Holy Ambition: CBF’s General Assembly

| July 1st, 2023

Dear beloved community,

This week, twenty First on Fifth folks traveled to Atlanta for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s General Assembly, the annual gathering of more than 1000 Cooperative Baptists for encouragement and learning.

This year’s Assembly was full of life everywhere you turned. Young adults and seminary students bringing energy and curiosity. Leadership at every level from women and people of color. A room so full of welcoming and affirming Baptists that the gathering had to relocate to a larger space! A stage crowded with chaplains to endorse and field personnel to bless and send. Sermons that lifted, challenged, and heartened all who listened. Creative imagination and, as this year’s theme stated, “holy ambition” flowing freely from the good news of God’s transforming love for this world. And a newly-elected Moderator (kinda like CBF’s version of a Deacon Chair) who I happen to adore and who will serve us so well. 

And best of all, all who were there had the chance to make and rekindle friendships among folks of all kinds. In these days where Surgeon General Vivek Murthy reminds us of the need for meaningful connection, CBF’s General Assembly is like the antidote to loneliness and isolation. The gift of being among free and faithful Baptists to draw strength in our unity (although not our uniformity!) and encouragement for the road ahead will carry us. 

About this theme of “holy ambition,” CBF’s Executive Coordinator and our friend, Paul Baxley, said this: “I believe as we listen to Scriptures, remember the life and ministry of Jesus and consider the mission of the Church as the body of Christ in the world, we will see that the Triune God is, by nature, ambitious; that God has an ambition for the healing of the world through the power of a resurrecting, relentless love … I’m increasingly coming to believe that, for us to be faithful in the lives of our congregations, the ministries of our field personnel around the world and in the cultivation of a truly authentic Christian public witness, we will need to set aside a mindset of survival and instead be equipped with holy ambition.”

Holy ambition sounds like just the right tone for the living of these days! Let’s get to work!

Together in God’s work of Love,

Pastor Emily