The 73rd annual BMA of Arkansas meeting was held Thursday and Friday, Nov. 3-4, at Central Baptist College. The theme, chosen by President Michael Battenfield, was “Healthy Churches, Healthy Association, for the Glory of God” based on Eph. 3:14-21.
The final Enrollment Committee report indicated there were 110 messengers enrolled with 94 churches represented at the meeting (60 by messenger and 34 by letter only) with 15 visitors for a total of 125 registered in attendance. Total money received for the Minute Fund was $5,280.
Thursday morning included meetings of the WMA and Brotherhood. The breakout sessions were back this year in the afternoon, with two chances to attend one of the four sessions offered.
The Missionary Committee meeting was well attended, and there was discussion on the recommendation from the Advisory Committee to permit the sale of the BMA of Arkansas building for at least $500,000 should an offer of that amount be made by an interested party. The recommendation was approved and brought to the full body during the Friday morning session, where it was approved.
The Thursday evening session was opened by the CBC band under the direction of Darrell Spigner. After a welcome by CBC President Terry Kimbrow that included an introduction to the new mascot, the CBC choir then continued leading in worship. Paul White, executive director of missions introduced his “brother” and friend, Hershel Conley, pastor of The Bridge Church in Mountain Home to preach the annual message. Bro. Hershel shared a message from John 17 entitled “They May Be One, As We Are.”
At the conclusion of the annual message, the business session was called to order and the messengers were seated, along with one petitionary church, Cain Baptist Church of Mountainburg. The messengers reelected the current slate of officers, with the exception of Recording Clerk Don Embry who asked that he not be considered for reelection. Danny Paul (pastor of Calvary, Conway) was elected to fill the vacancy. You can see a listing of the various committees and committee members, along with a collage of photos from the meeting on page 8 of today’s Trumpet.
The reports from the four departmental directors — Terry Kimbrow, Paul White, Dan Carson and Jeff Herring — appear on pages 9-10 of today’s Trumpet. These reports were made available in the digital Combined Reports booklet that was shared from the recording clerks. We have videos of each session and will get them edited and uploaded to the BMA of Arkansas YouTube channel in the next week. Visit BaptistTrumpet.com to keep up with the latest information on how to access these videos.
Central Baptist College —The highlight of the business session on Thursday night was the CBC report from President Terry Kimbrow as he shared about the history of CBC over 70 years of ministry, “transforming lives” in higher education. While the history and accomplishments over the 70 years was very encouraging, the resulting loss from the recent cyber-attack (estimated to be $600,000) brought a challenge to help meet the immediate need. Bro. Kimbrow asked churches, friends and alumni of CBC to help raise at least $250,000. A personal challenge to help was given to seven churches earlier, and five of those seven churches have already responded to give $107,000 toward this need. See CBC report on page 9 for more information.
Other highlights of the report included:
• Announcing the 2023 Gala with the theme “Fearless Faith,” on March 23, 2023, that will focus on mental health with Guest Speaker Harry Miller.
• Plans are underway for a new baseball field to be built on currently-owned property near the campus, and a $500,000 gift that has been given to get the project started.
• PACE program “First Class Free” scholarship to encourage new students to “get started” on completing their education.
Youth Department —Director Dan Carson shared about the success the department has had in fulfilling its mission to connect with and provide continuing education and coaching to student ministry pastors and leaders. He challenged the churches of the association to support the ministry through prayer, regular financial support and helping connect with those that work with the youth in the churches.
State Missions — Executive Director of Missions Paul White shared his 12th report to the body and allowed all current missionaries to share a brief report. He reported that two missions had organized in the past year and three missionaries had been added.
Baptist Trumpet — The report included an overview of “Where We Have Been,” “Where We Are Now” and “Where We Are Going.” A 20¢ per issue rate increase was approved as recommended, along with a recommendation to authorize the Publications Committee and the Missions Advisory Committee to work with the Executive Editor of the Trumpet and the Executive Director of Missions to discuss and negotiate the sale of the BMA of Arkansas building, should the need arise. Plaques were awarded to outgoing board members Michael Hight and Carolyn Colvert for their faithful service.
BMAA Department Reports
• Baptist Publishing House —Executive Director Jordan Tew shared about the success of the Baptist Expositor as it continues to grow and teach people how to study God’s Word for themselves. He also shared that the new children’s curriculum should be ready by spring (February/March).
• Lifeword — Executive Director Donny Parrish shared how Lifeword is reaching more people today than ever in the history of the ministry. He shared that in the last 30 days, 3.7 million people have visited www.lifeword.org. They are now sharing the gospel in 140 languages (praying for 200 in the next few years) to over 2 billion people around the world.
• BMAA Missions —VP for Church Health and Strategy Larry Barker shared about the work of BMAA Missions around the world. Editor’s Note: See the Missions Update article on page 1 of this issue for more details.
• BMA Theological Seminary — Dean Dr. Philip Attebery shared about the many ways the seminary is working to provide biblical instruction, including working with Spanish-speaking countries to provide seminary training.
• Minister’s Resource Services (MRS) — Executive Director of MRS Dr. Steve Crawley shared about the new partnership with Ronald Blue Trust and their record keeper NWPS Benefits. He encouraged all those that have not yet made the transition to contact their office for help getting it taken care of soon. You can contact them at MRS@bmaamerica.org or (844) 262-8637.
• Daniel Springs Baptist Camp — Executive Director Jason Prewitt shared that in 2022 there were over 1,600 campers with 43 professions of faith, 4 recommitted their life to Christ, 1 made known their need for baptism and 2 surrendered to ministry.
• WMA Report — Newly elected President Kelly Williams shared they had raised approximately $7,000 for this year’s project (Just the Crumbs). They selected CBC’s Cyber Account as the project for next year. The National WMA project is Daniel Springs Camp, and she shared that a friendly challenge had been issued by the Texas WMA to see who could raise the most funds for the project.
• Brotherhood — Recording Secretary Bill Thornton shared the report on behalf of President Robbie Staton, who could not be in attendance.
• Master’s Builders —Eddie Sikes shared that this was his 43rd report to the body, as a state missionary for 31 years and as the representative of the Master’s Builders for 12 years.
• Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Report — Paul White shared the report from the RLF. He shared that the total funds available are $1,663,067.91, with loans out of $836,277.45, making the total funds $2,499,345.36. The recommendation to modify the repayment schedule for missions/churches was adopted as presented and discussed in the Missionary Committee meeting. The new plan would make interest-free loans for 15 years and any outstanding balance at that time would require securing funding from outside, if possible, or they would start paying interest after 15 years.
The 2023 annual meeting of the BMA of Arkansas is set for Nov. 2-3 at Central Baptist College. Dr. Clif Johnson (pastor of Garrett Memorial Baptist Church in Hope) was elected to bring the annual message, with Ed Stephenson (pastor of Springhill Baptist Church in Greenbrier) as the alternate.