“This is a passageway from here to there, with new roles and new opportuniies. We have not met as the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Missouri to do this kind of thing before,” he said, referencing the service-oriented nature of the gathering.
The gathering, held at Third Baptist Church, St. Louis, where Hoffman is pastor, featured a missions banquet and worship service on April 24 and service opportunities on April 25, followed by an Agape meal with communion and opportunities to share experiences from the morning’s activities.
In a brief business session, CBFMO approved a $220,000 ministry plan and appointed new members to the Coordinating Council, including Bruce Gentry, director of the Baptist Student Center at Southest Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, who will serve as vice-moderator; Mike McKinney, pastor of Leawood Baptist Church in Leawood, Kan.; and Cory Goode, associate pastor at University Heights Baptist Church, Springfield.
Bob Perry, Danny Chisholm and Daniel Johnson have completed service on the council.
During the worship service, Hoffman used Joshua 3 to invite attendees to consecrate themselves before the next day’s activities.
In the Joshua passage, the people of Israel were standing in front of the Jordan River, looking across to the Promised Land.
“The Jordan was defiantly uncrossable,” Hoffman said. “It was at flood stage; a raging river, swelled to overflowing.”
Just like the people of Israel needed God to intervene in order to cross the Jordan, CBFMO needs God to cross its own “threshhold moment.”
“Let’s not stumble into this, go carelessly like some other work day,” Hoffman urged. “I want to see God do what only God can do. The Jordan stretches out before us; we can’t cross it on our own. Let us be willing to move when God acts.
“God will do amazing things among you and through you.”
During a litany of commitment, worshippers asked God to “search our intentions and examine our purposes, cleanse us of any air of superiority. Make us your humble servants.”
They then stated together that “We consecrate ourselves to be God’s people and by God’s power we are ready to serve, ready to see the amazing work of God. Amen.”
On Saturday morning, attendees met at the church for breakfast, where they divided into service teams.
Teams worked in the community to sort clothes at the Salvation Army Harbor Light homeless shelter and at the Third Baptist Clothing Ministry; served breakfast at the Bosnian Food Pantry; assisted in the Habitat for Humanity ReStore; completed beautification projects at Cole Elementary School; cleaned pews in the chapel at the John C. Cochran Veterans Administration Hospital; made sandwiches for Gateway Homeless Services; sewed pillows for heart surgery patients at Missouri Baptist Medical Center; processed shoes to be donated to Shoes for Orphan Souls; painted and cleaned in the Third Baptist Church gymnasium; and participated in a community gardening project.
“I was pleased to be a part of the student/staff/friends team from Central Seminary that helped with the TBC clothing ministry,” said Robin Sandbothe, past moderator for CBFMO and director of seminary relations for Central Seminary. “I was even more pleased to have been the moderator for a General Assembly that has set the bar for future meetings. I definitely felt God’s spirit hovering over the gathering.”
Before the Agape meal, Laura Hoffman, minister of children and youth at Third Baptist Church, reminded participants that the meal was designed to “build community with each other while remembering the centrality of God in our lives.”
With the meal, “Eucharist returns to the dining table where it began,” she said. “Christ hosts and all at the table are guests at the joyful feast.”
Jennifer Harris is the news writer for Word&Way.