ATLANTA — Leaders in the Mid-Atlantic are among nominees approved April 4 by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s Coordinating Council for positions on three new administrative bodies, created last year in a restructuring proposed by a blue-ribbon task force.
The council also nominated Washington pastor Kasey Jones to serve as moderator-elect, placing her in position to become moderator in 2014, succeeding Bill McConnell of Knoxville, Tenn. Jason Coker, pastor of Wilton (Conn.) Baptist Church was nominated as recorder.
The nominations, which must be approved at the CBF’s General Assembly June 26-28 in Greensboro, include 12 people to serve on a Governing Board to replace the 65-member Coordinating Council and another 11 to serve as initial members of two councils focusing on missions and ministries.
Changes proposed by the 2012 Task Force after a two-year study significantly alter representation on the CBF’s top administrative body. Currently the Coordinating Council, about five times the size of the new Governing Board, consists of representatives from each of the CBF’s 18 state and regional organizations. That includes seven members from the CBF of North Carolina, four from the CBF of Virginia and two from the Mid-Atlantic CBF, covering the District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware and West Virginia.
In contrast, the 16-member Governing Board will consist of at-large representatives, in addition to CBF officers. Nominees to the board include one each from North Carolina and Virginia — Matt Cook, pastor of First Baptist Church in Wilmington, and Daniel Carro, who serves as a Latino strategist for the Virginia Baptist Mission Board, first vice president of the Baptist World Alliance and a professor at the John Leland Center for Theological Studies.
There are no nominees from the District or Maryland, though Jones’s role as moderator-elect, and eventually moderator, is expected to give the region a high profile.
At the table
“It is exciting to see the 2012 Task Force recommendations being realized,” said Jones, pastor of National Baptist Memorial Church. “My nomination and that of Jason Coker as recorder from the Northeast is an indication that these regions are represented at the table of governance as CBF moves forward. I believe our cooperative community will continue to grow and thrive as we all recognize that we have an abundance of resources throughout this nation.”
Jones said she was “humbled and honored” by her nomination and looked forward to working with CBF executive coordinator Suzii Paynter, elected in February.
“The task force recommended that we become a seamless cooperative community that promotes greater cooperation and collaboration,” she said. “I believe she is the right person to lead us. …. It is a thrilling time in the life of CBF and I am energized about the future. “
Both Carro and Cook echoed Jones’s enthusiasm for Paynter’s leadership.
“I feel very honored to be a representative from Virginia on the new CBF Governing Board,” said Carro. “I feel especially motivated to serve alongside the newly-elected Suzii Paynter. These are promising times for a new CBF.”
He added: “I bring no agenda or baggage to this new role. My only interest is being of service and a connecting tissue for CBF churches.”
Fleshing out a dream
Cook said he was “thrilled” by Paynter’s new role.
“She’s got a proven track record of bringing all kinds of people together to accomplish big things,” he said. “She’s passionate about justice and mercy, and most of all, Jesus. That’s a great combination.”
“There’s a lot of important work to do,” he added. “[CBF’s] resistance to ‘denominationalizing’ gave us the ability to break down our organizational framework and dream a new structure, but now we’ve got to flesh that out. That’s easier said than done. And we must find a way to do that in such a way that CBF, missionaries, congregations and partner organizations aren’t competing for limited resources, but are collaborating to do Kingdom work.
“In my opinion CBF’s future hinges on the idea that our efforts can’t be focused on CBF’s institutional success, but on helping congregations where they are, and where they come together to do God's work globally. It’ll be a challenge, but one that’s both interesting and worthwhile.”
Other nominees to the Governing Board are Paul Baxley, pastor of First Baptist Church in Athens, Ga.; Garry Dollar, United Way of Greater St. Louis; Doug Dortch, senior minister of Mountain Brook Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala.; Susan Fendley, a retired attorney for the Tennessee Valley Authority in Knoxville, Tenn.; Wayne Patterson, a member of First Baptist Church in Pendleton, S.C.; Steve Wells, pastor of South Main Baptist Church in Houston; Jean Willingham of St. Petersburg, Fla.; Joy Yee, pastor of Nineteenth Avenue Baptist Church in San Francisco; and Camille Allen Snyder of Jackson, Miss.
Another Virginian — Michael Cheuk, pastor of University Baptist Church in Charlottesville — was nominated to chair the Ministries Council, tasked with identifying ministry resources and networks. The council’s role reflects a move “away from an older denominational model to a more collaborative, networking paradigm,” Cheuk said.
“Since this is all new, uncharted territory for us, and there are really no models from other religious organizations for us to follow, I see my role in this first year as leading an ‘advance team’ to map out this new territory, to lay down infrastructure, and to build bridges to get CBF further into this new paradigm,” he said. “Initially, I foresee that a big part of our task is to define and identify partners, map the assets of partnering churches and institutions, clarify and prioritize areas of ministry for CBF engagement, improve communication among our partners, connect existing networks, and develop new networks and learning communities to discover, develop, and deliver the programs, services, and ministries that will enable us to more effectively fulfill our vision of being the presence of Christ in the world.”
Other Ministries Council nominees are Terry Ellis, pastor of Broadmoor Baptist Church in Baton Rouge, La.; Emily Hull-McGee, minister to young adults at Highland Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky.; Christy McMillin-Goodwin, associate minister for education and missions at Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C.; Steve Sheely, pastor of Rolling Hills Baptist Church in Fayetteville, Ark.; and Leta Tillman, a member of First Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas.
Initial nominees to the Missions Council — which is to “provide vision, strategy, education and sustainability to CBF’s missions enterprise” — are Mimi Walker, pastor of Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta, who will serve as chair; Steven Porter, a lecturer at George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco, Texas.; Mike Oliver, senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Madison, Ala.; Alan Sherouse, pastor of Metro Baptist Church in New York City; and Alice Mull, a member of Living Faith Baptist Fellowship in Elizabethtown, Ky.
Nominations to the Governing Board and the two councils were made by an ad hoc committee comprised of CBF state and regional coordinators, along with past moderators Harriet Harral and Colleen Burroughs.
Robert Dilday ([email protected]) is managing editor of the Religious Herald.