Thursday, January 19, 2006

Vision Architects Build New Organization from the Name Up: Cornerstone Network Group

Santa Ana, Calif. – Jan. 19, 2006 –

As a culmination of meeting together for two full days at Northern Seminary, Lombard, Ill., Vision Architects announced the name of the new movement replacing American Baptist Evangelicals: Cornerstone Network Group. Its mission is to equip churches for global impact. Its vision, Leaders energized, congregations mobilized, the world evangelized.

Effective Monday, January 23, 2006, the current ABE web site will be closed, and a new web site opened at Anyone who wishes to retrieve information from the current site at must do so before Monday, January 23. After that time, anyone attempting to log on to the current site will be automatically directed to the new site.

Cornerstone Network Group continues to be a work in progress; likewise, the web site will not be completed for some time. The Vision Architects will meet again February 8 and 9 to continue drafting this new movement.

COMMENTARY: Initial reaction to the new name has been nearly unanimous and universal: practically nobody liked it. First responders on the ABE Message Board were generally unsparing in their criticism of the name. One of the most vocal pastors advocating a withdrawal from the ABCUSA vowed he would "not join a non-descript group" and asked if the Vision Architects were ashamed of the word Baptist. He lamented that not only has the left "hijacked" the denomination; they have even left us without an identity as Baptists.

After having served on my share of committees, it is easy enough to understand how the name surfaced and received approval within the cloister and group dynamics of a task force. Bill Nicoson and the Vision Architects will need to put forth a sustained campaign to explain and rally support for the unconventional choice of a moniker. Ultimately, however, what the network is called should be secondary to the services it provides for its members.

My own assessment is that impatience with what some perceived as delay and others took to be an environment of secrecy militated against easy and early acceptance by vocal ABE members. However, Nicoson and his associates enjoy a good deal of ethical credibility with their constituency. It is too early to pronounce a negative judgment on the ultimate success of the movement based upon partial, preliminary, and non-representative initial comments.

His Barking Dog will refrain from expressing any view of the suitability of the name until it is explained fully by the Vision Architects. God speed Bill Nicoson and Vision Architects! God speed!

[Unofficial opinion in just about EVERY sense of the term. This blog does not speak for anyone in PSW or ABE aka Cornerstone Network Group]


Bryan Peters said...

The problem here with withholding negative judgment is that "Covenant Network Group" has not yet earned trust. There is no reason for most to give them the benefit of the doubt. Thus these initial impressions of delay and suspicious secrecy are all too important. Of course, I agree that Biblically we should strive to objectively evaluate such things with wisdom and not jump to unsubstantiated conclusions. But CNG must realize that they cannot simply expect American Baptists to invest so much in the initial evaluation. First impressions are key, and it seems that CNG isn't doing too hot.

revdrron said...

I agree with Byron on this point. I simple do not understand why all those strong suggestion for more communication and disclosure on the ABE web where not fully digested by the leadership. Moreover, I’m puzzled by the lack interaction with the 300 + constituency who attended the initial Lombard meeting.

beacon churches said...

Hello Ron,

We keep hoping for genuine bottom up organization and we keep investing in top down models. While we applaud the evangelical stance of ABE, now CGN, it is not a model of organization that is most appropriate for our future. We need folks like you and Bryan raising voices in chorus. So how do you connect with Bryan to build the kingdom? Do you need ABE in order to do that?


beacon churches said...

Dennis, I'm sorry,
I thought I was on Ron's blog. I know he and Bryan live close together and somehow lost track of where I was.