GREENSBORO (ABP) — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship executive coordinator Suzii Paynter described a “vortex of change” during her first 121 days in office in her report to the final meeting of group’s 22-year-old Coordinating Council June 26.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” she said. “It’s been a drinking-from-the-fire-hose kind of experience.”
The CBF General Assembly in Greensboro featured votes on a new constitution and bylaws, nominations for a new streamlined governing board and the initial picks to give direction to two new panels focused on missions and ministry. All were approved last year with adoption of the report of a 2012 Task Force selected to chart the Fellowship’s future as it enters its third decade.
Paynter, elected in February to replace retired executive coordinator Daniel Vestal, said so far she has visited nine of the 18 CBF state and regional organizations, meeting pastors, lay people, staff members and field personnel.
“It is a tremendous experience to meet the living Fellowship,” Paynter said.
Paynter described the two-year work of the 2012 Task Force as a “firm foundation” and said the Fellowship now has as a structure “that is going to allow us to move forward as an organization.”
“I think that some of these basic structures and some of these breathable organisms that are now a part of this living Fellowship allow us to dream dreams and to see visions of church cooperation, of cooperation across states and regions, of the dissemination of gifts, the uplifting of gifts, that we have never seen before,” Paynter said.
“I think we will see a multiplication of gifts, at a time of transition and change in the church and in global missions,” she said.
Paynter said she searched around for a term that captures the movement.
“The phrase that I use is the greater mission enterprise of the Fellowship, because it’s not just global missions field personnel,” she said. “It’s more than that. It’s so many efforts of partnership in mission, of our partners around the world, our mission partners around the world, of the way in which our states and regions express their mission energy and the way in which our congregations are embracing the globe.”
“My report to you is how busy, how important our decisions have been, and how happy and healthy we see the future,” Paynter said.
Bob Allen ([email protected]) is managing editor of Associated Baptist Press.