LIBERTY, Mo. —- Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri has changed its name to better reflect its make-up. Effective Jan. 1, the group became Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-Heartland.
The move toward a name change began about five years ago for the 20-year-old organization that started shortly after the national body formed.
“When it first came up…we considered CBF Midwest,” noted Harold Phillips, CBF-Heartland’s coordinator. The possibility of changing the group’s name rose from a desire to reflect “who we are,” he said.
An Iowa church, one in Kansas and one in Illinois were participating in the Missouri body. Two additional churches in Illinois have joined since then.
In September 2011, the coordinating council considered a two-layer approach to CBF work in the Midwest. That proposal would have retained the CBF of Missouri name and added a loose regional organization as an “overlay.” At the time, council members felt most Missouri CBF’ers might not have been ready to let go of the Missouri name.
National CBF is divided into regional areas east of the Mississippi River and, for a short time, grouped churches in the Midwest as the North Central Region. “It didn’t last but a couple of years,” Phillips said.
The coordinator added that the work of the national CBF’s 2012 task force to look at that organization’s future prompted the Missouri group to ask if it had the responsibility to seek ways in which to serve churches in the region.
Current coordinating council members again discussed the possibility and then voted for the change at their September 2012 retreat. “We were ready to make the change,” Phillips said. “We’re excited about it.”