By Bob Allen
The final report of a blue-ribbon task force appointed two years ago to chart a future for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is now available online, giving Fellowship Baptists a month to digest the 24-page document before it comes to a vote June 21 at the 2102 General Assembly in Fort Worth, Texas.
Daniel Vestal, executive director of the Atlanta-based Fellowship, predicted the Fort Worth General Assembly will be “one of the most significant gatherings we have had in a number of years.”
Formed in 2010 in anticipation of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s 20th anniversary in 2011, the task group chaired by Alabama pastor David Hull was charged with finding ways to promote collaboration instead of competition for resources, streamline organizational structures and help Baptist churches and individuals embrace their identity as partners.
During its first year, the task force held about 100 listening sessions with state and regional CBF organizations, ministry partners, past and present leaders, young adults and current and former staff.
Proposed changes include reducing the size of the current Coordinating Council and replacing it with a 16 member governing board more narrowly focused on administration, while adding two new leadership groups to coordinate missions and resources with partner ministries.
It also calls for standardizing the budgeting process of national, state and regional CBF organizations, which currently are separate and varied, to enhance communication and collaboration at all levels of CBF life.
It also for the first time recommends a mechanism for willing congregations to “embrace their identity by sending a letter that outlines the details of their partnership with CBF.”
Currently the CBF determines membership solely by financial support, meaning there is no differentiation between churches that identify strongly with the Fellowship and those that simply allow a few members to pass their contributions through to CBF instead of another Baptist organization.
The full report is available here: https://www.thefellowship.info/cbf/files/2c/2cc8b0bd-4345-4410-b362-87402df56c67.pdf