CBF-NC talks of dreams, visions
March 22 2001 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

CBF-NC talks of dreams, visions | Friday, March 23, 2001

Friday, March 23, 2001

CBF-NC talks of dreams, visions

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor CHARLOTTE - Worship, fellowship, workshops and key business matters highlighted the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina's (CBF-NC) annual meeting at Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte March 16-17.

CBF-NC officials said 546 people registered at the group's eighth annual General Assembly, which had the theme "Poured Out Power" based on passages from Joel and 2 Corinthians.

Dreams and visions Keynote speakers at the meeting were Amy Jacks Dean, co-pastor at Park Road Baptist Church in Charlotte; Sheri Adams, professor at the M. Christopher White Divinity School at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs; Stephen Cook, a student at the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond; and Ken Massey, pastor of First Baptist Church in Greensboro.

Adams and Dean spoke on "Dreaming Our Dreams" during a worship service the evening of March 16. Cook and Massey talked about "Sharing Our Visions" the next morning.

Dean said a passage from Joel 2 says that God's Spirit will be poured out on all flesh. She said CBF has done well embracing young and old, male and female, clergy and laity.

"But we fail when we make statements of any kind that would prohibit any of God's children from participating fully in the kingdom of God," she said.

After the service, Dean said in an interview that she was referring to a statement adopted by the national CBF coordinating council that has been called "welcoming, but not affirming" of homosexuals.

"I know what it's like to have some people believe that God's Spirit has not been poured out on me," Dean said during her sermon.

Earlier, Dean had talked of how she and her husband, Russ, had dreamed of co-pastoring for 10 years before they were called to their present positions.

Dean also said she dreamed of CBF-NC helping reduce poverty.

"Who cares how long it takes?" she said. "A vision has no end in mind but the completion of the dream."

Adams said she dreams of a vital Baptist witness that emphasizes such things as the priesthood of the believer and religious liberty.

"I'm sure others will continue to tell women they can't serve in the pastoral ministry," she said. "I dream that women will continue to come to be trained for the pastoral ministry because of their deep conviction that they've been called."

Adams told the story of a female student whose family was in conflict because she was in divinity school. Adams said the woman told her, "I hate what this is doing to my family, but I know what I've experienced."

Cook said that God's power is made perfect in weakness.

"We will come up short," he said. "We aim our lives for perfection and at the end of the day, we look at ourselves in the mirror and all we see is our imperfections."

Cook told the story of a rural church with an average attendance of 55. The church had 22 standing committees, with some members serving on as many as eight.

"The local church today can be one of the most exhausting places to be," he said.

God promises to make people whole, Cook said.

"God doesn't expect us to be perfect," he said. "God knows how weak we are."

Massey talked about the difference between God's "left-handed power" that was shown when Jesus sought forgiveness for those crucifying Him and "right-handed power" that destroyed the world with a flood.

God pours out left-handed power on His people, Massey said.

"I get this feeling that we get so focused on being right that we lose sight of how right Jesus is for the world," he said.

Unanimous votes CBF-NC formed its first mission partnership, increased its budget by almost 28 percent, adopted a strategic plan and started an endowment fund during the meeting.

Jim Fowler, CBF-NC's missions coordinator, said the partnership with the Ukraine will focus on several projects.

The partnership will help "street children" who roam the streets of Kiev, he said. "They live from hand to mouth. They are the beggars."

A youth group makes hot meals for the children three times a week, Fowler said.

"They need to know love," he said. "They need to know the love of Jesus Christ.

"The only way they'll know is if someone makes a difference."

The partnership will also help pay for a youth camp for children who are suffering from nuclear fallout from the Chernobyl accident, Fowler said. It will also support Ukrainian pastors.

The partnership will rekindle a relationship between Ukrainian Baptists and some N.C. Baptists. The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) had a partnership with Ukraine several years ago.

Fowler said in an interview that the CBF-NC partnership is not a continuation of the BSC's partnership because the CBF-NC is not focused on building churches.

"It is our privilege to join the Baptists of Ukraine to be on mission," he said during the meeting.

The motion to establish the partnership passed unanimously. Those attending the meeting also unanimously adopted the CBF-NC budget.

A nine-month budget was adopted since the group is changing its fiscal year. CBF-NC officials said the budget represents a 27.7 percent increase over a similar time last year.

The 2001-02 nine-month budget is $338,836, nearly as much as last year's 12-month budget of $346,585.

"This is going to take some work," said Tommy Hardin, chairperson of the CBF-NC finance committee and a member of Spencer Baptist Church in Spindale. "We cannot sit back."

Jack Glasgow, out-going moderator of CBF-NC, said that none of the money that N.C. churches give to CBF through the BSC's Plan C goes to CBF-NC.

"That's a story you need to know and that's a story you need to share," he said.

Glasgow said that about 400 N.C. Baptist churches support the national CBF organization, but only about 170 support CBF-NC. One of the goals of CBF-NC's strategic plan is to double that number.

The plan, which was adopted without opposition, also creates a Faith Development Task Force, forms an Advisory Board and expands the Coordinating Council from 18 to 24 members.

The CBF-NC endowment was also approved unanimously. A.G. Bullard, a member of CBF-NC's endowment board, said a donor had made a gift to begin the formation of the endowment.

Mark Edwards, a lawyer from Nashville, was elected moderator of CBF-NC for 2001-2002. Tyanna Day, a professor from Mount Olive, is moderator-elect.

Vickie Tamer of Winston-Salem will serve as recorder. Glasgow will be past moderator.

Separating missions and politics Breakout sessions included workshops on CBF retirement and benefits services, the CBF's adopt-a-people missions program, a Bible study, blending innovation and tradition in worship, hands-on missions, listening to your elderly parent and the relationship between CBF and the "Mainstream" Baptist movement.

Al Cadenhead, pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Charlotte, led a discussion about the Mainstream movement. He said Mainstream and CBF are not officially linked, even though some people are involved in both.

"Mainstream is political," Cadenhead said. "You need to hear that.

"Also, don't assume because it's political that it's dirty and mean."

Cadenhead said political actions are sometimes necessary.

"It does not mean we're talking politics in a non-Christian way," he said. "I like to think that Mainstream is protecting us in a way to let us continue to support CBF."

Cadenhead said the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is pressuring state Baptist conventions to become SBC franchises. Once that happens, churches in the state convention would only be able to support the SBC, he said.

"That could happen unless someone says, 'No. No. No. That's not going to happen,'" he said. "That's what Mainstream is all about."

Jo Godfrey, a member of CBF-NC and a member of the Mainstream N.C. Baptist steering committee, said Mainstream's primary mission is to support the BSC.

"If you don't think what can happen in the SBC can happen in North Carolina, we are their number one targeted state for a takeover," said Godfrey, a member of First Baptist Church in High Point.

Moderate Baptists formed CBF as a missions and ministry alternative after conservatives gained control of the SBC.

Cadenhead said he believes there are some churches involved with Mainstream that are not moderate but are also not happy with the SBC's direction.

"Whether they ordain women in their churches doesn't keep them from being good people," he said.

Cadenhead said Mainstream wants to oppose fundamentalism in North Carolina.

"What happened in November really frightened the fundamentalists," he said.

Moderates won two of the top three BSC offices at the BSC annual meeting in November.

Godfrey said CBF now partners with N.C. Baptist Men.

"If Mainstream does not succeed, that partnership will no longer be available," she said.

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3/22/2001 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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