General Assembly Takeaway: A New Conversation on Global and Local Mission

The dust is finally settling from CBF’s General Assembly last week in Atlanta. It was a busy but fulfilling week of meetings, business sessions, and worship in which heard of new visions for what Cooperative Baptist Fellowship mission and ministry may look like in the future. We also got to see old friends and meet new partners in ministry. Through it all I’m very encouraged with what I heard and experienced. Here are just a few highlights:

  • We heard from CBF’s new Global Missions Coordinator, Steven Porter. His vision for a new day of missions is inspiring. At the Co-Missioning banquet he said, “We, Cooperative Baptists, do not need vaunted rhetoric so much as a resolve to rethink mission in local congregations and in mission contexts here and abroad. We need to begin a new conversation on mission together.” I’m eager to see how this conversation takes shape on the global and national levels as well as here in South Carolina.
  • There were many workshops focusing on equipping churches to be faithful in their call to mission. Fellowship Baptists were discussing and dreaming about ways to further the Kingdom of God “on earth as it is in heaven” through addressing payday lending, working to transform impoverished communities, bringing justice and peace to situations of conflict, and welcoming our international brothers and sisters.
  • I attended a workshop, led by CBF’s Ryan Clark, on helping churches understand and assess their current missions engagement. From dollars spent on missions to hours volunteered in service, there is a way to begin to understand how we are involved in missions and how we can focus our efforts to be more faithful to our calling.
  • As always at such a gathering, I was able to network with several people to help better connect our CBF of SC churches to responsible mission possibilities both locally, in other states, and abroad. From the possibility of forming covenants of action with neighboring congregations of different races through the New Baptist Covenant, to taking teams to partner with communities near the US-Mexico border, to teaching at the Gypsy Smith School to help equip Roma pastors and church leaders, there are possibilities to enrich our congregations through mission around the world.

This is just a sampling of all the good that took place last week in Atlanta. I’m thankful for the opportunity to attend this annual meeting, and I’m eager to see how our CBF of SC missions will be enhanced and challenged by what we’ve learned.