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Cooperative baptist fellowship | www.thefellowship.info

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

Meet in Memphis

Amie Vanderford photo

Fellowship Baptists will gather in Memphis, Tenn., June 19-20 for the 2008 General Assembly, which will focus on the theme of “Building Bridges.� See pages 6-11 for more.


Discerning CBF priorities Many of us continue to believe that the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is a work of God’s grace and a renewal movement within the Baptist family. With a vision to be the presence of Christ to one another and to the world, we strive to fulfill our mission of serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. Our core values are a commitment to Baptist principles, biblically based global missions, a resource model, a biblical vision of justice and reconciliation, lifelong learning, trustworthiness and organizational effectiveness. This is who we are. What has sustained our Fellowship is what continues to motivate us — our passion for the mission of God in the world. Without it, this Fellowship would not exist, and because of it, this Fellowship must exist. Discerning God’s mission and participating in it is something we believe every congregation can do, and there is a growing energy that it is what churches and individuals want to do. All this has shaped our identity. We exist to help Christians and churches be missional — to discern their calling and to live it. As a Fellowship, we’ve been working together around the world for 17 years. Our field personnel have ministered to the 1 billion unreached peoples around the world and to the 2 billion people who live on less than $1 per day. Our congregations have engaged in similar ministries, becoming more effective with each passing year. Much remains to be done. After 17 years of growing ministry, we need to discern where and how the Spirit would lead us. Where would God have us focus our energies and resources? Within the framework of our vision, mission and core values, where do we need to concentrate our time and resources in the intermediate future? How do we live out our vision and fulfill our mission while being faithful to our core values in the years ahead? These are the issues we will be addressing at our General Assembly in Memphis. There will be time designated for prayer, spiritual discernment and conversation. Questions such as the following will be asked: What will it look like for CBF to focus on helping churches be missional? How does a missional focus affect the way we work to help individual Christians grow and develop? How do we more effectively engage the world through a missional focus? The Advisory Council, Coordinating Council, state/regional leadership, staff and many others have for the past several months been seeking clarity around these questions. In a few weeks you will be asked to enter into this strategic prioritizing process. Because we are a Fellowship, this process doesn’t happen without input from all of us. We all bring unique experiences and perspectives, and you are invited to help discern what God is leading our Fellowship to be and do. Will you prayerfully consider being a part of shaping the future? Please come to Memphis prepared to engage in the conversation. Vol. 18, No. 2 Discerning, visioning and planning is challenging, but it is necessary and important. executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal Now, more than ever, we are certain God is moving through our Fellowship, empowering Coordinator, Fellowship Advancement • Ben McDade churches and Christians to be part of life-changing ministry around the world. Together, Editor • Lance Wallace we are being the presence of Christ in places we never could have imagined 17 years ago. managing Editor • Patricia Heys Together, we are doing more than we could ever do alone. And together, we must discern Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis how we can continue to be effective, being authentic to who we are and to the potential we Phone • (770) 220-1600 have when we work together. Fax • (770) 220-1685 E-Mail • fellowship@thefellowship.info Web Site • www.thefellowship.info

fellowship! is published 7 times a year in Sept./Oct., Special I (Oct.), Nov./Dec., Jan./Feb., Mar./Apr., May/June, Special II (July) by The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Inc., 3001 Mercer University Dr., Atlanta, GA 30341-4115. Periodicals postage paid at Atlanta, GA, and additional mailing offices. USPS #015-625 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329

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Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator


Contents 6-11

General Assembly: Make plans to attend the 2008 event in Memphis, Tenn.

13

Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant: Fellowship Baptists participate in historic event

15

Five Tips ... For transforming a mission trip into a missional experience

16

Church Spotlight: Franklin Baptist, Franklin, Va.

18-19

CBF Offering for Global Missions: Fortenberry builds community among internationals in Los Angeles

meet Jane Riley Jane Riley is the first person people talk to when they call CBF, and she’s the first person people see when they enter the CBF offices in Atlanta. As the organization’s receptionist, Riley is often the voice and face of the Fellowship. On a daily basis, she answers an array of questions and directs callers and visitors to the appropriate CBF staff members. “Jane is one of those quiet, willing servants who tends to plants and people in the CBF Resource Center,” said Connie McNeill, the Fellowship’s coordinator of administration. “She prepares coffee for others even though she doesn’t drink it herself. It is this spirit that those who call can hear in her every response. As the presence of Christ, Jane is committed to helping those who call or enter the Resource Center. Her role is critical to how we present ourselves in wanting to provide service and assistance

to our congregations, members and the public at large.” Hometown: Winder, Ga. Education: University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Church: First Baptist Church of Riverdale, Ga. Interesting fact: Riley describes herself as a “perpetual” volunteer, serving with church, community and school organizations for most of her life. “Availability and connection are important attributes of a resource center. For many people, there is a lot about the structure of CBF that can be unclear. As the first contact most people have with the office, I am the available connection to CBF. I serve as part facilitator, comforter, detective, sounding board and research aide. Since I define myself as a helper, my role here is just that — helping people connect with CBF and find the resources they seek.” Contact Jane Riley at (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

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Fellowship People Gil Gulick

G

il Gulick will earn a master of divinity from Wake Forest University, a Fellowship partner, in May thanks to inspiration from a General Assembly and support from a CBF leadership scholarship. The 2003 CBF General Assembly solidified the 36-year-old’s call to ministry as a second career when he heard Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo speak. “I learned about others who thought about faith the way I do,” Gulick said. “I learned that I’m not as unique in my faith life as

Dona and Marvin Onks

D

ona and Marvin Onks can’t serve enough. The Onks, members of The Baptist Church of Beaufort, S.C., have participated in short-term missions in England, France, India, Italy and Belgium. They assisted with Fellowship clean-up efforts in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina, helped build two Habitat for Humanity homes in Mobile, Ala., and have served through CBF’s rural poverty initiative in Kentucky. “The more we do, the more we want to do,” Marvin said. “I heard

David and Jami Phillips

“Y

ou can’t really cross cultures by e-mail and telephone,” David and Jami Phillips believe. That’s why the new facilitators for Together for Hope in the High Plains, CBF’s rural poverty initiative, have three trips to South Dakota planned by April. As facilitators, the Phillips will come alongside communities located on American Indian reservations in four of the poorest counties in the United States, and they’ll help connect Fellowship Baptists with ministry opportunities. David, who has a

Vivian Hoskins

“Y

ou can go anywhere in the world in a book,” said Vivian Hoskins, who used her storytelling and puppeteer skills to help launch a library in Helena, Ark. “So many of our residents have never or will never go beyond Phillips County, but with a book they can broaden their horizons,” said Hoskins. “Children are so impressionable and with their wonderful imaginations, they can go anywhere. The library is unique because not only does it have books, it has toys and games. I have seen children play together, and the atmosphere is perfect peace.” 4

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I thought I was. I learned there were other Baptists who thought about spiritual life differently.” A computer specialist in the citrus industry in Florida and member of First Baptist Church of High Point, N.C., Gulick feels God leading him into ministry as a pastor or a minister of education.

God for a long time, but I found out one day that when God gets in your heart, you have to follow.” Marvin, a retired federal civil servant, serves as construction manager for LowCountry Habitat for Humanity. Dona hopes when she retires that they’ll have even more opportunities to serve.

master’s degree in business and works as a carpenter, and Jami, who is trained as a teacher, both hope to use their skills in ministry. “Our mission is to find people in these areas, in each community, to work through them,” David said. “It’s mostly about bringing the word of God in such a way that we can be the presence of Christ.”

Gil Gulick

Marvin and Dona Onks

David and Jami Phillips

Hoskins, a writing instructor at Phillips Community College, has served on the Arkansas CBF Coordinating Council since 2006. “I love the vision of CBF and being a part of something that is making a real difference,” said Hoskins. “Why CBF came to be and its commitment to reach beyond itself and not be the status quo is refreshing. CBF does not meet for meeting’s sake. I believe it is growing up individuals, groups and churches by challenging them to ‘be the presence of Christ.’”

Vivian Hoskins


Why we give... “There isn’t a CBF church near us that we can attend, but we want to be a part of the Fellowship as much as we can. That’s part of the reason we give directly to the CBF national and state organizations.”

Aleida and Rick Ruano

Gaby Bruna photo

Miami, Fla.

A

leida and Rick Ruano, who live in Miami with their daughter, Anne Marie, give to the Fellowship each week through online banking. Rick, a CBF-endorsed chaplain, said that setting up automatic electronic donations through their bank makes

Give |

consistent giving more convenient. “Both of us have served on the Coordinating Council at different times, shared about CBF with local Hispanic pastors when needed, and attended General Assembly meetings for several years now,” said the Ruanos. “The

principles of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship are very dear to us as we seek to be of service in whatever capacity it entails. Giving to CBF helps us stay connected to the work being done, whether through missions updates or state and local gatherings.”

To financially support the ministries of CBF, call (800) 352-8741 or go to www.thefellowship.info/Give. Thank you for giving to CBF. Your gifts make a difference in the lives of people around the world. fellowship!

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Meet in Memphis

CBF General Assembly to gather June 19-20

T

he 18th annual Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly will gather June 19-20 in Memphis, Tenn., at the Cook

Convention Center. Under the theme “Embrace the World: Building Bridges,” the Assembly will explore the significance of personal and church ministry and help discern the future direction of the Fellowship’s ministry. Here you’ll find important information about the Assembly, including the schedule, new events, things to see and do in Memphis, and a step-by-step guide to attending the Assembly. More information about the Assembly, as well as free online pre-registration, is available at www.thefellowship.info/assembly.

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PRE-REGISTER march/april 2008

For free online pre-registration,


This year’s special speakers and musicians include: Lauran Bethell will speak during Thursday evening worship. She ministered among human trafficking victims in Thailand for 14 years before becoming a global ministry consultant for American Baptist Churches USA.

Bethany Dillon will perform in Thursday’s general sessions and in an evening coffeehouse. Her music appears in the film “Dreamer” and on the “Music inspired by the Chronicles of Narnia” soundtrack. She has toured with Jeremy Camp, Bebo Norman and Shane & Shane.

Chuck Poole will interpret the Assembly theme during general sessions. Now the director of LifeShare Community Ministry in Mississippi, he served as pastor of Baptist churches for 25 years.

Krystaal, a music group of three brothers from Congo, will perform at Wednesday evening’s Global Missions field personnel commissioning service. The brothers survived five years in a refugee camp before migrating to Canada.

Daniel Vestal, CBF’s executive coordinator since 1996, will speak during Thursday afternoon worship.

New at this year’s General Assembly n Global Missions field personnel commissioning service will be

n Assembly-wide prayer and discernment about CBF’s future.

Wednesday, June 18, at 7:30 p.m. For the first time, it will be held off-

Participate in guided prayer groups and be part of helping discern

site at a local CBF partner church, First Baptist Church in Memphis.

the ministry priorities God would have for CBF.

n Opportunities to give back to the Memphis area through

n “The Memphis Sessions,” an event for college students, begins

mission projects. Serve individually or with a group. Projects

Sunday and continues the entire week.

begin Monday and continue throughout the week. See the www.thefellowship.info/assembly for project details.

go to www.thefellowship.info/assembly.

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Pre-Assembly Events Sunday, June 15 “The Memphis Sessions,” an event for college students begins. The event lasts through Friday and focuses on alleviating poverty, serving, learning and exploring ways to make a difference.

Monday, June 16 Missions opportunities begin in Memphis

Schedule of events

and the surrounding area. Opportunities are available the entire week. Serve for one hour or a few days. See CBF Web site for service opportunities.

Wednesday, June 18 Noon-5 p.m. General Assembly registration opens.

1-5 p.m. “Celebrating God’s Call” Leadership

Summit. Congregational leaders will gather to celebrate God’s calling to ministry through testimonies, conversations, songs and sermons.

7:30 p.m. Global Missions field personnel

commissioning service at First Baptist Church in Memphis. Come support the newest field personnel as they are commissioned for ministries around the world.

SERVE

Make plans to serve in Memphis through


Thursday, June 19 8-9 a.m.

Poverty Emphasis breakfast. Learn about ways others are addressing poverty and explore how you can be involved.

8:30 a.m.

Resource Fair opens. Find new resources, books, ministry organizations and more at the Resource Fair. While you’re connecting with these valuable resources, don’t miss the fair’s evening receptions and celebrations. The Resource Fair is closed during general sessions.

9-10:10 a.m.

Workshops. Enhance your ministry through workshop series on poverty, college and young adult ministry, spiritual formation, new church starts, and missional ministries. Additional workshops will focus on CBF resources and ministries, among other topics.

10:30 a.m.

Business Session and introduction to discernment process

11:30 a.m.

Lunch & Auxiliary Events

1:30 p.m.

Worship with preparation for prayerful discernment

2:30-3:30 p.m. Assembly-wide discernment and prayer groups about CBF’s

ministry priorities. Be part of this special time focusing on the future of CBF’s ministry. 4 p.m.

State and Regional CBF Meetings

5:30 p.m.

Dinner & Auxiliary Events

7:30 p.m.

Worship with keynote speaker Lauran Bethell

9-10 p.m.

Resource Fair fellowship and coffeehouse with recording artist Bethany Dillon

Friday, June 20 8:30 a.m.

Resource Fair opens

9-10:10 a.m.

Feedback from prayer and discernment groups

10:30 a.m.

Business Session

11:30 a.m.

Lunch & Auxiliary Events

1:30-2:40 p.m. Workshops 3:15-4:25 p.m. Workshops 5:30 p.m.

Dinner & Auxiliary Events

7:30 p.m.

Worship. Celebrate the missional church by learning about what three CBF partner churches have done to embrace their community and world.

9-10 p.m.

“Baptist Blues & Barbeque Bash” in the Resource Fair. Don’t miss this closing celebration with food, music and fun.

Thursday and Friday — Children’s and Youth Assembly Children and teens will enjoy fun, meaningful and age-appropriate activities while their parents attend General Assembly. Children’s assembly, which is located in the Convention Center, is for infants through grade 6. Cost is $85 for first child; $75 for each additional child in the same family. Youth assembly, which includes travel around Memphis, is for 7th through 12th graders. Cost is $125. Register and find more details at www.thefellowship.info/assembly. Deadline is April 30.

mission projects. For details, go to www.thefellowship.info/assembly.

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Why should I attend the 2008 Assembly? n Let your voice be heard. CBF is undergoing a discernment process about its ministry priorities for the future. Be part of the Assembly-wide guided prayer experience and share how you feel the Spirit may be leading CBF. Come because you care about this Fellowship. n Build bridges across racial and socioeconomic lines. Be part of pre-Assembly missions opportunities and be the presence of Christ to Memphis area residents. Attend because you know being the presence of Christ matters.

n Learn how you can “Embrace the World.” Be challenged by keynote speaker Lauran Bethell, whose ministry is among human trafficking victims. Meet CBF field personnel who are ministering around the world and welcome you to partner with them in ministry. Participate because you are committed to ministry among hurting people. n Encourage the mobilization and empowerment of Christ’s church. Be there for a Friday evening celebration of missional churches. See how other churches have followed God’s call, and listen for what God may be calling your church to do. Join us because you believe that churches are Christ’s hands and feet in the world.

What not to mi Mud Island River Park, which showcases the Mississippi River, is nearby.

National C Museum b the most moments human r Un

Beale Street, one of America’s most famous musical streets, is home to shops, restaurants and live music.

Local transportation such as the Main Street Trolley, above, and riverboat rides, right, down the Mississippi River.

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For event coverage during the A


Steps to attend: 1. Go to www.thefellowship.info/assembly and pre-register. Pre-registration is free.

4. Consider visiting Memphis attractions. Many attractions are downtown and easily accessible.

2.

5. Keep up with the latest Assembly updates through the biweekly e-newsletter sent to all pre-registrants who have listed an e-mail address. These updates will include new events, travel tips, helpful downloads and more.

Reserve a hotel room with CBF discounts offered after you pre-register. Rooms range from $99-109 per night. If you want to attend any of the Wednesday activities, including the evening Global Missions field personnel commissioning service, be sure to arrive early. Marriott, the host hotel, is sold out. The Wyndham Garden Inn and the Doubletree Hotel are within blocks of the Cook Convention Center.

3. Make travel arrangements. Fly to the Memphis airport (MEM). Information on group flight disounts available on the CBF web site. Take a cab downtown, ride the Amtrak train to downtown Memphis (MEM) or drive. Parking is available at hotels for a daily fee.

6. Once in Memphis, be sure to find Assembly registration in the Convention Center. You will receive a packet of information, including the 2008 General Assembly Guide that describes all Assembly activities. Familiarize yourself with the schedule, prioritize workshops and auxiliary events of interest, and enjoy the Assembly. The registration booth will be open: Wednesday, Noon through 5 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. through 7 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. through 7 p.m.

iss in Memphis

Civil Rights brings to life t significant of civil and rights in the nited States.

Located downtown, Sun Studio features a tour of the studio where Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash began their careers.

Memphis Zoo features polar bears, pandas and much more. Families may also enjoy hands-on exhibits at the Children’s Museum of Memphis.

Assembly, go to www.thefellowship.info/assembly.

Graceland, the former home of Elvis, is less than 10 miles from the Convention Center. Photos courtesy Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau

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N.C. church chooses new plans from CBB because of service, CBF values Leaders at First Baptist Church Lumberton, N.C., were recently faced with a big decision, and it wasn’t an easy one — making changes to employees’ retirement benefits. Nancy Bass, the church’s financial coordinator, said the church ultimately decided to keep its members with plans from the Church Benefits Board of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship because of the customer service they received. “We all have very busy jobs and we can’t always do things the very minute something arises,” Bass said. “But when we have questions or concerns, Gary Skeen and Victoria Whatley at the Church Benefits Board are always helpful and friendly, and they keep their word. They always get back to us when they say they will.”

At the beginning of the year, CBB became autonomous, working directly with partners such as StanCorp Financial Inc. and World Insurance Association Inc. to provide retirement benefits, life insurance, disability and medical insurance for church employees. The changes were initiated to provide more flexibility to members, such as not requiring church employees to participate in the retirement plan in order to receive medical insurance. Bass says Lumberton currently has nearly 30 employees enrolled with CBB, including ministerial staff, maintenance workers and daycare employees. Bass said the change wasn’t done without careful deliberation by the church. “We had a meeting that included the church treasurer, the deacon chair and several other members,” she said. “Our treasurer is a certified public accountant,

g ingreen The CBF Resource Center in Atlanta is going green. Recently, CBF employees implemented several practices to conserve energy, recycle and be good stewards of the earth’s resources. In addition to paper recycling containers at each work station, the employee break room now features bins for recycling aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard.

taking to go green at home and at church. Share your ideas for reducing, reusing and recycling at the Fellowship blog — www.thefellowship.info/blog. 12

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Joel McLendon photo

We want to know what actions Fellowship Baptists are

and he had some technical questions about the switch and the new plans. Gary took the time to talk to him and answer all of his questions.” In addition to the customer service and relationships developed with CBB staff, Bass said there was another overriding factor in the church’s decision. “In the meeting, we all agreed that we are a CBF church, and we want to invest our benefit money with the organization that shares the same values and beliefs that we do,” she said. By contributing writer Bob Perkins, Dunwoody, Ga. For additional information or a free consultation, contact CBB at contact@churchbenefits.org or call (800) 352-8741. Additional information, as well as enrollment forms, are available at www.churchbenefits.org.


Baptists from 30 organizations attended plenary sessions at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant. Each of the five plenary sessions included a sermon, testimony and message.

Rod Reilly photo

F

Former President Jimmy Carter, foreground, and Baptist statesman Jimmy Allen, background, were two members of the event’s steering committee, along with David Goatley, president of the North American Baptist Fellowship, William Shaw, president of the National Baptist Convention USA, and Bill Underwood, president of Mercer University.

Rod Reilly photo

Billy Howard photo

ellowship Baptists were among more than 15,000 Baptists who gathered for the threeday Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant in Atlanta Jan.31-Feb.1, uniting around the mandates of Jesus, as recorded in Luke 4:18-19. “This is the most momentous event of my religious life,” said former President Jimmy Carter, one of the event’s organizers. “For the first time in more than 160 years, we are convening a major gathering of Baptists throughout an entire continent, without any threat to our unity caused by differences of our race or politics or geography or the legalistic interpretation of Scripture.” Plenary and special interest sessions focused on the topics of poverty, unity and diversity, peace, justice, separation of church and state, Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga., HIV/AIDS pandemic, preached about the power of love at disaster relief efforts, a Jan. 31 plenary session. welcoming the stranger and other topics related to Jesus’ mandates. Leaders from the participating Baptist organizations, including CBF executive coordinator Daniel Vestal, will reconvene in March at the Carter Center in Atlanta to discuss possible partnership opportunities. One immediate result of the Celebration is the partnership of organizations in a Summer of Jubilee, where Baptist congregations and individuals are encouraged to cooperate in missional ministry projects. To learn about these missions opportunities, contact Chris Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741.

Alvin Phillips photo

Baptists join in historic Celebration

John Upton, executive director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia, offered a prayer of blessing for the public service of Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, right, and former Surgeon General David Satcher, center, who both spoke at a plenary session.

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Summer Service Opportunities

United States

CBF can connect your church with potential destinations for short-term missions involvement — either through the ministry of CBF field personnel or partner organizations. CBF staff can work with your congregation to discern the missions projects that best fit specific skill sets, number of team members and funds. These are a few of the missions opportunities available this summer. For information on additional opportunities, contact Chris Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741.

South Dakota Spring and Summer 2008 Through Together for Hope, CBF’s rural poverty initiative, churches have the opportunity to partner with communities on American Indian Reservations in four of the poorest counties in the country. Ministry opportunities include working alongside local partners in light construction, business development, literacy classes and day camps.

Atlanta Ongoing

East Carroll Parrish, La.* June 29-July 5 East Carroll is one of the poorest communities in the United States and is one of the focal counties in the long-term commitment of Together for Hope, the Fellowship’s rural poverty initiative. Teams are needed to partner in bringing hope through service projects such as home repair, roofing and community ministry. Groups will also be able to work with local churches and worship with others every evening.

In a five-mile radius of Atlanta Intercultural Ministries, Inc., a Fellowship partner, approximately 140 different languages are spoken. Teams are needed to work alongside the ministry center in the Chamblee and Doraville neighborhoods, reaching out to the refugee and immigrant communities. Mission projects include food and clothing assistance, tutoring, English classes and health education.

Miami* Summer 2008 Touching Miami with Love, a ministry of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and CBF of Florida, reaches out to the Overtown neighborhood, the poorest community in the state. CBF field personnel will facilitate the work of missions teams as they minister to the city’s homeless community, lead worship, preach, assist with the clothes closet and serving meals, lead summer day camps, adopt a street for clean-up and facilitate a community BBQ.

Gulf Coast Ongoing More than 1,500 Fellowship Baptists have participated in hurricane Katrina relief work in Louisiana, but teams are still need to help rebuild homes and communities in the Gulf Coast region.

* These trips are prepackaged, with meals, transportation, ministry and lodging included in the cost of the trip.

Short-term missions opportunities are also available for individuals and teams to serve internationally. Projects include teaching English, agricultural assistance, visiting professorships, specialized medical/dental ministry, sports evangelism and construction. For more information on these opportunities, contact Chris Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741. 14

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for transforming a mission trip into a missional experience will have its own

this summer hundreds of Fellowship

partner churches will travel to locations

unique history, food, customs and more. The

across the country and overseas

key for ad-

participating in short-term missions

dressing these

experiences. Here are a few suggestions

differences is to

for making the experience meaningful.

1

Recognize why you are engaging in short-term missions The first step to a meaningful trip is establishing your purpose. If your church

is striving to be the presence of Christ in the world

and experience the transformational properties of missions, then discover what the Bible has to say about missions. For example, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

2

Do your homework Research both your congregation and your options. What are the areas

of giftedness that already exist among church members? What are the skills sets? By knowing these areas, you’ll be better able to pinpoint the specific mission project that would best fit your team. Money matters. Remember to budget for the entire

recognize and celebrate them. Cultural sensitivity training can help prepare team members for cultural differences and help maximize the missional

Carla Wynn Davis photo

By Chris Boltin

A member of Madison Heights Baptist Church in Madison Heights, Va., helps a Slavic girl during a backyard Bible club in Asheville, N.C.

experience. Group activities, role playing and selected readings can all be part of cultural sensitivity training. If teams are working alongside CBF field personnel, the personnel can provide information on the environment and issues facing the community.

4

Take time for spiritual preparation Most trip planners will tell you that more than 75 percent of the stress

5

Extend the missional experience beyond a week On average, short-term missions last from one week to 10 days. It is hard

to believe how life changing this short amount of time can be for an individual or congregation. Why not extend this amount of time or get more people involved? Short-term engagements can be part of a church’s overall missional journey. Even if a small number of church members

associated with short-term missions relates to logis-

participated in a short-term missions project,

tics. Where are we going to sleep? What is the food

seek out opportunities to engage the larger

like? What should we wear? What should we pack?

congregation. Churches can continue to support

And in the chaos of planning, spiritual preparation

ministries even after their team has left. For

ground transportation. Communicate with the contact

often gets overlooked. Missions experiences are

example, CBF field personnel rely on gifts to the

person at your destination and find out the details. Build

spiritual pilgrimages, as people commit their time

CBF Offering for Global Missions, which funds their

your budget early and fundraise accordingly.

and energy to being the hands and feet of God.

salaries and ministry expenses.

trip, including meals, lodging, ministry supplies and

3

Ask your congregation to join with and pray for

Also, congregations may be inspired to look

Prepare for culture shock

mission team members. Set aside time in the months

for similar missions opportunities in their own

leading up to the trip for spiritual preparation. And

neighborhoods. Church members who have

One of the most exciting and challeng-

remember, that after the missions experience, people

participated in short-term projects might have the

ing aspects of short-term experiences

also need space to process what they have experi-

experience and passion needed to facilitate local

enced and adjust back to their home setting.

projects.

is being exposed to a new culture. Every location

Chris Boltin serves as the Fellowship’s short-term assignment and partnership manager, connecting churches with missions opportunities around the world. Boltin has been helping churches plan missions engagements for 10 years. For more ideas on mission immersion and to learn how CBF can resource your congregation, contact Boltin at cboltin@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741. fellowship!

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Church S potlight

Franklin Baptist, Franklin, Va.

B “

Photo courtesy Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith serves as a ministerial resident at Franklin Baptist Church.

Carla Wynn Davis photo

W

hen Danielle Smith was “Serving as a resident, allows me a safe ordained in 2007, two place to practice ministry, a soft cushion important communities to fall on,” said Smith, who will graduate gathered to bless her call to ministry. Smith from the Baptist Theological Seminary in was ordained at Central Baptist Church of Richmond, a Fellowship partner, in May. “Just as a doctor completes a residency Bearden in Knoxville, Tenn., the church that nurtured her spiritual growth in in order to help heal the human body, it childhood and youth. Also joining Smith seems so sensible that a minister complete in celebrating her call was the community a residency in order to help heal the of Franklin Baptist Church in Franklin, human soul.” As a Va., the church eing able to walk in the footsteps resident at that now nurtures her as Franklin of more experienced ministers, a minister. Baptist, Smith like those of Franklin Baptist Church, is such a Smith is involved participates in in leading gift because full-time ministry can be a scary and the Fellowship’s a variety of overwhelming task.” residency ministries program, part of — activities CBF’s Initiative for Ministerial Excellence for children and youth, a church-wide and funded in part by a grant from the Bible study, hospital and home visitation, weddings, funerals and baptisms. Lilly Foundation. The program places seminary students and recent graduates “Being able to walk in the footsteps of in a two-year position with a Fellowship more experienced ministers, like those partner church, which serves as a teaching of Franklin Baptist Church, is such a gift congregation. because full-time ministry can be a scary

Danielle Smith

and overwhelming task,” Smith said. “Being a resident and having teachers to guide me through my first season of ministry has already educated me in ways that I could never fully realize in a seminary class.” Central Baptist of Bearden has also served as a teaching congregation, and Smith is the second resident at Franklin Baptist. Started in 2004, 10 churches have served as teaching congregations, providing nurturing and learning environments for ministers beginning their careers. “I have been overwhelmed at the way the church has embraced this ministry,” said Franklin Baptist pastor Richard Childress. “FBC truly sees themselves as a teaching congregation. In my opinion, the main focus of the program is to support and develop the next generation of pastoral leaders.” By contributing writer Michelle Norman, Lawrenceville, Ga.

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For more information on CBF’s residency program, contact Steve Graham at sgraham@thefellowship.info or (800) 352-8741.


Resource S potlight

CBF Speaker’s Bureau

S

schools supplies and expanding the dorm facilitates. This spring, Adams will return to Boulevard for a missions celebration weekend. And, in July a team from Boulevard will spend a week at Metro Baptist leading camps for children. “Ronnie has a tremendous vision and contagious enthusiasm for ministry in New York,” Lynch said. “Love and compassion for those to whom he ministers is evident as he shares ministry experiences and works alongside mission teams. Ronnie meets each one with love, kindness and respect. His passion for missions is clear as he speaks. So when Boulevard heard, we wanted to be a part of the work that Ronnie leads in New York City.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

Photo courtesy of Boulevard Baptist

everal years ago, when they bureau, the Fellowship connects churches heard Ronnie Adams speak at a with field personnel, such as Adams, CBF of South Carolina meeting, and other speakers who share ministry members of Boulevard Baptist Church in experiences through dialogue and storyAnderson, S.C., added him to their wish telling. The speakers’ bureau exists to build list. They wanted Adams, one of CBF’s field relationships, empowering individuals, personnel, to return to South Carolina and churches and the Fellowship to more fully speak to their church about his ministries discover and fulfill their ministries. at Metro Baptist Church in New York City. Since last April, Boulevard has In April 2007, during Boulevard’s partnered with Metro Baptist and Adams mission weekend, Adams joined more in numerous ways. The church has than 50 church missions leaders for dinner created more than 450 toiletry kits for the Saturday and during Sunday morning homeless, provided school supplies for 150 worship, shared the story of his ministry. children, collected more than 400 items for By the time Boulevard mission coordinator Metro’s clothes closet and sent Christmas Becky Lynch arrived home Sunday cheer bags for HIV/AIDS patients. At afternoon, she had numerous messages the close of Boulevard’s Alternative from church members wanting to know Christmas Fair, $2,170 had been given for how the congregation was going to partner New York missions. Members have also with Adams. made two trips to Metro Baptist, helping “Over time I have seen remarkable to organize the food pantry, distributing response when missions Inspired by the ministry of Ronnie Adams become real to the folks in New York, members of Boulevard in our church. Response Baptist’s youth choir spent a day increases as we invite working at Metro Baptist Church. people like Ronnie to speak” said Lynch. “Our church enjoys a strong commitment to missions. As we make it more personal by creating opportunities for people to see and hear, we see increased support for missions through praying and giving. I could have shared Ronnie’s ministries, but it would not have been nearly as effective as having him here and having him share.” Through the face2face CBF speakers’

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To schedule a speaker, contact Amy Morris at (800) 352-8741 or amorris@thefellowship.info. fellowship!

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Hospitality and love

Fortenberry facilitates community for international women in Los Angeles “I do what I can to make their experience

tagged along with her grand-

in America welcoming,” said Fortenberry, a

mothers to weekly prayer

native of Clinton, Miss. “And I offer hospital-

groups and meetings of the

ity and love, so that they might find a place

Woman’s Missionary Union. She remembers

to be known and have a place to know each

praying for missionaries and vividly recalls

other. I believe that’s what Jesus does — Jesus

wearing a dress from China, marveling at the

calls us by name, and we know that God

fact that a girl on the other side of the world

knows us intimately. For these women, that

might be wearing the same outfit. For Forten-

is something tangible for them to hold on to

berry, the seed for her calling to missions was

— I can offer a holistic gospel to them.”

planted at a young age.

Through a partnership

Now, Fortenberry

with American Baptist

Patricia Heys photos

A

s a child, Lizzie Fortenberry

Churches USA, Fortenberry

erative Baptist Fellowship’s

and CBF field personnel

field personnel, minister-

Aaron and Stephanie Glenn

ing to international stu-

serve as the Baptist chaplains

dents and their families in

for the university and have

Los Angeles. She specifi-

offices at USC’s religious

in ways they probably never thought they

cally works to build com-

center. Fortenberry hosts

could, especially considering the different

munity among the wives

a weekly cooking class at

cultural backgrounds,” said Fortenberry.

the center, along with con-

“What comes from these interactions are

versational English classes,

some really beautiful moments — you’ve got

lunches and other activities.

a Japanese woman and Argentinean woman

The women who participate

who care for each other. What I hope is that

are natives of countries such

they go back to their countries and not only

of international graduate students at the University of Southern California (USC), which has the highest population of international students of any

Patricia Heys photo

serves as one of the Coop-

Through a partnership with American Baptist Churches USA, Fortenberry serves as a chaplain at USC.

college in the United States. With their husbands focused on school,

as Korea,

China, Japan, India, Chile, Argentina and Poland.

living in Los Angeles can be an isolating

Aya, who participates in

and lonely experience for these women,

the weekly cooking classes,

many of whom are young and in their first

said, “This class is good be-

year of marriage. They must often navigate

cause we get to practice our

the nuances of the English language and

language with people from

American culture without the support of

other countries and from

family, a community or even a friend.

our own country. And oth-

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erwise we would just go home alone.” “They are learning to care for each other


Lizzie Fortenberry, second from right, prepares dumplings together with international women at a weekly cooking class.

have a hopeful impression of America and

congregations to seek out international stu-

“We talk about the passage from Leviticus

Christianity but also of other cultures.”

dents in their own communities. She suggests

— loving strangers as if they were your own

A Japanese woman and wife of a professor

simple and practical steps for building bridges

kind. That goes hand in hand with Jesus’

told Fortenberry, “I would have never considered

with students — inviting them to dinner, pro-

commandment to love your neighbor as

reaching out to the international population at

viding a ride, cooking together or sharing an

yourself. By embracing internationals in your

the university in Japan. But because of my expe-

aspect of American culture.

midst, you’re responding to that calling.”

rience here, the love I’ve experienced here, I’m

“Even if you are in the smallest town, my

going to go back and do that for other people.”

bet is that there will be an international stu-

Fortenberry, a graduate of Truett Theological Seminary, a Fellowship partner, encourages

By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications

dent there who needs a friend,” she said.

Online — Go to www.thefellowship.info/give. For questions regarding online giving, contact igive@thefellowship.info.

Mail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your check payable to CBF.

Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741.

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Field Personnel S potlight

E

ric Bebber, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s field personnel, ministers among the poor in Washington, D.C. Background: A Thomasville, N.C., native, Bebber earned a bachelor of arts degree in religion from Mars Hill College in 2003. He graduated with a master of divinity degree in 2006 from Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology, a Fellowship partner school. Formerly a minister to students at CBF partner Peachtree Baptist Church in Atlanta, Bebber was appointed in 2006 as CBF Global Service Corps field personnel serving a two-year term. Ministry: As an advocate for the poor in the nation’s capital, Bebber helps facilitate short-term mission opportunities for Fellowship partner churches. He connects church teams with urban ministries, hosts them during their stay and challenges them toward missional living.

“Too often we ignore our community,” Bebber said. “My hope is that people go home and find those people who are unwanted and unloved, and respond to that lack of love. A church is missional when it’s in relationship with its community.” Throughout the year he builds networks with area ministries and also helps with Horizons Club, an after school program for teenagers run by CBF partner CalEric Bebber vary Baptist Church. “I feel like God has placed inside of me a broken heart for people who suffer, and to work against structures that lead to brokenness is one way I live out my Carla Wynn Davis photo

Eric Bebber

calling as a Christian,” Bebber said. By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Communications

Making Missional Connections Spark, the Fellowship’s missions education resource for children, focuses on the variety of ministries at Calvary Baptist Church. Children study about Eric Bebber as he tries to make connections between short-term workers and helping agencies in order to serve the needs of the poor in Washington, D.C. The focus of Bebber’s work is to help form missional Christians. Through missions stories, games and music, children learn what it means to be missional. To order CBF missions education resources go to www.missionseducation.org or call (800) 801-4223.

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship P.O. Box 450329 • Atlanta, Georgia 31145-0329 www.thefellowship.info (800) 352-8741

March/April 2008 fellowship! magazine  
March/April 2008 fellowship! magazine