It has been an exhilarating year at the Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. 2014 was chock-full of good stuff, namely, more ministry to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. We’ve been busy, as our December newsletter shows. That is a very, very good thing.
In that spirit, and as we launch a December giving campaign to raise another $30,000 by the end of the month, I wanted to share five highlights for CBMW in 2014. Each of these stirs up gratitude to our great God for his undeserved blessing on our work. I’ll start in reverse order (and could say much more than these five points!).
5. Releasing the ebook Good with Desiring God. Last June 2014, we released this free eBook with our good friends at DG. This was a very exciting project, and it yielded over 30,000 downloads right off the bat. We were already thrilled with this result, but are even more excited by the 2015 release of Designed for Joy with Crossway. The book is short, readable, and packed full of nourishing biblical wisdom. It features an array of gifted young complementarian writers, a number of whom make their authorial debut in the book, and all of whom love the transforming gospel of grace.
Designed for Joy is kicking off a new season of publishing and literary influence for CBMW. We have a number of other publishing projects in the works. Stay tuned on this front.
4. Seeing our posts serve the church.Recently, CBMW Executive Assistant Brittany Lind published a piece on foster-care for CBMW Family. Her blog, “Wanted: Parents Willing to Get Too Attached” movingly called for parents to take on the difficult but immensely meaningful work of foster-care (almost 10,000 Likes on Facebook). Jason Garwood wrote “A Word About Men and Marriage” for CBMW Manual as a challenge to young husbands to kill selfish immaturity. Katie Van Dyke wrote “Don’t Waste Your Waiting” for CBMW Karis on prolonged singleness.
This is just a tiny sampling of the year’s output. At CBMW, we don’t measure influence by metrics alone. We care first and foremost about good gospel-fired content. We believe that if we produce rich biblical material, it will find readers. This is what has transpired with our site. Our editors line up one biblically-grounded post after another, we focus on the content, and we leave it to the Lord to amplify it. In his providence, traffic is up almost 30% for the year–this after a major climb in traffic in 2013.
It was also great to be able to speak about biblical complementarianism and sexual ethics on programs like the “Huckabee” show on FOX News, the 9Marks Interview Podcast with Mark Dever, FamilyLife Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine (three shows), and Moody Radio’s national show Up for Debate. I very much enjoy media engagement and am thankful for these and other opportunities.
3. Watching as God raises up a new generation of complementarian leaders. Just six months ago, our major increase in giving in 2013 enabled us to take a major step ahead as an organization. I transitioned to President of CBMW and Grant Castleberry became our new Executive Director. In just a half year’s time, Grant has been a boon to CBMW. He has energy, vision, and the gifting necessary to lead CBMW on a day-to-day basis. This is not a small undertaking for a young father and Southern Seminary MDiv student who relishes courses in the original languages, but Grant walks closely with God and draws strength from him.Grant is one of numerous staff workers who have not only been willing to work for CBMW, but have wanted to do so. This is why, when people wonder about the future of conservative evangelicalism, I have tremendous hope. The younger generation is awash in Bible-loving believers who do not bend the knee to the culture. They fear God, not man. They see the culture secularizing as we all do, but this does not deter them. It makes them want to trust God all the more, and to watch as he strikes up a gospel flame in the wilderness.
I cannot overestimate how encouraged I am by the rising generation of complementarian leaders. If you consider CBMW-affiliated leaders like Grant, Trillia Newbell, Courtney Reissig, GraceAnna Castleberry, Greg Gibson, Matthew Sims, Brandon Smith, and Matt Damico, you already have great grounds for hope. But this is just a sampling of a much bigger, much more restless generation itching to serve Christ in our time.
2. Celebrating the heritage of CBMW with friends at the ETS banquet. Just a few weeks ago, we gathered at Fogo de Chao in downtown San Diego for our inaugural CBMW Banquet (kudos to CBMW intern Colin Smothers for his excellent work here). Next year in Atlanta at ETS 2015, we’ll have a much bigger event. At this year’s banquet, we gave out two major awards: the John Piper Award for Complementarian Leadership and the Wayne Grudem Award for Complementarian Scholarship. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Mary Mohler, and J. Ligon Duncan III received the Piper Award and Andreas and Margaret Kostenberger received the Grudem Award.
Present with us in the room at Fogo de Chao were four seminary presidents, over six deans, and about twenty scholars. This was thrilling, because it represents the future of complementarian scholarship, which in turn means that the future pastors of God’s church will be faithfully trained. We reflected together on years past and I shared with those in attendance that CBMW’s giving in 2014 is its highest in five years’ time. In short, the future is bright, even as the past is faithful.
1. Our April 2014 National Conference drawing 1,500 people. Planning a conference is not for the faint of heart. In January 2014, the CBMW staff met to map out our next steps for our pre-conference, “CBMW and the Gospel,” before Together for the Gospel. We were confronted by a vast array of needs. We shared that we would be happy to have 300 people come; that would be our break-even number. If we hit 500, we would be jumping in the aisles.
My breath was taken away, then, when I walked into the Galt House ballroom on April 8, 2014 to find 1,500 people in attendance, filling every last chair and every corner of the room. Because of God’s kindness, we held the largest event in CBMW’s history. Attendees heard inspiring insights from a stellar women’s panel and stellar messages from friends like David Platt, Kevin DeYoung, Russell Moore, and John Piper. (We also covered the past and future of CBMW.) We are so thankful to Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Lig Duncan, and T4G organizer Matt Schmucker for their generosity to CBMW.
We’re currently planning a CBMW cities’ tour in 2015 (more on that later) and two major conferences in 2016. We think and pray that these events will seriously assist the church, and we can’t wait to announce them and then to see what the Lord does through them.
So with all that said, what’s ahead for CBMW in 2015? In 2015, we’re planning to make some big moves. Lord willing, we’ll be adding more staff, starting our podcast, and announcing new publishing projects. In order to get there, we’d love to partner with you in our December giving campaign. Our goal is to raise $30,000. You can give online here–thanks to the wizardry of the online elves, it takes about one minute tops.
We’re trusting God to power us ahead, come what may, and we’re delighted at the chance to serve alongside so many faithful men and women who love the Scripture and celebrate the gospel. What a joy it is to work in the Lord’s vineyard.
Merry Christmas, everyone.