The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has named two new staff members with different responsibilities related to stewardship.
Rickey Letson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Laurens, S.C., will join the CBF staff in May as congregational stewardship officer. Nell Green, who has served in cross-cultural work through CBF Global Missions, has shifted her focus to serve as CBF’s Offering for Global Missions advocate.
Funding for both positions was included in this year’s CBF budget approved by the organization’s governing board in October 2020. The new hires are part of a strategic realignment brought about through a discernment process called Toward Bold Faithfulness. In October 2020, CBF eliminated 10 staff positions as part of a $1.6 million spending reduction and announced it would restructure some of its work to align with new priorities.
One of those priorities is stewardship, as CBF— like every denominational group in America — faces declining revenues rooted in giving patterns in local congregations.
Letson’s role in stewardship
Ricky Letson’s role will be to help congregations strengthen their financial health and to develop and cultivate partnerships. He also will work with CBF state and regional organizations to resource CBF’s annual giving program for churches. This role falls under the CBF Foundation, where Shauw Chin Capps serves as CBF’s chief development officer as well as foundation president.
“This is the first time in the history of CBF where we will have a full-time staff within our fund development department dedicated to supporting local congregations,” Capps said. “We heard from the CBF community during our Toward Bold Faithfulness process that addressing financial strain is one of most urgent needs of churches. This position was created in response to that need. I’m very excited to work with Rickey within our fund development team to ensure that the generosity of congregations is elevated and supported.”
Letson is well-acquainted with CBF’s leadership structure, having served as a peer learning group convenor, member of the CBF South Carolina Personnel Committee and as a member of the CBF Missions Council.
An Alabama native, he is a graduate of Samford University and earned a master of divinity degree from Duke Divinity School. He has served First Baptist Church since 2012 and previously served churches in North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia.
Green’s role in offering promotion
Nell Green has served with her husband, Butch, for 27 years in Africa, Europe and in the U.S. before he retired last year. They have relocated from Houston to Rock Hill, S.C. She will continue as appointed field personnel with CBF Global Missions but will now focus on advocating for the Offering for Global Missions.
“It has been my privilege for the last 27 years to witness the amazing work and collaborative partnerships of our field personnel,” she said. “This new role allows me to use my networks and passion for marketing and promotion to benefit all of our field ministries.”
Green and her daughter, Christen, are the founders of a business called Threads by Nomad, which hires refugees at wages well above minimum wage to create original fashion lines of clothing using fabrics from around the world — including Africa, Thailand, Togo and other locations.
A Texas native, she earned a nursing degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and later earned a master of arts in Christian thought degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
The Offering for Global Missions provides about half the $6 million budget for CBF’s Global Missions enterprise.