Steven Porter, a lecturer in missions and global Christianity at Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary and missions strategist with experience in urban ministry, has been named global missions coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
Porter, 41, begins work at the CBF’s Decatur, Ga., office Sept. 1.
Ordained in the National Baptist Convention, USA, and commissioned by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Porter teaches graduate courses in Christian missions, world Christianity and Muslim-Christian relations.
He worked seven years in urban ministries at Touching Miami with Love, a CBF-affiliated ecumenical ministry serving families and the homeless community in Miami, including five years as executive director.
His work and studies have connected him to CBF state and regional organizations in Florida, Kentucky, Texas and North Carolina. He currently is the chair-elect of the CBF Missions Council.
‘The right person’
“Steven is the right person to lead CBF’s global mission efforts into the future,” CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter said. “His commitment to collaborative mission efforts, to recognizing and replicating best practices and to investing in long-term mission engagement has me excited about where we’ll go and what impact we will make together as a Fellowship and with our mission partners.”
Porter, hired by Paynter at the recommendation of an advisory search committee, said he looks forward to building on the organization’s strengths, while focusing on greater collaboration with local churches and the congregational ministries side of CBF.
“There are incredible people giving their lives away every day in some of the most difficult contexts imaginable through CBF global missions,” Porter said. “But the same can be said of Christians in CBF congregations.
“We must do a better job of learning from each other within and beyond the Fellowship to leverage that wisdom and wise practices to advance God’s reign in the world.”
Seventh to lead CBF global missions efforts
Porter will be the seventh person to lead the global missions enterprise of the moderate Baptist group formed in 1990.
Last October, the CBF announced formation of a 12-member search committee, led by Chair Linda Jones, missions coordinator for CBF of North Carolina, to locate a permanent global missions coordinator.
Jones said Porter is precisely what CBF global missions needs at this time.
“The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship needs a shared vision for mission engagement for the future,” she said. “This, the committee knew, requires someone with strategic vision that understands CBF and the local church and that understands our field personnel—their passion, commitment and the difficulties they face on the mission field.
“It requires an understanding of our culture and what we need as an organization to lead us forward to effective, strategic, innovative and holistic ministry. In the end, the committee believed Porter was the right person at the right time to lead CBF global missions into the future.”
A native of Carthage, Mo., Porter is a graduate of William Jewell College and Candler School of Theology. He is in the process of finishing a doctorate from Duke University Divinity School. He and his wife, Jodi, are parents of a daughter, Ruth, about to turn 3.
—With reporting by Jeff Huett of CBF communications
Editor’s Note: The article was edited May 5 to eliminate extraneous material included in the original version.