Brian McLaren, noted author, speaker, and futurist, encouraged participants at the recent CBF General Assembly to celebrate our 25th anniversary together. He quoted an Antonio Machado poem in describing our journey as a community of faith: “you’ve made the road by walking.”
CBF began as a group of free and faithful Baptists who split off from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1991. In a very real sense, this movement has been sustained by historic Baptist principles, a passion for missions, and a desire to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. There isn’t a road map for what’s ahead. It’s been a faith journey.
I’ll have more to say about the CBF General Assembly on July 19th. I’m grateful that Phil, Jan, and Ted were able to share that experience with me. They will offer some of their own perspectives on that experience in Atlanta. In the meantime, you can go to cbf.net or the CBF facebook page to read about and see videos of the meeting.
UHBC received recognition on Thursday morning during a business session. Jim Smith, president of the CBF Foundation, noted our advocacy work in the area of payday loans. I’ve posted that video on the church Facebook page as well as my own. Jan and I received awards on behalf of the church on Friday morning at the CBF Foundation breakfast. We will present those to the church soon.
In referring to last week’s trip to Atlanta, several people have asked: “How was your vacation?” While I can think of several words to describe being under the same roof as 2000 Baptists, the word “vacation” isn’t one of them. However, I WILL be taking a week of vacation beginning this upcoming Monday.
I’ve appreciated Bob Perry and Paul Bass for filling in during my absence; they will do so again this upcoming week.
Our youth group made it to Mobile, Alabama for their mission trip. There are a few photos on Facebook if you’d like to check that out. They will be returning on Monday and should be in late that afternoon.
As I think about our own church’s future, in a very real sense we are “making the road by walking.” We aren’t focused on what happened 30, 40, or 50 years ago. We can’t use the same techniques that were around during that time period.
We need to give thanks for our past, but remain focused on how the Lord is doing “a new thing” among us. That means we have to do and be church in a 21st century context. We don’t need to panic at the changes and challenges around us. God is doing great things through UHBC in our own community of faith and larger Springfield community. Let’s celebrate that!
In a similar way, I wanted to express my gratitude for Kenneth Frederickson. I wish I had known Dorothy Jean, but have heard how for decades they made many wonderful and lasting contributions to UHBC. I will always cherish the beautiful shepherd’s staff Kenneth made for me upon my installation as your pastor. His handiwork is also seen each time I use the smaller, portable podium. I gave him just a few details of what I wanted, and he did a beautiful job with it. I think of him every time I use it.
Kenneth loved the Lord, his family, his church, and his nation. Our lives have been enriched by his presence among us. I know you’ll join me in praying for Ed, Ellen, and the rest of their family during this time.