Why the name change?
After almost 75 years of ministry, the Conservative Baptist Association of America is now known as Venture Church Network. The founding of CBA in the early 20th century began out of questions that surrounded the core of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Biblical authority, and central historic doctrines of our faith. While we continue to embrace our historical heritage which took risks to secure these truths in our churches, we have come to recognize that the language of our organizational name, “Conservative Baptist” is no longer serving our historic stance nor our network of churches well.
Churches and pastors have regularly communicated to us that “conservative” no longer communicates a theological position, but a ministry style, political or cultural position. While we also value our Baptist heritage (priesthood of the believers, high value of Scripture, two ordinances, evangelism and missions, autonomy of the local church, religious freedom), the name “Baptist” is used by so many disparate groups, it no longer carries a clear meaning nor does the name have a solid reputation in many parts of our culture.
With a renewed movement by the REDs for a united identity across our 8 regions that make up approximately 1,000 churches and over 200 chaplains, we believe this is a good time to change our network’s name to something we can define and reflect our focus. Enlisting broader voices, we looked for a name that would be consistent with our faith, our calling, and with the broader CBA story.
After months of conversation and seeking the Lord in prayer, we were led to the name, “Venture Church Network.” We believe this name reflects the historical actions of our founders to take personal and corporate risks for the sake of the authority of Scripture and the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also reflects our renewed burden for the local church.
We recognize that a name change alone does not transform a network of churches. Nor are we moving from our historic roots of the authority of Scripture and the centrality of the gospel. But this name change does allow us to create a context for moving toward taking some risky steps to better serve our churches and ultimately, the gospel.
A core definition of “venture” is advancing in the face of risk or danger. As we renew our commitment to a national network, we believe many of our churches have been playing it safe and that the gospel has not advanced as it should. We believe that especially in the current turmoil of our nation, we must do a better job in coming alongside our pastors and churches…not to set their agenda, but to curate the best in our network to help every church take the bold next steps that Jesus the Shepherd is leading them to take.
Like a ship built for the ocean's dangers and not the safety of the harbor, our gospel message, while needing a safe harbor of biblical authority, is intended to be propagated throughout the world, no matter the risks. Today, we continue to embrace our ethos of taking risks for the sake of the gospel through our mission of helping every church take bold next steps, fulfilling our vision of advancing Gospel-centered transformational churches in every community we touch. We hope you'll join us.