After eight years as director of missional congregations for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, Rick Bennett is returning to his native North Carolina to become a pastor.

By Bob Allen

Rick Bennett, director of missional congregations for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship since 2004, is leaving the Atlanta-based CBF to become pastor of First Baptist Church in Elkin, N.C. Elected in a called business meeting July 22, Bennett’s new job begins Oct. 1.

A native of North Carolina, Bennett is a graduate of Campbell University and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond. Before coming to CBF, he served churches in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina as associate pastor and minister of education.

Bennett recently worked alongside Mercer University professor David Gushee as co-convener of the [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant held last April.

Bennett’s departure comes during a transition period that includes a search for a replacement to Daniel Vestal, who retired as CBF executive coordinator in June, and the start of implementation of recommendations by a task force charting the course for the 21-year-old organization’s future.