Tuesday, September 13, 2011

CBF and CBFO Face Leadership Transitions

A couple of weeks ago T Thomas, Coordinator for CBFOklahoma, announced that he has accepted a pastorate in the outskirts of Paris, France. This week Daniel Vestal, the Executive Coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, announced his retirement. Both of these two leaders profoundly shaped their respective organizations with the heart for the Church and their missional passion. CBF owes a debt of gratitude to Dr. Vestal for his season of selfless leadership. Likewise, CBFO owes a profound sense of appreciation to T Thomas helped us find our identity in mission engagement.

This time of transition offers both organizations an opportunity to build on what foundations these two leaders provided, but also offers the opportunity for CBF and CBFO to re-envision the role of that Coordinator plays in organizational leadership. When the movement was young, the need for leadership stability was clear. But, now two decades later, the time for the naming a Coordinator for life has passed. I would recommend that CBF and CBFO move toward a model embraced by many other Baptist bodies across the globe where key leadership is elected for service for a specific term of service. I would like to recommend that the CBF Executive Coordinator and the CBFO State Coordinator serve for a four or five year term with the capacity to be re-elected for up to one additional term. This would mean that we these two essential leadership roles would be elected from among the body and return to the body at the close of his/her term/s of service. This would enable these roles to remain rooted in the life of the local congregation and would speak from among its midst rather than over and above and outside of it from an institutional stance. While CBF and CBFO pride themselves as a movement of both churches and individuals, I fear that a major contributor to CBF’s ongoing financial struggles is progressively diminishing connections with local congregations. It seems that too often individual agendas have shaped discussions pushing congregations further aside.

Thank you Daniel and T for the leadership you have offered. I look forward to seeing what God will do in and through the CBF and CBFO in the days ahead.

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