I’m happy to announce the beginning of the Community Relations Committee (CRC). When I had the privilege of organizing Central’s Racial Reconciliation Conference, I engaged several people from our faith community who provided fresh ideas and resources that I otherwise would have no knowledge of. It occurred to me how blessed Central is with people who are not only equipped with gifts that build the Body of Christ, but who are also equipped with experience, vision, and insight. It was my wish to organize a small group of congregants into a committee that would help Central Baptist to better accommodate the Midway community in our mission of being a faithful presence.
Assembling the Community Relations Committee has been a work in progress since November 2016. I personally had the honor and privilege of selecting individuals who I hoped would fit the desired description of people willing to work together, through faith in a common goal. It was truly an honor to be able to walk each person through a brief interview for their volunteer position on the committee. This opportunity allowed me to learn about each person’s life, background, and their history at Central Baptist. I was motivated and inspired by each person’s faith journey, their ideas for community outreach, and the sustainability of current ministries. I’m happy to have surrounded myself with people who have far more experience in certain aspects of life than I have in their respective age, erudition, and association with the Midway community and St. Paul at large. The CRC brings a wealth of diverse ideas through Xavier McCoy, Rick Rump, DeeAnne Bonebright, Doug Gordh, Lorilyn Hoglund, Amalia Canepa-Green, Michele Hedberg, Brian Bjerke, Susan Given, Becky Landon, David Rhone, and myself. Such a talented team of people allows us the opportunity of cultivating and harnessing collective ideas that should be helpful to Central’s community outreach and ongoing ministries.
The purpose of the CRC is to use a wide range of resources in order to collaborate for positive results. A primary goal of the CRC is to reinforce and support the ministries undertaken by Central Baptist. The hope is to make those ministries more effective, not only for the people of our congregation, but also, and especially, for the people in our community.
Having a committee made up of a variety of new and “veteran” congregants allows us the advantage of being able to apply new methods to existing ministries, as well as recalling old methods that were once helpful at overcoming obstacles that encumbered success. It is my hope that the CRC can act as a filter and advisory board to the staff. This does not put us (CRC) in a position of finalizing specific choices, but rather in being used as a place for ideas and feedback that are thought through, prayed for, and then agreed upon before bringing them before the staff and church leaders. By doing this, we hope to add perspective to some of the decisions made by staff and leaders regarding community outreach, discipleship programs, family events, and the coordination of our various ministries. The CRC also offers the opportunity of broader planning through networking with other churches and organizations around the Twin Cities to share resources and build bridges with each other for the sake of accomplishing common goals; to help and serve those in need in our community. Ultimately, our desire is to continue to uphold our witness in the Midway community, as a church with open doors that remains accessible to all people, no matter their age, background, nationality, race, or religious affiliation. The key to success will be prayer, transparency, and deliberation. We would like the Community Relations Committee to be thought of as a branch of the church that empowers its people by having a source through which voices and opinions of the congregation can be heard and felt. Please help us with your prayers as we embark on this journey together to sow seeds into the future of Central’s hope of one day being a church with a great wealth of cultural diversity and steadfast ministries known for success and longevity. I’m proud to participate in this season with Central Baptist Church, as we make a collective effort of advancing God’s Kingdom agenda together, as one body under Christ.