FORT WORTH—The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship commissioned eight field personnel and church starters at the group's annual general assembly.
"We stand with you tonight to give our blessing, our support and our commitment to pray for you, love you and walk alongside you through this awesome journey on which you are about to depart," CBF Executive Coordinator Daniel Vestal told the individuals who were commissioned.
"You do not travel alone, as the Lord goes before you, behind you, and beside you, and as we—through our prayers, our financial gifts, emails, phone calls, letters, care packages, visits, volunteer trips and advocacy for the most neglected—take this journey with you, as well."
John Norwood, a church starter in Houston, was among the group commissioned, along with other church starters Andy Hale of Clayton, N.C., and Brickson Sam of Charlotte, N.C.
Field personnel commissioned were Andy and Jutta Cowie, Haiti; Jessica and Joshua Hearne, Danville, Va.; and Missy Ward, Uganda.
In a challenge to the CBF, Phil Christopher, pastor of First Baptist Church in Abilene, talked about his church's $5 million capital campaign for missions, which began in 2010.
In addition to local ministries, the funds pledged through the campaign have enabled the church to partner with CBF field personnel, including Anjani and Jimmy Cole in Spain, Jeff and Alicia Lee in Macedonia and Caroline and Josh Smith in South Africa.
"Jimmy Cole grew up in First Baptist Abilene, and when we started talking about what it means to be a missional church, he took what we were saying seriously," Christopher said. "He resigned as a successful pharmaceutical salesperson, sold his home and said, 'Here am I, send me.' Can you imagine?
"If we are going to talk missions in our churches, if we are going to commission field personnel, if we are going to tell the 'old, old story,' our churches have a responsibility to make sure the resources are available when people like the Coles, the Smiths the Lees are called to go and tell the story of Jesus and his love."