DALLAS—The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship cannot be the organization its supporters envision unless its infrastructure catches up with their dreams, Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter told the group’s governing board at a June 16 meeting prior to the CBF general assembly.
CBF is working to fulfill its organizational objectives through a team approach, Paynter emphasized. Highlighting the work of the CBF leadership team, Paynter emphasized success in forming staff together around global missions, ministries, advancement and organizational relationships.
Paynter described the life breathed into CBF ministries within the last six months as “a B-12 shot to ministries.” Through new staffing, realignment and marketing, CBF is reaching Cooperative Baptist leaders and churches through 122 peer learning groups, reference and referral placement ministry and a greater commitment to more than 650 CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors, Paynter said.
CBF global missions faces the challenge of creating the future of CBF’s mission enterprise in a new missionary situation, Paynter said. She praised the strategic planning that already has taken place to clarify CBF’s mission distinctives under the leadership of global missions Coordinator Steven Porter, CBF missions council Chair Mike Oliver and governing board member Paul Baxley, who also serves as chair of the ad hoc committee on global missions structures and staffing.
“Cultivating beloved community, bearing witness to Jesus Christ, seeking transformational development—these work at a congregational level, at a state and regional level, and they work at a global level,” Paynter said, speaking to the importance of these distinctives through stories of CBF field personnel serving around the globe.
To ensure the successful fulfillment of these organizational objectives, Paynter stressed the importance of the changes within the CBF infrastructure, from newly hired employees to new ways of expense reporting and new ways of engaging with Cooperative Baptists.
“These are not the sexy topics of CBF life, yet they are crucial to the work that we are doing,” Paynter said.
With an evolving infrastructure and dedicated staff and governance bodies, CBF is reaching out, doing more and clarifying the ways it forms together both as an organization and with other organizations, she noted.
Through a renewed covenant relationship with each CBF state and regional organization, the exploration of deeper partnerships with the Baptist World Alliance and partner theological institutions, and calling on partners to work together with CBF to engage in initiatives that encourage healthy congregations, CBF will have a bright future, Paynter said.
During the meeting, the governing board approved memoranda of understanding between CBF global and CBF state organizations including Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida, as well as regional organizations such as CBF Heartland, North Central CBF, Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast, CBF West and CBF Mid-Atlantic.
The governing board accepted a covenant of missional collaboration of the Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, accepted CBF of Mississippi’s agreement and accepted the annual partnership agreement for CBF of Texas and CBF of Virginia in lieu of memoranda of understanding
The adoption of these agreements follows a year-long internal audit by CBF partnerships of the relationships, files and financial documents associated with all of CBF’s partnering organizations. Much of this work has been in response to the recommendations of the 2012 task force and motions of the CBF governing board.
In January, the governing board approved a motion from the networking committee requiring all CBF state and regional organizations to have in place a written and approved memorandum of understanding affirming their relationship with CBF global.
Currently, more than 66 organizations engage with CBF collaboratively. Within these groups are 18 state and regional organizations, 15 partner theological schools and host of long-standing groups.