ATLANTA (ABP) -- Colleen Burroughs, vice president of the Passport youth camping ministry she started with her husband in 1993, will be nominated as moderator-elect of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the Atlanta-based CBF announced May 24.
If elected, she would lead the organization with about 1,900 supporting churches in 2011-2012, succeeding Christy McMillin-Goodwin, minister of education and missions at Oakland Baptist Church in Rock Hill, S.C., the current moderator-elect who takes over as moderator at the close of this year's CBF General Assembly June 23-26 in Charlotte, N.C.
Current moderator Hal Bass, a professor at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., said Burroughs "brings extraordinary gifts of vision, passion, insight, and commitment to this position of leadership and service."
"She is extremely well-informed about CBF missions and ministries, and she is well-connected across our broader Fellowship movement," Bass said in a news release. "I am delighted that she has accepted the nomination."
Burroughs would become the 10th woman to serve as moderator, an elected leader who presides at meetings of the General Assembly and chairs the CBF Coordinating Council, and the 21st overall.
She would also be the first work for a CBF "partner," free-standing ministry organizations that receive a portion of their support from the CBF's $14.5 million annual budget.
Born in Africa to missionary parents, Burroughs grew up in Kenya, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Bophuthatswana. She and her husband, David, started Passport, Inc., a non-profit ministry based in Birmingham, Ala., in 1993 while both were students at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Originally a summer camp for students in grades 6-12, Passport innovated to combine a summer camping experience with a hands-on mission project. Over the years more than 75,000 campers have volunteered countless hours for services from painting houses to working at day camps to international trips to places like Liberia.
In 2004 Passport added PASSPORTKids for children who have completed grades 3-6. The ministry also manages Passport Exchange and Episcopal Mission Exchange, programs designed to help churches find places for mission service, and offers an online daily devotional called d365.org.
In 2005 Burroughs founded Watering Malawi, a non-profit agency that advocates for long-term solutions to poverty and hunger by providing wells, sanitation and simple irrigation systems in drought-prone Malawi.
Burroughs is currently a member of the CBF Coordinating Council and chair of its finance committee. She and her husband are parents of twins.
"CBF is the Baptist home where David and I have intentionally chosen to live and work and raise our children," Burroughs said. "Passport was birthed out of the Florida CBF and founded on both the freedom to welcome anyone who wanted to join us and the theological conviction that women could be called to preach. Now, though multiple Protestant traditions join us at camp, David and I personally choose to be committed Cooperative Fellowship Baptists. It is not because we have to, but because we resonate with CBF's specific theological voice. It is a Baptist voice that is vitally needed in the world and one which offers a philosophy of missions that is long overdue."
Formed in 1991, the CBF has from the beginning been intentional about rotating leadership between male and female, clergy and laity and across generations. Previous moderators have included an Asian-American, Joy Yee in 2005-2006, and an African-American, Emmanuel McCall, in 2006-2007.
Other past-moderators are John Hewett (1991-1992), Patsy Ayres (1992-1993), Hardy Clemons (1993-1994), Carolyn Crumpler (1994-1995), Pat Anderson (1995-1996), Lavonn Brown (1996-1997), Martha Smith (1997-1998), John Tyler (1998-1999), Sarah Frances Anders (1999-2000), Donna Forrester (2000-2001), Jim Baucom (2001-2002), Phill Martin (2002-2003), Cynthia Holmes (2003-2004), Bob Setzer (2004-2005), Harriet Harral (2007-2008) and Jack Glasgow (2008-2009).
Bob Allen is senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.