By Bob Allen
An ad hoc group of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Governing Council has been appointed to work in earnest on the final piece of a massive revisioning adopted in 2012 – funding – outgoing CBF Moderator Bill McConnell said in a report to the 2014 General Assembly June 27.
“We have to find a way to provide resources for state and regional organizations, our partner organizations, as well as the work that will be ongoing in the Decatur office,” said McConnell, a layman from Knoxville, Tenn. “We must continue to fund missions, and we have to find a way to fund missions more completely.”
Much of McConnell’s and past moderator Keith Herron’s one-year terms of service focused on implementing governance changes recommended following a two-year study by a 2102 Task Force led by Alabama pastor David Hull.
The final section of the 2012 Task Force report, McConnell reminded Fellowship Baptists in a business session during the June 23-27 General Assembly in Atlanta, calls for a new funding strategy “that fosters missional collaboration rather than competition for resources.”
“This funding plan must be fair to all, and it has to recognize where strengths lie within the Fellowship,” said McConnell, a partner in Rogers & Morgan, a manufacturer’s agency that specializes in industrial environmental equipment. “We have to find a way for churches and individuals to designate gifts for ministries and missions that are important to them, yet we still have to have avenues for undesignated gifts that will keep the framework of our Fellowship work going.”
The task force recommendation seeks maximum freedom with donor-directed giving, both designated and undesignated, through a variety of channels. It also calls for greater cooperation between national and state and regional CBF organizations during budget development processes.
McConnell said he and Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter have asked Doug Dortch, senior minister at Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., to chair an ad hoc Governing Council committee to study funding strategies. The group will meet first thing in the morning after the 2014 General Assembly in Atlanta adjourns tonight, McConnell said.
McConnell said similar conversations are already underway within state and regional organizations, and CBF staff are working on branding and advancement strategies.
“I urge you to be in prayer for all of these efforts and be ready to enter into conversation when appropriate,” McConnell said.
Typically during the final business session of the annual General Assembly, the outgoing moderator symbolically hands over leadership to the moderator-elect, who presides over meetings of the Governing Council and at the General Assembly the following year. McConnell’s successor, however, did not attend this year’s assembly due to a family medical emergency that required her to travel out of the country.
Several times during the meeting Fellowship leaders requested prayer for Kasey Jones, pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church in Washington, D.C., and her brother, Andre, who became ill while on a mission trip to South Africa and is in the process of returning home for medical treatment, hopefully within the next week.