By Bob Allen
Leaders of Global Women, a woman-to-woman missions organization founded in 2001, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship recently inked a new partnership agreement for future collaboration.
Suzii Paynter, executive coordinator of the 1,800-church CBF, said the new relationship is being forged at an opportune time, when both organizations are in transition.
“Global Women is experiencing a transition in leadership and acting on the opportunity for planning for the future,” Paynter said in a memo to the Global Women board of directors. “Likewise, there is also a re-visioning and strategic planning process for CBF Global Missions.”
“The intersection of these two assessment processes in these two organizations has yielded an exploration of intentional steps for partnership between Global Women and CBF Global Missions,” she explained.
Based in Decatur, Ga., the Fellowship has already gone through a major reorganization and leadership change, is in the middle of retooling its Global Mission program and is preparing to launch a major capital campaign marking the group’s 25th anniversary celebration June 20-24 in Greensboro, N.C.
Global Women, one of several ventures started by moderate Baptists in reaction to the Southern Baptist Convention’s sharp rightward shift in the 1980s and 1990s, has experienced ups and downs but is now looking forward with a new leader, Stacy Blackmon, at the helm since Sept. 15.
Paynter said she envisions a multi-faceted collaboration, with Global Women relating to CBF across multiple departments and projects addressing issues like sex-trafficking, clean water, maternal health, education and economic development for impoverished women around the world.
Global Women, which celebrates its 15th anniversary with a banquet at the CBF General Assembly in Greensboro, started up as a new kind of mission organization. It was reportedly the first evangelical mission board specializing in worldwide ministry and witness by women, and came at a time when past leaders of Woman’s Missionary Union were concerned about fewer opportunities for women in missions within the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board.
Intended to complement both WMU and the CBF, started by disenfranchised SBC moderates in 1991, Global Women signed on early as a CBF partner before running into growing pains when both of its staff members resigned amid talk of philosophical differences between the older founders and the younger generation the organization was trying to reach.
Partnerships between Global Women and CBF continued on an informal basis until a former CBF missionary, Cindy Dawson, was chosen as Global Women’s executive director in 2006. In 2008 Global Women entered into a three-year partnership with CBF. It was the first long-term commitment for Global Women, which typically engages in short-term projects and education.
Dawson stepped down in 2014, saying she believed it was time for new leadership. The Global Women board of directors turned to Stacy K. Blackmon, a veteran strategist, communicator and organizer who previously worked for World Vision.
Blackmon voiced excitement about the renewed partnership.
“This renewed partnership between Global Women and CBF will enable greater stewardship of resources and ministry impact through strategic collaboration and prayer,” Blackmon said in a press release.
“Global Women and CBF have a long history of providing mutual support for areas of shared vision,” Blackmon said. “Through this partnership, we will continue to build relationships at all levels, leverage our collective strengths, and combine our passion and influence to become an even more powerful force for love in the world.”