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Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
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Empowering the Next Generation CBF invests in young leaders across the Fellowship
Ferguson came home SOMEONE recently gave me a book titled Seven Thousand Ways to Listen: Staying Close to What Is Sacred. The book is based on the fact that there are 7,000 languages in the world and equally as many ways to listen. After the August 9 tragedy in Ferguson, Mo., I was surprised to learn that Tarryl Daniels of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship staff is from Ferguson. Just a few weeks prior to August 9, Tarryl had driven his mom to resume her residence in Ferguson with his sister. Tarryl, if you haven’t met him, has that crisp edge of military discipline. He came to CBF after military service on three continents with top security clearance.
A PUBLICATION OF COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP
VOLUME 24, NUMBER 5
EXECUTIVE COORDINATOR Suzii Paynter ASSOCIATE COORDINATOR, FELLOWSHIP ADVANCEMENT Jeff Huett EDITOR Aaron Weaver GRAPHIC DESIGNER Travis Peterson ASSOCIATE EDITOR Emily Holladay ASSISTANT EDITOR Candice Young PHONE (770) 220-1600 E-MAIL email@example.com WEBSITE www.thefellowship.info 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.
As the news cameras covered his Ferguson neighborhood in the background, I found myself listening to Tarryl in a new way. “Growing up, I never felt the sting of racism in Ferguson,” Tarryl told me. “I didn’t really encounter racism in the military either. Racism did, however, confront me as I drove through the rural South, traveling from one military base to another.” Listen… Tarryl said that watching the police in their protective gear at the edge of the Ferguson mall brought back memories of his time in the military. “It reminded me of my first deployment to Kosovo,” Tarryl said. “I was part of a peacekeeping force and we were in protective gear. The crowds threw Molotov cocktails, and we received small arms fire.” And what of the position of parents? Tarryl is a dad to two young boys. “They listen to me say, ‘Be careful. Be courteous to everyone,” Tarryl shared. Tarryl’s sons are young. Other CBF staff have more difficult conversations with their teenage and young adult children. Listen… “I tell my sons that they cannot expect that other people will automatically think they are as great as they are.” “I teach my sons how to drive, how to parallel park and also where to put their hands when they are stopped by the police.” “I tell my son to keep every receipt so no one can accuse him of shoplifting.” Listen… Roger and I also have a son. We have never had these compulsory conversations. Our son has moved through life without the necessity of cautionary parental coaching, not because he deserves this immunity, but because it has been given to him by his culture and time. I am reminded of Harry Potter, who was bequeathed a Cloak of Invisibility that made him immune to imminent danger. The Cloak of Invisibility gave him a possibility of escape. Harry Potter had his own roots of suffering and, because of the gifts of generous love and loyalty, he became a good steward of the power of the
Cloak of Invisibility. He opened it wide and encompassed others in its privileged safety. Listen… Is there a parent among us who hasn’t wanted to wrap the mantle of safety around our sons and daughters? Ferguson is bringing us together across lines that might otherwise divide. No one asks for tragedies, but from the painful realities of division, we can be awakened to the parameters of our own Cloaks of Invisibility. We are moved to act in reconciliation and compassion. We are moved to a stewardship of listening and sharing. I am reminded of the scene when Jesus felt the touch of a woman in a crowd and said, “Who touched me?” Jesus saw her and heard her and healed her for a new day. I am sure the stewardship of his power in service of her needs was the most meaningful sermon of the day. We can respond by truly hearing our colleagues and sharing, parent to parent. CBF churches in the St. Louis area like Kirkwood Baptist Church have been involved with Riverview Gardens school, carpooling children and preparing and delivering meals, in addition to their Covenant of Action partnership with nearby African-American churches. At the New Baptist Covenant luncheon this summer in Atlanta, 40 other churches committed to seek racially-reconciling partnerships. Being a missional church begins with people forming together in Christ who listen beyond divisions and walk a new way. I am grateful for the leadership and voices of CBF colleagues around Ferguson and the staff here in Decatur. We will keep listening, praying and supporting the cause of racial reconciliation.
Suzii Paynter, CBF Executive Coordinator
Contents 5 8
Rural Mississsippi congregation provides safe space for Choctaw community
CBF Moderator Profile: Kasey Jones
Emanating the love of Christ
Raised in Hope
D.C. church focuses on the next generation with Explorer Camp
Together for Hope student serves summer in Romania through Student.Go
Co-Laborers in Christ
CBF Fellows program provides young ministers with personal, professional network
All About Water
CBF serves as ‘niche player’ in global disaster arena
Affect: October 2014
Affect: November 2014
National Baptist Memorial Church
Disaster Response — Water
A young girl collects water from a pond shared with camels, goats and cattle in southern Ethiopia. Read about CBF field personnel David and Merrie Harding’s ministry to provide safe drinking water on pp. 26-29.
From the editor OVER THE PAST four years, I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to see first-hand the many ways in which the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship invests in young leaders. From attending Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology to leading training sessions for students serving through Student.Go and CBF’s Collegiate Congregational Internship program and helping plan Selah Vie, an endof-summer debriefing retreat for college and graduate students (read about Selah Vie on pages 16-17), I have watched CBF deepen its commitment to providing space for young Baptists to learn and grow. I am constantly inspired by the people I have met and the ways that young Baptists throughout the Fellowship have sought to engage God’s mission in the world. Students like Keyonta Lee, who grew up attending Youth Camp, a program of Together for Hope in Helena, Ark., and decided to pay it forward by spending a summer in Bucharest, Romania, working with children who, like him, are growing up in areas affected by extreme poverty (read Keyonta’s story on pages 18-20). These young Baptists are not just the future. They are a huge part of what makes this Fellowship so vibrant now.
Emily Holladay, associate editor fellowship!
prayerspeople of the
Praying a “One Word” Prayer By Bo Prosser
any of us try to speak more in our prayers than is necessary. Consider the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 139 or the words of Jesus in Matthew 6 or 10. God already knows. Consider the modern-day prayer of author Anne Lamott, “Help me, help me, help me… Thank you, thank you, thank you.” God does not desire flowery words flung toward the heavens. God desires time with us. This month, try praying ONE WORD prayers. This prayer practice will feel
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 OCTOBER 1 Tina Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP); Ron Craddock, Evans, GA (CH) 2 Maha Boulos, Lebanon (FP); Keith Holmes, Netherlands (FP) 3 Jonathan Bailey, Southeast Asia (FP); Greg Long, Elgin, TX (PLT); Matt Norman, Spain (FP) 4 Matthew Eddleman, Travelers Rest, SC (CH); Dennis Herman, Raleigh, NC (CH); Michael Metcalf, Evans, GA (CH) 5 Kate Blackshear, Austin, TX (CH); Jo Ann Hopper, Emeritus (FP); Gregory Thompson, Oakwood, GA (CH); Christopher Towles, Pfafftown, NC (CH) 7 Daniel Brockhan, Cheektowaga, NY (CH) 8 Lucas Dorion (S-Alabama); Lisa Jeffcoat, Charlotte, NC (CH); Melissa Kremer, Rome, GA (CH); Robb Small, Geismar, LA (CH) 9 Sarah Carbajal, Fort Worth, TX (CH) 10 Joseph Boone, Cold Spring, KY (CH); Beth Duke, Smithville, TN (CH); Amber Hipps, Gadsden, AL (CH); Jay Martin, Woodland Park, CO (PC); Tina Woody, Spartanburg, SC (CH) 11 Robert “Bob” Barker, Republic, MO (CH); Laura Senter, Everett, WA (CH); Sing Yue, Bakersfield, CA (CH) 12 Ben Newell, San Antonio, TX (FP); Greg Sink, Kileen, TX (CH) 13 Lloyd Blevins, Fayetteville, NC (CH); Bob Newell, Emeritus (FP); John Painter, Charleston, SC (CH); Fran Turner, South Africa/Zambia (FP); Gretchen Watson, Louisville, KY (PC) 14 Janel Miller-Evans, St. Petersburg, FL (FP); Kathy Reed, Hot Springs, AR (CH) 15 Bruce Guile, Mexico, MO (CH); Denise Ryder, Greenwood, IN (CH) 16 Karen Black, Fort Worth, TX (CH); Betty Drayton, Sumter, SC (CH); Greg Greason, Kansas City, MO (CH); Monty Self, Little Rock, AR (CH) 17 Frank Broome (S-Georgia); Bob Cheatheam, Abilene, TX (PLT); David Fambrough, Greenville, NC (CH) 18 Hank Demous, Opelika, AL (CH); Danny Garnett, Irmo, SC (PC); Gregory Oman, Hernando, MS (CH) 19 Mike Hutchinson, Togo (FP)
awkward at first. Keep up the practice for a few days and you’ll ease into intimacy with God. Know what God desires most is time with you; be still and be Bo Prosser with God. After a CBF Coordinator of few moments of Organizational Relationships silence, verbalize one word that you want to say to God or need from God, either for the day ahead or for the day to come tomorrow. Think, “Peace.” Or, “Security.” Or, “Grateful!” Say the word out loud; write the word down in your prayer journal. Verbalize the word for a few minutes repeating the word, pausing,
repeating the word and pausing. The rhythm of the prayer depends on your interaction with God. Now, add one more part to the prayer experience. Include one of the names from the prayer list into your prayer. Pray, “God, today please give (say their name) this same gift of (say your word).” Sit quietly with your word for just a minute more knowing that God has heard your prayer. If you will, stay with this one word all week or even all month. Pray for the same person all week or all month. Pray your one word until you feel God has responded. Then, choose a different word as the month progresses. Pray with confidence knowing that the simplicity of your prayer has been heard. “Help me, thank you, wow!”
20 Carl Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (PLT); Annette Ellard, Louisville, KY (FP); Chuck Hawkins, Pearland, TX (CH); Luke Langston, Durham, NC (CH) 22 Keith Cooper, Lubbock, TX (CH); Paul Robertson, Sugar Land, TX (CH); Missy Ward-Angalla, Uganda (FP) 23 Adele Henderson, Roanoke, VA (CH); John Lassitter, Martindale, TX (CH); Michael Weaver, Beaumont, TX (CH) 24 Ben Collins, Deland, FL (PLT); Tawanda Hughes (S-Decatur); Charles Lumpkin, Greensboro, NC (CH); Wes Monfalcone, Casselberry, FL (CH); Robert Powell, Birmingham, AL (CH); Rick Ruano, North Miami Beach, FL (CH) 25 Doug Cobb, McGregor, TX (CH); Suzie, Thailand (FP) 26 Dean Dickens, Emeritus (FP) 27 Terrell Moye, Palm Beach Gardens, FL (CH) 28 Jim Travis, Durham, NC (CH) 29 Sam Scaggs, Dublin, GA (CH); Troy Todd, Sneads Ferry, NC (CH) 30 Richard Brown, Troutville, VA (CH); Hazel Thomas, Houston, TX (CH) 31 Phyllis Boozer (S-Northeast)
11 Phoebe Angel, 2010, Belgium (FPC); Scott Blair, San Antonio, TX (CH); Dana Durham, Sacramento, CA (CH); Victor Perez, Knoxville, TN (PLT); Troy Petty, Palmyra, VA (PC); Bert Sanders III, Winston-Salem, NC (CH); Steve Sweatt, Birmingham, AL (PC) 12 Michael Cox, Elizabethtown, KY (CH); John Lepper, Buckner, KY (PC); Bob Pipkin, Virginia Beach, VA (CH); Harry Rowland (S-Decatur); Caroline Smith, South Africa (FP) 13 Shelia Earl, Emeritus (FP); Earl Martin, Emeritus (FP); Devita Parnell (S-Decatur); Gail Smith, Hillsborough, NC (CH); Cindy Wallace, Carpentersville, IL (CH) 14 Katie Anderson, Louisville, KY (CH); Patterson Coates (S-Decatur) 15 Cris Avila, Newnan, GA (PLT); Marcia McQueen, Eden, NC (CH); David Simmons, Harrisburg, PA (CH) 16 Anita Snell Daniels, Emeritus (FP); Edwin Hollis, Odenville, AL (CH) 17 Chuck Strong, Olive Branch, MS (PLT); Elizabeth Thompson, Littleton, CO (PC); Cade Whitley, 2004, France (FPC); Dylan Whitley, 2004, France (FPC) 18 Elaine Greer, Frankfort, KY (CH); Kristin Long, Richmond, VA (PC); Kat Spangler, Shelby, NC (CH) 19 Will Kinnaird, Keller, TX (CH); Nancy Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH) 20 Chuck Christie, Loganville, GA (CH); Kevin Park, Bellingham, WA (CH); Steven Porter (S-Decatur) 21 _______, Turkey (FP); Fred Madren, Indianapolis, IN (CH) 22 Becky Smith, Atlanta, GA (FP) 24 Will Barnes, Savannah, GA (CH); Carol Lynn Brinkley, Fayetteville, NC (PLT); Rob Fox (S-Virginia); Peggy Gold, Durham, NC (CH); Will Manley, Johnson City, TN (CH); David Posey, Medina, TN (CH); Ruth Santos-Ortíz, Atlanta, GA (CH) 25 Gary Batchelor, Rome, GA (CH); Tony Biles, Richfield, NC (CH); Robert Cooke, Selma, NC (PC); Ed Farris, Topeka, KS (CH); Brad Hood, Knoxville, TN (CH); Chan Shaver, Jamestown, NC (CH); Sue Smith, Fredericksburg, VA (FP); Lee Weems, Pineville, LA (CH) 26 Carol Fletcher, Athens, GA (CH); Blake Hart (S-South Carolina); Michael O’Rourke, Alexandria, VA (CH); Charles Reynolds, Vicenza, Italy (CH) 27 Macarena Aldape, India (FP); Posey Branscome, Charlotte, NC (CH); Saul Burleson, Weaverville, NC (CH) 28 Barry Click, Austin, TX (CH); Ronald King, Midland, GA (PC); Abigail Parks, 2004, Slovakia (FPC); Mark Tidsworth, Chapin, SC (PC); Joel Whitley, France (FP) 29 Paul Mullen, Clemmons, NC (CH); David Ramsey, Rolla, MO (CH) 30 John David Hopper, Emeritus (FP); Rick McClatchy (S-Texas); Lucas Pittman, 2003, Miami, FL (FPC); Peter Stephens, Georgetown, KY (CH)
NOVEMBER 1 Lynne Mouchet, Johns Creek, GA (CH) 2 Karen Alford, Southeast Asia (FP); Mark Elder, Spartanburg, SC (CH); Brad Holmes, Gaffney, SC (CH); Jesse Hunt, Fort Drum, NY (CH); Mickie Norman, Leland, NC (CH/PLT); Suzii Paynter (S-Decatur); Ryan Yaun, Wetumpka, AL (CH) 3 Michael McCawley, Carthage, NY (CH); David Reid, Boise, ID (CH); Jeffrey Ross, Virginia Beach, VA (CH) 4 Cyndi Abbe, Waco, TX (PLT); Eric Maas, Belize (FP); Mary Stinson, Berea, KY (CH); Mark Westebbe, Waynesboro, VA (CH) 5 ________, North Africa (FP); Cameron Gunnin, San Antonio, TX (CH); Clyde Waters, Columbia, SC (CH) 6 Emerson Byrd, Fort Bliss, TX (CH); Jeff Lee, Macedonia (FP); Meghan McSwain, Winston-Salem, NC (CH) 7 Craig Butler, Sugar Land, TX (CH); Pat Coley, Sugar Grove, WV (CH); Darrell Hudson, Georgetown, TX (CH); Roland Kuhl, Round Lake Beach, IL (PLT); Zachary Morrow, 1995, Aledo, TX (FPC) 8 Jay Kieve (S-South Carolina); Mark Weiler, Greeley, CO (CH) 9 Debby Bradley, Owensboro, KY (CH); Charles Seligman, San Antonio, TX (CH); Audrey Wilson, Durham, NC (CH) 10 Brooke, Southeast Asia (FP); Kevin Crowder, Fredericksburg, VA (CH); Angela Lowe, Lawrence, KS (CH); Ralph Mikels, Jr., Seymour, TN (CH); Jim Smith (FP/S-Decatur)
Rural Mississippi church meets needs, provides safe space for
Choctaw community By Jennifer Ferry
IN THE RURAL town of Decatur, located in one of the poorest areas of Mississippi, one church embodies the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s vision of being the presence of Christ in the world. Church Arise is a small, diverse church that is ministering with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians, a Native American tribe whose members reside in nearby Conehatta. Church Arise has been intentionally focusing on ministry with the Choctaw community, a community battling obstacles such as alcoholism, abuse and poverty, according to Christian Byrd, coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi. The Decatur congregation works to identify and meet the needs of the Choctaw community, build long-term relationships and provide a safe space where the Choctaw people can feel accepted and cared for. “It’s a unique and complex situation that is unlike the experience that most evangelical churches have when they minister to people outside of their walls,” Byrd explained. “Their effort is not short-term. It’s a life effort. They are building community together with the Choctaw people, spending time on the reservation, eating meals and playing with the children.” As part of the church’s ministry, Church Arise has followed the model of the popular ministry, Operation Christmas Child, providing clothing and personal hygiene items to Choctaw children during the Christmas season. Members of the congregation collect clothing, toiletries and toys to fill shoebox-size boxes that are distributed on Christmas Eve. Byrd said that most of the children have only one outfit of clothes to wear to school and are unable to wash their clothes regularly because they do not have dryers in their homes.
“The Choctaw of Conehatta face poverty on a level that most people don’t want to believe exists in the United States,” Byrd said. “You don’t expect to see poverty like this in your own ZIP code.” Some members of Church Arise are only able to attend services once or twice each month because of their economic situation. “Just having the money for gas to come our way is often difficult,” said Gabe Swann, pastor of Church Arise. Church Arise puts its energy into reaching out to an area that has long been neglected, and the congregation wants those who have had bad experiences, who have been cast off to come to the church, Swann said. “We focus more on people who are unchurched or people who have been rejected or feel like they’ve been rejected by church,” Swann said. “We are not bound by what you would think of as ‘traditions’ of the church.” Indeed, this is true as Church Arise is a relatively new church that formed in 2005 when members broke away from an existing congregation in the area that did not approve of its members bringing people from the Choctaw community to the church. And, several years ago, the new church connected with CBF. Out of that connection, a partnership began to grow. Betty Sue Chaney, Church Arise’s worship leader and a founding member, noted that the church has come a long way in the past nine years. While it takes much time for the Choctaw people to accept outsiders, they have come to accept Church Arise and its pastor with open arms, Chaney said. “We’ve come a long way in trust, I think, and that’s what you have to have to be able to share the gospel,” Chaney said.
GABE SWANN PHOTO
Gabe Swann, pastor of Church Arise, baptizes a Choctaw church member in the Mississippi River.
1 in 8 suffer from hunger
million people globally
on mission with Christ to
through the Offering for Global Missions
the U.S. population
Fredericksburg, Virginia: A Holistic Christian Response
A Christian response to #EndHunger requires more than providing food. It’s about protecting the dignity of those in need and meeting physical, social, spiritual, mental and emotional needs. For Greg and Sue Smith, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving the Latino community of Fredericksburg, Va., it’s meeting people wherever they are. With support from CBF’s Offering for Global Missions, since 2006, the Smiths have worked in partnership with the Fellowship, the Virginia Baptist Mission Board and Fredericksburg Baptist Church to meet the challenges of immigrants. The Smiths founded LUCHA ministries, which in English means “struggle.” To combat hunger, LUCHA ministries maintains a food pantry and partners with the local food bank, churches and individuals to provide culturally appropriate food to the Latino community.
Lebanon: Spreading the Peace of Christ
Since civil war broke out in Syria three years ago, more than 2.5 million refugees have fled the country. More than a million of those have settled in Lebanon, creating a burden on the nation’s public services and doubling unemployment among Lebanese citizens. Hunger is widespread, and there are no official refugee camps. Families are struggling to resettle in a foreign land. Chaouki and Maha Boulos, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel serving in Lebanon since 2002, are working to #EndHunger for Syrian refugees through food distribution to more than 300 participants of a women’s Bible study, more than 350 students ages 4 to 13 years old at a school in the Bekaa Valley and to internally displaced Syrians in Damascus. 6
www.thefellowship.info/OGM If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. – Isaiah 58:10
Food distribution and feeding programs
Urban farming and rural economic development
Partnerships with schools and food pantries
Emergency food assistance
CBF Hunger Ministries
exist in 20 countries on 4 continents.
CBF engages in God’s mission with and among the most neglected and least evangelized people on Earth. Through the work of field personnel and through CBF’s rural poverty initiative, Together for Hope, the Fellowship is helping to #EndHunger with partners across the United States and around the world. CBF works to #EndHunger with partners such as the Baptist General Association of Virginia and the Texas Baptist Hunger Offering as well as with CBF state and regional organizations such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Heartland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. Your gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help #EndHunger and impact CBF’s Global Missions work meeting other needs worldwide.
2014-15 Offering for Global Missions emphasis:
Kasey Jones CBF Moderator Profile
By Emily Holladay
he Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is enriched by the presence of gifted leadership in its officers and throughout its governance. With Kasey Jones, senior pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., stepping into the role of moderator, CBF is poised for a productive and impactful year of ministry and missions through partnership and collaboration. National Baptist, though small in numbers, has supported teams of Student.Go students to serve at its church for the past six years and has taken part in the formation of young ministers by making a space for interns through CBF’s Collegiate Congregational Internship program. As CBF moderator, Jones is a voice of inspiration and encouragement to others like her, who are looking for a way to make an impact in their community, both locally and globally. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Jones and learn more about her story. The following is an excerpt from our conversation. Tell me about your background. Where did you grow up? I grew up in a small town in Southern California called Duarte. My formation growing up was two-fold: the church and the community. I was raised in a Baptist church, and it seemed like we were always at church. I remember as a teenager thinking that we were at church every single day of the week. But it was not like my parents dragged me along; I enjoyed being there. It was like a second home. The other part of my formation was community. My father was one of the first African-American school board members in our small town, and my parents were very active in community development. As a child, I would help by putting fliers in 8
mailboxes, and I would talk to folks about the issues surrounding the campaign. Church and community were closely tied for me. My parents’ involvement in church and community modeled for me the importance and necessity of participation. Even now in my ministry, I don’t think participating in my community is optional. I believe that if something is wrong, people ought to play a part in transformation. Who were important influences in your development as a leader? My parents were the biggest influence. Of course, my dad through his leadership within the community, but also my mom because of her deep faith. I remember as a little girl that I was my mom’s shadow. When she would visit somebody who was homebound, I was right there by her side.
Another person would be Marian Wright Edleman. She is a brilliant woman, and I was blessed with the opportunity to work at the Children’s Defense Fund, looking and learning at her feet. She had a tremendous impact on me. When I was there, she started a new initiative called the Black Community Crusade for Children, and I worked in the youth and young adult arm of that initiative. I sat in meetings with her. We had conversations about strategy and project planning. She was there at the table with us. She invited us to the table. She wanted us to be an active part of the crusade. Hearing the stories of when she was a young lawyer in Mississippi and the strategic planning that took place to help transform her community inspired me. I talk about transformation now because I believe that it’s real and it’s possible that things can be better
other CBF churches and young adults that this Fellowship is serious about helping Christians and churches discover and fulfill their God-given mission. Around the same time relationships were being forged at the local church level, I believe God saw fit to garner my attention toward CBF at the global level. Soon after starting my pastorate in 2006, I was chosen to participate in the Emerging Leaders Network (ELN) of the Baptist World Alliance. The purpose of the network was to develop emerging Baptist leaders. Earlene Vestal was assigned as my mentor during the BWA gathering in Ghana in July 2007, as my understanding of CBF was still being formed. The mentorship program was designed to help guide new leaders and she took her responsibility seriously. Earlene introduced me to her husband, Daniel Vestal, and other Baptist leaders, and helped me understand more about the wider Baptist life and the Fellowship in particular. Before long, I received an invitation to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic CBF. As a relatively new pastor, I thought, “How can I say no to an organization that has poured so much into me personally with Earlene’s mentorship and collectively with all the churches that have supported our local church?” What do you bring to the table as moderator?
and that we have a role to play to make sure that happens. Can you share about your church’s rich history? National Baptist Memorial Church is one of the historic churches in Washington, D.C. It started in 1906 as a city-wide Sunday school ministry, and by the end of the year, the church called its first pastor. Originally named Immanuel Baptist Church, in 1915 the pastor cast a vision to build a National Roger Williams Memorial Baptist Church for all Baptists and began a campaign to encourage the Baptist bodies around the country to help make his vision possible. Resources came in from organizations such as the Southern Baptist Convention and the Northern Baptist Convention (now American Baptist Churches, USA), as well as
from churches and individuals from across the country to build a facility known as the National Baptist Memorial Church for Religious Liberty — now officially National Baptist Memorial Church. In 2006, the church’s centennial year, I was named the first female and first African-American called to serve as senior pastor. How did you connect with CBF? My introduction to CBF was layered. I met Tommy Justus, the pastor of Mars Hill Baptist Church in North Carolina, in April 2006. For about 25 years, Tommy brought mission teams to National Baptist to stay in the building and do work throughout the city. He mentioned that Mars Hill was a CBF church, and I was not really sure what that meant, but I soon learned. I learned through the developing partnership with Mars Hill,
I believe I am a part of the new growing legacy of the Fellowship. I do not come with the lived historical experience of the conflict from which CBF was born. I am a part of CBF because of the foundation of what those folks have built. I am attracted to CBF because of the cooperative spirit, because of the real meaningful work that CBF does. So, I guess, the first thing I bring with me is the testimony that God is using this Fellowship to make a real and meaningful impact. I also bring my formation experience, an experience that taught me that, when Christians gather and get involved, transformation is possible. Born out of strife, but sustained with a strong cooperative spirit. It is time to claim our identity. As moderator, I would love for us to own and continue to live into the powerful legacy as Baptists that cooperate with Christians and churches to be the presence of Christ around the world.
Creating a young Baptist ecosystem Through our partnerships with 15 theological institutions, CBF has awarded more than 1,000 Leadership Scholarships since 1998. These investments have yielded positive leadership for a variety of ministries in and beyond the walls of the church. In more recent years, campus visits — called CBF Days — give Fellowship staff, students and faculty opportunities to network and deepen relationships.
By Devita Parnell The natural world has long been the source of inspiration for writers, poets, artists and musicians, including Claude Monet, Igor Stravinsky, Wendell Berry and Mary Oliver. The natural world also inspired the biblical prophets. Ezekiel envisioned a rebuilt temple (God’s home) that would birth and give energy to a healthy and thriving ecosystem. In his vision, a rushing river becomes home to multitudes of fish, lush trees produce fruit in every season and their leaves offer healing. In this environment God’s people will be planted and will thrive. The scene is one of movement, of life everywhere, diversity everywhere, abundance everywhere, God everywhere. As we at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship begin to think about how to create a thriving environment in which young adults can connect and live out their passions and callings, we too are allowing the natural world to capture our imaginations. How might CBF’s vision for young Baptists resemble a thriving ecosystem much like the one Ezekiel imagined? How might we encourage movement, life, diversity and abundance? CBF has intentionally given energy through financial resources and personnel to cultivate leadership, calling and relationships among young Baptists. As a result, the CBF landscape is currently dotted with several well-established programs and initiatives. 10
In addition to these initiatives, we celebrate the work of CBF state and regional organizations that regularly provide ministry opportunities to children, youth, college students and young adults. We are also grateful to partners who are developing leadership in young adults through mission service, preaching workshops and summer employment. So, as we move forward in creating a place in the CBF pipeline for young Baptists to thrive, we allow the following ecological principles to teach and inform us.
What began in 1999 as a retreat for a younger generation of CBF leaders led to the formation of Current, CBF’s network for young leaders. As steering committee members, more than 70 individuals have given leadership to bringing together young Baptists for the purpose of forming relationships, broadening ministry and resourcing one another.
• Thriving ecosystems are energy-powered. Where and who are those energy sources among us and beyond us? How do we allow our efforts to be Spirit-empowered?
In 2002, CBF launched Student.Go, sending four graduate and undergraduate students to serve alongside CBF field personnel and partners in the United States. Today, more than 500 different assignments have been filled through Student.Go, giving students a broader perspective on the world, faith and ministry.
• Thriving ecosystems contain a diversity of species and have the ability to survive in the midst of adversity. What gaps exist in the variety of initiatives that CBF offers to young people? Are we monolithic in our efforts? What specific role does each of our initiatives play in the larger ecosystem?
In 2010, CBF initiated the Collegiate Congregational Internship (CCI) program and began offering grants to congregations to fund summer internship positions. In five years, 384 internships have been filled by students exploring a call to congregational ministry. In the process, young Baptists have discovered a love and respect for the church and her leaders, as well as a deeper commitment to her mission in the world. Also in 2010, CBF co-created Selah Vie, an end-of-summer retreat for students to pause and reflect on life. This event is one of the most exciting opportunities within CBF life for young adults to gather, worship and grow.
• Thriving ecosystems, by nature, exist because of the interactions among its members. How do we resist silo-mentality and encourage deep collaboration and networking across programs?
• Thriving ecosystems have the ability to grow, adapt and change over time. How will we resist the urge to do things just because we’ve always done them? How will we let go and allow for the natural processes of birth, growth and death to occur? This summer, while at Student.Go orientation, I had the opportunity to listen to a group of young adults describe an environment that would allow them to thrive personally, professionally and spiritually. Their responses were wise and thoughtful. They were honest and inspirational. And they give us a reason to be faithful in making it so. May God be our eternal source of energy and hope in the days ahead. Devita Parnell is manager of the young Baptist ecosystem.
CBFâ€™s network for Baptist seminarians and young clergy
Connect with Current at Regional Fall Network Gatherings. For dates and locations, visit: thefellowship.info/current facebook.com/currentcbf twitter.com/currentcbf
Emanating the love of Christ D.C. church focuses on the next generation with Explorer Camp
By Emily Holladay
More than 30 children from Washington, D.C.â€™s Columbia Heights neighborhood come to National Baptist Memorial Church each weekday during the summer for their Explorer Camp.
NATIONAL BAPTIST MEMORIAL CHURCH rests in
the heart of Columbia Heights, one of Washington, D.C.â€™s most diverse neighborhoods. Located less than two miles from Howard University, the nearly 150-year-old historically black university known for its important role in civil rights struggles, the area has been named among the fastest gentrifying neighborhoods in the United States.
Kasey Jones, pastor of National Baptist and CBF Moderator, leads the children in a closing worship service to celebrate what they learned and did throughout the summer.
After riots in the 1960s led to many of the low-income members of the community neighborhood’s homes and businesses being who cannot afford to keep up with the shut down and left dormant for decades, the neighborhood’s growth. city announced efforts to revitalize the area Led by senior pastor and Cooperative in the late 1990s, and launched numerous Baptist Fellowship Moderator Kasey Jones, building projects, including a National Baptist Memorial Church metro rail station that has sought to be an active opened in 1999. force in its community, Despite an influx working to meet the of wealthy tenants needs of the diverse National Baptist and businesses, Columbia Heights Memorial Church seeks Columbia Heights area, especially to be a beacon of hope by remains one those who find emanating the love of Christ of the most themselves in our worship, fellowship, economically and displaced or ethnically diverse neglected by the and service with each other areas in the city. changes taking and our neighbors here at The 2010 census place around them. home and abroad. found that the area The congregation had a population that recognized that many was 48 percent of the children in their African-American, 32 community did not have a percent white, 15 percent Hispanic safe, uplifting place to go when and 4.5 percent Asian. school let out for the summer. Many of these Although the addition of new businesses children were on free or reduced lunch at and real estate over the past decade has school, and in addition to being left alone provided major benefits to the local economy, during the day while their parents worked, such development has tended to neglect they often went without nutritious meals.
National Baptist knew its limitations as a small church, but wanted to offer a welcoming environment for the children of Columbia Heights to learn, play and grow during the summer. And, in partnership with CBF and many CBF partner churches, the congregation turned its dream into a reality, starting a summer camp in 2009. For six summers, the church has hosted the Explorer Camp for children between the ages of 5-12. This six-week camp runs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, provides the children with three meals a day and encourages them to grow through team building, missions and Bible study activities. The mission of the camp is to “show Christ’s love and teachings to children and youth by providing a safe, stable, encouraging and fun environment.” Each summer, the church has employed a team of interns from Student.Go, CBF’s mission immersion program for undergraduate and graduate students, to lead the program, planning activities for the children and coordinating the volunteer groups that come each week from CBF partner churches. This opportunity allows the interns a chance to develop their leadership fellowship!
skills, while the partnership with Student.Go enables National Baptist to keep this ministry running during a time when most church members are at work. Not only does the congregation value relationships with the children that come to camp, but it also places a strong emphasis on developing the skills and gifts of the interns serving with them. Through this effort, National Baptist has developed long-term relationships with the young leaders that walk among them each summer, and this past summer, the church asked a former Student.Go intern, Lauren Hovis, to direct the Explorer Camp. “After serving as a Student.Go intern at National Baptist, I found myself back in D.C. almost every summer,” Hovis said. “Each summer I met the new Student.Go staffers and shared encouragement and advice with them. It brought me great comfort to know that I always had a home base in D.C. Working at National Baptist as a Student.Go intern showed me what it means to be a missional church, and I will always hold the congregation dear to my heart.” This summer, the church hosted three Student.Go interns and volunteers from three CBF partner churches — Mars Hill Baptist Church in Mars Hill, N.C., First Baptist Church in Sylva, N.C., and First Baptist Church of Norman, Okla. The assistance from these churches allowed National Baptist staff and members to focus on the details and minutia of making camp happen, and also gave the visitors a chance to see how a small church can make a huge impact on its community. “What excited us most was the opportunity to be a part of a church that listened and watched for unique ways to be involved in the life of the community and then jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself,” said Kirk Hatcher, pastor of First Baptist Church of Norman, Okla. “National Baptist is reaching out to an area that needs a place for kids to safely go, and to learn to care for one another. The older children who have attended the summer camp program for many years are now taking a more active role in leadership of the camp, working with the younger children.
The church hopes to continue to expand the program for youth, becoming part of D.C.’s Summer Youth Employment Program, offering summer jobs to high school students who have grown up going to Explorer Camp.
“A highlight during our week in D.C. was watching our students take leadership of the program. We were able to allow those who work all summer in the program moments of rest because our students were able to take control of all aspects of the program.” This summer, the camp hosted 41 children, and for the first time, separated the preteens to allow them to take part in additional service activities and field trips. Many of these older children have been a part of the Explorer Camp since its beginning, and have truly become a part of the National Baptist community. In the coming years, National Baptist hopes to take part in D.C.’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), to give summer jobs to students who have aged out of the program. SYEP is an initiative of the Department of Employment Services that aims to provide youth ages 14-21 in Washington, D.C. with “enriching and constructive summer work experiences” in both the private and public sector. “It has been a joy watching the children of our camp turn into young ladies and young men,” Jones said. “Equally exciting is knowing that those children, now adolescents, want to continue to come to Explorer Camp and be camp leaders.” The Explorer Camp of National Baptist Memorial Church is an example of the power of partnerships to bring light and hope to the children and families overlooked in the midst of community development, particularly through the process of gentrification. The church witnessed a need in their community, and has worked tirelessly to respond in ways that are impacting the lives of the children, volunteers and summer staff forever.
For six summers, National Baptist has equipped Student.Go summer interns to lead Explorer Camp as counselors.
Would you like to partner with National Baptist Memorial Church to help make Explorer Camp happen? Visit their website nbmchurchdc.org to donate to the scholarship fund to help more children attend camp or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to bring a group to volunteer.
Children attending Explorer Camp learn to embrace the church and their own role as leaders in their community.
Selah Vie allowed students who spent their summer serving God space to decompress and reflect before heading back to school.
Participants were often asked to process their summer experiences through journaling and daily devotions.
CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter (left) spent a day with Selah Vie participants, helping them find ways to plug into the larger Fellowship.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF SCOTT SCHEETZ
Students and leaders from across Fellowship life enjoyed time together to develop deeper connections.
Young Baptists who served across the Fellowship this summer through Student.Go, Collegiate Congregational Internships, Passport Camps or other ministry opportunities journeyed to Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Ga., Aug. 3-6, for Selah Vie, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s end-of-summer debriefing and leadership development retreat geared toward college and graduate students finishing a summer of ministry. With the theme, “That’s Life,” students reflected on their summers and learned how to take the discipline they learned in their ministry setting into their every-day life. In worship services led by Jason Edwards, pastor of Second Baptist Church in Liberty, Mo., and Ryan Richardson, associate chaplain and director of worship at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, students explored ways to make Sabbath, community and meaningful work a part of their life’s rhythm. Throughout the retreat, students enjoyed the opportunity to debrief their summers with one another and with CBF leadership in a nature-rich setting. In its fifth year, Selah Vie once again provided an opportunity for young Baptists to pause and grow together.
At Selah Vie, students came together for daily worship and vespers, where they were encouraged to develop a rhythm of life.
Each night, participants let loose at different parties, including a 90s dance party on the last night of the retreat.
Music and worship was led by Ryan Richardson, associate chaplain and director of worship at Baylor University.
The beautiful scenery at Camp Pinnacle offered students a prime atmosphere to relax and form friendships.
Students enjoyed the opportunity to connect and share their summer experiences together.
aised R in ope H PHOTOS COURTESY OF RALPH STOCKS
Together for Hope student serves summer in Romania through Student.Go By Greg Warner
When Keyonta Lee went to Romania, he stood out for many reasons. While there are very few African-Americans in the Eastern European country, at six-foot-three, Keyonta, the 19-year-old basketball player would stand out in any crowd. To the Roma children at the Ruth School in Bucharest, Keyonta also stood out for the attention and affection he gave them. Keyonta (kee-ON-tay) and two other American students spent a month in Romania this past summer as Student.Go interns through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. They worked with CBF field personnel Ralph and Tammy Stocks of Bucharest, volunteering at the Ruth School and hosting VBS-style day camps in Bucharest and the villages of Budila, Ciuta and Giurgiu. In each town, a local Baptist church recruited children from the neighborhood, who the American team led in Bible stories, skits, singing, crafts and recreation. “Keyonta is quiet, soft-spoken, patient and kind,” Ralph Stocks said. “All the kids were just drawn to him. He has a natural love for children. Being a very gentle person, there is a draw to him.” 18
“I’m kind of quiet, but I can adapt to kids very easily,” Keyonta explained. It’s not the same with kids his age and older, he added. Then his shyness takes over. Keyonta, from Helena, Ark., is the oldest of eight children. He plays intramural basketball at Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, in Helena, and plans to pursue a degree in graphic design at Delta State University in nearby Cleveland, Miss. Seven years ago, Keyonta was just another 12-year-old kid looking to fill the days of his summer vacation. “I was walking to the pool one day and heard music and talking,” he recalled. It was Youth Camp, a summer-long day camp for teenagers, sponsored by Together for Hope of Arkansas. “They welcomed me like I had always been there,” Keyonta said. About a dozen teens from Helena meet daily for team-building activities, mission projects and leadership training. For two weeks in July, the teens also serve as instructors for the much larger All Church Challenge Swim Camp, hosted for the past 13 years by Together For Hope, CBF’s rural
poverty initiative that serves the country’s 20 poorest counties. Youth Camp started as an activity for children who aged out of the popular Swim Camp, explained Stacy Henderson, assistant director of Together for Hope of Arkansas. When Together for Hope’s organizers began the ministry in poverty-stricken Phillips County in the Mississippi Delta, “they met a lot of kids who didn’t know how to swim and who didn’t have anything constructive to do in the summer,” Henderson said. Designed for children ages 6-12, the camp teaches much more than swimming. “It is basically a modified VBS or Backyard Bible Club,” she said. “The kids rotate through music, crafts, Bible story, sports and two swim lessons.” After they became too old for Swim Camp, the kids kept coming each year anyway, so TFH of Arkansas started Youth Camp. Then, in 2011 the youth participants began working as instructors for Swim Camp — and Youth Camp grew into “an intensive, all-summer leadership development experience,” said Mollie Palmer, director of TFH of Arkansas.
In addition to being trained as leaders, the youth take mission trips to other Together for Hope sites and volunteer with TFH’s summer reading program. “The whole summer ideally shows the youth that their community is loved, that serving others is valuable and good and that they are capable leaders,” Palmer said. Keyonta became one of those leaders. He has served with Swim Camp for three years and the Stories on Wheels summer literacy program for two years. He also volunteers for numerous other TFH of Arkansas activities and teaches basketball at the Boys and Girls Club. “Keyonta has an extremely compassionate heart and is wonderful with kids,” Palmer added. “In our community, male role models are extremely important. He’s filling a crucial role by leading in our programming, allowing kids to see a young man who wants to serve, who treats people with respect and who encourages them to learn.” Helena and Phillips County struggle with high unemployment, low education and few opportunities. Young people tend to feel trapped by the circumstances.
“I like the fact I can be a positive influence,” Keyonta said. “He beat the odds,” said Henderson, who has worked with Keyonta for two years. “He’s remarkable because he exceeds expectations in a place where people are used to hearing the worst about its residents.” Last January, when Henderson, Palmer and their colleagues had a need for an intern, they encouraged Keyonta to apply through Student.Go, CBF’s hands-on missions program for college and graduate students. He got the job, which paid him a $1,500 stipend for the semester. “While he was filling out his paperwork,” Stacy Henderson said, “Mollie thought it would be a good idea for him to take a look at the Student.Go positions for summer, just to see if something sparked his interest. We thought he would be a great fit and have a blast at some Student.Go sites like Miami or Washington, D.C. “He came back to us a few days later and said, ‘I think I want to go to Romania.’ After a long pause we said, ‘You want to do what now?’ I still don’t know what initially drew him to Romania, but we couldn’t convince him otherwise after that.”
Keyonta Lee, who stumbled upon a Together for Hope youth event in his hometown of Helena, Ark., and continued to grow through TFH’s youth leadership development program, decided to give back through a summer with Student.Go working with children in Bucharest, Romania.
“I was reading the list,” Keyonta recalled, “and [Romania] just caught my eye because it was the kind of stuff I was doing in Youth Camp. And I prayed hard about it because I wanted to make sure it was what God wanted.” As in Arkansas, many Romanians are rural and poor. The country’s poverty rate, though improved, is still among the highest in Europe. The Roma are a persecuted minority in Romania and most struggle financially. “Summer camp is an experience Roma kids would never have a chance to enjoy,” said Ralph Stocks, who has been ministering among the Romany in Hungary and Romania for two decades. Ralph and his wife, Tammy, are area coordinators for CBF field personnel in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “Each summer we try to organize a Student.Go team to lead Vacation Bible School,” Stocks said. The team goes to churches led by graduates of the Gypsy Smith fellowship!
School, the CBF-sponsored institute that trains Romany ministers. Keyonta joined Katie Colson of Alabama and Ellie Broome of Georgia to form the student team. For the first two weeks, they led daily two-and-a-half-hour camps for Roma children at the CBF-sponsored Ruth School in Bucharest, while completing service projects at the school each afternoon. The other two weeks were spent doing the same in the three other villages, with a little sightseeing squeezed in. Student.Go is a program of CBF Global Missions to allow students 18 years and older to serve a summer or semester in a cross-cultural setting and advocate for the world’s most neglected people. Students assist experienced CBF field personnel in ministries in the United States and overseas. Student.Go provides room, board, local transportation and a stipend — $1,000 for a summer term or $1,500 for a semester. Since the program launched in 2002, Student.Go has sent 582 college and graduate students to serve with CBF field personnel, including 56 students in 2014.
Stocks was impressed with all the Romania team members but especially with the way Keyonta had been nurtured by the Together for Hope staff. “They would take turns praying for Roma kids,” he said. “They really felt a burden for them. … Keyonta in particular would participate in all the activities with enthusiasm.” It was clear, he said, that the TFH of Arkansas staff had a tremendous influence in shaping Keyonta as a minister and as a person. “He talked about them as if they were his family.” “Some Student.Go positions overseas require money,” Stocks added. “The Together for Hope staff helped Keyonta raise $2,500.” Mollie Palmer pointed out the efforts “of many people went into preparing Keyonta for this experience,” dating back to the founders of TFH of Arkansas. “It was church members he didn’t know starting Swim Camp and suggesting Youth Camp,” she explained. “It was [volunteers] who developed deep bonds with him. … It was the kids he’s served in Swim Camp and
through Stories on Wheels. Without all of them, he wouldn’t have been ready for this.” “It’s been remarkable to see Keyonta develop a desire to see and serve the world,” Palmer added. “We’ve long believed that when young people serve, they see themselves, their community and others in a different way. This opportunity has allowed Keyonta to see that God has eyes and a heart for the world, and he can play a part in it. He’s already inspired other youth and adults in Helena to pursue similar journeys.” Keyonta summarized what he learned during his month with Student.Go in Romania: “Always be alert and always take advantage of opportunities, because you don’t always have them. And spread the love to everybody.”
Keyonta’s experiences working with children in Helena and Romania also contributed to him getting a job at the Boys and Girls Club in Helena, Ark., which will help him save for his plan to pursue a degree in graphic design at Delta State University.
Who are What are you doing
next summer? 2015 opportunities and application can be found at www.studentdotgo.org Application deadlines:
This two-day training event is designed to help missionaries and other Christian workers resource the mission to which they are called.
COST: $50 before Oct. 15 $65 after Oct. 15
Individual Support Raising for Mission Developing Partners Communication Strategies Branding Event Fundraising Grant Writing
We’ll explore the theology of raising support and focus on the nuts and bolts of:
November 15-16, 2014
Angel Pittman Jason Pittman Matt Norman Michelle Norman Ryan Clark
Register by going to:
Spring assignments – November 1 Summer assignments – March 1 Fall assignments – May 1
CO-LABORERS IN CHRIST
CBF Fellows program provides young ministers with personal, professional network
By Alexandria Lopez
“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other; but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help.” – Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
EGINNING A CAREER is a personally and professionally challenging time for nearly everyone. These challenges are magnified for young ministers who are learning to shepherd and meet the needs of their congregants while maintaining professional distance. Many experience a strong sense of isolation, which can easily lead to feelings of loneliness at a time when they need support most. Those feelings, combined with common ministry stressors, including long work weeks, pressure to have the “perfect family” and a lack of personal confidants, contribute to the notably high rates of burnout and attrition among young ministers. The CBF Fellows program, which provides young Baptist ministers with practical ministry resources in the context of a supportive peer-based cohort, is the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s response to this alarming trend. Launched in 2012, the Fellows program is funded by a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment. Terry Hamrick, who retired
from CBF in 2012, served as director of the CBF Fellows program before transitioning into his current role where he helps Fellows establish their Minister Support Team. Hamrick recognized the need for ways to increase retention rates among first-time ministers. “It’s a more difficult time to be in congregational ministry today than I think it ever has been,” Hamrick said. “The folks at the Lilly Endowment were also concerned about helping young ministers get started well. We felt like Cooperative Baptist ministers were cut off from traditional Baptist networks, and we knew we needed to build multiple layers of connection to increase retention rates, one of which is this cohort of peers.” The Fellows program is open to ministers serving in their first full-time congregational ministry position. Candidates must be recent graduates of a CBF-related seminary or divinity school, or they must be serving in a CBF partner congregation. The candidate’s congregation must also enter into a covenant with the Fellowship, promising to grant their minister the time away from work needed to honor program commitments. Fellows make a two-year commitment to support, learn from and encourage one another in a variety of ways and settings. The formal program consists of six cohort gatherings, which take place in conjunction with conferences and retreats including General Assembly, Churchworks and Dawnings as well as quarterly conference calls, 24 one-hour coaching sessions and involvement in peer learning groups. Josh Speight, who serves as CBF’s missional congregations services manager, succeeds Hamrick in leading the CBF Fellows program, overseeing the 2014-2016 cohort.
He emphasized the importance of the Fellows program in providing much-needed support to new ministers. “CBF Fellows is an active way we as a movement support ministers in their first years of congregational service,” Speight said. “I served in my ‘first call’ ministry position less than 10 years ago and Fellows would have been a valuable community for me while navigating all the highs and lows of congregational ministry. Providing leadership to this cohort is a privilege and I look forward to sharing the journey with these ministerial colleagues over the next two years.” The inaugural CBF Fellows cohort completed their tenure in June 2014, and in August, 25 new Fellows were selected for the second cohort, including ministers serving in California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Since Fellows are dispersed across the country, members of the initial cohort quickly developed a plan to stay connected between gatherings. “We have a very active Facebook group where we often post significant prayer requests, questions about curriculum, approaches to ministry and we share in each other’s lives,” said Courtney Allen, minister of community ministry and missions at First Baptist Church, Dalton, Ga. “We established that group after the first meeting [in August 2012], and it was almost like we knew each other well by the time we got back together again in February,” added Joshua Breazeale, minister of education and children at Oakmont Baptist Church, Greenville, N.C. To increase the program’s reach and effectiveness, congregations commit to providing a Minister Support Team for
“The coaches asked good questions to help me think about issues from a different perspective and find the answer within myself,” Breazeale said. “I’ve started asking coaching questions of the teens at my church now to help them make decisions that come from within them instead of just telling them what to do. This coaching wouldn’t be practical for young ministers to afford, so that was one of the big blessings of the program.” Although the Fellows program offers participants several useful resources to draw on as young ministers, its greatest strength lies in the strong bonds which cohort members develop with one another. “It far exceeded our expectations to see how close-knit the first cohort became,” Hamrick acknowledged. “The cohort itself grew really close in ways I didn’t anticipate,” Johnson affirmed. “It’s really important to have people to talk to who know exactly what it’s like to be in ministry. You need people with whom you can be honest about your feelings.” The peer support network that the Fellows program provides helps ministers to recover and move on from the challenges of both ministry and life. Allen credits the Fellows program for offering her support after her diagnosis with Lyme disease resulting from a tick bite she received while on a mission trip. “Partnering with that group of colleagues, our faculty and my coach were vital parts of the healing process for me,” Allen said.
“I am grateful that the ways in which I am able to negotiate life, ministry and illness are undergirded by the gifts, learning and support of my Fellows cohort.” As young ministers continue to connect with each other, CBF and their state and regional organizations, the Fellowship is committed to sustaining the Fellows program, while also finding ways to support all ministers in a broader context. “Our theological schools are graduating some fine young ministers,” Hamrick reflected. “It’s going to take a partnership of all of us supporting them for them to be successful and continue in ministry. We invest in the CBF Fellows program because we think they are worth it. We all need that kind of encouragement.” “I’ve felt a lot of support and affirmation and care in the Fellows program,” Allen added. “I think that our group of Fellows will continue to draw strength from each other long after the program has ended. That has been the greatest gift of the entire experience.”
Twenty-five ministers in their “first call” ministry position joined together at First Baptist Church of Decatur, Ga., in August for the CBF Fellows 2014-2016 Cohort Retreat. These ministers will meet at least twice a year during the course of the next two years to learn and grow together.
each Fellow that can provide the regular encouragement that the minister needs to sustain him or her between cohort gatherings. “The team’s goal is to invest in the lifelong ministry of the individual,” Hamrick explained. “I visited all of the [Fellows’] churches to meet with and thank the support team and minister and reminded them of the difficulty of being in the role of ‘minister,’ as well as the difficulty in asking for support in that role, encouraging them to be proactive in their care.” While Fellows benefit from their support teams, congregations benefit from the practical knowledge and skills that their ministers acquire from the program’s curriculum, taught by experienced faculty. “We learned creative techniques during the classroom aspect of the program that we could then apply to our churches,” said Matthew Johnson, pastor of Ridgewood Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky. “Recently, we had an asset mapping breakfast at Ridgewood, which helped the congregation harness the things they already do well to have life-changing ministry at our church. I knew how to do that successfully because of the Fellows program.” In addition to classroom-based knowledge, many young ministers come to a deeper understanding of themselves and their congregations through the program’s individual coaching sessions.
CBF partners with Baptist World Alliance to address Ebola crisis in West Africa
©EC/ECHO/CYPRIEN FABRE PHOTO
European Union officials visit an Ebola treatment and isolation center in Sierra Leone.
By Aaron Weaver DECATUR, Ga. — The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has partnered with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) to address the Ebola crisis in West Africa, providing food, educational materials and sanitary items to those suffering from the dire situation in Liberia. To respond to this growing crisis, the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention (LBMEC) in partnership with Baptist World Aid, the development and relief arm of BWA, is working to raise $35,000 from its mission partners to provide food, educational materials and sanitation supplies to 100 pastors and 100 communities across Liberia associated with the country’s Baptist churches and institutions. CBF has contributed $5,000 to this effort. The Ebola virus has killed more than 1,900 people in four West African countries, including more than 700 victims in Liberia, according to the World Health Organization. Prior to the outbreak of this highly infectious and incurable disease, Liberia had an 24
unemployment rate of 85 percent with 90 percent of Liberians living on just $1 per day. Since the Ebola outbreak, many government offices and businesses have been forced to shut down to prevent the virus from spreading. Without incomes, the hunger problem in Liberia has worsened as many Liberians have abandoned their homes in search of food and adequate health care attention. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf declared a 90-day state of emergency on August 6, ordering that all schools close, including Baptist-affiliated Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary, Ricks Institute and the Lott Carey Mission School. David Harding, CBF’s international disaster response director, emphasized the importance of an educational response to this crisis and supporting Liberian Baptists during their time of need. “CBF is deeply moved by the suffering among our West African friends caused by the Ebola outbreak,” Harding said. “Our role is to come alongside the communities influenced by our partners like Ricks Institute and Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary to
help them address this crisis. There is fear of the unknown that needs an educational response on how to avoid infection. We join with the Baptist World Alliance and Baptist bodies around the world to answer the appeals for help that we hear from our friends.” The BWA launched its response to the crisis in early August, allocating funds to Sierra Leone to assist in a public education campaign to help prevent the spread of the disease, and the Baptist Convention of Sierra Leone formed a Baptist Ebola Task Force to educate its church members about proper sanitization practices. Other Baptist bodies in the region, including the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, have issued calls for global prayer. Donations to support these efforts to address the Ebola crisis may be made online at www.bwanet.org/give or mailed to:
Baptist World Aid c/o Baptist World Alliance 405 North Washington Street Falls Church, VA 22046
Celebrating CBF’s partnership with churches and seminaries in training women and men for vocational ministry Central Baptist Theological Seminary – September 20, 2014 Wake Forest School of Divinity – September 30, 2014
McAfee School of Theology – October 21, 2014 Candler School of Theology, Emory University – November 6, 2014 George W. Truett Theological Seminary – February 3, 2015 Logsdon Seminary – February 5, 2015 Campbell University Divinity School – April 7, 2015 and more being planned!
Connecting with CBF.
WATER CBF serves as ‘niche player’ in global disaster arena By Greg Warner
The machine (pictured above) drills a 240’ well in the Borena region of southern Ethiopia. The well will provide a safe drinking source for more than 500 people.
CBF field personnel David Harding (front right) and Eddy Ruble (middle right) conduct a final assessment to the response to the Japanese tsunamis in 2011 with partners from the Japanese Baptist Convention.
So when disaster strikes, the Fellowship’s approach is to find a niche where the organization can make a meaningful impact for the long term. The Fellowship doesn’t go it alone. CBF coordinates its response with Baptist World Aid, the relief and development arm of the Baptist World Alliance, and local churches in the disaster region. “We want to work with the local churches, coming alongside of them to promote their ability to act,” Harding noted. “Because we’re not large, [when a disaster strikes] we could easily spend our money in one day. So we try to find ways to be a bridge between the relief work and the recovery. We try to address the root problems” — like poverty, access to clean water, lack of jobs and empowerment. “We cultivate a vision to stretch our resources into developmental work,” he said. So, after the South Asian tsunami of 2004, CBF stayed on the job more than five years. After Haiti’s earthquake, it was four years. And, even though CBF had no personnel in Japan up until late 2013, it worked through partner organizations for three years after that country’s 2011 tsunami. Each disaster response is carefully measured, Harding said. “We weigh what happens, the nature of event, our personnel in the region.” Then, depending on the response from the CBF constituency, an action is planned. In the case of Haiti, where the 2010 earthquake killed about 100,000 people, the response from Cooperative Baptists was significant. In Syria, where 3 million
people have fled the three-year-old sectarian war, Harding is coordinating a response with Chaouki and Maha Boulos, CBF field personnel in Lebanon. The Bouloses are assisting some of the 400,000-plus Syrian refugees fleeing across the Lebanon-Syria border. Many of the refugees are Christians. “Some don’t want to go into the Muslimcontrolled refugee camps,” Harding said. Maha Boulos started working with a few Syrian women in a Beirut apartment two years ago. Now the couple is providing 400 Syrian refugee families in Beirut with food, beds and medicine. Working through native Bedouin friends in the Bekaa Valley to the north, the Bouloses are assisting another 90 Syrian families there. And they are sending money to an associate in the Syrian capital of Damascus to assist another 35 families, a few of the 4 million Syrians “internally displaced” by war. For Harding, disaster takes many forms and not just the kind that make for good TV. Of equal concern to him are the “silent disasters” — chronic, systemic problems that keep the world’s poor from rising out of poverty, becoming self-sustaining or living healthy lives. War is just one of the factors that puts people at risk. The deadliest “silent disaster” is the global need for clean water, Harding said. According to Water.org, more than 3.4 million people die each year from water-related causes, such as the lack of sanitation, water purification or hygiene. An estimated 780 million people worldwide lack access to clean water, leaving them vulnerable to those deadly conditions.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF DAVID HARDING
ater, water everywhere. Except where you need it. For David Harding, it’s all about the water. Too much here. Too little there. No one understands the power of water any better than Harding, international disaster response coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. Harding saw too much water destroy cities and cultures during tsunamis in Japan and Southeast Asia. In Ethiopia and elsewhere, he sees the lack of clean water kill people and cheapen life. But Harding also understands how a water-drilling rig and $15,000 can make an arid village livable and life sustainable. Water — too much of it — was what spurred Cooperative Baptists to begin a disaster-response ministry in 2004. It began after the Christmas tsunami killed 230,000 people while wiping out huge coastal regions of Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Like other Christians worldwide, Cooperative Baptists insisted on responding. “For us to have sat and not have offered physical assistance in time of need would have been really unconscionable,” Harding explained. The urgent need galvanized the Fellowship and gave its churches a common purpose, he said. “There is a sense of community when pain is severe and people are in shock.” The Fellowship’s disaster response ministry was born that winter — but more out of necessity than strategy. Many other Christian charities — larger, older and better funded than CBF — will have a more immediate impact when a disaster strikes. With relief budgets 10-to-20 times larger than the Fellowship’s entire budget, those groups will get to a disaster sooner and bring more people and supplies. But even though CBF’s response is small in comparison to the disaster and that of other organizations, it is nonetheless essential, Harding said. The full impact can’t be measured in terms of meals served or supplies distributed. “You can do a lot with a little bit of money,” Harding noted, adding, “It deepens and broadens our presence there.”
Borena girls in southern Ethiopia must collect their drinking water from a mud hole every day until a well is available in their village.
Harding also knows that water can inspire. The idea of bringing clean water to those in need spurs Christians to give sacrificially. “People can identify with the need for water,” he said. “It is becoming the great unifier in world missions. When people learn of other people drinking contaminated water, they think, ‘How can we allow that?’” “Everyone has a right to water,” Harding added. Harding and his wife, Merrie, have been CBF field personnel since 1996, serving first in the Middle East for five years. They are now based in Orlando, Fla., but spend much of their time in Ethiopia, where David Harding was born to missionary parents. Merrie Harding is a physical and occupational therapist who works in medical clinics in Ethiopia. The couple was in the Middle East during the attacks of September 11. Fellowship mission leaders asked them to develop a response to human needs that emerged in Afghanistan after the United States invasion of that country. The Hardings initiated an This community-elected Water Use Committee celebrates their village’s new drill. The WUC is responsible for water management, fee collection and pump repair.
Afghanistan partnership with World Vision in 2002. With the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia, the Fellowship became involved on a major scale. Initially, the Hardings were responsible for CBF’s domestic and international disaster response. After the historic 2005 hurricane season in the U.S., which included Hurricane Katrina, those two duties were divided. Harding’s job is anything but glamorous. Sure, he flies around the world all the time, but not to Singapore or St. Moritz. He goes
to the poorest, bleakest and most devastated places in the world — wherever war, storm, earthquake or famine has left people on the brink of death or hopelessness. So what does he do in between disasters? Well, you’ll probably find him assisting another water-starved Ethiopian village drill a well that will keep people alive and healthy. “We work there until an emergency comes along,” said Harding via phone from Turkey, a way-station on their latest trip to Ethiopia. Led by Harding, the Fellowship’s drilling
efforts have produced 350 wells in drought-plagued Ethiopia alone since 2006. “We like to do about 40 wells a year,” the water engineer said. The need has become even more acute as refugees from war-torn South Sudan have fled into western Ethiopia, he noted. Nearly 75 percent of Ethiopians — about 55 million people — don’t have access to clean water, Harding said. Many Ethiopians drink from rivers known for famine, malnutrition and cholera outbreaks. Hand-dug wells were too shallow to survive recurrent droughts. Well-drilling sounds simple enough. But a successful water strategy is much more complex. “You can’t drill a well just on your own,” Harding said. “Just drilling a well leaves very little capacity if something breaks. And 50 percent of wells don’t work after a few years because of [a lack of] maintenance.” So before a well is dug, field personnel organize a local water-use committee to take responsibility for the project. Residents are trained in simple hygiene and sanitation. “There are some very simple things you can do to have healthy kids”– things as simple as building latrines — Harding said. The goal is to create “ODF communities” (Open-Defecation-Free), which is the key to basic water hygiene. According to the United Nations, 2.6 billion people worldwide lack basic sanitation, and diseases related to sanitation (primarily diarrhea) are the second highest cause of death worldwide for children under the age of five. So drilling a well for a village is “a package deal,” Harding explained. To be successful, it must include sanitation and hygiene training. A water-use committee is formed with four women and three men. The gender imbalance is intentional, Harding said. “Women are the change-agents in their communities. They are the ones handling the water. Men equal authority, but women equal change in the community.” When fighting poverty and disease in the developing world, “there are a lot of interconnected issues,” Harding continued. For instance, keeping girls in school past 9th grade cuts the infant-mortality rate in half, Harding pointed out. And water, hygiene and dignity are related to education, entrepreneurship and female empowerment.
That interconnection is one reason why CBF field personnel enlist Self-Help Groups to lead water-use committees. The SHGs, also known as Sustainable Living Groups, are a strategy of organizing poor residents of developing countries into small, self-governing peer groups. Sustainable Living Groups are being used by Christians worldwide to promote savings, self-discipline, community investment and entrepreneurship. By regularly saving even small amounts, SLG participants — usually women — eventually are able to loan each other money to begin small businesses or farms to support their families. When it comes to well-drilling, SLGs also provide a ready-made structure to oversee the village’s new well by ensuring hygiene instruction, governing fair usage, and collecting a small fee to fund well maintenance. “Our role is to be facilitators and build the infrastructure” to support Sustainable Living Groups and village well-drilling, Harding said. “We help them set up groups and then train facilitators in local churches to lead them.” In all these efforts — SLGs, well-drilling and even disaster response — CBF’s approach is to work through local churches, giving those efforts credibility, authenticity and staying power. In a new development this summer, CBF is enlisting individuals and churches to sponsor SLGs in Ethiopia. “We will be asking for $2,000 per year (or $100 per month) per group to establish and expand groups with local Ethiopian churches,” Harding said. “We do not give money to the groups or individuals. The funds are used [for] the coordination, facilitation and management of the overall infrastructure needed to organize the groups and coach them to maturity.” The funds will pay for training in leadership, hygiene, administration and entrepreneurship, along with community research, quality control, transportation and operating expenses. “It is exciting to see lives transformed through this initiative, as dignity is restored and responsibility is taken to achieve potential,” Harding concluded.
Sakee Dubuso is a mother of seven children and member of a Sustainable Living Group. Her first loan was for $20 to buy eggs, sugar and tea to sell in the market. She paid back her loan with interest in less than three months.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Small Groups In Worship: Communal Prayer
Learn more about National Baptist Memorial Church at nbmchurchdc.org
Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and staff as well as chaplains and pastoral counselors. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at thefellowship.info/pray
CBF churches and field personnel work together to join God’s mission in the world. Engage in conversation and share experiences online at missioncommunities.org
Around the Table: At Home Missions Education Resource
The outline below is designed for families to use as a guide for discussion and futher action. 1. In this activity, you will be talking about National Baptist Memorial Church and its summer camp ministry to children. Be sure to also secure a few copies of the fellowship! magazine and be familiar with the story on pages 12-15. 2. Before dinner or another family gathering, ask the children in your family (or anyone who is willing!) to pretend they are going to summer camp and to pack a backpack with five favorite things they would bring to camp. (At dinner, you will have them unpack their backpack and explain why they are bringing each item.) 3. During dinner, begin a conversation with “What’s in your backpack?” and allow conversation about each item. 4. Continue the conversation by telling the story of National Baptist Memorial Church and its summer camp ministry to children. Ask everyone who is gathered to imagine what it would be like for kids to not have a safe place
to play or a CBF way to get food when they no longer have school lunches. 5. End by committing to an action to help provide Empowering the Next a “backpack” Generation CBF invests in young leaders across the Fellowship full of care for National Baptist’s ministry. To do this, you can start a piggy bank to save coins until you have enough to buy a “backpack” and then donate the money. Or, save up money until next month when it is time for another “Around the Table: At Home” activity with Affect. 6. End by praying for National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., and its community. Be sure to also pray for those mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 5.
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Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
Book Discussion Guide
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National Baptist Memorial Church
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National Baptist Memorial Church works with Student.Go to touch the lives of kids through its annual Explorer Camp ministry.
Broke, USA: From Pawnshops to Poverty, Inc. by Gary Rivlin
From the author of the New York Times’ Notable Book of the Year, Drive By, comes a unique and riveting exploration of one of America’s largest and fastest-growing industries — the business of poverty.
Visit thefellowship.info/affectonline for additional Opportunities to Affect, including: In Worship: Communal Scripture Reading Around the Table: At Home
Interact with field personnel and other missions and ministry leaders active in disaster response ministries at missioncommunities. org/disaster-response
Learn about other economic development service opportunities at thefellowship.info/serve
Pray for the work of CBF field personnel and staff as well as chaplains and pastoral counselors. Prayers of the People is available in multiple formats at thefellowship.info/pray
Your generous gifts are vital to the work of CBF field personnel and other Fellowship ministries. Find out more at thefellowship.info/give
Disaster Response – Water 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. In this session you will be talking about CBF’s disaster response ministry and ministry to provide safe drinking water around the world. Before the session, secure copies of the fellowship! magazine for each person in your small group. Also find two buckets with flat bottoms (like a mop bucket) for the opening activity. 2. To start the session, you’ll be doing an activity where you ask participants to attempt to “carry water” on their head. (It is best to do this with an empty bucket. If participants are feeling brave and you are able to do the activity outside, you could fill the bucket with a little bit of water.) Divide the group into two teams and put half of each team on one side of the room and the other half on the opposite side. Have them do a bucket relay where participants walk from one side of the room to the other with the bucket on their heads and then hand off the bucket to the next person. If the bucket falls, they have to return and start over. Don’t let anyone use their hands!
3. After the CBF activity, begin the conversation by talking about how hard the activity was. Allow participants Empowering the Next to share their Generation reflections on trying to carry a bucket on their head. Remind them that it would be even harder if the bucket was full to the brim with water! 4. Continue the conversation by saying that in Ethiopia, women and girls often carry water on their head for miles because there are no water sources nearby. Transition by reading the “All About Water” article on pages 26-29 of fellowship! and discuss the importance of providing clean water. 5. Ask: “What are some benefits of CBF’s disaster response strategy of long-term engagement through local churches and partners? Are there any downsides to this strategy? How does your church’s view of missions mesh or conflict with this strategy? 6. End by praying for the Hardings, Bouloses and other CBF field personnel who respond to disasters. Pray for the people of Ethiopia, Syria and other areas in crisis. Also pray for those mentioned in the Prayer Calendar on page 5.
fellowship! COOPERATIVE BAPTIST FELLOWSHIP | WWW.THEFELLOWSHIP.INFO
SAM HARRELL PHOTO
In areas where too little or too much water threatens life, CBF field personnel offer a long-term response through local churches and partners.
Serving Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission
CBF invests in young leaders across the Fellowship
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 160 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 500 Decatur, GA 30030 www.thefellowship.info • (800) 352-8741
Save the dates! June 15-19, 2015
2015 CBF General Assembly Hyatt Regency Hotel
Free pre-registration opens Monday, October 6. www.thefellowship.info/assembly Worship and CELEBRATION through stories of God’s work in the world
Casting a VISION for the future of CBF’s missions and ministries
Finding REST AND FELLOWSHIP in opportunities for both collective and individual renewal
Even more reasons to come: • Return of the Silent Auction in the Missions Market • Three nights of worship (Wed., Thurs. & Fri.) • The whole event under one roof!
INSPIRATION to find and continue your God-given mission
Sharing BEST PRACTICES and resources for meeting ministry needs
2014 October/November issue of fellowship! magazine