Porter’s vision and leadership will point CBF Global Mission into bright future
By Linda Jones
Missions coordinator, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of North Carolina
Chair, Global Missions Advisory Search Committee
On that first day seated around the table, each of us knew that the endeavor we were about to undertake was going to be a significant time in our lives and in the life of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We looked around, thrilled with being in each other’s company, realizing that in our midst were 12 of CBF’s best and brightest, each knowledgeable and passionate about CBF Global Missions.
I can now say on behalf of the Global Missions Coordinator Advisory Search Committee that we are excited to introduce Steven Porter as CBF’s new Coordinator of Global Missions. We are convinced that his passion, energy and strategic vision will carry CBF’s Global Missions efforts into a bright future, and we eagerly anticipate September 1 when he begins his work.
This search committee represented well our CBF states and regions. Its members were young and old, missionary, pastor, staff and laity. No doubt, it was of utmost importance to create the right team for such a crucial search. And in this group, each had personal, participatory experience with missions locally and globally. The committee members and the selection process that they were about to conceive were bathed in prayer from the very beginning.
The search team created a process that included talking to current and former Global Missions staff, field personnel, state and regional coordinators and CBF churches, seeking their perspectives on what to look for in the new Global Missions Coordinator. We used the insight gained through these conversations to create a job description and begin looking for the best person to fit this role.
In the end, the committee received a large amount of resumes from across the United States and around the world. Through rounds of interviews, the committee listened for the right candidate to mobilize local churches to be on mission, empower field personnel for effective global missions, initiate and develop effective, strategic partnerships as well as have innovative and creative approaches to missions in the twenty-first century.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship needs a shared vision for mission engagement for the future. This, the committee knew, requires someone with strategic vision that understands CBF and the local church and that understands our field personnel – their passion, commitment and the difficulties they face on the mission field. It requires an understanding of our culture and what we need as an organization to lead us forward to effective, strategic, innovative and holistic ministry. In the end, the committee believed Porter was the right person at the right time to lead CBF Global Missions into the future.
Since his seminary days at Candler School of Theology, Steven has always had a commitment to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and to missions. He exhibits vision and passion for ministry and understands and has implemented asset-based community ministry. He has worked with CBF mission and ministry endeavors, attended CBF partner divinity schools and worked with CBF state organizations and local churches.
Steven is a proven, gifted leader as well as an excellent preacher. The many recommendation letters submitted in support of his candidacy for the position recounted his relational skills and trusted leadership. As a CBF commissioned field personnel at Touching Miami with Love, one of CBF’s flagship urban ministries, his leadership included managing numerous staff and volunteers, coordinating substantial budgets and responding to the need for resources with overwhelming success. He developed new and creative programs and built partnerships with the local community. His ability to work with others, providing supportive guidance to staff and volunteers, and his emotional maturity and discernment enabled the Touching Miami with Love to thrive under his leadership.
Steven is a missiologist and a strategic thinker who understands the complexities of global missions. He has personally experienced working with the homeless, the urban poor and global missions. He is able to identify and understand the challenges facing our churches, our field personnel and our Fellowship.
And, importantly, in changing times, Steven believes that CBF has a hope-filled future as we think strategically about the investment of local churches in global missions, about the long-term investment of cross-cultural field personnel and about interfaith mission work that fosters collaboration across the global church.
CBF Global Missions Advisory Search Committee:
- Linda M. Jones (chair), Missions Coordinator, CBF of North Carolina, Winston-Salem, N.C.
- Ryan Clark, Specialist and Training Manager for Global Missions, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Decatur, Ga.
- Bill Coates, Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church, Gainesville, Ga.
- Arville Earl, Retired CBF Field Personnel, Talmo, Ga.
- Chris Ellis, Minister of Mission and Outreach, Second Baptist Church, Little Rock, Ark.
- Beverly Greer, Retired Missions Coordinator at CBF of South Carolina, Belton, S.C.
- Bill McConnell, CBF Moderator, Knoxville, Tenn. (Ex-officio member)
- Michael Oliver, Senior Pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Madison, Ala. (Missions Council representative)
- Joe Phelps, Pastor, Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, Ky.
- Rob Sellers, Professor of Theology and Connally Professor of Missions, Logsdon School of Theology, Hardin-Simmons University, Abilene, Texas
- Rachel Gunter Shapard, Associate Coordinator, CBF of Florida, Jacksonville, Fla.
- Steve Wells, Pastor, South Main Baptist Church, Houston, Texas (Governing Board representative)