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Coordinator’s Column

 

Repeating the Past

I just got back from leading a retreat for CBF West. The retreat focused upon how churches can make good connections with the Millennial generation (those born between1980-2000). We looked at how the church will need to change its paradigm from an attractional model built around church programs and worship, to a missional paradigm that focuses upon service locally and globally along with and the formation of every member for ministry in order to connect with the Millennials who highly value service. We also discussed how the church would need to move from being a homogeneous group to a diverse group of people that looks like the neighborhood, especially since Millennials are the most diverse generation in the USA. Finally, we looked at how millennials are moving from institutional religion to an expression of ethical spirituality that questions the value of officially being a part of the church and thinks more along Kingdom of God living.

As we thought through this process over two days, everyone realized that we had a big task before us. A task so big that some might question our ability to meet the demand. As we thought about our ability to meet the challenge, Bruce Gourley, Baptist historian, reminded us how the early Baptists faced a similarly daunting task. The early Baptist had to leave the established Church of England, which was based on a model that Constantine had instituted 1,000 years earlier. These early Baptists were intent upon forming a church around members having a voluntary faith incorporated into a church free from the state. They were considered traitors and heretics. To make their understanding of the church a reality, they had to in effect destroy what everyone else thought the church was.

From that historical perspective, our task did not seem so challenging, and it gave us all hope that we could make radical changes in the church because our Baptists fore-bearers had done so. Let us all lean into that change with confidence and perseverance.

CBF TX Business Meeting at the National Assembly

Each year CBF TX conducts its annual meeting on Thursday afternoon, 4:15-5:15 p.m., of the national assembly. This year's national assembly will be in Atlanta, June 23-27. Each year CBF TX must elect officers and council members, and adopt a budget. However, this year will not be your typical business meeting. The CBF TX Council has been working this year to develop a plan for CBF TX to have a larger more robust presence in the state. They have diligently worked through a process that will allow CBF TX to have more resources and an organizational structure which can help this to occur.

This year's proposed budget will be different in two ways. Rather than being a 12 month budget, it will be a 15 month budget, so the CBF TX budget will coincide with the national budget which runs from October 1 to September 30 each year. Also, the budget being proposed will be a larger budget. This larger budget was decided upon by the CBF TX council in collaboration with the CBF national governing board, so that both CBF national and CBF TX would bless this new proposed budget.

The CBF TX Council will be proposing that CBF TX reorganize itself into a smaller governing board to oversee the annual governance issues, e.g. the budget, the staff, and nominations. In addition, the plan is to form nine new regional groups comprised of 3-5 members who are responsible to work with the CBF TX field coordinator, Rick McClatchy, in order to plan, promote, and coordinate regional CBF events. To do this reorganization, the members at the CBF TX business meeting must approve the bylaw changes necessary to do this, and then take action upon the nominating committee's report to fill the positions on the new governing board and the new regional groups.

Please make plans to be at the CBF TX business meeting in Atlanta on Thursday, June 26, at 4:15 p.m. in the Hanover C room of the Hyatt Regency.

KidsHeart Provides $179,380 to South Texas

Over spring break KidsHeart participants provided $179,380 worth of goods and services to the people living along the border. KidsHeart is part a rural poverty initiative known as Together for Hope, which is working in the poorest counties of the USA. Many of these counties are located along Texas/Mexico border. For the past decade CBF, Buckner, and Literacy Connexus have been working with churches, Baptist associations, schools, and community centers to improve the physical and spiritual lives of the border residents.

In March, five churches brought 165 members to work along the border. Below are the things they did:

  • Conducted 4 VBS sites with 201 children attending
  • Conducted 4 Teen groups with 37 teens attending
  • Conducted 4 women's groups with 67 women attending
  • Performed construction on 4 homes with 25 occupants
  • Performed construction on 1 church with 60 members
  • Painted 4 homes with 21 occupants
  • Distributed 485 food bags
  • Processed shoes for Buckner's warehouse
  • Distributed 25 children's bookcases with books
  • Performed landscaping at one site
  • Conducted 2 block parties with 183 people attending

These teams served 1049 people during the week. The breakdown value of the support is as follows: $120,020 in labor, $47,400 project materials, $11,960 contributions from CBF TX, for a total of $179,380. The five participating KidsHeart churches were South Main BC, Pasadena; The Crossing BC, Mesquite; The Church at Canyon Creek, Austin; The Church at Bee Cave, Austin; and Wilshire BC, Dallas. Four more churches and one university group worked through Buckner, and they are not counted in this report.

CBF TX New Contractors

 

CBF TX hired seven part-time contractors to work in 2014 to make over 150 face-to-face contacts with congregational leaders.  Their task is to collect contact info for the church’s staff leaders, to conduct a short survey, and to inform church leaders about the ministries and missions of CBF.  The contractors are four of our CBF church planters—Wesley Craig, John Norwood, Kyle Tubbs, and Bob Cheatheam.   Joining them will be Lester Meriwether of Literacy Connexus and two CBF field personnel, Alan and Verr Dean Williams.

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