBF, CBF Church Benefits and CBF Foundation contribute to a reserve fund to strengthen the ability to generate returns for Covenant participants that are above the historical dollar value of funds invested for CBF Sabbaticals. • Covenant participants will be eligible for CBF Sabbatical Grants as grants are available.



Church and CBF sign the CBF Sabbatical Covenant

Church considers resources of CBF Church Benefits and the CBF Foundation


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• Many SROs provide additional resources to enhance the sabbatical experience.

CBF provides sabbatical planning materials to the church and minister after Year Four of funding. • Clergy Renewal: The Alban Guide to Sabbatical Planning • Renovatio — a renewal resource for congregations and clergy that can be used throughout the sabbatical. • CBF will coordinate with partners for education, travel and mission opportunities.

Church and minister experience a transforming time of renewal and hope for a continued vibrant ministry. • Church contacts CBF and withdraws funds set aside for minister’s sabbatical expenses. • Covenant participant contacts SRO to confirm sabbatical resourcing. • Covenant participant contacts CBF if interested in applying for a grant to enhance the sabbatical experience.

Celebration, Evaluation and Reporting: • Church and minister plan a return celebration. • Share Sabbatical experiences on CBFblog (www.cbf.net/blog) to encourage other Covenant participants. • Report to any group that has provided Sabbatical funding.



Covenant Participants contact State/Region CBF Organization (SRO)



• CBF Church Benefits helps churches and ministers prepare and plan for the future and more. • CBF Foundation assists churches and its members with endowments, estate planning and more. • Covenant participants in either CBF Church Benefits or the CBF Foundation may enhance grant and other sabbatical funding opportunities.

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c’est la vie SELAHvie PAUSE Life.

A retreat for college and graduate students to seek guidance, reflect and discern God’s direction Specialized tracks give attention to the different life stages in which students may find themselves.

AUGUST 3-5, 2015

NASHVILLE, TN www.cbf.net/selahvie $75 (includes 2 nights + 5 meals)

CBF staff recognized for communications and marketing work

CBF names Janney to lead Reference and Referral work

By Carrie McGuffin

By Carrie McGuffin

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship staff members were honored April 10 for excellence at the yearly gathering of the Religion Communicators Council (RCC) in Washington, D.C., for their work during 2014. The DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards are given annually to members of the RCC, a 76-year-old interfaith association of religion communicators, who demonstrate excellence in faith-based communications, marketing and public relations. CBF Communications Manager Aaron Weaver and Graphic Design Specialist Travis Peterson earned the Certificate of Merit in national magazine category for their work producing fellowship! magazine, CBF’s bimonthly publication. Candice Young, CBF’s marketing manager, and Jeff Huett, CBF’s associate coordinator of communications and advancement, were recognized with the Certificate of Merit in the fundraising campaign category for their work creating print collateral for 2014-2015 CBF Offering for Global Missions #EndHunger campaign. Weaver and Peterson also received an Award of Excellence in the public relations materials category for the 2014 CBF General Assembly Guidebook. Additionally, Weaver was recognized with the Award of Excellence for the blog series titled “CBF celebrates Pastoral Care Week.” Other DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Award winners included communications and marketing professionals from religious organizations such as the United Methodist Church, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Church of Scientology International, Alabama Baptist Convention, Soka Gakki International and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The awards are named in honor of the late Victor DeRose and the late Paul M. Hinkhouse, leading lithographers in New York City, who shared a strong interest in, and concern for, excellence in communications.

DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has named a minister with a background in university and local church settings to head its Congregational Reference and Referral work. Craig Janney, as CBF’s Congregational Reference and Referral Specialist, will connect churches with individuals seeking ministry positions throughout the Fellowship and equip search committees with resources for filling positions within their church staff. Janney comes to CBF from Chowan University in Murfreesboro, N.C., where he served for the past eight years in the student affairs, enrollment management and academic affairs departments. After graduating from Chowan, Janney completed a Master of Divinity degree in Pastoral Studies at Gardner-Webb University School of Divinity in Boiling Springs, N.C. In 2009 he was ordained by First Baptist Church of Ahoskie, N.C. From 2010 to 2015, Janney served as pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in Seaboard, N.C. The Reference and Referral Specialist position was formerly held by Clarissa Strickland, who retired last summer but continued her work of connecting individuals with churches on a contract basis throughout the search to fill the position. Strickland has served with CBF since 1991, taking on her role with CBF’s Reference and Referral program in 2002. Through her dedicated ministry, many Baptist leaders have found their first ministries or ministry homes. Janney joins the CBF staff at an exciting time for the Reference and Referral program, as the CBF Ministries team seeks to deepen and widen the ministry for which Strickland laid the foundation. Along with the LeaderConnect system, which helps with leadership matching for churches and applicants, the vision for Reference and Referral is to create and provide a wealth of resources for church search committees, recent graduates, individuals seeking church positions and those looking to employ all church positions. CBF Director of Ministries Ruth Perkins Lee emphasized the importance of expanding this program of CBF to provide the most benefit to churches. “The hiring of a minister is an important time in the life of a church,” Perkins Lee said. “CBF is in a unique position to serve as a resource to both the church and the candidate before, during and after the search process.” To learn more about LeaderConnect and CBF’s Reference and Referral program, visit www.cbf.net/leaderconnect.

J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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Opportunities to

June 2015

CBF field personnel Sam Bandela spreads Christ’s love through sewing centers that help widows and teenage girls support their families with dignity and respect.


Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups Around the Table: At Church

A Listening Servant IN WORSHIP: COMMUNAL PRAYER Missions Education Resource

The prayer below can be incorporated into a worship service or other prayer time.

Before the prayer, read the story of CBF’s work in India on pages 8-10 in fellowship!. Ask a volunteer to summarize the story and share about Sam Bandela’s work. End the missions moment with the following communal prayer that uses images of sewing to talk about God’s call to be a missional church. A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net



LEARN Learn more about Sam Bandela’s ministry at cbf.net/bandela

PRAY Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and partners who are addressing physical and spiritual needs worldwide. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at cbf.net/pray

NETWORK Interact with field personnel and other missions and ministry leaders active in transformational 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

Leader: God of creation, take our torn and ripped-up world and stitch us back together again. Pull away the tattered cloth of sin and create a new garment, clean and whole.

CBF joins global Baptists in support of earthquake victims

Leader: God of creation, God of all our life, you knit us together in our mother’s wombs, you delight in each person you have made.

People: Create in us a clean heart oh, God, and renew a right spirit within us. Leader: For those who are partnering with you in renewing this world, we give thanks. For those called to go and those who support those who are going… People: We give thanks!

People: God, we give thanks for we are fearfully and wonderfully made.

Leader: For lives changed and communities transformed…

Leader: Oh God, we rejoice in your creation and affirm the human dignity of each person on this earth, each person – your image and likeness. But even as we rejoice, we lament that for some, life is too hard. Too many people live in poverty, oh God, pinned under the yolk of oppression.

People: We give thanks! Leader: For people who are transformed through sewing centers or new churches, we give thanks. People: We give thanks! All:

For all of the hard and wonderful work to which we are called…


We give thanks!

People: Christ who breaks the yolk of oppression, set the captives free.

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Opportunities to

July 2015

Members of Boulevard Baptist and Clearview Baptist have discovered a new life together in Anderson, S.C.


Visit cbf.net/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: Around the Table: At Church Around the Table: At Home

Searching for Resurrection 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 how two congregations, Boulevard Baptist and Clearview Baptist, formed together to become one. Read the article on pp. 14-17 in this issue of fellowship! and gather copies for participants. A publication of Cooperative Baptist Fellowship • www.cbf.net


LEARN Learn more about Boulevard Baptist Church at www.boulevardbaptist.com

PRAY Pray for CBF-partner congregations as they discover new ways to minister in their communities. Join in prayer with other Cooperative Baptists through Prayers of the People. Download the guide at cbf.net/pray

NETWORK Connect with other CBF churches and partners through CBF’s Mission Communities. Visit missioncommunities.org

GIVE Your generosity helps CBF support churches and ministers through Peer Learning Groups and other resources. Find out more at cbf.net/give


CBF joins global Baptists in support of earthquake victims

2. Start with, “The saying goes, ‘All good things must come to an end.’” Invite participants to reflect on what it feels like to end a major project or graduate from a program or move from one job to another. 3. Observe, “Sometimes, an ending leads to new beginning, but that can be hard to see at first. That’s what happened when Clearview Baptist Church near Anderson, S.C., experienced a severe decline in membership and giving.” 4. Explain how Pastor Jack Couch planted the church 20 years ago and grieved the church’s decline.Yet the church still had assets: the building and land, staff, committed members and strong community relationships.

5. Say, “As Jack shared this struggle with his Peer Learning Group, a new idea began to emerge. Clearview could find new life as a part of nearby Boulevard Baptist Church. Together, the two churches formed together into one congregation.” 6. Invite a participant to read paragraphs 5-8 on pp. 15-16. Ask, “How did the transition team and the specific plan for the allocation of assets help the two congregations become one?” 7. Summarize how the two congregations forming together has renewed the mission of the new church body, from local housing and hunger programs to international ministry support to funding for seminary students. 8. Close by quoting Jay Kieve, CBF of South Carolina coordinator: “It’s so tempting for a church in a challenging moment to only see deficit. But instead of deficit, they saw a great staff, property that has value and most importantly, people who still want to engage in the church and life together. Whether you’re opening doors or closing them, the model is to build on assets rather than focus on deficit. That’s what is so exciting about these churches forming together.” Pray for God to help us focus on assets wherever we are, especially when facing a crisis. J U N E /J U LY 2 0 1 5

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

Mission Collective COLLECTIVE WISDOM FOR COLLECTIVE ACTION Internationals. Mission Networks. Short-term Missions. Evangelism. Mission Collective is a one-day event for equipping churches in best practices for mission through collaboration. We gather expert practitioners, church leaders and CBF staff around a relevant topic — bringing together collective wisdom for collective action.


Consider hosting a Mission Collective along with other area churches in order to: • Equip churches with best practices for mission engagement • Incubate new collaborative church ministries and networks • Strengthen relationships between local churches and established mission work • Learn from Global Missions staff and field personnel

Go to www.cbf.net/missioncollective to learn more.

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