Modern. Progressive. Evangelical. Balanced.

By Matt Sapp

By Matt Sapp

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) just introduced a new logo as part of a year-long re-branding process. Along with the new look, CBF is promoting a clarified vision statement and a new tag line, “Forming Together.”

In her most recent blog post Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter describes CBF as a “living congregation” of individuals and churches “forming together toward God’s kingdom vision,” and as an “emergence endeavor” akin to the flocking phenomenon often observed in birds.

She writes that “[CBF’s] vision is to be a national and global community bearing witness to the gospel in partnership with Christians across the nation and around the world.”

The year I was born a decade-long struggle for power began in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). During that decade, moderate Baptists lost their positions in the denomination as more conservative Baptists took their places to consolidate control of the convention. 

I’ve watched with heartache as my elders mourned the loss of institution and identity. I watched with pride as they endured hardship for the sake of integrity and truth. And I’ve seen the determination to build again in the restarting process of moderate Baptist life. The CBF we celebrate today is the result of that determination.

Those scenes and emotions formed me. But because of that history, for my entire life the visions of the Baptist schools, organizations and churches I have been a part of have been shaped more by the last thirty years than the next thirty years.

So it's refreshing for a Baptist like me to see CBF continuing to adopt more forward-thinking approaches toward our work and ministry together. If the re-branding process is successful, we'll all discover together that the new brand is about more than an evolving look, it's about an evolving way of thinking.

I use Donald Miller’s Storyline Productivity Schedule as my daily organizer. If you're interested in a new tool to help you organize your workday you should check it out. At the bottom of each day in the Storyline calendar there’s a space for you to write your life theme—or your vision for the future you want to create.

I'm not sure anyone's clamoring to hear my vision for the future, but I thought I’d share it anyway. For close to a year now, these four words have been my vision statement, written in the “My Life Theme” blank at the bottom of my daily calendar: “Modern. Progressive. Evangelical. Balanced.” That’s who I hope I am; it’s who I want to be; and it’s what I want my work to aim toward.

I want modern, progressive, evangelical churches and institutions to thrive in the 21st century, and I want to be a part of it.  And I want them—I want us—to live and do and serve with the balance that’s essential to emotional well-being, lasting transformation, and ministry effectiveness.

Over the next four weeks, I’ll use this blog to explore what I mean by modern, progressive, evangelical and balanced. These words define for me what I think is necessary to engage our culture for Christ effectively and with integrity. They stretch me and challenge me, so I expect they’ll probably stretch and challenge you, too, but I look forward to exploring them together with you.

God has a vision for CBF. God has a vision for me. And God has a vision for Heritage.

So what’s our vision? As our strategic planning group re-imagines our 2012 Strategic Plan we'll ask that exact question. 

I don’t know exactly where we’ll end up, but I do know where to start. The first step in any visioning process is prayer. I’m praying for our church and for our planning team. You should, too. 

See you Sunday.