Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:08 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Also, as I read the budget for CBF, where is the effort to support and run a school?


Isn't BTSR jointly supported directly by CBF and the BGAV? I know that's a partnership, but they are more directly involved there, as I understand it, in provision of leadership, and the partnership runs deeper than just scholarships.

CBF has never exhibited, to my observation, any kind of leadership that recognizes its need to secure its viability. It's picked up a few partnerships and here and there involvement with other groups. But it has lost support from a number of churches that once were contributors, and I don't see anything in place to solidify even what it has now. With few exceptions, they've picked up all of the SBC churches that are interested or going to be interested. It is more likely that there are still contributing churches among CBF which would, with a pastoral or leadership change, drop their CBF connection. Talking about church planting is great, but leadership doesn't seem to be doing much more than that, and its going to be limited by resource provision.

Gushee is honest and realistic.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby William Thornton » Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:29 am

Bruce is involved in a CBF church start, I think. The theological schools seem to be viable. I appreciate ABP's work. If I were a CBFer I'd appreciate the fellowship, networking and perhaps the ability to support some ministries more to my liking but I don't see much need for or results from a central organization. Maybe the state CBF organizations would be worth supporting and just a barebones umbrella organization to keep those I touch with each other and limited cooperative projects. It seems plain to me from a distance that the national CBF is going nowhere but south. I think sandy is right.

Dave and Neal are involved, presumably. What do you guys see here?

It's a thankless task but sandy and I are always happy to help out with CBF discussions here.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:02 pm

Sandy wrote:
Isn't BTSR jointly supported directly by CBF and the BGAV? I know that's a partnership, but they are more directly involved there, as I understand it, in provision of leadership, and the partnership runs deeper than just scholarships.


CBF has two levels of support for schools. As best I understand it, BTSR is on the first level which is shared by McAfee and Truett, as best I am aware. BGAV budget support only comes from churches who have chosen the WM2 budget option for their missions plan. This is a plan that includes some SBC agencies, some VA options, and the BGAV's general budget. I have a member of BTSR's Board of Trustees who is in my Peer Learning Group. From what I am hearing from him, the base of support is much broader for BTSR including donations from a number of individuals and churches in several different states. There are CBF scholars at BTSR, but not a disproportionate ratio of those.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:12 pm

William Thornton wrote:Bruce is involved in a CBF church start, I think. The theological schools seem to be viable. I appreciate ABP's work. If I were a CBFer I'd appreciate the fellowship, networking and perhaps the ability to support some ministries more to my liking but I don't see much need for or results from a central organization. Maybe the state CBF organizations would be worth supporting and just a barebones umbrella organization to keep those I touch with each other and limited cooperative projects. It seems plain to me from a distance that the national CBF is going nowhere but south. I think sandy is right.

Dave and Neal are involved, presumably. What do you guys see here?

It's a thankless task but sandy and I are always happy to help out with CBF discussions here.


William, I am grateful that you and Sandy ask honest questions. Actually, you are on target about the way CBF national is evolving. The study done last year (if you haven't read it) spoke clearly to the need to utilize partnerships between and among CBF state and regional entities. The idea is that if there is an effective functioning ministry through one state or regional group, partner with it rather than creating another at the national level. I see a good bit of this happening between Virginia and North Carolina. Steve Graham in Oklahoma is also working on more partnerships in the middle of the country. There has never been a desire among CBF to recreate all the massive bureaucracy of the SBC which certainly was bloated when CBF left. Many of the national functions of CBF have been deliberately kept small on purpose.

CBFVA is sponsoring four Mission Madness events for youth this year around the state. The first two had to turn away church groups because they were unable to accommodate all the churches who wanted to take part. CBFNC also had to turn away youth groups who wanted to take part in their annual ski retreat. I have no idea about what is happening in other states right now.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Ed Pettibone » Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:54 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
Sandy wrote: Instead of starting, and trying to sustain, a whole slate of new, dependent institutions and ministries, it would have been better served entering into fraternal agreements and partnerships with existing denominational entities, and conserving its financial support for the missionaries it is committed to, and the theological education via scholarships at schools it approves, not trying to support and run a school, and be the primary financial support for a list of entities that imitate what they used to have in the SBC.


I'm curious about a couple of your statements here. First, there have been fraternal relationships in several areas--American Baptists, some cooperation with Presbyterian and Episcopal churches in limited ways, and definite partnerships with overseas entities where Global Missions has placed personnel. I would be the first to say that moderates have started too many theological schools, but all those have been started by organizations other than CBF national. Also, as I read the budget for CBF, where is the effort to support and run a school?


Ed: Good points Dave. Where I think many CBF detractors and some CBF supporters go wrong is in a failure to understand the difference in partnership and ownership.

Some CBF partnerships are quite simple others are more complex. I recommend this page as a map toward an understanding of CBF Partnerships; www.thefellowship.info/About-Us/Who-We- ... to-partner
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Neil Heath » Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:12 pm

William Thornton wrote:... Dave and Neal are involved, presumably. What do you guys see here?

Sorry to respond slowly, Wm. I've been tied up with a tech-support project that has taken about 3 weeks to complete.

I am involved in Ga. CBF, serving on the state level Coordinating Council, which meets quarterly and makes the decisions for Ga. Here in Ga. we are doing our own re-visioning process to better set directions for the next few years. We celebrated our 20th anniversary in the past year, and the recent changes at the national level also favor a fresh look at what we are doing in Ga.

I see state and national bodies who are reflecting and evaluating the best ways to move forward as a healthy thing, and I'm glad we are doing so. I agree that we need to avoid duplication of efforts and we also need to deal with funding issues realistically.

On the funding side, Ga. is somewhat unique in hosting the national CBF office, which seems to draw a bit more of the funds from Ga. churches than we would sometimes like. We need a clearer plan for funding both, which would include making churches aware that giving to one doesn't mean the funds will be divided and shared by both.

We are still a work in progress at all levels, but the work I see being done gives me hope for the future.
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Re: Gushee on the leaderless, rudderless CBF

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 21, 2014 9:26 am

The national group formed, set up an organization with a coordinating council, selected those who would be involved, and planned its partnerships around the main budget. It seemed to me (and I was still involved in CBF when this occurred) that the state groups that began to form were largely voluntary, aimed at bringing CBF supporters in a particular area together for fellowship, and to promote the work of the fellowship. But the states with the larger numbers of churches moved to establish executive offices and leadership posts, and those compete with the Atlanta office for the same percentage of funds from the same group of churches. With the majority of those churches also still contributing to the CP, that doesn't seem like smooth coordination.

I know that part of the reason given in Texas for forming a state organization with a paid coordinator was to increase the contact with the churches, keeping them informed, and committed to CBF, and to provide a resource so that churches don't drop out (and have a place to get recommendations when there is a pastoral vacancy).
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FBC Spartanburg and Gushee

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Mar 21, 2014 5:09 pm

I got a smile out of Sandy's comment. Would love for FBC Sburg to host Gushee and I would do my best to make it up for the occasion. The Chaplain at nearby Limestone College in Gaffney, about a mile from where I lived from 62-78--would ride my bicycle over there three times a week to hit the wall on the tennis courts--is a Furman grad. Maybe we can get Worthen there if www.ginnybrant.com and trey gowdy don't have her at FBC Sburg first.

I do hope Thornton reads Worthen soon, as I have invited Gushee to do. Sandy missed a lot in his first read, and he won't take my word for it.

Maybe he'll listen to Thornton and Gushee if they can gently guide him through a reread of the text, a do-over.

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