by Dr. Patricia L. Griffen
August 25-27, 2015
As a new member of the CBFAR leadership team, I had the opportunity to attend my first Movement Leadership Team (MLT) Summit in the role of Moderator-Elect. This year’s theme was:
“Forming Identity & Embracing Our Future!”
The Movement Leadership Team of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is comprised of state and regional coordinators, and designated CBF Global leaders. The MLT gathers to promote effective communication, share information, define vision and a course of direction for CBF as well as to enjoy fellowship. The MLT meets three times a year and during the summer meeting in August, state and regional associate/assistant coordinators, moderators and moderators-elect are invited. The MLT Summit in August focuses on CBF identity and the direction for CBF during the year.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas was represented this year by Ray Higgins, Coordinator, Megan Pike, Assistant Coordinator and Patricia Griffen, Moderator-Elect. Due to church obligations at Second Baptist, Moderator Preston Clegg was unable to attend and was missed.
The three of us motored to Decatur and the drive was very pleasant. Pre-MLT activities included a tour of the CBF Global Office in Decatur and meeting a number of staff members. Ray was our tour guide as he is well known in the office, is well received and as a result we were warmly welcomed.
As a first time attendee, this was an opportunity to interact with state and regional leaders with more in-depth interactions than is afforded at the General Assembly. Interactions and information exchanges took place in the large group settings, small groups, informal fellowship gatherings and over dinner. It was especially meaningful to experience firsthand our state and regional diversity, yet common goals of creating community through partnerships, collaborations, and fellowship. States and regions form unique identities centered on the needs of respective geographical areas. The MLT is a group that is supportive of each other, resourceful, and with a pervasive spirit of generosity.
A considerable amount of work was devoted to the “CBF Identity,” defining who we are and how we share our narrative with others. Topics that were explored around this theme included:
- The importance of branding and developing a sense of belonging and identity.
- Forming together, while maintaining our diversity.
- Strengthening our Christian faith together.
- Spiritual formation as a process of being formed in the “Image of Christ” by the working of God’s spirit in community for transforming the world.
- Moving from beliefs to being shaped by the life of Jesus.
- We are a denomi-network through building and expressing who we are.
Finally, plans were presented for the 25th Anniversary celebration of CBF in 2016 at the General Assembly in Greensboro, NC. The theme is “Christ’s Love Compels Us,” taken from 2 Corinthians 5:14, which states, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all.” As part of the 25th Anniversary, CBF is launching a significant fundraising campaign for strategic CBF ministries. CBF will share more information in the near future.