What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Testcase

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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Sat Jan 05, 2019 12:56 pm

KeithE wrote: What do you say about churches doing “discipleship” (SBC, CBF or whenever you have gone). I hope that churches are doing that in all denominations and faiths (along with social ministries). God wants results in people’s individual and collective lives from our churches with or without confessions.


Even the last SBC congregation I belonged to before leaving Texas in 2010 had developed a home-group based approach to discipleship. Still had Sunday school, with about 200 in attendance, but the home groups added an additional 100 that we didn't see at the church on Sunday mornings, and they were responsible for most of the baptisms.

When I first moved to Pennsylvania, we belonged to a Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation and the discipleship more or less rested on the pastor's preaching and the youth ministry. They had a couple of home groups, but they were more for fellowship (and we discovered, for getting together apart from the church leadership to criticize and pick it apart). When we left that church, we spent about three years in an Evangelical Friends church which was quite a contrast and left no stone unturned in discipleship. They didn't call it Sunday school, but they had a whole variety of classes, some topical, some systematic Bible studies, before and after the Sunday morning service. Weekday groups met in homes, and the membership covenant asked prospective new members to be involved in a Sunday morning class and a home group for six months before joining. After that experience I can see the wisdom in doing that.

I haven't been a member of the church we now attend in Chicago long enough to comment on their discipleship ministry. It's an inner city congregation, so it has a lot of ministry activity aimed at different demographics and groups. I know there's an alcohol and drug recovery group and there's an ex-convict, ex-gang member group. Several groups are Spanish or Polish speaking, lots of different home groups. The home groups seem to be the thing these days.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:42 pm

William Thornton wrote:Looks like the national CBF has wholly embraced social gospel matters to the almost total exclusion of evangelism and discipleship. Dan Vestal was an evangelist. The outgoing ED is an activist warrior who did not seem to have viewed her role as leading anything much in the direction of traditional, orthodox evangelism and discipleship. Point me to anything that would prove me wrong.

underline added.

Well I pointed you to discipleship that CBF is doing in this post. I’m sure there is much more discipleship. It certainly is not “total(ly) exclud(ed)” as you said; in fact it is emphasized in the CBF churches.

William - Will you retract the “and discipleship” from your post above?

I might agree with you wrt “evangelism”.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:40 pm

Sure. Some discipleship.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:48 pm

William Thornton wrote:Sure. Some discipleship.

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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:25 pm

I had not had time to review all the post from Travis. My awareness of what Collins has written seems to express a feeling that many have today, that feeling of homelessness in world of change. The SBC has gone into the land of doctrinal dryness, especially with Calvinism uplifted in two of its larger seminaries. Neither CBF nor the SBC has a healthy evangelism program. I had Dr. Cecil Sherman in my last pastorate lead a rally on evangelism. Sherman, IMHO, had a very healthy approach to evangelism. My awareness also of Dan Vestal was of a healthy evangelism. There are CBF churches in VA with good baptism levels, though there are not nearly enough of them. I do think that we have a need to hear a wider selection of voices in all movements.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Sun Jan 06, 2019 12:23 am

When I graduated from seminary, I spent two or three days with a committee from University Baptist in Huntsville which, at the time, was a congregation of about 400 with a lot of college professors and NASA employees. I don't think they ever joined CBF, but they were not completely on board with the direction of the SBC in many ways. I would conclude, from that experience, that the First Baptist Church, which was a much larger congregation (steeple on the property looks like a rocket getting ready to launch) would have the same influences of an educated community with a university campus and a high-tech government agency. It seems like a lot of CBF churches are in that same spot, a group of people within the church who are more actively opposed to the direction the SBC is going, and a larger but still somewhat moderate group willing to allow them the freedom to give and support what they want, as long as it is consistent with the mission and purpose of the church.

I have to wonder if CBF's leadership, whether it is its board or its executive, or the whole inner circle of the fellowship understand that churches like this are feeling left behind and left out because they really aren't changing as the inner core of the fellowship has changed. And they don't seem to understand that most of the churches that support them with budget money are very similar to this one, larger, more traditional congregations that aren't fundamentalist by doctrine or practice, but not far enough to the left to ordain a female senior pastor, or an LGBT deacon. And they want a place at the table, but are now feeling that they don't have one. It appears that conversation among those more progressive who now are in leadership at CBF has led churches like this to believe that not all they have to say, especially if it differs from the accepted view on female clergy or acceptance of same-gender relationships as normal, is welcome to be expresses in spite of rhetoric about inclusiveness and diversity used by CBF leaders to characterize itself. Here's one of the supporting congregations that is pretty mainstream CBF which feels left out.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:11 pm

Sandy wrote:When I graduated from seminary, I spent two or three days with a committee from University Baptist in Huntsville which, at the time, was a congregation of about 400 with a lot of college professors and NASA employees. I don't think they ever joined CBF, but they were not completely on board with the direction of the SBC in many ways. I would conclude, from that experience, that the First Baptist Church, which was a much larger congregation (steeple on the property looks like a rocket getting ready to launch) would have the same influences of an educated community with a university campus and a high-tech government agency. It seems like a lot of CBF churches are in that same spot, a group of people within the church who are more actively opposed to the direction the SBC is going, and a larger but still somewhat moderate group willing to allow them the freedom to give and support what they want, as long as it is consistent with the mission and purpose of the church.

I have to wonder if CBF's leadership, whether it is its board or its executive, or the whole inner circle of the fellowship understand that churches like this are feeling left behind and left out because they really aren't changing as the inner core of the fellowship has changed. And they don't seem to understand that most of the churches that support them with budget money are very similar to this one, larger, more traditional congregations that aren't fundamentalist by doctrine or practice, but not far enough to the left to ordain a female senior pastor, or an LGBT deacon. And they want a place at the table, but are now feeling that they don't have one. It appears that conversation among those more progressive who now are in leadership at CBF has led churches like this to believe that not all they have to say, especially if it differs from the accepted view on female clergy or acceptance of same-gender relationships as normal, is welcome to be expresses in spite of rhetoric about inclusiveness and diversity used by CBF leaders to characterize itself. Here's one of the supporting congregations that is pretty mainstream CBF which feels left out.


Don’t know much about University Baptist Church. It is near Univ of Alabama Huntsville. Walter Nunn was the pastor in the 90’s and while he was a bonafide moderate, he could not move it to crossover to the CBF. My son Todd as a HS student went there Sunday Nights - he liked Walter's sermons and the fellowship he said; so I asked if a lot of UAH students went there - he said there were none. Most all of the people on Sunday Night at least were old but he liked talking to them and vice versa. Todd has always gone his own way.

I sense that since David Hull left FBC Huntsville in 2015 they are more aligned with the SBC than the CBF. Want to confirm that with calls and find out what their percentage giving is now (it was heavily CBF in giving - Joe and Francis Jones saw to that).
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Wed Jan 09, 2019 9:11 pm

Two Baptist Churches in the South Discuss the Issues Related to Christian LGBTQ Persons&Differently: As Expressed by Their Pastors in Recent Books

Editor’s Note: Two very respected Baptist pastors have recently published books describing the process they led their congregations through and the conclusions they made regarding how to apply biblical teachings in consideration of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) persons who attend their churches. Both southern churches exist in enclaves of the “bible belt” where strident opinions are often expressed on matters of politics, sexuality, biblical interpretation, and the proper role of religion in public life. These two pastors and the churches they serve determined to conduct a civil, thorough, and thoughtful examination of the issues and to set a course for their congregations’ faith and practice. The two churches arrived at different conclusions while exhibiting, as best they could, their own understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I asked a pastor friend, Dr. Cody Sanders, to review each book and compare the different conclusions for our readers.


Have not read either book:
Jim Dant's (FBC Greenville) book This I Know: A Simple Biblical Defense for LGBTQ Christians
Travis Collin’s (FBC Huntsville) book What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?: Navigating LGBT Questions in Your Church
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jan 10, 2019 9:58 am

Knowing Travis Collins from his service in VA at Bon Air Baptist in Richmond, he was much more SBC oriented than CBF oriented. To my knowledge, while there were members of his church who contributed to CBF by designation, his church never invited a CBF representative or missions personnel to speak at the church or its emphases. There were some there who also supported BTSR across town, but I never saw any direct support from him. I was surprised that FBC Huntsville chose him. He went there in interim commuting from VA and suddenly parlayed that interim into a pastorate, something generally regarded as an unethical action from an interim. In fact, if I were to do that, my certification as an intentional interim would be immediately and permanently revoked. Travis needs to be seen in context of his own ministry, not just Huntsville.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:19 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Knowing Travis Collins from his service in VA at Bon Air Baptist in Richmond, he was much more SBC oriented than CBF oriented. To my knowledge, while there were members of his church who contributed to CBF by designation, his church never invited a CBF representative or missions personnel to speak at the church or its emphases. There were some there who also supported BTSR across town, but I never saw any direct support from him. I was surprised that FBC Huntsville chose him. He went there in interim commuting from VA and suddenly parlayed that interim into a pastorate, something generally regarded as an unethical action from an interim. In fact, if I were to do that, my certification as an intentional interim would be immediately and permanently revoked. Travis needs to be seen in context of his own ministry, not just Huntsville.


Close to a cheap shot as my friend Dave might come. Maybe there are personal issues between the two of you but I know many interims who "parlayed" their position into the permanent senior pastor. Based on my experience and observations, I tend to think that is an unhealthy practice in general but in specific cases neither you nor I nor anyone can flat declare it not to be God's method, process, and result. If there was a prior agreement that the interim was not to be considered nor to allow the church to consider him as the permanent pastor, then you have a good point. I'm guessing that you don't know enough to determine if that was true or not.

Churches use all kinds of screwy methods to call a new pastor. I commend FBCH for calling a pastor who, in Dave's view, is much more SBC oriented. The CBF is slowly dying, has been for years. Before you declare the same thing about the SBC, check the stats.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:23 am

If he were from Mars and no one here knew him, I'd say that his points are well taken. Here's a guy who doesn't fit in the CBF or SBC scheme. Where will he go? Where will he lead his church to go? Obviously, he didn't swallow all the re-imagining fuzzy talk from the grand CBF committee. And, when's the last time you heard straight talk from a CBF leader on Christian conversion, the new birth?
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jan 10, 2019 10:36 am

William Thornton wrote:If he were from Mars and no one here knew him, I'd say that his points are well taken. Here's a guy who doesn't fit in the CBF or SBC scheme. Where will he go? Where will he lead his church to go? Obviously, he didn't swallow all the re-imagining fuzzy talk from the grand CBF committee. And, when's the last time you heard straight talk from a CBF leader on Christian conversion, the new birth?


To label him as a CBF leader is to misrepresent him since he, to my knowledge, has never been associated with CBF. His heart may have been there, but his body never was. Also, Cecil Sherman and Dan Vestal both had a lot to say about evangelism and conversion. Sherman was especially strong on this point. If you look at CBF churches, you find some that do well in evangelism and some very poorly. By the way, Collins has never been active in CBF Alabama since arriving there either, to the best of my knowledge.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:30 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
William Thornton wrote:If he were from Mars and no one here knew him, I'd say that his points are well taken. Here's a guy who doesn't fit in the CBF or SBC scheme. Where will he go? Where will he lead his church to go? Obviously, he didn't swallow all the re-imagining fuzzy talk from the grand CBF committee. And, when's the last time you heard straight talk from a CBF leader on Christian conversion, the new birth?


To label him as a CBF leader is to misrepresent him since he, to my knowledge, has never been associated with CBF. His heart may have been there, but his body never was. Also, Cecil Sherman and Dan Vestal both had a lot to say about evangelism and conversion. Sherman was especially strong on this point. If you look at CBF churches, you find some that do well in evangelism and some very poorly. By the way, Collins has never been active in CBF Alabama since arriving there either, to the best of my knowledge.


I wasn't referring to him as a CBF leader. Sherman is gone, Vestal is gone. When is the last time you heard straight talk from anyone in the CBF on straightforward evangelism? Keith hasn't seen an adult conversion in his church, I believe that was his statement, in memory. Talking about the Gospel not process or traditions.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:00 pm

William, I can't speak for what may be in all CBF churches, but I can tell you what I do and what my pastor does (when I get the rare chance to hear her). I "preach Christ crucified." That is what I expect to hear every time I am in church. Not every sermon should be evangelistic, but I expect to hear and share some gospel in sermons. Adult conversions come when God's people get outside the church where people are, form relationships with them, and love them for Christ. The days of people just coming to church because it's there on Sunday are over. The evangelism of today will be relational, not propositional. Our greatest Baptist problem in both the SBC and CBF is being in our religious ghettos where we don't have regular dealings with lost people.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 4:05 pm

William Thornton wrote:Before you declare the same thing about the SBC, check the stats.

https://baptistcourier.com/2018/02/a-cl ... s-decline/
https://baptistnews.com/article/souther ... DezEc9KhEI
https://churchleaders.com/news/332036-s ... blues.html

Some stats there to check.

Dave Roberts wrote:By the way, Collins has never been active in CBF Alabama since arriving there either, to the best of my knowledge.


I think this illustrates a point I've been making about CBF for a long time. While I understand the position they've taken on local church autonomy and the need to be as broad of a tent as they can be, the problem is that even after all of this time, most of CBF's congregations are still cooperating Southern Baptist churches. And while there has been a tendency among some CBF leaders and insiders to be a bit myopic when it comes to considering the level of loyalty of all of its partnering congregations, the fact of the matter is that most of them are "keeping the peace" with a minority of their members when it comes to allowing financial support for CBF through the church budget. When it comes down to it, there are about 200 churches (that's probably a high estimate) that are uniquely affiliated with CBF to the exclusion of the SBC. The rest are like FBC Huntsville. Churches change, members leave or die, pastors resign or retire and new leadership is called.

Looking at their website, I would guess that FBC Huntsville is, like most First Baptist churches in towns and small cities in the deep South, a middle-aged to older congregation. Most of its staff members look to be past 50. It has a full time minister to Senior Adults. The calendar and weekly activities are as traditionally Southern Baptist as you can get, the church building looks like an attempt was made to convey a less traditional appearance in the late 60's or 70's. When the pastor who led them partially into CBF left, the congregation had an opportunity to go further in their choice of a pastor and pick someone who, as an insider, was "active" in the CBF Alabama group, or somewhere in the fellowship who demonstrated that kind of loyalty, or choose a pastor who more closely identified with the majority of their church, older Southerners who are not fundamentalist, don't care for denominational politics, have a more "moderate" perspective as far as church culture is concerned about things like women in ministry and are more like a velvet glove than an iron fist when it comes to controversial social issues. But they are still theologically conservative, committed to a view that I would call "practical inerrancy" when it comes to the Bible and the majority of their membership wouldn't be on board with ordaining women or affirming homosexuality. So they called a pastor who reflects their preferences and beliefs, a traditional, old-line, seminary educated Southern Baptist who will keep them arms-length from convention politics but who also isn't an insider with the more activist and exclusive CBF'ers who have defined their own turf and fenced it in. So they'll probably keep sending their money to CBF as it is designated that way, but their pastor isn't going to create controversy by showing up at CBF meetings. And now that the Illumination Project has published its conclusions and has moved CBF several steps further down the road toward the left on LGBT issues, my guess would be that the majority of the members would like to keep at least that much distance from the fellowship.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Thu Jan 10, 2019 6:17 pm

William Thornton wrote:Sherman is gone, Vestal is gone. When is the last time you heard straight talk from anyone in the CBF on straightforward evangelism?


The selection of Suzii Paynter as exec coordinator of CBF was a major shift in everything. The coordinating council was downsized and empowered and the effect was to give a smaller group of people, who all seem to be drawn from the same perspective within CBF. Sherman was as straightforward as you can get, never afraid to say what was on his mind which, while lighting up the critics in the SBC, never left anyone wondering where he stood. Vestal was a promoter-pastor, always looking for the internal marketing advantage, and always busy. Paynter was a passive presence. Almost every photo of her I've seen has her behind a pulpit or podium, head tilted just to one side, hands on podium, slightly leaning forward, and she was a master at the use of flowery, progressive church language. There are times when I've read commentaries from different writers who drew different conclusions about what she said because she was non-committal, always fence walking and obfuscating. She came from a bureaucratic department of a state convention which is a much different background than most Baptist executives who are usually former pastors. And that, in and of itself, signals a change in the direction CBF's inner circle was moving.

I know Dave usually reacts to the mention of Texans when it comes to CBF, though Texas is probably responsible for half of the money and at least 40% of the total membership of CBF at the present time. It's anecdotal, but among the CBF'ers I still keep in touch with in the Lone Star State, she was not their best choice for the position.
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Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:21 pm

I'm gonna check on it now, but I hear he made an innocuous post re the FBC Huntsville pastor and had 300 comments within 24 hours.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:59 am

One more interesting piece of this. Travis Collins has worked for the past few years as a liaison with Fresh Expressions promoting their work. I can't help wondering if his article is a prelude to recommending that group as the new Promised Land for those in the middle of the journey. I do think that has to be figured into what he has written.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:34 am

Dave Roberts wrote:One more interesting piece of this. Travis Collins has worked for the past few years as a liaison with Fresh Expressions promoting their work. I can't help wondering if his article is a prelude to recommending that group as the new Promised Land for those in the middle of the journey. I do think that has to be figured into what he has written.


First I heard of that organization. You must know more. Do you like their work or not? Problems? Another consultant group?

Not sure I see much of a point but am curious. Obviously, he likes the group.

In the Grand Old SBC, you can't blow your nose without making some independent church consultants jump.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Mon Jan 14, 2019 4:20 pm

FWIW

Fresh Expressions

Seems this started in 2004 with Church of England and British Methodists but has expanded across the sea and to other Protestants.

Emphasis is funding churches for unique “contexts” like Cowboy churches, bikers churches, “Messy” churches (whatever that is).

Travis is mentioned on the About Us / Team page.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Jan 16, 2019 9:14 am

Interestingly, I was with a lay leader from his church who is heavily involved in CBF this week who is not very happy with his statements about CBF and intends to have a talk with him about his lack of understanding of CBF.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:29 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Interestingly, I was with a lay leader from his church who is heavily involved in CBF this week who is not very happy with his statements about CBF and intends to have a talk with him about his lack of understanding of CBF.


Hmmm... I would love to know who that was. PM me or just tell us all if you feel free to do so. I know many at FBC-H especially previously CBF friendly sorts.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:12 pm

I don't know anyone at FBC-H. Looking at their website, at their newsletter, the church has a worship attendance that flirts with 1,000, and gives about 10% of its undesignated receipts to missions with about 90% of that going to the CP through the state convention in Alabama, not counting a hefty Lottie Moon gift, and about 10% to CBF. I don't think you can measure "commitment" or loyalty in terms of percentages or dollars. I would guess that's probably typical of most churches that still remain dually affiliated with SBC and CBF. How many members, out of 1,000, are aware of and supportive of CBF in that particular congregation?
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:37 pm

From my perspective it appears that the only thing that separates the author from being a run of the mill conservative or even fundamentalist SBCer is that he supports women in ministry and won't sign the BFM 2000. I'd say moderate sliding to the right.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:37 pm

Sandy wrote:I don't know anyone at FBC-H. Looking at their website, at their newsletter, the church has a worship attendance that flirts with 1,000, and gives about 10% of its undesignated receipts to missions with about 90% of that going to the CP through the state convention in Alabama, not counting a hefty Lottie Moon gift, and about 10% to CBF. I don't think you can measure "commitment" or loyalty in terms of percentages or dollars. I would guess that's probably typical of most churches that still remain dually affiliated with SBC and CBF. How many members, out of 1,000, are aware of and supportive of CBF in that particular congregation?


I think most are aware of CBF at least among the long time members. According to Bruce Gourley’s history of FBC-H (page 186)
By the end of the decade {in context the 90’s}, based on giving, church members favored the CBF over the SBC by a two-to-one margin.


That jives with my impression during that time when I drove to Birmingham with Deb McDaniel (current FBC-H member on used to active on BL) for Mainstream Alabama meetings. She has not answered my phone calls and emails to update that.

Sandy, I could not find mention of the percentage giving to missions, CP thru SBC Alabama, or CBF these days - not on their website or Bruce's book published in 2009. Show where you found your numbers.

Just talked with an ex- FBCH member who now goes to our church. He says the giving envelope includes options for SBC, CBF and Local Missions and he didn’t hazard a guess about how much is given to each pot. My impression (reading their website and knowing/talking with Mike Pearce, their Missions Minister) - not facts - is that they have moved to more local missions. I have given this guy (and his wife may chip in also) the link to this topic. He would like to read it and may respond.
Informed by Data.
Driven by the SPIRIT and JESUS’s Example.
Promoting the Kingdom of GOD on Earth.
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KeithE
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