January 2016 Mind of the Missionary

Our next Executive Board meeting has been moved to Tuesday, January 12 at 6:30 pm at the Ladow Training Center. We will be introduced to the new vo-tech program. We will also consider how to address the theme for 2016, SERVE ON.

*S – Start new churches. We are supporting a new church start in Portland, Oregon. Our international mission team will help build and launch a new church in Brazil. Locally, we need to investigate the restart of a Spanish language church, perhaps in Gordo.

*E – Evangelize the lost. The youth ministers are planning two area wide evangelistic events, the first one on April 3. Our evangelism committee is working on a plan for an area revival in November.

*R – Revitalize the churches. Recently I received a ten year report on the cumulative work of the churches in our association. Membership has increased. Worship attendance has increased. Income has increased. Financial support of missions has increased. But participation in the basic programs of our churches has declined—Sunday School, Discipleship Training, WMU, Brotherhood, Missions Education, and Music.  Several of our churches have stopped having worship on Sunday evenings. Several of our churches need to pray and work along the lines of being revitalized.

*V – Volunteerism. The work at the Baptist Center has grown greatly in the past decade. It is a great ministry run totally by volunteers.  More than 50 of us are regular volunteers in ministries at the prison and the jail. Many are volunteers on the mission trips of the association and of the churches each summer.  We are doing well in this area.

*E – Engaging the Culture. We still have much of the traditional culture of the rural South here, it seems. Plantation, Hardscrabble farm, Freedmen. But there is a growth of the newer, electronic, social media culture here as well. James Hammock addressed this at the annual meeting. We were encouraged to use the media as good Christians should. We must not let ourselves be caught up in the gossipy, unloving posts. Self-centeredness is not a Christian virtue. Humility is. We need to work on ways to use social media for outreach and pastoral care.

As 2016 progresses, let us keep thinking about these points and keep ourselves, our churches, and the association on target.

During the visit of our twin grandsons from Poland, I was introduced to the Thomas the Train videos.  Good moral lessons.  I learned that the creator of the series was a Church of England minister.  Like Fred Rogers on PBS, a Christian using modern media to present the Gospel, particularly with regard to relationships.  Let us draw resources that are good, shun those that are not good.

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