Trey Harper, Associate Pastor for Worship and Arts at Willow Meadows Baptist Church, talks about his journey with CBF and his passion for intentional worship. Perhaps his story can help to encourage you if you are looking to find ways to plug into CBF life. Trey shares his story below as a part of a series on CBF Young Baptists.
It was not until college that I learned about CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship). It was in a season of life that I was learning new vocabulary and giving words to my theology. It was truly beginning to become my theology, not the theology of my parents, friends, or professors. I guess initially I was drawn to the fact that CBF was more about inclusion than exclusion, an idea that I continually find in the words and work of Jesus. As I began to find myself surrounded by people that were parts of CBF communities, I found a strong desire to want to plug into the work of CBF.
This desire took me to Truett Seminary, a school that was heavily connected with CBF and once again I found inclusion at the core. It was a place that allowed people to think for themselves and didn’t limit people based on their gender. While in seminary, I was able through the support of Student.Go to venture to Pecs, Hungary where I worked with CBF missionaries Glen and Clista Adkins. I got to see how God was using music and missions to nurture a group of Roma students. This was an extremely formative experience.
Even though I have been on a church staff in some capacity since I was fifteen, it was not until after seminary that I found myself called to a CBF congregation. I get to serve a community where I can be myself. This is a big deal! My church, Willow Meadows also epitomizes the principle of inclusion and welcome. Sunday after Sunday beauty in diversity is on display and I can’t help but think it is but a glimpse of the Kingdom of God. I continue to be nurtured by the CBF community whether it is through their annual gatherings or most recently being named a CBF Fellow.
Rap genius, T.I. in his song “Live your Life” goes through a stream of conundrums. One that always sticks out to me is his use of the phrase, “opposite of moderate”. Moderate is a word that I have used to describe myself for years. It’s also often used to describe CBF. Moderate could be diluted to a “luke warm” idea, but it seems it’s not that at all. Being moderate seems to welcome many people to the table, invites the “other” to join in the conversation, and has love as its guide. If we look and see that this is what makes up the core of CBF, then this is a group of ordinary disciples that I am proud to be a part of and am thankful for.
How do you find ways to be a CBF Baptist in your context? Or are you looking for ways to become involved? Let us know! Leave a comment below.