As Baptists, we place a high value on the autonomy of the local church. It’s crucial for local congregation’s to discern God’s direction in their specific context. But we also realize we are part of a larger (Baptist) family and thrive in larger community.
Almost all of our CBOQ churches belong to a regional association. Association gatherings enable churches who are geographically closer together to support one another both in fellowship and in mission. Areas such as the Western Association host a winter retreat each year for local youth ministries gather together. Ministerials such as Toronto Baptist Ministries and the Ottawa Baptist Association offer supports to their members. Associations allow for better collaborative opportunities. (By the way, go to an association annual meeting if you get a chance to see what’s happening with other area churches.)
The 339 churches together form this family. Since 1888, CBOQ has been a collective voice as an assembly of churches. Like many families, there are both times of celebration and times of debate (alright, arguments). It allows us to pool certain resources to be more effective. Centre Court (our Toronto Raptors outreach event) is a key example of being able to offer unique experiences through shared resources. For many of our pastors, the collective efforts in our benefits and pension plans allow for greater stewardship of those financial resources.
As a CBOQ church, we also have membership in the Baptist World Alliance. There are 231 member organizations (CBOQ is one) in 121 countries. This extended family allows Baptists to have a greater voice in substantial issues. In youth ministry specifically, BWA has supported the expansion of the Horizons online training program.
While these Baptist affiliations bring a common thread among our churches, ultimately we are part of God’s broader kingdom which (obviously) extends beyond our Baptist family. It’s through his church that we will continue to share the person and message of Jesus to whomever we reach.