Page 1



Cooperative baptist fellowship |

September/October 2008

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

Fredrik Brauer photo

Female Pastors Julie Pennington-Russell, pastor of First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga., is one of the most well-known female pastors in Baptist life. But she is among more than 100 women currently serving as pastor or co-pastor of CBF partner churches. See pages 6-12 to learn more about these pastors.

What is Cooperative Baptist Fellowship? Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal answers one of the most often asked questions in this litany of identity. • We are a FELLOWSHIP of Baptist Christians and churches with a vision for being the presence of Christ in the world. • We are a NATIONAL NETWORK of Baptists that resources and connects Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission. • We are a MISSIONS ORGANIZATION that serves local congregations as they make disciples, send and support missionaries, start new churches and minister among the most neglected people in the world. • We are a PARTNERSHIP for Baptists to collaborate in planning, funding and praying for the global mission of the church. • We are a FAMILY of Baptists that gathers nationally, as well as in states and regions, for annual assemblies. • We are an ASSOCIATION OF CHURCHES that provides retirement benefits for clergy. • We are an ECCLESIAL BODY that supports theological education and the development of congregational leaders. • We are a RELIEF AGENCY that responds to disasters and engages in transformational community development.

Vol. 18, No. 5 executive Coordinator • Daniel Vestal Coordinator, Fellowship Advancement • Ben McDade Editor • Lance Wallace

• We are a FAITH GROUP that endorses chaplains, pastoral counselors and ministers in specialized settings. • We are a MEMBER BODY of the Baptist World Alliance, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and Christian Churches Together in the USA.

managing Editor • Patricia Heys Associate Editor • Carla Wynn Davis Phone • (770) 220-1600 Fax • (770) 220-1685 E-Mail • Web Site •

• We are a PRESENCE AND VOICE within the Christian community advocating for social justice and human rights. • We are a MOVEMENT AND MINISTRY of renewal within the Baptist family.

fellowship! is published 7 times a year in Sept./Oct., Special I (Oct.), Nov./Dec., Jan./Feb., Mar./Apr., May/June, July/Aug. 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

Daniel Vestal, CBF Executive Coordinator

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to “fellowship!” Newsletter, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 450329, Atlanta, GA 31145-0329




September/October 2008

Contents 14

Join the conversation: CBF’s interactive Web tools


Church Spotlight: First Baptist of Waukegen, Ill.

CBF helps migrants struggling to survive in North Africa

CBF photo


Jennifer Bartlett photo


Female pastors: Learn about the women leading CBF partner churches

meet Carla Wynn Davis Carla Wynn Davis serves as a communications assistant specialist at CBF. Through stories, photos, videos, brochures and Web content, she helps to tell the stories of CBF ministries. Specifically, she wrote the material for the 2008-2009 CBF Offering for Global Missions promotion campaign and produced the DVD, produced the Together for Hope DVD, served as a member of the General Assembly Steering Committee and designed the logo for the Memphis meeting, and recently produced the “CBF Responds” disaster response DVD and regularly reports on the Fellowship’s disaster response efforts. She resides in Raleigh, N.C., where she is based when not traveling around the world covering the multi-faceted ministry of Fellowship Baptists.

Hometown: Beaufort, S.C. Education: University of South Carolina in Columbia, S.C.; Mercer University’s McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta, Ga. Interesting fact: She first became involved with CBF in college, when she served in Los Angeles as part of the Fellowship’s Student.Go program for college students. “Stories are what keep this Fellowship alive and vibrant. They give each of us hope that what we do together really does matter and really does change lives. I’ve seen firsthand the difference CBF ministry makes. I’ve interviewed people who are so grateful — some even speechless — that a group of Christians cared enough to help. Their stories are an encouragement to me that together we are all being the presence of Christ in the world.” Contact Carla Wynn Davis at or (800) 352-8741.


September/October 2008



Fellowship People Jim Pope


haplaincy is a high-stress ministry, retired Navy chaplain James A. Pope believes. And chaplains themselves often need a minister. “These men and women have a special ministry because it is 365 days per year, 24 hours a day, particularly when they are deployed. They don’t get a day off,” said Pope, who recently began working part-time with the Fellowship. Pope relates to military organizations and reviews applications for endorsement. He regularly contacts military chaplains and their families. Military regulations require chaplains to be

Helen Ruchti


n 1959, a four-line poem for a store contest landed Helen Ruchti and her pastor-husband a trip to Rome, Italy. God used that experience to call the pair to mission service. During their 25-year ministry, they established a Baptist church in the city’s heart, and Helen served as the European (now International) Baptist Convention’s first female president. After retirement, Ruchti taught Italian at Shorter College in Rome, Ga. “When teaching at Shorter, I had the opportunity to influence young people just by teaching them and loving

Preston Clegg


he Fellowship’s peer learning groups provide community, comfort and learning opportunities for CBF ministers, according to Preston Clegg, pastor of Spring Creek Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. Introduced to the concept nearly two years ago, Clegg said, “Our group gives a sense of community, provides confidentiality and gives a sense of learning from those who have been there and done that. I can learn from those who have faced the struggles of church work. I’m learning from good practitioners.”

Jim and Norma Reagan


im and Norma Reagan were Fellowship-type people before CBF actually formed, and they have attended nearly every General Assembly since the organization’s inception. Jim participated in meetings prior to CBF’s birth, and both attended the formation of CBF in Atlanta in 1991. The Reagans feel the commissioning service for the new field personnel is the highlight of the Assembly. Members at Tallwood Baptist Church, the Reagans see the 2009 General Assembly meeting in their hometown of Houston, Texas, as an opportunity for others to learn about 4



September/October 2008

endorsed by a recognized faith group, such as the Fellowship. CBF also benefits from its endorser role. “[Chaplaincy is] a vitally important part of the military component that gives CBF visibility all over the world,” Pope said. “The best, most important way CBF is promoted by military Jim Pope chaplains is through their ministry with military personnel and their families. They have an opportunity to redefine ‘Baptist’ for thousands of young people. It’s another leg to the CBF mission.”

them,” she said. Writing provides her with an opportunity to influence others for missions. Her journal entries from the past 40 years were recently published as “La Bella Vita: Daily Inspiration from Italy.” “I asked myself: ‘How can I use my experiHelen Ruchti ence?’ I felt that through my writings I could touch people with the gospel. I hope this will encourage older people to write their memories,” she said.

The fact that there are few CBF partner churches in Oklahoma makes the group “so important,” he added. “It promotes the idea of practice and reflection, and gives a constant sense of reevaluating and reflecting on the big questions. I think it’s good to step back and reflect on the big questions. Preston Clegg “The group has been invaluable. There is so much comfort in talking with people … who are wise enough to show you the pitfalls of ministry and help you avoid them. They are the friends for the journey.”

CBF. “We are eager for more young adults to attend. We talk about it [every General Assembly] before we go and when we come back,” Norma said. “We hope a large group of people from our church will participate [in 2009]. Some have little knowledge of CBF. It will be an opportunity for them to see the real thing,” they said.

Jim and Norma Reagan

WhyI give... “We believed in education. Billy always felt one of his main ministries was to educate young people. So, when he died, I thought a good way to remember him and his love for young people was to start this fund.”

Mae Ora Johnson Capshaw

Eric Roberts photo

Ellisville, Miss.


he Johnson Family Endowment was established by Mae Ora Johnson Capshaw after her first husband, Billy, died of cancer in 1991. The fund, which provides assistance to students seeking theological education, was the first fund established through the CBF Foundation. Its proceeds have helped many students complete their

Give |

theological education. Billy Johnson had been a Baptist pastor in Mississippi and Alabama for 40 years when he died at age 58. The endowment was initially begun with insurance proceeds and gifts given in his memory, and Capshaw said she adds “a little bit each year.” A retired school teacher, Capshaw, 75, now lives in Ellisville, Miss. The Johnson

Endowment totals about $20,000, with about $1,000 each year available for scholarships. “The money we have given is not so much a way to honor Billy as a way to extend his ministry,” she said. “Maybe some day it will work up to where it will be valuable enough to be a real help to young people.”

To lean more about establishing or contributing to a fund through the CBF Foundation, call (800) 352-8741 or e-mail Thank you for giving to CBF. Your gifts make a difference in the lives of people around the world. fellowship!

September/October 2008



Called to lead

Female pastors break barriers, serve churches


hen she was 10 years old, Leah Grundset’s pastor asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. When Grundset told him she wanted to be a pastor,

he said, “Oh Leah, God would never call you to be a pastor. God only calls men. Don’t believe that you heard God speaking to you.” overcome to reach higher levels of leadership. “I sincerely believe that it is God’s will for more churches to call gifted and Spiritled women as pastors and for more of these women to be in the pastoral ministry,” said CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal. “Jesus admonished us ‘to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers.’ We need a spiritual awakening among Baptists that would help them ‘see’ the promise and

Joy Yee, pastor of Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church, was the first female senior pastor to serve as moderator of the Fellowship.




September/October 2008

possibility that God has given us with more women in effective pastoral leadership.” Being few in number, the hiring of a female pastor often attracts attention in Baptist life and local communities. When Julie Pennington-Russell was called as pastor of First Baptist Church in Decatur, Ga., last year, articles ran in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Atlanta Magazine and numerous religious media. Similar publicity

CBF photo

Despite the rebuke at a young age, Grundset, 26, continued to pursue her calling. She is now one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s ministry residents, serving two years in the teaching congre-gation of Calvary Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. “My calling has evolved as a clearly defined call to the pastorate, and I do not question that I heard the voice of God at age 10,” said Grundset, a graduate of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, a Fellowship partner. “I believe that I am called to walk alongside people in the deepest moments of pain and most exuberant moments of hope. I love to preach and want to serve as pastor in a setting where all of those pieces of my calling come together.” At Calvary Baptist, Grundset is mentored by the church’s pastor, Amy Butler, who is one of more than 100 women serving as pastor or co-pastor of CBF partner churches. According to the State of Women in Baptist Life Report produced by Baptist Women in Ministry, approximately five percent of pastors at CBF partner churches are women. In many religious communities, this low percentage of women in the pastorate is often called the “stained glass ceiling,” referring to the barriers and stereotypes female clergy must

“My calling has evolved as a clearly defined call to the pastorate, and I do not question that I heard the voice of God at age 10.” — Leah Grundset

To learn more about how the Fellowship and partner churches

surrounded her when she became pastor of Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco, Calif., and Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, earlier in her career. “This role doesn’t feel all that unique to me,” said Pennington-Russell. “That being said, I try always to choose to see situations as opportunities rather than burdens or obstacles. When people for one reason or another want to shine a spotlight on me, it gives me a chance to point to God in some ways that I might not otherwise be able to do.” The Fellowship was founded, in part, around issues of gender equality. Since it began, CBF has encouraged the calling of women in ministry and intentionally included women in positions of leadership — including coordinating council, moderator and national staff. In 2005, Joy Yee, who succeeded Pennington-Russell as pastor of Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church, became the first female senior pastor to serve as moderator of the Fellowship. “Female pastors continue to face external and internal challenges,” said Yee. “Externally, churches need to be educated and exposed to women in leadership and specifically pastoral leadership. Internally, women who are called to pastor need to develop self-confidence, a unique pastoral voice, especially if that style does not match the bold, charismatic style of [traditional] leadership.” The Fellowship addresses the challenges female clergy face in a number of ways, including partnering with seminaries that encourage the call of women to ministry. According to the State of Women in Baptist Life, 38 percent of students at CBF partner seminaries are female. In the 2007-08 school year, the Fellowship provided 35 of its 81 scholarships to female students. CBF also encourages and assists partner churches in being open to God’s direction in calling women as pastors. The Fellowship’s reference and referral service connects

congregations with qualified female candidates, and CBF staff members are available to consult with churches during the hiring process. See pages 11-12 for additional CBF resources. “From our beginning CBF has celebrated God’s call and gifting for every believer in Christ,” said Vestal. “We have affirmed the ministry role of women as well as men, laity as well as clergy. This is rooted in our conviction that all are created in the image of God, that Christ died for all, and that the Holy Spirit is given to all who believe. Our commitment to women in congregational leadership at all levels is out of our commitment to scripture with Christ being the interpretative key.” By Patricia Heys, CBF Communications The photos above represent female pastors who responded to a request for photos and chose to be featured in this issue of fellowship! This does not

Emily Roberts, Neverfail Community Church, Sparta Tenn.; Nancy Rock Poti, Trinity Church, Richmond, Va.; Third row: Michelle Kimlick, Bruington Baptist Church,

reflect all female pastors serving at CBF partner

Bruington, Va.; Mimi Walker, Druid Hills Baptist Church,


Atlanta, Ga.; Wendy Joyner, Fellowship Baptist Church,

From top to bottom, first row: Connie Stinson, Luther

Americus, Ga.; Ruth Cuellar, Iglesia Bautista, El Buen,

Rice Memorial Baptist Church, Silver Springs, Md.; Cheryl

Newnan, Ga.; Virginia Taylor, Lystra Baptist Church,

Moore Adamson, Palmetto Missionary Baptist Church, S.C.;

Chapel Hill, N.C.;

Vallerie King, Emmaus Baptist Church, Providence Forge, Va.; Second row: Mary Beth Caffey, Pathway Community

Fourth row: Kathy Shereda, High Hills Baptist Church, Jarratt, Va.; Susan Joyce, Antioch Baptist Church,

Church, Lewiston, Me.; Maureen Freshour, Chevy Chase

Enfield, N.C.; Katrina Brooks, North Broad Baptist Church,

Baptist Church, Washington, D.C.; Brenda Lynn Kneece,

Rome, Ga.; Robin Norsworthy, University Baptist Church,

New Hope Christian Fellowship, West Columbia, S.C.;

Montevallo, Ala.

support women pastors, go to fellowship!

September/October 2008



4Kelli Barron-Agricola FBC Spring Branch Houston, Texas

A graduate of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, a Fellowship partner, Barron-Agricola and her husband, Corey, have served as co-pastors of First Baptist for more than four years. “Upon entering the pastorate my husband and I braced ourselves for the criticism that would inevitably follow a Baptist female in the South. However, for the most part, the criticism did not come. Although we have faced a handful of challenges to my call in the pulpit, the criticism has been minimal and the support overwhelming. I am continually inspired by the older generation of faithful Baptist women, who have served the Lord and the church throughout their lives and who are thrilled to find a woman in the pulpit.”

Amy Butler

Calvary Baptist Church Washington, D.C. Amy Butler has served as pastor of Calvary Baptist Church for five years. She earned her seminary degree from International Baptist Theological Seminary, a Fellowship partner. “I love that I almost always have the element of surprise. Nobody expects me to be the pastor, so often people are able to separate me from their preconceived ideas of what a pastor is and get real pretty quickly. When people know I am the pastor, many times it indicates to them that things here at Calvary might be a little different than they thought. At Calvary, we lovingly refer to this phenomenon as ‘the freak show factor’ — many people are curious about our congregation because our pastor is a woman. When they come to worship with us they quickly learn we’re a pretty normal church.”

Jennifer Bartlett photo

Photo courtesy Amy Butler





September/October 2008

To learn about the ministry and callings of other female

Providence Baptist Church Cookeville, Tenn.


Growing up, Melissa Roysdon’s parents never told her there were things she couldn’t do because she was a girl. And, she said she knew from a young age that she was called to ministry. After serving as an associate pastor and co-pastor at Providence Baptist, she is now the congregation’s pastor. “Once I followed that calling to seminary, many of the same people who taught me of Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong were turning their backs. After seminary and ordination, I found that the world that had nurtured me was now a dry well. I began teaching in the local school system and felt like Moses, Aaron and Miriam must have felt wandering in the desert. My journey hasn’t been the typical one, but I find that women are in many ways finding it to be a new path rather than a worn path that they are following.”

Photo courtesy Melissa Roysdon

Melissa Roysdon

Traci Bunn Powers Traci Bunn Powers said that she felt a call to ministry at age 12. Powers, a graduate of Campbell University Divinity School, a Fellowship partner, now serves with her husband as co-pastor of Westhaven Baptist. “In many cases, people just need to experience a woman pastor. Lack of experience tends to reaffirm previously held notions and opinions on the topic. I have had church members tell me ‘I did not vote for you when the vote was taken, but I would vote for you now.’ They just needed a chance to see it, hear and experience it. When the myths are dispelled, people are able to see that I am a just a person who has been equipped and called by God to be a pastor — and I happen to be female.”

6 Sarah Jackson Shelton


Baptist Church of the Covenant Birmingham, Ala.

Sarah Jackson Shelton has served as pastor of Baptist Church of the Covenant for six years, having previously served as the congregation’s interim. “My hope for the future is that I will no longer have to be the token woman. I was recently asked to serve on a panel where the ministers would represent either a woman as pastor, a pastor who had experienced conflict, and a pastor with more than five year tenure. I knew which role I was supposed to accept, but could not resist asking, ‘Which one am I supposed to talk about? I qualify for them all.’ How wonderful will it be when we can have men talk about the experience of having a female pastor and the females can talk about their good, long tenure of service!”

Photo courtesy Traci Bunn Powers

Caroline Davis photo

Westhaven Baptist Church Portsmouth, Va.

pastors at CBF partner churches, go to fellowship!

September/October 2008



Long search delivers ideal match as N.C. church calls its first female senior pastor


ndrea Dellinger Jones wanted to get nervous. After all, it was her first time applying for a senior pastor position — and she just hoped being young and female wouldn’t matter to Millbrook Baptist Church. But try as she might to heighten her worries, everything kept going smoothly — the first meeting, the interview, the trial sermon. It all just seemed too wonderful — so wonderful that Jones and her husband, Brent, had trouble believing her dream job could actually come to be. “We just couldn’t believe this would possibly work out,” Jones said.

The idea of becoming a pastor this soon — only six years out of seminary — seemed like an impossible dream, not because she didn’t have the ministerial skills but because few women seemed to land those positions. But for Millbrook, a congregation in Raleigh, N.C., looking for a young pastor to help bridge an age gap, Jones was an ideal candidate. The seven-person pastor search committee, which had been looking for a pastor for more than a year, was impressed by Jones’ résumé, experience and ability to relate to all ages. “There was not an area in the church that she had not been actively involved in,” said search committee member Evangeline Ward.

Carla Wynn Davis photos

Andrea Dellinger Jones, left, greets church attendees after Sunday worship at Millbook Baptist Church.




September/October 2008

Though she had not served as a senior pastor, Jones had been the only full-time staff member at her two previous churches for a period of time, giving her vital pastoral experience. While serving at Chestnut Grove Baptist Church in Earlysville, Va., she baptized 17 people, performed more than a dozen baby dedications and led worship, communion, weddings and funerals. When Brent finished his Ph.D. coursework at nearby University of Virginia and they opened themselves to moving, she began looking for another associate pastor position. But each time she was heavily considered for a position, she’d think: “I can do this job, and I can do well at it, but it would come down to [knowing] I wasn’t baptizing and some of the other [pastoral] things I really love doing,” she said. So last fall — at the peak of her job-searching frustration — her husband identified the snag: what Jones really wanted was to be a pastor and none of the associate positions would ever feel like a great match. With this new direction, they turned to the Internet and looked for churches accepting résumés for senior pastor. “We sent résumés to 33 churches — everyone we could find,” she said. “Brent would say, ‘It only takes one. We only need one to be interested in you.’” Several expressed interest, but Millbrook called in early December and turned out to be the one Jones had

Your gifts to the Fellowship support the calling of all —

Resources been waiting for. By late February she was Millbrook, Jones is hopeful that more in Raleigh for a trial sermon and started churches are becoming open to the prosserving as the church’s pastor in April. pect of equally considering female and “The congregation thinks we made the male pastoral candidates. right decision. I hear that all the time,” said “If this worked out so well for me, I just search committee member Don Hinton. have to believe that things will continue to When the church voted to call Jones, progress in a positive way for women in it joined a small percentage of Fellowship ministry,” Jones said. Baptist partner churches led by a female On the Sunday morning that Millbrook senior pastor. According to voted to call Jones as pasthe search committee, hirtor, she returned to the ing Jones wasn’t a statement sanctuary after the vote. about women in ministry Everyone stood; everyone or a move of affirmative clapped. As she addressed action. Gender wasn’t an the congregation, Jones issue at all. She was simply thought about Sarah, who the best candidate for the laughs in Genesis when job — though even Jones God tells her she will have wondered, later asking a baby despite her age. In committee members why disbelief, Sarah responds: they decided to call a young “Is anything too wonderAndrea Dellinger Jones female pastor. ful for the Lord?” “Young — that was very intentional. “I was going to tell you I was just bubNow, female? We started looking to each bling over with laughter, but I can’t because other,” Ward recalled. “‘We’ve never had the I’m crying,” she told the congregation. “It’s discussion,’” she told Jones. “‘We’ve never just too wonderful.” actually talked about [gender]. You’re the first one that’s brought it up.’” By Carla Wynn Davis, CBF Encouraged by her experience with Communications

Tips for women seeking a pastorate Based on her journey to the pastorate, Jones offered advice for other women hoping to become a pastor. 1. Get a ministry coach: A coach can help with strategy on how to best handle ministry situations. This person can be a sounding board for ideas, an encourager and can also help with networking and updating a résumé. 2. Go back to school: Consider working toward a Doctor in Ministry (D.Min.) degree. Another degree sets candidates apart in the pastoral search process.

Reference and referral The Fellowship’s reference and referral ministry provides resources for female ministers and pastors looking for new places of service. LeaderConnect CBF, an online résumé-matching service, also helps churches and pastors connect. To learn more, contact Clarissa Strickland at or (800) 352-8741. For more on LeaderConnect CBF, go to LeaderConnect.

Residency program CBF’s ministerial residency program provides recent male and female seminary graduates with the opportunity to serve two years in a teaching congregation. This experience allows residents to hone their ministry skills and encourages practices for long-term health in pastoral ministry. For more information, contact Steve Graham at (800) 352-8741 or sgraham@

Seminary scholarships Students at the Fellowship’s partner seminaries are eligible to apply for scholarships, which cover tuition, books and expenses to attend General Assembly. In 2007-08, more than 30 scholarships were awarded to female students. To learn more about these scholarships, contact a partner seminary directly and ask about becoming a CBF leadership scholar.

Peer Learning Groups Peer learning groups meet monthly to provide ministers with opportunities for worship, spiritual growth, study, discussion of ministry-related issues and fellowship. Currently, there are 71 peer learning groups across the country, many that include female pastors. If you are interested in becoming part of or starting a peer learning group, contact Steve Graham at sgraham@ or (800) 352-8741.

Speakers’ Bureau

4. Look for pastoral experience: If you currently serve in a church, ask the senior pastor if you can experience some pastoral responsibilities. Perhaps he or she will allow you occasionally to preach, serve communion, baptize or more.

CBF’s face2face speakers’ bureau schedules speakers at partner churches. CBF staff members are available to talk with congregations and search committees about the process of calling a female pastor. Contact the speaker’s bureau at face2face@thefellowship. info or (800) 352-8741.

5. Use job-matching resources: CBF’s LeaderConnect will send résumés to churches looking for ministerial positions. Many seminaries provide a similar service.

To learn about additional resources, go to www.

3. Take every opportunity to learn: Attend educational retreats, seminars and lectures that enhance ministry skills and make you a better pastoral candidate.

— women and men. To give, go to fellowship!

September/October 2008



for encouraging your church to be open to calling a woman as pastor By Clarissa Strickland

examples, such as

In recent years, CBF partner churches have

Mary the mother of

ministry. We create a climate in which young women feel God’s call upon their lives and catch a vision of ministry. They occupy almost half the seats in the classrooms of partner seminaries. We

James and Joseph, Mary Magdalene, Joanna and Susanna, who were involved with Jesus’ ministry. Learn about

call them to associate staff ministry positions and

women from history

ordain them to ministry. They live among us, love

who paved the way

us and serve us in so many ways. And yet, when it

as pastors — Martha

comes to calling a woman as senior pastor, many

Stearns Marshall, a

of our churches say they are not quite ready. In doing so, we create barriers for women to exercise their calling in Christ Jesus. Jesus spent his ministry breaking down barriers. Here are some suggestions to help churches do the same:


Invite women to preach Take advantage of opportunities to invite women into the pulpit. For people who have

never been exposed to a woman preaching, the idea of a woman pastor is probably a foreign concept. Hearing

a woman preach may help open a congregation’s mind to who God has called to the pastorate.

powerful preacher during the late 18th century, or Addie Davis, the first Southern Baptist

Rod Reilly photo

made great strides in empowering women in

At the CBF General Assembly, Cathy Anderson, minister to children at First Baptist Church of Marietta, Ga., and her daughter, Gracie, wear shirts reading, “This is what a preacher looks like.” The shirts were produced by Baptist Women in Ministry.

woman ordained to pastoral ministry. Also, read

especially young people, with the time and

about current women pastors in this issue of

opportunity to discern how God might be calling

fellowship! or online at

them to serve.



Support those “called” women in your congregation as they move through the rigors of

Engage in prayerful discussion

earning a seminary education and seeking a place

Referring to women pastors, Daniel

congregational and personal prayer support, as well

Vestal said recently, “Myths need to be

as financial support during their years of theological

of service in congregational life. Offer them regular

exploded. Half truths need to be refuted. The Bible

education. Write notes of encouragement to them.

needs to be understood. History needs to be read.

When they have occasion to be back in their home

consider asking a woman from your congregation,

Fear needs to be replaced with comfort and joy.

churches, offer them an opportunity to preach

a local seminary or neighbor church to preach

Much of this could be accomplished through study,

when possible.

on that Sunday. (You can even call the CBF office

reflection and conversation.”

When your pastor is scheduled to be away,

for referrals.) Also, make plans to participate with

As a congregation or in small groups, take time


Conduct a genderblind pastor search

other Baptist churches in the annual Martha Stearns

to engage in honest discussions and prayerful

Marshall Day of Preaching. This event is held the

discernment. Openly address concerns, myths,

first Sunday in February and is sponsored by Baptist

stereotypes and questions that members might

Women in Ministry, a CBF partner.

have related to female pastors. Invite guest

up procedures that allow the search committee

speakers with knowledge about the subject to lead

and congregation to assess candidates without

church members in conversation.

gender bias. As résumés are received, transfer


the information to forms which do not use names


Study examples of female pastoral leadership Another way to help change the gender stereotype of pastors is to highlight

examples from scripture, history and the present day where women serve as religious leaders. Study biblical

Encourage the calling of all people Be intentional about discussing and celebrating the different ways people

When your church arrives at the point of searching for a pastor, set

or gender-specific pronouns. Compare candidate qualifications without respect to gender. Be open to God’s leadership — wherever it might take you in a pastor search.

are called to ministry. Provide church members,

Clarissa Strickland serves as the Fellowship’s networking specialist, providing reference and referral resources to churches and ministers. Contact Strickland at or (800) 352-8741. For more ideas and a list of resources, go to 12



September/October 2008

Students take global tour of U.N. MDGs


his summer a unique CBF-sponsored missions project took 13 undergraduate and graduate students around the world to see how CBF field personnel are working to reach the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Sponsored by the Fellowship’s Student.Go missions program, the trip included travel to Romania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, Mexico and New York City. As they return home, the students will take the experience and knowledge they gained from the trip to develop projects on their campuses that promote the MDGs. Participants included: Carson Foushee, Mary Beth Gilbert, Jacob Kendall, Emily Morrow, Nina Peppers, Caitlin Sandley, Jacob Smith, Fran Stafford, Rosie Stafford, Caleb Tankersly, Karen Taylor, Meredith Wilkinson and Jennifer Wilmore. Read about their experience at

Save the date

Make Houston your stop for July 4th

Photo courtesy of Great Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau

Don’t make those normal July 4th plans before considering the 19th annual CBF General Assembly, set for July 2-3, 2009, in Houston, Texas. While you’re at the Assembly for exciting fellowship, inspiring worship, practical ministry workshops and much more, you’ll be amid downtown Houston with its restaurants, entertainment venues and shops — plus an easy public transportation system to get you from place to place. Catch a Houston Astros game, a concert, or quarter horse racing. Visit a museum, the aquarium, or the Galleria — the seventh largest mall in the United States. Whatever your interest, you’ll find something exciting in Houston, including the Freedom Over Texas Festival on July 4th. With live concerts and the state’s largest fireworks display choreographed to music, you’ll be glad you spent the holiday weekend in Texas. For more information go to


September/October 2008



Join the conversation

New Web tools introduce interactive element to CBF ministry


ith the use of several Web-based tools, missions and ministry is becoming more interactive than ever. Many Fellowship Baptists have expertise and experience with specific types of ministries. They know what works and what doesn’t. There are also many Fellowship Baptists interested in starting ministries or improving existing ministries. With new online tools, Fellowship Baptists can interact — sharing ideas, asking questions, and helping others take the best step forward in their ministries. It’s a new way to connect with, learn from, and help other individuals and churches as they become part of God’s mission in the world. Since many people have specific ministry interests, CBF has focused on seven communities of missional practice. These communities categorize many of the new online features, allowing you to connect with people who have similar ministry interests. The communities are: • Education and economic development • Medical ministries • Justice and peacemaking • Church starts and faith sharing • Ministry to internationals • Disaster relief • Poverty and transformation Visit missions/communities. 14



Try these online tools Forum A forum is like a message board, where you can post and respond to threads. In a thread, you can share a ministry idea, ask a question, direct others to relevant resources and more. Anyone can reply to your thread, and you and others can communicate about the topic. You can also reply to threads started by others. So whether you start a thread or just respond to what others share, a meaningful conversation about ministry can occur. You can also subscribe to the forum so you receive notification when new threads and responses are posted. Visit to begin sharing.

Wiki A Wiki is software that allows you to create, edit and link Web pages. While Wikis are used in every sector from education to business, the most famous Wiki is Wikipedia. The CBF Wiki is an online work and information place for the ministries and work of CBF, CBF churches and Fellowship people. It’s a place where the CBF community can collaborate and share ideas — work together and educate each other. Do you need a place to develop and collaborate on a project with a group of people and don’t feel like sending emails with every revision or change? You can use the CBF Wiki. Do you want to hold a discussion about topics dealing with ministry you’re doing? Use the CBF Wiki. Do you want to share resources with people interested in the same ministries as you? Use the CBF Wiki. Visit to learn more about how to use the CBF Wiki and to join the online community.

Blog Through CBF’s blog, you can read and respond to issues that matter. Read what other Fellowship Baptists have to say about missions and ministry, being Baptist, what a changing world means for ministry, other tough issues and more. You can start your own post and also leave comments on other posts. Visit to join the conversation.

Facebook Facebook is a large social networking site, where you can start your own profile and connect with friends, interests and more. To create an account, visit Be sure to join the more than 800 other Fellowship Baptists in the group “Cooperative Baptist Fellowship,” which is located at

Videos and Photos Just because you can’t travel around the world to see ministries firsthand doesn’t mean you can’t see them in action through photos and videos. CBF has more than 30 ministry videos online and will continue adding more. Visit video to watch ministry in action. Photos also tell the CBF story. Through Flickr, you see photos, watch slideshows, download images to your computer and more. Visit to browse CBF’s photo library. All online tools are easily found on the CBF home page — — in the right column under “Join the Conversation.”

September/October 2008

Serve Individuals

Whether it’s a short-term mission immersion experience, two-year commitment or a lifetime of service, CBF provides opportunities for you to follow your calling. Fellowship Baptists interested in serving as CBF field personnel are required to participate in a 10-week online cohort, the first part of a three-part application process. The cohorts allow candidates to learn about CBF Global Missions and hear first-person testimonials from current field personnel and staff through online discussion, video and audio streams. The


next cohort begins in September. Learn more at Fellowship Baptists interested in serving through short-term experiences — whether in the United States or overseas — can learn about how their passion and skills can change the lives of people around the world. Learn more by contacting engage@ College and graduate students interested in serving for a summer or semester have the opportunity to explore their calling through CBF’s Student.Go program. Learn more by contacting

Churches As your church plans its missions emphasis and experiences for the coming year, 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 fits specific skill sets, number of team members and funds. For information, contact or (800) 352-8741.

Stay up to date on the latest Fellowship news, resources, events and ministries. The Fellowship Weekly e-newsletter is distributed every Tuesday. You can also subscribe to Words from the Coordinator, Daniel Vestal’s online column, or ChurchWorks, an e-newletter that provides minister and lay leaders with ideas and resources for ministry. To subscribe, go to fellowship!




First Baptist Church, Waukegan, Ill.


lessed Above Measure ministry (BAM), a chemical dependency recovery home for men, was started last year with the help of First Baptist Church in Waukegan, Ill., and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The church began thinking about a community ministry when several nearby buildings came up for sale. Jorge Zayasbazan, pastor at First Baptist Church, said the buildings’ proximity to the church seemed an ideal ministry opportunity, but the church lacked the finances to move forward. But a man who had purchased one of the nearby houses came to worship at FBC. His plan was to start a home for men recovering from chemical dependency. “At the same time, we were completing the Fellowship’s ‘It’s Time’ study and were seeking God’s will in regards to a ministry to impact our community,” said Zayasbazan,

Resource S potlight

Church locator


s your church looking to partner with other congregations in your area or in a different part of the country? Do you want people looking for a CBF church in your area to be able to find your church? The Find-a-Church tool on the CBF Web site can be the key to finding partners in ministry or allowing them to find you. The Find-a-Church page displays CBF partner churches on an interactive map and lists a church’s address, phone number and Web site. With more than 2,000 people using the tool every month, this online resource is one of the most visited pages on the CBF Web site. To list your church, send an e-mail requesting placement on the CBF Find-a-Church to The information will be added in our database, and within 72 hours, you should be on the site. If you have any questions about this resource, contact Joel McLendon at or (800) 352-8741. 16



S e p t. / O c t. 2 0 0 8

who also serves as coordinator for North Central Region CBF. “One easily identifiable stronghold in our community is the problem of alcoholism and drug addiction, and our church already hosted the largest Narcotics Anonymous BAM House director Kevin Means, right, works with members of Trinity Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C., to renovate the house. meeting in the county. The opportunity presented by BAM the north Chicago area, Zayasbazan said. It House was a clear answer to prayer.” focuses on the spiritual and behavioral develFBC received a CBF missional ministry opment of its clients and helps them become grant of $15,000 for facility improvements more responsible and productive members of that would qualify BAM House to be society. Among the services offered at BAM licensed by the state, thereby making it House are substance abuse counseling, spiripossible for state agencies to refer clients. tual counseling and Bible study, vocational The Fellowship makes such grants to and employment resources, 12-step recovery churches that complete the “It’s Time” study meetings and personal finance education. and want to develop ministries that impact It is also a place where the men find a their communities. Christian community. They are involved with In a short time, windows were replaced, service projects throughout the week, and equipment purchased, repairs made, reoften work alongside church members in a modeling and painting done, inspections ministry that helps elderly and people with passed. State licensure was granted in June, disabilities with yard work and home repairs and now BAM House can accommodate and delivers donated furniture to the poor. up to eight men. Much of the labor for the “In the short history of BAM House we renovations was provided by Trinity Baptist have already baptized two residents and Church in Raleigh, N.C., which sent an had one commit his life to Christian min82-member team to help. istry,” Zayasbazan said. “Not every story “We have always been a missional ends in success, but there have already been church,” Zayasbazan said. “But we were several men who were homeless and withlooking for something that we could focus out hope, who found jobs and permanent on, one thing that we could put our energy housing, reconciled with their children and, into. When we listened to God, we found most important, found purpose in Christ.” the BAM House.” BAM House is one of only three faithBy contributing writer Sue H. Poss, based, state-licensed recovery homes in Greenville, S.C. Photo courtesy of FBC Waukegan

Church S potlight


To learn more about the missional ministry grant, contact Rick Bennett at (800) 352-8741. To order “It’s Time,” call The CBF Store at (888) 801-4223.

Hope for the journey CBF helps migrants struggling to survive in North Africa

Editor’s note: Due to global security concerns, names and specific locations of some CBF field personnel will not be publicized.

CBF photo


t’s a chilly morning, but Jean* has still arrived early. He likes to be at the church to greet the first person, who can arrive well before the sun creeps above the North African skyline. By 8 a.m., the church courtyard is full of migrants from across Africa. Many are cold, hungry or sick. And that’s why they’ve come — to see if this Cooperative Baptist Fellowshipsupported ministry that has helped more than 5,000 migrants can help them, too. Limited resources mean only the first 50 people can be helped today. Those lucky ones take a relieved seat in the church and meet James* and Ruth*, who lead the migrant assistance ministry. Each person is here to tell their story — a painful account of survival that James and Ruth know all too well. For migrants such as Jean, the story begins in their home country. Desperate to escape poverty and civil war in Congo, Jean fled north with dreams of reaching Europe. There, he could find a job and send money home to support his family. But grand dreams faded quickly. Crossing the Sahara Desert meant surviving bandits and human traffickers. Rape is common. Food is scarce. The heat is brutal. But Jean is lucky; he survived — one in three don’t. fellowship!

September/October 2008



Right: A CBF-supported ministry helps more than 140 migrants each week with basic needs.

CBF photos

Above: At a clandestine church service in a cramped apartment, African migrants raise hands and voices in worship.

Yet once in North Africa, Jean was unable to cross into Europe. Many try — either by small boat or fake immigration papers — and many are arrested, or dishonest transporters take their money and leave without them. “I tried my best to leave this place, to leave this continent,” Jean said. Today, each of the 50 gathered will tell similar stories, which not only include the harrowing trans-Sahara journey but also discrimination in North Africa, where most have no legal status. Many landlords won’t rent to them, and the ones who do charge double. They can’t get jobs and few have money, so 15 people might sleep in a single room. Worse yet — because the government doesn’t recognize them as legal residents — many migrants are harassed, some even abused or beaten. 18



September/October 2008

Each year thousands of sub-Saharan Africans flee poverty and violence by migrating north. Lucky to survive the desert journey, many get stuck — unable to reach Europe and unable to return home. In a region where many have no legal status, this CBF-supported ministry is the only assistance some migrants receive.

Brigitt*, originally from Sierra Leone, said Ruth — a nurse — listens to symptoms life is very difficult. It’s like living in a prison, a and makes notes of who needs medication. prison where some people think it’s tolerable Many local clinics won’t treat them, so the to throw rocks at her when she’s walking in her $1,000 worth of medicine the ministry buys neighborhood. each month is the only access some have to “The simple fact of being antibiotics and other labeled illegal doesn’t give drugs. It’s also the only Partner with ministries someone the right to hurt For information on partnering with this place they can get dental North African ministry, send an e-mail you,” James said. “These [micare or eyeglasses. to grants] are just so vulnerable. Downstairs, James and They have no rights.” others sit on a church pew, At any point, migrants can be arrested and listening empathically to stories and making deported: taken in the night to the desert, notes of ways to help. One man leaves the where they are dropped without food, water or church with a Bible; another with a coat. Of much chance to survive. The practice excludes the nearly 700 coats and 1,750 blankets the no one, not even pregnant women or children. ministry doles out each winter, one goes to a Amid so much fear and pain, this ministry young mother cuddling her wide-eyed infant can bring such hope. In the church balcony, in a new blanket.

“We’re meeting spiritual and physical needs just like Jesus,” Ruth said. Gifts to CBF’s Offering for Global Missions help fund the ministry, and more contributions mean more can be helped with emergency housing, food and other basic needs. With thousands estimated en route to North Africa, the mass migration shows no signs of slowing. “Africa is rich in resources, but the poverty is killing us,” Brigitt said. “We have to come here to find a better life.” While not the lucrative success these migrants dreamed of, the ministry has provided start-up funds for more than 460 income-generating projects. Omar repairs shoes and purchased materials with the funding. Now, as he provides for some of his family’s needs, he feels a sense of hope that he can take back control of his life.

Long-term, the solution to this migration disease could make life any worse. And so they crisis lies in countries overcoming the disease, dream of Europe and a better life — and will violence and poverty that push people to flee. continue to come north. Scholarships provide 38 African college students with the opportunity to learn skills that By CBF Communications can further develop their homelands. “If their country was developed, [migrants] wouldn’t want to leave,” James said. “No one wants to Online — Go to For questions regarding online leave their country.” giving, contact But until that hapMail — Use the contribution envelope included in this issue and make your pens, there are thoucheck payable to CBF. sands more across Phone — Call CBF toll-free at (800) 352-8741. Africa wondering how violence, poverty and fellowship!

September/October 2008



Field Personnel S potlight


alph and Tammy Stocks serve as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Hungary, ministering to the Romany people. Background: The Stocks were commissioned as CBF field personnel in 1994. A native of North Carolina, Ralph taught high school for 10 years before serving with the Fellowship. Tammy, a Missouri native, worked as a nurse for nine years. Ministry: As the Stocks minister among the Romany, they look for unique ways to share the gospel and encourage Romany to work among their own people. “Each day is unique,” Tammy said. “One day Ralph may be loading up the car to take one group from one village to encourage another group of Roma in a different village. We may be taking groceries or clothes to families we have

heard of that are in great need. Ralph may be going to a meeting of the Roma Missions Committee of the Hungarian Baptist Union. We may be meeting with pastors to plan evangelistic outreaches, backyard Bible clubs or Roma conferences.” Distinguished by their dark hair and complexion, Roma are a minority in Hungary and often experience discrimination. Most live in poverty, and their opportunities for employment and education are limited. “Our dream is to encourage and nurture young Roma Christian men and women who will minister among their Ralph and Tammy Stocks people so that we are no longer needed,” Tammy said. “We hope to see the the Romany people and working to reach gospel being spread without hindrance. We out to them in spite of the deeply ingrained also hope to see other Europeans accepting prejudice so prevalent.” CBF photo

Ralph and Tammy Stocks

A New Community In October, adults using the new Affect magazine will be studying the work of Ralph and Tammy Stocks among the Roma Gypsies in Hungary. Adults will learn how the Stocks utilize the gifts and energy of short-term workers to enhance their ministry and create community among some of the most despised members of their society. Adults will be challenged to examine their communities and reach out to those who are unloved around them. For more information about the new Affect magazine for adults, visit

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

Sept/Oct 2008 fellowship! magazine  
Sept/Oct 2008 fellowship! magazine