Monday, June 30, 2014

Why I Still Attend the CBF General Assembly

Author on CBTS panel at 2014 General Assembly
How many Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assemblies have I attended?  I have lost count.  I started attending before I was elected coordinator for Tennessee CBF and, of course, never missed a session while I served in that position.  I continue to attend, however.  Like most lay persons who attend, I pay my own way and devote three days to the meeting and a couple of days to travel.  Why do I continue to go to Fort Worth, Greensboro, Tampa, Atlanta, and other cities for these meetings?

First, I go because that is where my friends are.  They are not only friends I made through being part of the Fellowship movement, but men and women who were students I came to know through my service on three college campuses and through denominational work.  Others are lay people and clergy whose paths have crossed mine in fifty plus years of ministry.  We are all older and a bit wiser, but we share a common bond and a desire to live out our calling as “free and faithful Baptists.”

Second, I attend because I am interested in supporting various related groups like Baptist Women in Ministry, Baptist Center for Ethics, Associated Baptist Press, and the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.  They are part of the CBF network and offer unique and focused ministries that I support.

Third, I go to show my support for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and to learn about the new initiatives the movement is embracing.  Being a denomination/network in the 21st century is an evolving challenge and I am impressed by various attempts by CBF to engage individuals and churches in Kingdom ministry.

Fourth, I attend because of my work with Central Baptist Theological Seminary which is giving me a chance to encourage and equip a new generation of leaders.  CBTS wants to be part of the work of CBF, and I use every opportunity to facilitate that relationship.

Fifth, I attend as part of my work with Pinnacle Leadership Associates.  Pinnacle does not have a formal relationship with CBF, but national and state leaders have partnered with us from time to time to offer our services to individuals and churches.  Pinnacle provides services that CBF-related churches need, and I try to tell that story.

Sixth, I attend CBF General Assembly because I engage with leaders of all ages who taking the Baptist legacy into the future in exciting and innovative ways.  And that gives me hope.

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