The year 2021 was a continuation of the uncertainty and unusual time we faced in 2020 dealing with the global pandemic. It was filled with many things that remind us that God is always in control, even in the midst of circumstances that are not the most ideal.
Since space is always limited in the first of the year issues of the Trumpet, the following is a list of a few of the things that happened in the BMA last year. For full stories on these and other items of interest, check out the Trumpet archives on our website at baptisttrumpet.com.
• Healthy Church Solutions — In the Jan. 6 issue, Larry Barker announced the rebranding of Activate as the revitalization arm of Healthy Church Solutions. It was also announced that they had begun a Pastor Encouragement Initiative, including videos and prayers done by pastors for pastors, that goes out by email and on social media twice a month. They also launched a new interactive website (healthychurchsolutions.org) that will be constantly evolving to give you a web-based ministry resource.
• BMAA National Meeting Postponed —The officers of the BMA of America, the executive directors of the departments of the BMAA, the directors or officers of the BMAA Auxiliaries, the BMAA Production Team and Richard Smith, host pastor of the 2021 national meeting, met via Zoom and made the decision to delay the 2021 national meeting until Aug. 2-4, 2021 at Farley Street Baptist Church in Waxahachie, Texas.
• Global Missions Conversation Held — On Sunday night, Jan. 10, over 100 participants joined a virtual Global Missions Conversation hosted by Executive Director of BMA of America Missions Dr. John David Smith. Dr. Smith shared a devotional from II Tim. 2:1-7 and emphasized four words that served as the theme for the year — Go, Disciple, Plant, Repeat. Those in attendance then heard from Rama Bochung (BMA missionary in Myanmar, Burma), Gavin Roberts (BMA missionary in Morgan, Utah), Eric Johnson, Larry Barker and Deodito Lisas (BMA missionary in Mindanoa, Philippines).
• BMAA Missions Expands Missionary Care Team — Jonathan Montgomery joined the Missionary Care Team as Assistant Director to help maintain contact with every missionary family, especially during the ongoing pandemic. They also began featuring Missionary Care Conversations on the BMAA Missions Facebook page each week to allow Missions supporters to hear firsthand from missionaries and to know how they can pray for them.
• Missionaries Transition Back to the United States — BMAA Missionary to the Philippines Jimmy Walker and his family made the decision that God had closed the door for their return to full-time ministry in the Philippines due to the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic, but also because those they had discipled had stepped up to carry on the work of the ministry. Bro. Walker will still be involved in logistical support for the work and plans to travel back and forth a couple of times each year.
• Baptist Trumpet Features Content from lifeword.org — As announced in the Feb. 3 issue, after discussions with Lifeword Executive Director Donny Parrish and Lead Writer Holly Meriweather, the Trumpet began sharing content under the Lifeword header from a number of authors.
• CBC Homecoming 2021 — Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, CBC made the difficult decision to greatly alter programming for Homecoming 2021. The men’s basketball game was played as scheduled on Jan. 30, and a 2021 Homecoming Queen was crowned in a private ceremony on Friday, Jan. 29. Besides these events, no other programming was scheduled for Homecoming 2021.
• Lifeword Almost Halfway to Language Goal — When the Lifeword Cloud was launched it included a www.JesusToYou.com portion that shared the gospel of Jesus in as many languages as possible. Executive Director Donny Parrish set the goal for the number of languages that would be included at 200 in the next 10 years. In the Feb. 17 issue, they announced they were now at 95 languages! Almost halfway to the goal.
• Dr. Gerald Kellar’s Notes on Romans Available — Dr. Tony Cleaver shared that they found Dr. Kellar’s notes while cleaning out some papers and were making them available for download at https://cutt.ly/kellar-Romans.
• Baptist Trumpet Announces New Customer Portal — A new customer portal for subscribers and church plan managers became available in February. Through the portal you can update your profile, including your email address, name, mailing and billing address, see your transaction history and manage your subscription. Church plan managers are able to update their subscriber list, as well as see the transaction history and billing options. Note: If you have any questions about the customer portal, please visit baptisttrumpet.com/portal.
• 41st Low Powered FM (LPFM) Radio Station Installed in the Philippines — Lifeword Asia-Pacific Director Pete Etabag announced the 41st LPFM station was installed in Southern Negros Occidental. The goal is to have 50 LPFM stations by the end of the year.
• Winter Weather Affects CBC — Three rounds of winter weather that hit back-to-back, dumping over a foot of snow across most of Arkansas, caused CBC to close or operate virtually from Feb. 11 through Feb. 19.
• Seminary Offers Free Class — The BMA Seminary offered a free online course in Spring 2021. The class (Paul’s Final Journeys) was taught by Dr. Tony Cleaver. It began on March 3 and ended April 28.
• Virtual Women’s Conference — On April 6, “She Smiles,” a free, online event with Katy McCown, was sponsored by BMA Missions, Healthy Church Solutions and the Healthy Church Podcast.
• Lifeword Cloud Adds 13 New Languages — In the March 17 issue, Lifeword announced they were now at 107 languages for the gospel presentation available at lifeword.org.
• Ministers Resource Services (MRS) Announces New Resource — Executive Director Dr. Steve Crawley announced MRS Insurance Services as a new division of MRS to help churches and pastors navigate the often-complex world of employee benefits insurance.
• Arkansas Right to Life March — The 43rd Annual March for Life was held on March 14 after being postponed from the usual January date due to the pandemic.
• Endowed Scholarships Established — CBC President Terry Kimbrow announced the establishment of the Maggie Chandler Endowed Scholarship and the Calhoun Endowed Scholarship.
• Johnson Resigns — International Missions Director Eric Johnson announced his resignation effective mid-May to be lead pastor at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas.
• CBC Students Compete — A team of CBC students, along with a faculty advisor, completed in the Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition. The team competed in the Small Business Division and was one of six finalists. Students Colton Ryan and Daniel Hopp were awarded second place in their division and a cash award of $10,000.
• CBC Tower Media Wins Awards — Tower Media student journalism staffs won a combined 43 awards from the Arkansas College Media Association on April 9, including junior Mallory Sullivan (now Guyton) being named Photographer of the Year.
• NLR Church Leaves Legacy — The remaining members of Oak Grove Baptist Church in Little Rock chose to leave a legacy while making the difficult decision to close the doors after 55 years of ministry to the Oak Grove community. They chose to donate the building to Graves Memorial Baptist Church (GMBC) that has a thriving community outreach ministry. GMBC spent time preparing the building and held a grand opening on May 1 for The Grove — a community food pantry and store for gently-used clothing, household items and furniture.
• Lifeword Premieres New Show — “Outdoors with Shaun Merrell” was announced in the May 26 issue. It is hosted by Shaun Merrell, the son of BMA pastor Larry Merrell.
• CBC Holds Commencement — On May 8, CBC held modified graduation ceremonies that offered each graduate a private ceremony due to the global health pandemic. This year’s class consisted of 131 total graduates, 107 in the Traditional program and 24 in the PACE program.
• Director of BMA Foundation Resigns — Charles Attebery announced his resignation from the role of BMA Foundation executive director effective Aug. 4.
• Jacksonville College Elects New President — Dr. Joe Lightner was elected to serve as the president of Jacksonville College.
• BMA Seminary 64th Commencement — Twenty-six individuals received a degree from the BMA Theological Seminary of Jacksonville, Texas on May 15.
• Honorary Doctorate Awarded — BMA of Arkansas President Tom Mitchell was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the BMA Theological Seminary in recognition of his distinguished service and ongoing contribution to the Baptist Missionary Association.
(To be continued in next week’s issue)