(These are my remarks to the Tennessee CBF Coordinating Council on responding to the challenges that face the organization today.)
You don’t fight trends. You discern them, try to understand them, and learn to live with them. This is the dawning of a new reality. What resources can we bring to bear on such trends?
1. Agility--We are still young enough as an organization to be flexible and adapt to the needs of our constituents; however, this may mean adapting a new paradigm for a middle judicatory like ours.
2. Relationships—We are relational. “Fellowship” is our last name. This is one of our basic values.
a. We have the good will of many people in the churches.
b. We continue to develop new relationships with churches, ministries, and other partners.
c. Our future growth will not be based on bringing established churches “over to CBF” but in strengthening ties with the churches who already identify with us and establishing new churches.
3. Grace—I believe that in all we do, we have attempted to incarnate the grace of God. We reach out to people that others reject, we open our doors to those who have not found a home elsewhere, and we extend a hand of fellowship to those seeking community.
Building on these resources, I believe that ten years from now Tennessee CBF will look very different from what it is today. That’s not bad—that’s good.
The times are difficult, but the resources are available. Understanding the times and acting accordingly is part of the work of the Kingdom of God. This is God’s work. I pray that God will bless you as you do it.
(Note: At the end of these remarks, at the invitation of our moderator, Jerry Mantooth, Coordinating Council members responded to these comments. In closing out this discussion, Jerry graciously stated that these characteristics--agility or adaptability, relationships, and grace--are those that I have exhibited in the role of coordinator of TCBF. I am appreciative of these remarks and, if true, I pray that TCBF will continue to exhibit these values in the days ahead.)