It’s worth repeating. . . the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly meets in Memphis in a few short months. The CBF remains a movement of free and faithful Baptists 17 years after its exodus from the Southern Baptist Convention. For many Baptists, the organization serves as a resource for materials and more importantly a connecting point for cooperative missions and ministry.
I won’t go into details about the program personalities and breakouts, but suffice it to say the meeting is a highpoint among traditional Baptists for fellowship and encouragement. It’s hard to imagine where I’d be without this movement, and I use the term “movement” deliberately rather than institution. I’m in a geographical location where our church is THE only moderate voice, specifically CBF and/or American Baptist. What this means is our denominational connectedness is much more theological and philosophical than geographical. The General Assembly is one avenue through which we can celebrate our unity through Christ Jesus with like-minded Baptists from around the country.
I like to count the numbers just like other pastors, but have gotten to a point that it’s okay to be part of something that might not be the biggest thing going. Baptists started off as a minority group anyway, and this background of persecution helped us be sympathetic to other religious folks who wanted the same freedom to worship. One thing that might be interesting, though, is to see whether the CBF explores partnerships with other Baptist organizations. I’m also encouraged by the fact that CBF finds places to cooperate with other denominations as well.
There are always meetings for pastors to attend, and I’m getting better at saying no to them and throwing promotional pieces in the trash. Still, the General Assembly is one that my entire family can attend and catch up with friends we haven’t seen in a long time. The month of June will be here before you know it, and I hope others will join me in making the necessary preparations to be part of this wonderful event.