FBC will Vote on Becoming an Encourager Church!
FBC Business Meeting
February 26, 2023 12:15PM, FBC Fellowship Hall
First Baptist Church Missions Committee is recommending that FBC enter into an Encourager Church partnership with two of our Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Field Personnel – one local and one international – for the next three years. Our church will vote on accepting this new partnership at our regular business meeting in February after worship.
Once the church approves this new partnership, we will support these two field personnel for a period of three years with prayer, encouragement, and financial support (FBC Missions Committee has pledged $500/year for three years for each field personnel, and there will be other opportunities to support them as a church as we build this relationship). And the benefits are mutual! Our church will benefit from learning more about their ministries, hearing from them directly on a regular basis, and being a part of the world-changing work they are doing.
In a few weeks, we will hold a place in our worship service to hear from these field personnel and sign our covenant with them, including a visit from the CBF Global Missions team to join us for this momentous occasion. More information on that date will be forthcoming.
See below to meet our field personnel and learn more about what it means to be a CBF Encourager Church!
Meet our Field Personnel
Jessica is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel based in Danville, Virginia. Danville is a city in Southside Virginia where 38% of children live below the poverty line, nearly 3 times the average for Virginia. One in 5 people in Danville live with food insecurity, and the median household income there is about half that of the state. Jessica and her husband Joshua serve with and through Grace and Main Fellowship, an intentional, ecumenical Christian community devoted to hospitality, simplicity, prayer, nonviolent action and grassroots community development. The foundation of their ministry is simple: building relationships and community. Grace and Main ministers with and among people in Danville who are experiencing homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, and food and housing insecurity.
Karen is a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel appointed to pastoral ministry with the local Protestant Church in Northern Africa as they serve the needs of their vulnerable migrant and refugee neighbors. Karen has been serving as field personnel in Northern Africa since 2018. Her church has eleven different lay-led volunteer teams around the country—each providing humanitarian relief and development programs to sub-Saharan migrants and refugees in need. Karen serves her church on a national level, providing pastoral care and organizational leadership to the church’s migrant ministry. Karen and her colleagues provide emergency food aid, medical relief, skills training programs, and scholarships to thousands of vulnerable people in her country. Karen also provides pastoral ministry and enables her church to fund their life-saving work as they bear witness to the love of Jesus Christ.
What’s an Encourager Church?
Encourager Churches are critical to the work of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Global Missions field personnel around the world. Such relationships play a unique and intimate role in God’s mission by engaging congregations directly in established work in three primary contexts: global poverty, global migration, and the global church. Encourager Churches join the storied history of sending and supporting people Christ has called from our midst to cross cultural borders to cultivate beloved community, bear witness to Jesus Christ, and seek transformational development.
A congregation becomes an Encourager Church when it enters covenant with specific field personnel. The congregation has great flexibility to shape the details of its covenant with field personnel to address their mutual needs. CBF suggests that Encourager Churches include four areas of encouragement in their covenant: prayer support, program support, short-term engagement, and financial support.
Prayer Support – Encourager Churches covenant to pray without ceasing. They integrate prayer requests from the field personnel into the prayer life of the congregation back home, and field personnel bring your joys and concerns before the global church.
Program Support – Some aspects of developing and maintaining partnerships that work well at the local level include printing and mailing newsletters, hosting video missions moments, and providing missionary housing and vehicles when field personnel visit home Your congregation becomes an advocate in your community and at regional events. Because each ministry is different, be sure to contact your field personnel about ways in which you can empower them on the field.
Short-term Engagement – Short-term missions with CBF follows a partnership model working alongside CBF field personnel and indigenous mission partners. You will be joining our ongoing work, which is designed to be relational, sustainable, and reciprocal. These experiences aim to bless your congregation both with opportunities to serve and to create opportunities to learn from your field personnel’s community. To learn more about short-term service with CBF, visit www.cbf.net/serve
Financial Support – Encourager Churches financially support ministry on the field in various ways. You commit to support the long-term presence of field personnel through gifts to the Offering for Global Missions as well as direct support of your field personnel’s mission programming budgets. We ask that each Encourager Church make a commitment of 3-5 years in order to make long-term transformation possible in an era of short-term missions.
The Benefits of Becoming an Encourager Church
Expanded Mission – The Encourager Church commits to including the work of the field personnel into the lives of the congregation and community. This partnership not only benefits the field personnel but also the church. This helps the church to grow their mission involvement by being personally involved in a mission as well as growing in new missional ways.
Deeper Relationships – The Encourager Church ministry helps create deeper relationships with a specific field personnel team. This relationship is mutual because the field personnel also wants to be with the church community when they are available. The field personnel can also help the church discover new ways to partner with their local community.
Richer Discipleship – The Encourager Church ministry encourages deeper personal spiritual growth through prayer, engagement, and financial commitment. The discipleship aspect helps us understand the call of Christ, not only to serve but to be present through prayer by committing to the call of the Great Commission to serve and love all.