Coordinating Council deliberates 2012 Task Force preliminary report

ATLANTA – At the October meeting of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council, members of the 2012 Task Force offered a preliminary report and led discussions around the future of the Fellowship community.

During the past year, the Task Force conducted more 100 listening sessions with Fellowship Baptists across the country. Since General Assembly, the Task Force has moved from active listening to narrowing on where the work of members should be focused. The main themes that emerged from these listening sessions were identity, community and ministry.

“We have heard the hopes and dreams of people all over the country, and we have also heard the fears and frustrations,” said David Hull, chair of the 2012Task Force and pastor of First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala.  “Our goal has been to listen, and as we have been listening we have been developing a blueprint for what might be God’s vision for us. We want to offer today not a blueprint but a sketch of what we have put together.”

The Council divided into small groups to pray for, discuss and ask questions about the Task Force’s report, which focused on eight areas:
 • Reform governance – How can Coordinating Council be restructured so that it can be a most effective governing body for CBF?
 • State and regional and national relationship – What is the best way for free, autonomous organizations to relate together for a common purpose?
 • Simplify and streamline funding – Can something be done to our funding that might actually cause an increase in giving?
 • Missions – What can be done to elevate global missions to the highest priority in CBF life?
 • Capture our identity – What is the best way to articulate the identity of CBF as we look to the future?
 • Partners ? What should the relationship be between CBF and ministry partners?
 • Feed the pipeline – Are we being intentional about developing future CBF participants and leaders?
 • General Assembly – What is the best plan for the Fellowship Community to gather together?

“What if we could develop a seamless, cooperative community between national, state and regional and ministry partners?” Hull said. “What if there was a system that promoted better collaboration and cooperation? What is there was a system where we could share resources instead of re-creating resources? What if we could think about the abundance of resources instead of the scarcity of resources? Our future depends on our ability to live out our name.”

The Task Force will provide a report to the Council again in February before providing a final report to the General Assembly in June.

Also, during the Council meeting, CBF executive coordinator Daniel Vestal reflected on his upcoming retirement, which was announced last month.

“I am feeling some grief. When we talk about things that are going to be happening in the future, I feel some grief because I’m not going to be here,” Vestal said. “I’m not leaving because I’m burned out or I’ve been forced out or I don’t love what I do. It’s just time. Earlene and I are in a process of discerning what our next step is. The journey is not over until it’s over.”

The Council received reports on the following:
• Larry Hurst, the Fellowship’s controller, reported the Fellowship ended its fiscal year Sept. 30 with revenues of $12.3 million, 85 percent of the original budget. Expected expenditures, which are still being processed, were at $12.25 million, just under 85 percent of the original budget. The staff is anticipating a one to two percent shortfall, although the exact amount won’t be known until the books are closed on the fiscal year later in October.
• The finance committee proposed a $12.4 million budget for 2012-13. The staff will develop a budget proposal that will be reviewed by the Finance Committee and voted on by the Council in February.
• CBF moderator Colleen Burroughs reported that the CBF officers are in the process of putting together an executive coordinator search committee. Last month, the officers called for nominations to the search committee and received more than 200 names. Burroughs hopes to announce the search committee members in November. “Now we have the tough task of putting together a committee that takes into consideration the findings of the 2012 Task Force,” said Burroughs, who is vice president of CBF partner Passport Inc. “We appreciate your prayers as we try to discern the folks that will sit together in a room and decide who will lead us. We are in a thoughtful and prayerful process.”
• The 2012 General Assembly will be June 20-23 in Fort Worth, Texas. Inspired by Ephesians 3:20, the theme of the Assembly will be “Infinitely More.” Registration information and other details are available at
• Rob Nash, coordinator of CBF Global Missions, reported that between March and September gifts to the CBF Offering for Global Missions were more than $500,000 more than the same time period in the previous year. Nash thanked Council members for their stewardship and work to promote the CBF Offering.
• A motion from the Missional Congregations Initiative Team to affirm the ministry of CBF-endorsed chaplains and pastoral counselors was approved by the Council.
• The personnel committee offered an affirmation of the ministry of Vestal as executive coordinator, which received a standing ovation from Council members.

The next meeting of the CBF Coordinating Council will be Feb. 23-24, 2012, in Atlanta.

CBF is a fellowship of Baptist Christians and churches who share a passion for the Great Commission and a commitment to Baptist principles of faith and practice. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.


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