NABF peers into Baptist future

A new initiative aims to predict what Baptist life may look like in 2064 by charting the missional work of individuals and groups across North America.

By Jeff Brumley

The North American Baptist Fellowship will focus on the future, not the past, when it celebrates its 50th anniversary next spring. So the organization is now turning to Baptists across the board for help in discerning what thir movements will look like in 2064.

“Our focus is on people under 40 because they will be the ones who will be active for the next 50 years,” said NABF General Secretary George Bullard.

To help sharpen the focus, NABF has created the FutureBaptists Champions Network. The project seeks to draw together Baptists from more than 20 groups in North America to share about ongoing missional initiatives.

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The idea is to invite 500 network participants to the NABF’s annual meeting next March in Philadelphia to begin an ongoing dialogue around the different and innovative ways Baptists are serving Christ, Bullard said.

“We don’t talk to one another often enough,” Bullard said of Baptists from different organizations and theological backgrounds. “We stay in our silos.”

The network also is designed to provide prayers and support for collaborative missional movements among Baptists, and from there to project the future of the Baptist witness in America and globally.

NABF is currently seeking individuals, churches and other groups from across Baptist spectrum to share how missional ministry is playing out in their communities. “We are looking for the stories of others’ so they might inspire and inform us,” Bullard said.

Bullard said the FutureBaptists Champions Network is not an attempt to revive Baptist Christianity or to start a new organization.

“We’re not trying to create a movement outside other organizations but to energize people in the grassroots to connect with and express their missional nature,” he said. “They need to tell us what that’s going to look like.”