KANSAS CITY - Keith Herron steps up as Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's moderator at an "historic" and "exciting" time in the organization's history.
Since the Kansas City pastor has been a part of that history almost from the beginning, becoming moderator is almost a natural progression for him. "I've always been associated with moderate-type churches," he said. "When CBF came along, it was a natural development.... The churches had a vision of Baptist life in common...and it was extremely easy to be involved."
He steps into the post at the national CBF General Assembly in Fort Worth next week.
The pastor of Holmeswood Baptist Church for 11 years, Herron was part of the formation of the Fellowship in Texas. "The churches I had served had a native interest in CBF.... There was not even an argument about it...because it was a movement away from the rigidity of the SBC [Southern Baptist Convention]," he explained.
Herron believes he was chosen as moderator-elect, the post he currently fills, because of his long-term connection. The moderator-elect moves up in the governance structure. Just coming off a three-year cycle on the coordinating council, he said he was familiar with what was happening. "They look for someone with that familiarity," he said.
"But I was glad to think about it [accepting the leadership role].... It's a thing I get to do.... It's a responsible position that needs doing."
He added that he is especially happy about the opportunity because of his longtime commitment to the Fellowship. "We love on organizations that we feel passion for," he said.
Herron looks forward to the challenge as moderator because of the changes CBF is currently undergoing. Daniel Vestal will step down as coordinator, and interim Pat Anderson will step into the role at the General Assembly.
"That's a key step because we don't want the organization to consider itself in neutral," Herron said.
In addition to a change in leadership, the Fellowship also will begin to make changes in strategy and direction. General Assembly attendees will vote on recommendations to be brought by CBF's 2012 Task Force. "We'll slowly put into place the things being recommended," Herron said.
As moderator, he also will join the coordinator search committee. "Hopefully, we will be able to announce a new coordinator by the end of the year," he said. "And we are preparing to name a search committee for a new missions coordinator."
The Kansas City pastor believes the changes mean "exciting days ahead" and new opportunities. "We hope to be able to live into the spirit of the structure while we are on our way to implementing those changes," he said.
Raised in the Dallas area, Herron earned a bachelor of arts degree in business and religion at Baylor University, a master of arts in religious education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. He also has completed post-graduate studies.
Herron is a prolific writer on social and religious topics, and his work currently appears on Ethics Daily (ethicsdaily.com), the CBF website, The Kansas City Star and a couple of blogs, including the church's blog at holmeswood.org/holmeswords.