by Megan Pike, CBFAR Assistant Coordinator
I did it again.
I was introducing myself to a lady at a Christian Community Development conference in Texas last week and I made her laugh. Initially I didn't think what I said to describe myself or the group I work with to be funny, but she sure did and so have others. She had never heard the word progressive serve as an adjective to the word Baptist before. So, she laughed. Heartily. And her interest was piqued to better understand just who are these progressive Baptists.
Since joining the staff of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas I have had the joy of expressing who I am, who my church is, and who we are as CBF of Arkansas and CBF Global to the new people I meet. At the August Movement Leadership Team meeting in Decatur, state and regional leaders were led through a session on exploring how to describe CBF. This session was quite helpful and served as a great opportunity to hear how others around the nation express who they are within the Fellowship. Ray and I liked this activity so much so that we decided to include a similar session during our October CBFAR Coordinating Council meeting.
Our meeting began with an activity in which Coordinating Council members were asked to complete the sentence I'm a CBF Baptist because... with three different statements or reasons. Then they were asked to only share one statement/reason aloud. This exercise was so inspiring. Here is a sampling of what we heard:
I'm a CBF Baptist because...
...CBF creates a community affirming diversity.
...there are opportunities to work together to impact the world.
...we are engaged in social justice.
...I am a woman and there is a place for me to do ministry.
...we are being the presence of Christ in the world.
...I changed and CBF welcomed that change.
So, why are YOU a CBF Baptist? How were you introduced to the Fellowship? When asked, how do you express who you are as a CBF partner or what the Fellowship means to you?
To help you develop a response consider the following exercise:
-Let others get to KNOW CBF: develop a simple statement that would describe CBF and hopefully pique your audience's interest; e.g. CBF is a diverse denomi-network of churches, partners, and individuals.
-Help others better UNDERSTAND CBF: develop a simple, follow-up statement that would define CBF and hopefully keep the conversation going; e.g. A number of the CBF churches in town are working towards racial reconciliation in our community.
-Provide others an opportunity to ENGAGE with CBF: develop a simple, follow-up statement that would provide your listeners an opportunity to participate in what CBF is doing; e.g. So, you are interested in working to build race relations in our community? Would you be interested in coming to our Annual People Relations Service next month?
The exercise above proved to be very helpful to us at the Movement Leadership Team meeting and to those at our recent CBFAR Coordinating Council meeting. I hope it proves helpful to you, too.
We would love to hear about your experiences sharing with others who you are as a CBF Baptist and what is CBF. Email us!
Read how others around the Fellowship are describing Why I am a CBF Baptist here on the CBF blog.