CBF nixes membership proposal
March 21 2002 by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor

CBF nixes membership proposal | Friday, March 22, 2002

Friday, March 22, 2002

CBF nixes membership proposal

By Steve DeVane BR Managing Editor

RALEIGH - A controversial membership plan will not be brought back to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) General Assembly for consideration this year, a CBF leader said.

The proposal, which would have required churches that want to be members of CBF to "embrace" the group's values met resistance when it was brought up last year.

Terry Hamrick, CBF's coordinator of leadership development, said the plan was "met with a resounding thud."

"That's off the table," he said. "There are no plans to bring it up in the foreseeable future."

Hamrick was asked about the plan during a breakout session at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina's (CBF-NC) annual General Assembly March 15-16 in Raleigh.

Hamrick said some churches wanted to be "members" of CBF, while others said the move would split their churches. CBF includes some churches that have withdrawn from the Southern Baptist Convention and some churches where "one stubborn Baptist" has said he wants to support CBF, he said.

The plan also would have altered the makeup of CBF's governing board, the Coordinating Council, and changed the way the national body relates to state and regional chapters.

"One thing I can promise you, those issues won't be brought up this year," Hamrick told about 50 people at the breakout session.

Hamrick was also asked about CBF's efforts to help Southern Baptist missionaries who don't want to sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Jerry Rankin, the head of the International Mission Board, has asked all the group's missionaries to sign the statement.

Hamrick said CBF officials are "having quiet conversations" about the situation. People who think CBF should take in all those missionaries need to realize that CBF can't afford to take them in, the missionaries might not fit into CBF's mission plans and it is not known how many missionaries won't sign, he said.

"It would have been a great PR coup if we could have said 'We'll take them all,'" Hamrick said. "We can't do that."

CBF continues to work "behind the scenes and out of the newspaper" to see what it can do, he said.

"One of the things we don't want to do -- we don't want to export the Baptist war to the mission field," Hamrick said.

CBF already has missionary applicants that it hasn't appointed because it can't afford to send them out, he said.

Hamrick also told about ways CBF can help churches discover their mission.

"Our task is not to tell you what your mission is," he said. "Our task is to work with you as you discover what your God-given mission is."

CBF has a new study guide to help churches ask "What are we doing that's worthy of God's kingdom?" Hamrick said.

"Many of our churches are living off our heritage," he said.

Hamrick also gave an overview of CBF's partnership with World Vision, an evangelical relief organization.

"It is going to allow us to get in places we never could have otherwise," he said.

CBF is about to release a 66-page resource catalog for churches, Hamrick said. The document should be available at the CBF national meeting this summer.

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3/21/2002 11:00:00 PM by Steve DeVane , BR Managing Editor | with 0 comments
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