by John Lepper, KBF Coordinator
On April 30, CBF announced the hiring of Steven Porter to become the next Coordinator for Global Missions. Steven has a rich background which makes him the best person to lead us forward.
Steven Porter was head of Touching Miami with Love (TML) when KBF sent Summer Missionaries there. He later resigned to return to school to pursue his doctorate in the area of missions. Connie and I visited TML and our summer missionaries one summer when Steven was director. He hosted us for several hours on a couple of days.
My take on Steven is: He gets it. He lived in the neighborhood he served. He attended an African American Church. He understands missiology from a theoretical point of view. He is a teacher and a practitioner. He lives it from a practical point of view! He is a champion of the local church. He is a champion of global missions. He understands, teaches and practices authentic evangelism. CBF had many good leaders from which to choose the Global Missions Coordinator. In my estimation, they could have done no better than to tap Steven Porter.
Linda Jones, Missions Coordinator of CBF North Carolina, chaired a search committee made up of a dozen people. Joe Phelps, Pastor of Highland Baptist Church, Louisville, served on this committee. In making the announcement of Steven’s selection, Linda Jones pointed out that the search team had a wonderful experience. “Getting the right people at the table was so important.” After receiving numerous resumes, the search team developed a grid looking at various important characteristics. After narrowing the search, five candidates were interviewed. Steven came to the forefront.
Steven Porter spoke to state and regional coordinators on the day of the announcement. He said three important things that verify, for me, why Steven is the right person to lead CBF Global Missions.
First, he spoke of the importance of respect for and listening to others and the importance of having a conversation on missions across the Fellowship. Steven’s hope is that we can better integrate the missionary side with the congregational side. “We live in a changing world with a global church. We need to think of new ways to collaborate effectively.”
Second, Steven pointed out that congregations have changed. “Our model of mission looks different now than a generation ago. Churches view mission and engagement in mission differently than in an earlier day. We need to recognize that church is a missionary entity in its local community.”
Third, our communities have changed. “We need to help churches discover diasporas in our own back yard. CBF and partners around the world can help us reach our own neighborhoods and communities.”
To summarize, Steven said, “We need to narrow our focus, deepen our capacities and expand our effectiveness in the world.”
Welcome, Steven Porter, to this important leadership role. We look forward to conversations as we learn how to be on mission together.