Atlanta, GA – The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship continues to build off of last year’s largest and most diverse class of church starters by commissioning six church starters from a variety of contexts, incarnational approaches, genders, and ethnicities.

Nicole Iyoko, Shiloh Restoration Church (Raleigh, NC)

Each of their stories bring is the living embodiment of CBF’s values of missional identify, innovation, and advocacy.

“We are not manufacturing diversity within our church starts,” said CBF’s Church Start Specialist, Andy Hale, “Rather, this multiplicity of church expressions has come as a result of

Todd Toole, Mercy Church (Hebron, Kentucky)

CBF’s identity in freedom, equality, autonomy, and global view of the Kingdom of God.”

Felix and Nicole Iyoko, three months after transitioning to the United States from the Congo, started Shiloh Restoration Church in Raleigh, North Carolina for immigrants and refugees.

Cole Chandler has blended his Baptist rearing with a Mennonite tradition in Denver, Colorado.

Cole Chandler, Beloved Community (Denver, Colorado)

Henrietta Anderson has taken a lifetime of social work experience and a pastoral calling into the community of Henrico County, Virginia by starting Faith Ministries Church.

In the northern Kentucky and greater Cincinnati region, Todd Toole and Mercy Church have created a perfect church for imperfect people.

Clint Akins and Seeker Fellowship have grounded their focus in journeying alongside those who have left the church but are seeking a deeper spiritual journey.

Henrietta Anderson, Faith Ministries Church (Henrico County, Virginia)

CBF is a supportive home for those discerning and living out a call to church starting. Within CBF Church Starts, one finds a creative space for visioning, contextualization, coaching, and training. The goal is to expand and diversify the Fellowship by empowering church starters from various contexts, genders, incarnational approaches, and ethnicities.

Felix Iyoko, Shiloh Restoration Church (Raleigh, NC)

Each church starter will take part in a covenant signing ceremony with CBF and their respective CBF state/regional organization on Thursday afternoon. As part of this covenant, the church starter will receive three years of leadership development, coaching, and retreats, as well as support to the church start through financial grants and site visits.

On Friday evening, CBF will commission these six church starters. “Commissioning is the union of called individuals, representing new faith communities, and a dynamic Fellowship forming together to infuse a deeper partnership in the work of renewing God’s world,” said Hale.

The covenant signing and commissioning concludes an extensive process for the church starters which included a period of discernment and participation in a cohort alongside other prospective church starters.

Clint Akins, Seeker Fellowship Church (Fort Walton Beach, Florida)

CBF hopes that these church starts will give the Fellowship the opportunity to learn from their innovative practices for ministry, as well as provide avenues for established churches to enter missional partnerships, mentoring church starters, and form together in renewing God’s world.

Join us in praying for opportunities to partner together in renewing God’s world through starting new churches. Support CBF church starting by giving to the 25th Anniversary. Share the story of the CBF church start initiative with individuals discerning a call. Work with your state or regional organization to identify areas where a potential CBF church could start.