Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

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Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Ed Pettibone » Tue Jan 28, 2014 1:52 pm

Ed: Tim, I know I am quite late in responding to your last post in this forum dated 1/6/2014 before now I had started a few responses and deleted them
because the did not say I feel was needed. Therefore am starting a new thread

I am inclined to agree that just because there is no "BAPTIST" church in the area is not in itself a good reason to start a new congregation. And in fact Like Suzi Paynters' predecessor Danial Vestal, I am not enthused about starting CBF churches, period. For years we have said the CBF is not a denomination but what other entity plants churches. Ah! Yes independent Churches plant new churches in an area where they will not compete for members with the mother church.

No! I am not saying that CBF should not be involved in Church planting. Just not in planting CBF churches. CBF in my humble opinion needs to stick to "Enabling Baptist Churches and Individuals in being the presence of God where they are". This would include all Baptist who ask for our assistance. As I have suggested in other discussions CBF could be a great help to the ABC-USA in the expansion of our denomination in what has traditionally been seen as SBC territory. The fact Is ABC has an "ABC of the South" region the majority of their churches are Black. I am not as conversant with whatever if any, cooperation there has been between that region and CBF, as I would like to be.

On the other hand I do think I understand folk in the South who find it increasingly imposable to support a church that is hardwired to the SBC when participation in CBF automatically precludes their being active in the operation of the denomination that is where I was when we moved to Cincinnati in 1995. So I do see a need for them to establish some new Baptist churches. But why CBF Churches?

Although Trudy and I have been active CBF from it origin and the BFNE (Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast- this areas CBF presence), since coming to NY in 2002 I am disappointed that the bulk of that small group have remained basically ignorant of the ABC and present their churches as CBF churches. There is one long time female member of that group who in the past few years has taken the initiative to become the pastor of an ABC-USA church. And as I have mentioned in the past, the Dean of Students at Yale Divinity School is a participant in BFNE, he is also a member of an ABC church and a past president of the ABC-USA of Connecticut Region. In addition there is one church affiliated with BFNE that is also affiliated with the Alliance of Baptist and ABC-USA through the NYC Region. Our ABC-USA Church is a member of the New York State Region and we hosted the BFNE spring meeting a couple years ago We us the Nurturing Faith SS Material in Baptists Today, we also help support Central Seminary where Dr. Molly Marshal is President. Central is something of a hybrid ABC-USA /CBF Seminary but we are not a CBF Church.
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Big Daddy Weaver » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:14 pm

All,

You might be interested in this story in the new issue of fellowship! magazine on Phyllis Boozer, the new coordinator of the BFNE (who I'm sure you know).

The entire issue is online at: http://tinyurl.com/cbffebmar

I wasn't a big proponent of church planting (CBF uses the language of "church starting") before joining CBF. But, I've met church starters, learned about the mission/philosophy behind the church starting initiative, and now I'm a big fan.

CBF is different from *some* organizations with church starting programs in the sense that CBF itself does not start churches or pay the salaries of church starters. Rather, CBF serves as a support system/resourcer for church starters - providing training, coaching, assisting with networking, etc.

Here are three recent articles on CBF church starting that might be of interest via CBFblog.com.
CBF church starting 101 (by David King, CBF New Church Starts Associate)
Women respond through church starting
CBF church starters use creativity to build community
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Ed Pettibone » Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:00 am

Ed: Arron, this section gives me chills:

What is CBF church starting?

In contrast to some groups, CBF is not tied to a single model of church starting. If each church is indeed contextual and organic, it should emerge out of its particular cultural setting. There is no one type of CBF church start. Some of CBF’s newest churches have brought together Hispanic or African immigrants to meet in homes or spaces offered by established congregations.

New churches come in many varieties and appeal to all ages. CBF has recently started churches in retirement villages as well as among young professionals moving back into the hearts of urban cities. CBF church starts meet in all kinds of spaces. One new church meets in a mobile home park, another rents space from a suburban elementary school, while another has taken over a century-old sanctuary from a church that is closing its doors.

CBF church starts are not committed to any particular worship style. Some have contemporary music. Others value traditional hymns and ancient liturgies. Many are a mix of the above.

CBF church starts strive to reflect their cultural contexts. That often means making the intentional commitment to develop multi-racial and divers socio-economic communities. Like the Kingdom of God, church starts come in all shapes and sizes


One could substitute SBC for CBF in each point and not miss a beat. In fact to me each paragraph looks as if it where lifted from existing SBC pages on the web.
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Mrs Haruo » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:59 am

What is so "CHILLING" Ed? It seems to me that what is going on in the CBF is what "churches" should be. Responding to the needs of a community rather than imposing a particular worship style that may be odd, offensive, or just plain not what a particular group, or group to be needs, or is drawn to. I have had enough "chilling" experiences as a vistor or guest at quite a number of Baptist churches around the country, whether as a teen in a youth choir on tour finding tracts attacking members of my families varied belief systems, or men and women spreading horrid rumors behind my back about what "girls who joined the Navy were really like" while I attended worship services in uniform near where I was stationed in Pensacola Florida-- and this was at the invitation to return the next week for our service honoring the military! The Awana group my children were invited to join who's guilt tripping curriculm had my daughter crying because "Mommy, this is just more homework, this isn't fun at all" when she was scolded repeatedly for not having her verses memorized by leaders who had advertised "Fun and Games!" 'or reading the history of the city of San Jose CA for example, where some of the most violent, vitriolic racist and jingoistic acts were perfomed in a public lynching in the town square- spurred on by radio preachers sponsored by an early radio station sponsored by the biggest Baptist church in town.
Years later I walked past the doors of Japanese Baptist Church many a time and thought "Hm. That's different." and kept walking toward St. James Cathedral where I knew the music would be spectacular and the artwork and architecture of interest even if the homily wasn't that good, or -- or the food good at the soup kitchen. It took an invitation from a old long lost friend to get me into the door. I felt tall for the first time since I had visited Japan. The sanctuary had an open feeling where the windows in back of the pulpit reveal a lovely relaxing garden, and I didn't feel claustrophobic. The pastor was an older white guy with an Italian name that sounded Japanese with a diploma from M.I.T. on his wall. People of many races and mixes of races filled the sanctuary and the choir.

Different strokes for different folks, and that includes the fishing boat out on the Sea of Gallilee--- or Puget Sound. :)
Don't despair if your job and your rewards are few, remember that the mighty oak was once a nut like you!
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:48 am

Ed I get what you are saying because the CBF is a loosely organized fellowship and not a denomination, why are they church planting?

I honestly still think that the CBF is too loosely organized for the good of its own survival. Unless something is different in your kneck of the woods, I don't see local churches doing church plants other than large conservative mega churches. If CBF churches are going to plant churches there is going to have to be a huge culture shift.

Also the last stats I read about church planting suggest only 1 in 5 church starts make it. So were does a local individual church get the resources to risk planting a new church knowing there is only a 20% chance the church will make it?

What I wish would happen is that what used to be called the seven sisters of the mainline (make it eight if you want to add in the CBF even though it is a fellowship) would consult with each other and maybe even do some joint church starts together in areas where there would be an ecumenical mix that would match one church or another. Or if not joint church starts, trying not to compete with each other in locating new starts.

I also think is small town America more conversations need to be had about the value of federated, dually aligned, and facility sharing agreements. I've been in small towns were several churches are struggling to hang on to a building they can't afford. Why couldn't congregations share a building or like minded groups federate and share a pastor more often?
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Sandy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:28 pm

Ed Pettibone wrote:One could substitute SBC for CBF in each point and not miss a beat. In fact to me each paragraph looks as if it where lifted from existing SBC pages on the web.


Perhaps, but I don't see a problem with that. The SBC is quite successful in church planting, and it doesn't resemble the image that its critics have of starting new congregations on top of existing churches, or without consideration of churches of other denominations in the area. The local churches and associations are the primary initiator of new churches, most of which are organic in terms of their formation, and the various state conventions and NAMB work in partnership when It comes to providing resources which include financial assistance, training, consulting, and in some cases, paid, trained church planting personnel. They are frequently criticized, but the fact of the matter is that few, if any, church plants in the SBC originate at the denominational level.

I'll be working this summer with a group of students who are coming into Pittsburgh to help with some logistics for a week with three SBC church plants, two of which are in the city itself. There's no way you can accuse Southern Baptists of invading some other church's territory around here. Most of the inner city churches, including the Catholics, are relics of the past, mostly consumed with preserving their building and living in the past. The city is dotted with abandoned church buildings of various denominational heritages. One of the church plants, a three-congregation language church (Vietnamese, Ukrainian, Polish) meets in a former Lutheran church that the district was willing to lease to them for $500 a year, if they would keep up the maintenance. I see no other denominational group working among those who speak those three languages. The Catholics have merged more than 30 parishes in Pittsburgh over the last decade, and that's left large tracts of the inner city without a church of any kind. There are a few mega churches in the burbs, but by and large, the church going population here is probably less than 15% of the total. Since 80% of the SBC's church planting activity is in the cities, and half of it is ethnic work, I don't think they are treading on any toes.

Timothy Bonney wrote:I honestly still think that the CBF is too loosely organized for the good of its own survival. Unless something is different in your kneck of the woods, I don't see local churches doing church plants other than large conservative mega churches. If CBF churches are going to plant churches there is going to have to be a huge culture shift.


When CBF formed, out of Baptists who were unhappy with the direction the SBC was headed, there was a cause, motivation, and a faint hope that forming an organization out of the opposition to conservatives would rally enough moderates to either split the convention and come away with a sizeable enough chunk of it to restore some of the entrenched old leadership, or use it as a launching pad to regain control. When it became clear that the numbers weren't anywhere near what was necessary to accomplish either end, CBF's leadership became content with organizing themselves, and hoping that the money stream would preserve what they had carved out. To my knowledge, there's been no initiative or movement at all in terms of broadening the definition of the fellowship beyond being the alternative group to the SBC, and nothing to expand it beyond where it is. In fact, it has lost a considerable number of churches which remained affiliated with the SBC. Starting new churches which know nothing but a CBF identity is probably the only way the fellowship can expand, and remain viable. And I think it will be difficult to start new churches with a unique "CBF identity" because I'm not sure that, after 20 years, you can put a finger on exactly what that is. Ordaining women? Most CBF churches haven't, and don't seem inclined in that direction. Gay friendly? There are some in CBF who are, and most would be OK with gays and lesbians attending, but wouldn't put any in leadership. Theology? I have yet to meet a pastor in CBF who did not subscribe to the full authority of the scripture in a manner that would be in conflict with the SBC's BFM 2000 on the subject. They may exist, but not in significantly large enough numbers to lend their identity to the fellowship.

Punch the total, and the sum you come up with on CBF identity is still "We're sort of not the SBC," though a significant number of its partnering congregations remain SBC supporters.
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Feb 10, 2014 12:44 pm

Sandy wrote:Punch the total, and the sum you come up with on CBF identity is still "We're sort of not the SBC," though a significant number of its partnering congregations remain SBC supporters.


Sandy I often think you are too negative about the CBF but I basically agree with the above statement. Also being a group of "not the SBC" isn't a good selling point to anyone but ex-SBCers. Nobody who grew up outside the SBC will care about a denominational fight now over 40 years old.
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Sandy » Mon Feb 10, 2014 4:52 pm

Timothy Bonney wrote:
Sandy wrote:Punch the total, and the sum you come up with on CBF identity is still "We're sort of not the SBC," though a significant number of its partnering congregations remain SBC supporters.


Sandy I often think you are too negative about the CBF but I basically agree with the above statement. Also being a group of "not the SBC" isn't a good selling point to anyone but ex-SBCers. Nobody who grew up outside the SBC will care about a denominational fight now over 40 years old.


The formation of CBF was directly related to the conservative resurgence in the SBC. It was put together by displaced leaders from the SBC, and it appealed to churches and individuals who either felt disenfranchised by the direction the conservative leadership was taking, or who sided with the disenfranchised in what they considered a broader view of cooperation than the conservatives offered. I was involved in it during its first decade, through membership in one of its most supportive, core congregations. It was one of the first churches to sever its ties with the SBC and uniquely align with CBF, it is among the top five in terms of total giving through CBF not including a couple of extremely large gifts that came from individual members of the church during hard times, and during the time I was involved, had eight members of the church serving CBF on the national level in some leadership capacity.

From the outset, I pretty much discovered that it was a closed and elite group, less interested in input from interested individuals than it was in conformity to what those who called the shots wanted to do, and in gathering the money to do it. That was pretty much the M.O. of the same people who called the shots in the SBC prior to 1979, so expecting something different was silly. At any rate, as a fellowship, for most of its existence the only reason it has provided to get churches interested in joining is that they are the alternative to the SBC's conservative leadership. That attracted a small core of churches who realized they were never going to be influential in the SBC again, like the one I attended, and a larger group of churches that were't sure where things were headed in the SBC, a total, at its peak a decade ago of somewhere around 1,800. It's attraction was to those SBC churches that either had connections to individuals in the pre-1979 leadership, or who didn't particularly care for the convention's conservative leadership. Probably 1,700 of them remained connected at some degree with the SBC, some marginally, some open to CBF only because a few members wanted to have that giving channel available through their church. I haven't seen any numbers lately, but the website, and the drop off over the last decade in giving, would indicate that they are probably closer to 1,000 churches now.

If that's the case, then where do you go to expand the fellowship and increase its outreach and ministry? There are very likely few, if any, churches in the SBC that would be interested in joining up with CBF. There are even fewer in other Baptist denominations who would find CBF theologically compatible. So the only real hope for CBF to have a future is to become involved in planting churches that have a unique CBF identity. The problems with their ability to do that, as I see it, are pretty big. For one thing, the kind of churches that CBF has attracted tend to be in metro areas, inner cities, or the "First Baptist" kind of church in larger towns. They tend to be more traditional, and many of them are in a numerical decline themselves. The church I attended in Houston is about half the size it was when it affiliated with CBF, and I would guess that two thirds of the congregation is past 65 years of age. Giving birth to new congregations is the only way CBF will see expansion and growth, and perhaps the only way it will avoid a slow death.
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Re: Reply to Tim; Re S. Paynter call to church planting

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:14 pm

It is clear that you had a bad experience with the CBF or certain people in the CBF. It seems to have colored most of your views about the organization. I get that because the way I was treated in some of the Baptist churches I've worked in has certainly had an effect on how I feel about Baptist polity etc.

But I had a very different experience with CBF leadership than you did. I grew up also in a very active CBF congregation which had many leaders. The first moderator (I think that is the title), Dr. John Hewett, was my pastor. But I found nothing but affirmation from people I knew in the CBF. I'm sorry you had a different experience.
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