On April 26, I had the pleasure to once again lead our Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Mississippi (CBF MS) quarterly Coordinating Council meeting. Following in the steps of Dick Allison, Philip Reynolds, and Ashley Gill, I am currently serving as Moderator for CBF MS and I’m getting to do so during a very significant period of growth and renewal within our Fellowship. I would like to highlight some of the conversations that our happening in our state.
Delta Hands for Hope
CBF MS is coming together to concentrate on a new mission start in Shaw, MS, (just south of Cleveland). Delta Hands for Hope (DHH) is part of the larger Together for Hope emphasis that has the CBF working in the twenty poorest counties in our nation. While a handful of Mississippi counties are among these twenty poorest, the work in Shaw represents the first significant CBF mission effort taking place in our state. The effort is being led by a board composed of community leaders from Shaw along with CBF pastor and William Carey graduate Jason Coker. While Jason serves a church in Connecticut, he grew up in Shaw and is leading efforts to share the love of Jesus, particularly with the children and youth of the community.
On June 1, the first paid Director for DHH, Lane Riley, will begin coordinating mission efforts in Shaw. Lane was raised in a CBF church in South Carolina and is eager to use her gifts and education to serve the work of Christ in the Mississippi Delta. Our own church will take a trip to Shaw on June 4-7. If you are interested in joining, please contact me. We’ll be hearing a lot more about DHH in the coming months.
New Church Starts: We continue to celebrate the growth of churches that have been planted by CBF MS, including Saint Martin’s Baptist Fellowship on the coast. Saint Martin’s asks for our continued prayers as they are in the final stages of calling a Pastor.
Wonderful conversations are also taking place in new parts of MS, including in Oxford where at least three families have contacted CBF MS about helping them begin a church. Conversations are also taking place in Cleveland and Tupelo. We look forward to being a part of new beginnings in parts of our state that do not have a CBF-affiliated church.
Faith and Vocational Formation
A new committee has been formed to work on opportunities for our children, youth, and college students to grow and serve together. Right now, much emphasis is being given to creating a new Fall Assembly experience. On October 24-25, Fall Assembly will be held in Shaw. We will not only worship and conduct our usual business, but we will give most of our day Saturday to mission projects in the Shaw area. A youth retreat and children’s mission experiences will also be part of the weekend.
Much of the new energy we are experiencing within our Fellowship is due to the leadership being pro- vided by our new Field Coordinator, Christian Byrd. In the coming months, you will have more opportunity to meet Christian and welcome him to our CBF MS family. Continue to pray for our fellowship and the good work that is springing-up across our state.