For the past three years, the CBE Board of Directors and staff have prayed and labored together to identify a strategic plan to forward and strengthen the international ministry of CBE. We delight in offering you the process and outcome of our labors and hope you will join us in praising God for his guidance and unfailing support. As always, we covet your prayers as together we seek to faithfully serve Christ, one another, and the evangelical community.
Sincerely, Virginia Patterson, Chair of CBE Board for the past six years, and Mimi Haddad, Executive Director
When God raises up a ministry to help build his church throughout the world, he equips and gifts believers and gives them a vision for that ministry. We notice biblical examples in Nehemiah, Jesus’ disciples, Paul and the believers in Acts 2. God is still gifting believers and giving them a vision for ministry today. We see that in the work of Christians for Biblical Equality.
Fifteen years ago God shared a vision of a ministry that would be a prophetic voice for biblical equality with a handful of gifted women and men. Out of their prayers and vision, Christians for Biblical Equality (CBE) was born. Priscilla Papers, a scholarly journal presenting a sound theological basis for equality, was the primary communication piece. In time other resources were identified and written.
Ten years later Catherine Clark Kroeger resigned as president of CBE, believing it was God’s time for other leaders to emerge. The CBE board and staff began praying for God’s guidance in the next phase of this ministry. The Scriptures gave direction. In Luke 6, Jesus talked about the importance of a strong foundation. CBE had been given that by its founders. Further in the Gospel text, when Jesus called people to follow him, he told them they must count the cost of being his disciples. He compared this to having a plan before constructing a building, or determining whether you have enough soldiers to defeat the enemy before going to war. Definitely CBE needed to develop a plan — a plan that continued to build on the foundation laid by its founders. To do so we needed to be sure we had a clear picture of their vision.
The first step in CBE’s strategic planning process was to interview CBE’s founders. What was their vision? What were the core values serving as CBE’s foundation? They articulated the following core values:
- Equality of gender, race, class, and age due to all people sharing the image of God, which is the equalizer.
- God gifts each individual as God chooses.
- Each Christian is both obligated and free to use his or her gifts. The fact that we have gifts implies both personal responsibility and the God-given imperative to use them.
- We are called to community to affirm and encourage others.
- The power to do all of the above comes from the Holy Spirit.
Gretchen Gaebelein Hull:
- Be prophetic.
- Maintain scholarly credibility and integrity.
- Never dilute or compromise the message to appeal to greater numbers.
- Strive for excellence.
Catherine Clark Kroeger:
- Adherence to the Scriptures.
- Equality for men and women.
- Thus, create a biblical basis for the equality of men and women.
- Serve primarily conservative and evangelical women, although there was also a vision to minister to radical feminists.
Based on the interviews with the founders, the following Core Values were identified as the primary ones for CBE to continue emphasizing.
Core Values We believe …
- The Bible teaches the equality of women and men.
- God has given each person gifts to be used for the good of Christ’s kingdom.
- Christians are to develop and exercise their God-given gifts in home, church and society.
Out of those core values grew CBE’s Core Purpose: To broadly communicate the biblical truth that men and women are equally responsible to use their God-given gifts to further Christ’s kingdom.
With those Core Values and Core Purpose, what would be CBE’s Envisioned Future? CBE envisions a future where all believers will exercise their gifts for God’s glory, with the full support of the Christian community.
From those foundational statements, CBE’s Mission Statement was articulated: CBE equips believers by affirming the biblical truth of equality. Thus all believers, without regard to gender, race and class are free and encouraged to use their God-given gifts in families, ministries and communities.
With this foundation laid, it was time to build specific goals, objectives and strategies. These were based on a few key areas. First, CBE will continue its emphasis on scholarly materials, maintaining credibility and integrity through Priscilla Papers and other resources. Second, CBE will communicate the message of biblical equality in practical, personal ways. Third, CBE will attempt to communicate with a variety of races, classes and ages. Fourth, CBE will seek to establish a financially sound, viable organization.
As the CBE board and staff began to develop goals, objectives and strategies, they recognized a basic, biblical principle. In I Corinthians 3:6 Paul said, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” Christians for Biblical Equality is God’s ministry! He brought it into being through dedicated believers who followed his leading. It has grown because it is God’s work, and it will continue to grow as he chooses. Through that process he will continue to call his followers to plant and water according to the gifts he has given them, because … “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)