Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Tuesday, December 5, 2023
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United By The Word

The 73rd annual meeting of the Baptist Missionary Association of America met in Springfield, Mo., April 18-20. The theme of the meeting was “Preach the Word,” and I believe the entire meeting displayed a remarkable spirit of unity based on the preaching of the Word of God.

The meeting began with a welcome from Gary Longstaff, pastor of Grandview Baptist Church, which served as the host church for the meeting. Those in attendance also heard from Springfield, Mo. native and former US Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The opening session featured a message by BMA President Dr. Clif Johnson (See the printed sermon on page 1 or visit BaptistTrumpet.com/BMAA2022 for the complete video.) It was a challenging reminder to keep the Word of God at the heart of what we do and allow it to combat the hostile culture we are currently facing. It was also a reminder that “preaching the Word” is not limited to preachers. All Christians have the responsibility to consistently live out and share the Word with those around them. He closed the session by inviting pastors who were 65 and older to come forward and step out in the aisles. He then encouraged all younger pastors to find an older pastor and spend some time praying for each other.

Tuesday began with the National Women’s Missionary Auxiliary Conference which met at Grandview Baptist Church and the National Brotherhood Meeting which took place at the convention center. There were also seven breakout sessions offered at 9:30 & 10:45 a.m. that attendees could choose to attend.

The Tuesday afternoon session began with the welcoming and seating of messengers from six petitioning churches:

• Immanuel Baptist Church of Littleton, Mass.; Paul Brennan, pastor.

• StonePoint Church, Cummings, Ga.; Todd Cox, pastor.

• Connection Point Baptist Church, Jonesboro; Chad White, pastor.

• Midway Baptist Church, Batesville, Miss.; Dr. Kenneth Pollock, pastor.

• Cain Baptist Church, Van Buren; Jim Tollison, pastor.

• Redeemer’s Love Church, Houston, Texas; Spencer Simpson, pastor.

After some associational business, those in attendance were able to hear from Jason Goodwin as he preached about the “Sufficiency of the Word.” Bro. Goodwin was asked to fill in since the planned speaker, Justin Peters, was not able to attend due to illness.

The session also included a time of worship in song led by Jack Daniels, minister of music at Garrett Memorial Baptist Church in Hope (where President Clif Johnson is pastor), along with Charlotte Ritchey and the praise band that volunteered their time for the duration of the meeting. The BMATS Singers (Dean of Students Dr. Phillip Attebery, Dr. David Hellwig and Administrative Assistant to the President Keri Southern) also shared some special music prior to the message.

After the Tuesday afternoon session concluded, the annual BMA Seminary Dinner was held and Richard Smith, lead pastor of Farley Street Baptist Church in Waxahachie was presented with the Kellar Award for 2022.

The Tuesday evening session began with the election of the associational officers as required by the Principles of Cooperation. President Johnson explained that, according to his understanding and was confirmed by the parliamentarians, since the current officers were not elected to the positions in which they are now serving, they are still eligible to be elected for the first time by the association. Dr. Clif Johnson, pastor of Garrett Memorial Baptist Church in Hope was elected to serve as president of the association and Charles Johnson, pastor of Rosewood Baptist Church in Gilmer, Texas was elected to serve as the first vice-president. Gary Longstaff, pastor of Grandview Baptist Church in Springfield, Mo. was elected as the second vice-president.

Randy Shepherd, pastor of Spring Lake Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas, was elected to serve another term as recording secretary, with a term to expire in 2025. Jerome Cooper (term to expire in 2023) and Greg Medenwald (term to expire in 2024) are the other elected recording secretaries.

Richard Smith preached the annual message, entitled “Preach the Powerful Word.” After an introduction to the sermon, special music by Shelby Race, music minister at Calvary Baptist Church in Fairfield, Texas, was shared during the sermon. Bro. Smith then challenged those present from Ezekiel 37 concerning the “dry bones” coming to life as the Word of the Lord was shared. The challenge was to know the Lord and make Him known by preaching the Word to spiritually dead people so that the Spirit of God can move as only He can because He is our only hope. (Editor’s Note: We will run the text of Bro. Smith’s sermon in an upcoming issue. The video of the sermon can be found at BaptistTrumpet.com/BMAA2022.)

The Wednesday morning session was the time set aside to hear from all our departments about the work that God has been and is doing. A video of each department’s report from this session will be available as soon as possible at BaptistTrumpet.com/BMAA2022 in the next few weeks. Chairman of the Coordinating Council Jeff Swart presented the recommended changes to the Principles of Cooperation. They were approved, discussed and set aside to be voted on in the next session. Following the approval, Bro. Swart submitted his resignation as chairman of the Coordinating Council due to health reasons. He stated that Paul White, previous chairman and president of the association, has agreed to serve in the role. Jordan Tew was elected as the new executive director of Baptist Publishing House. All other department leaders were re-elected.

The Wednesday afternoon session began with a report from National WMA President Charlotte Johnson. She shared that they had 175 ladies attend the Women’s Conference on Tuesday morning and that they raised over $65,000 for this year’s project— the Darlene Carey Academy in the Philippines. BMAA Missionary Tammy Wood shared at the Women’s Conference about the relief efforts for the Ukrainian people and after she spoke, they collected approximately $9,000 for the BMA Ukrainian Relief Fund. The National WMA chose Daniel Springs Baptist Camp for this year’s project, with the goal of raising $60,000.

The second annual Legacy Missionary Awards followed, and President of Missions Dr. John David Smith shared that the main criteria for being chosen as a Legacy Missionary is to have served for at least 30 years in God’s global mission as part of the BMAA Missions team. Prior to the introduction of the Legacy Missionaries, he challenged the audience with the question, “How will you outlive your life?”

The following Legacy Missionaries were presented for 2022 (for more information see the full article on page 1): John & Shirley Ladd, Marvin & Helen Lloyd, Dale & Barbara Thornton and the late Don & Linda Newsom.

Following the recognition ceremony, which included a time for the missionaries to share, Johnmichael Poulin (who serves as the field coordinator for Southeast Asia for BMAA Missions) shared a challenging message about taking “All the Word to All the World.”

The final session of the meeting was held Wednesday night, and it is always a highlight of the meeting as all newly elected missionaries are able to be presented. President of Missions Dr. John David Smith began the evening by giving his annual report. (He would normally present this during the Wednesday morning session, but his arrival at the meeting was delayed because his mother-in-law passed away on Sunday). After recognition of the newly elected missionaries, those that are currently serving, along with the missions office personnel were invited to come to the stage for the commissioning prayer that was led by BMAA Missionary to Ecuador Buddy Johnson.

— Editor’s Note: We will have more coverage of the national meeting in next week’s issue, including an updated list of the officers and committees for 2022-2023 and the annual sermon by Richard Smith.