Cooperative Baptist Fellowship moderator Hall Bass of Arkansas told the group’s governing body yesterday that he has appointed a 14-member task force to look at the CBF organizational model that has evolved over the past two decades. Pastor David Hull (pictured) of Huntsville, Ala., will chair the effort.

New energy for looking at how the Fellowship and its autonomous state and regional organizations and partners relate and share funding flowed from an April retreat hosted by CBF Coordinator Daniel Vestal and philanthropist Babs Baugh of San Antonio, Texas.

Vestal told the CBF Coordinating Council that “a tremendous amount of consensus” exists in the movement around mission and core values. However, “the challenge we face is with structure and, frankly, with money.”

Vestal said the current structure fosters competition and needs to face the question: “Is this still the best model?”

With some voiced opposition, the council overwhelmingly voted to affirm the effort of the task force — with assurances from Bass and Vestal that any recommendations concerning governance must come through the governing body before any changes are made by the larger Fellowship in assembly in the future.

Baugh, whose family foundation funded the April retreat of Fellowship movement leaders, said the word “audacious — as in audacious dreams” was used frequently during three days of dreaming. “They came up with wonderful ideas … (and) want to go forward.”

Conversations around round tables, said Baugh, fostered trust and a sense of everyone having an equal chance to engage in discussions about the Fellowship’s future with no hidden agenda brought to the experience.

Vestal quoted Bab Baugh’s late father, John Baugh, a Houston layman and successful businessman, saying: “When you get good people together, good things happen” in describing his impressions of the spring retreat.

Kansas City pastor Keith Herron, a member of the Coordinating Council, said he believes that same experience will result from the newly appointed task force’s work and the listening sessions they will hold around the country.

“I’m very jazzed about this,” said Herron, about the possibilities for examining how the Fellowship moves forward organizationally.

With the 20th annual CBF General Assembly getting underway in Charlotte, Coordinating Council recorder Joanne Carr of Augusta, Ga., compared the Fellowship’s fresh look at reorganization to the human maturation process. “What I heard (at the retreat) was … where do we go from here as an adult organization?”

In addition to Hull, the other 13 members appointed by Bass to the task force are: Jean Willingham, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Alan Culpepper, Atlanta, Ga.; Ray Higgins, Little Rock, Ark.; Larry Hovis, Pfafftown, N.C.; Tony Hopkins, Greenwood, S.C.; Stephen Cook, Danville, Va.; Rene’ Maciel, San Antonio, Texas; Ruth Perkins Lee, Auburn, Ala.; Hollyn Holman, Washington, D.C.; Kasey Jones, Washington, N.C.; Susan Deal, Orlando, Fla.; Laura Hoffman, St. Louis, Mo.; Connie McNeill, Atlanta, Ga.

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