Thursday, May 6, 2010

Strategic Opportunities

This past week I participated in a leadership retreat with approximately 80 leaders of Baptist organizations from across the nation. We met April 27-29 at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. The retreat was convened by Babs Baugh, president of the Baugh Foundation, and Daniel Vestal, executive coordinator of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. The group included national and regional CBF leaders, a few state convention executives, and leaders from a variety of educational and ministry organizations and institutions. It was an interesting dialogue as we reflected on the transitions that have taken place in Baptist life over the past twenty plus years and dreamed about what God might have in store for the future of our ministries.

The meeting was particularly timely for me in light of the recent approval of our First Priority 2015 strategic plan during our Annual Meeting a few weeks ago. It was interesting to hear from other Baptist organizations and institutions are dealing with some of the same challenges and opportunities confronting our convention as we seek to serve churches. It was even more significant to learn that some have identified similar strategies for addressing these needs. I visited with leaders from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, Central Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship regarding ways we might collaborate to more effectively and efficiently achieve our shared goals. Baptists have always been proud our autonomy, but we should also be committed to move beyond mere cooperation to genuine collaboration for the sake of God’s Kingdom.

Our First Priority 2015 strategic plan includes seven specific initiatives that we believe will enable us to more effectively serve churches. These initiatives will be launched this year under the name of ChurchNet. They focus on helping our churches with Relationships, Training, Resources, Consultations, Missions, Church Starting, and enhanced relationships with our Institutional Partners. The plan also includes a five-year, state-wide emphasis called Share Hope! This emphasis is an effort to assist our churches as they share hope with their communities through relational evangelism, congregational ministry, and community advocacy.

I thought we had a wonderful Annual Meeting; however, I am confident the real impact of this year’s gathering we be felt over the coming years as we begin to implement our in new initiatives and explore together how we can best serve churches as they fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. I look to making the journey with you.

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