The CBF of North Carolina (CBFNC) Coordinating Council recently voted to call Lydia Tatum as its first Welcome Network director, a newly created position for CBFNC. She currently serves as the associate pastor of Missions and Ministry at Trinity Baptist Church in Raleigh, where she has served in many capacities since 2010.
Lydia will have two major responsibilities as Welcome Network director: administrative leadership of Welcome House Raleigh and general leadership of CBFNC’s state-wide Welcome Network. She will spend approximately half of her time with Welcome House Raleigh and the other half resourcing and expanding the network in other locations.
Welcome Network is the new name for the Welcome House Community Network, which was established in 2020 as a signature missions ministry of CBFNC to link churches across North Carolina and beyond who have Welcome Houses and other expressions of Christian hospitality ministries. In just three years, the network has grown to include over 40 expressions of hospitality ministry and the name change reflects a new phase for this ministry as it expands throughout North Carolina and other states.
Lydia will work closely with Marc and Kim Wyatt, CBF field personnel, who founded the Welcome Network in partnership with CBFNC. Welcome House Raleigh is the oldest and largest expression of the Welcome Network, which has grown considerably since it was launched by the Wyatts in 2015.
“I am excited to join the CBFNC team as they continue to love, serve and equip our churches as each one builds the kingdom of God with the hospitality and welcome of Christ. It has been a joy to serve alongside Marc and Kim Wyatt over the last nine years as their ministry to our international brothers and sisters here in Raleigh grew from a dream into the reality of ongoing care through transitional housing and building beloved community in international neighborhoods,” said Lydia.
“During our first Hospitality and Housing Summit earlier this year, we found the people of God are opening their hearts and their doors to their neighbors in need all over North Carolina. This network of welcome that is building provides encouragement and support in the beautiful work of being the presence of Christ right in our own backyards. I am looking forward to encouraging and nurturing the many expressions of such hospitality ministry already happening across our state in our local congregations and to encouraging new ministries,” she added.
“Calling Lydia to this new position is a testimony to the growth of Welcome House and the larger ministry of Christian hospitality and housing,” said Larry Hovis, CBFNC executive coordinator. “Given her passion for this ministry, her experience at Trinity and her proven track record as a volunteer leader in the Welcome Network in Raleigh and beyond, she is the ideal candidate to bring both structure and growth to this vibrant and essential missions ministry.”
“Lydia has been deeply invested in the ministry of Welcome House since its start. In our years of service as CBF Field Personnel, we have known few champions of the Great Commission and the Great Commandment that hold so many spiritual gifts and ministry experience as Lydia. We are confident that she is the one God has called to lead CBFNC congregations in this missions ministry at this time,” said the Wyatts. “We anticipate the day when every CBFNC church practices Christian hospitality daily through ministries of housing, embracing their neighbors in Jesus name.”
Lydia received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Campbell University and Master in Divinity from Campbell University Divinity School. She and her husband, Andrew, have served together in ministry in North Carolina for the last 20 years as ministers and volunteers in Baptist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian and Methodist contexts. The Tatums have built their life together in Raleigh with five children, six ducks, two dogs, three geese and a hard-working tom cat named Thomas.
Lydia will begin her new role with CBFNC on January 1, 2024.
About CBF of North Carolina
CBF of North Carolina is a fellowship of individuals and churches partnering in ministry so that all people may know and believe that they and those around them are loved by God. As a trusted ministry partner to local churches, CBFNC is committed to serving Jesus Christ, preserving historic Baptist freedoms and calling out God’s gifts in Christians and churches to engage in ministry in our state and world. Based in Winston-Salem, CBFNC collaborates with the larger Cooperative Baptist Fellowship network.
Learn more at cbfnc.org.
About the Welcome Network
Welcome Network is a collaborative ministry that provides a tangible expression of every disciple’s call to love the stranger and to invite them into God’s beloved community as neighbor (Matt.25: 35-36). The Welcome Network empowers, connects and inspires local congregations to engage in ministries of welcome in their communities. Begun in 2015 by CBF Field Personnel Kim and Marc Wyatt, the initial Welcome House ministry was established in Raleigh to provide temporary housing and beloved community to immigrants and refugees. Recognizing that the model of Welcome House Raleigh could be replicated and expanded across the entire state, CBFNC leaders began to see that God had bigger plans for this ministry. In 2020 the CBFNC Coordinating Council voted to adopt the Welcome Network as a signature missions program of CBFNC. The goal of the network is to provide temporary housing and Christian hospitality to those in need in a variety of circumstances—from refugees to the homeless to victims of abuse and more. In just three short years, the ministry has grown to over 40 Welcome House expressions throughout North Carolina and beyond with about 60 churches engaging in this ministry of welcome in the name of Jesus.