Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: Associational Meetings

STUDENT MINISTRY: Associational Meetings

Over the years, I have come to appreciate our association meetings at whatever level they are held. This past week, we had the opportunity to join together at Central Baptist College of Conway for the annual meeting of the BMA of Arkansas. These gatherings are a time for us to hear about God’s work through our churches and invest in relationships, new and old. I especially want to thank President Terry Kimbrow, Duffy Guyton and the rest of the CBC team as they served as our hosts. I know it takes a great deal of effort to insure that we have everything we need to pull off the two-day meeting. The staff of CBC meets that challenge with a servant’s heart.

I have often wondered why we have seen a decline in our associational meetings over the years. I know you can get much of the information shared through different means of communication like the Baptist Trumpet and the digital outreach of our departments. However, there is much to be said about shaking the hand of a new ministry friend or giving an old friend a hug. So let me make a case for physical attendance to all of our association meetings, especially the BMA of Arkansas:

• Location, location, location. It is a treat to be on the CBC campus and see what God is doing there. If you never been to CBC or if has been a while, you need to make the trip. With a standing invitation from the leadership at the college, there is a good chance our meetings will be there for the foreseeable future. Take the opportunity to get on campus. You will probably even get to hear from CBC ¾ that continues to be one of my favorite moments. In addition, Conway is the home of the BMAA Global Ministry Center, which houses our national missions office and Lifeword. I know their ministries would love for you to visit.

We are made for community. Spending time with others that share our history and doctrinal beliefs is important. It helps encourage us when we feel alone. In addition, it provides opportunities for new relationships to form. As leaders in our churches, we are faced with unique challenges. Ministry friends give us the chance to bounce around ideas and questions in a way that isn’t always possible in our congregations.

You can talk to your department leaders face-to-face. At a state meeting, you can walk up to representatives from Central Baptist College, the Baptist Trumpet, our state missions office and our youth department and ask questions. Many of our national ministries are also represented, but you know that, unless providentially hindered, you will have access to our state departments. This year, President Kimbrow of CBC shared some hard things during his report about the recent cyber attack. I appreciated his honesty and openness. It was a report that would have been lessened if he had just simply sent out a letter or video.

You can learn something new. Whether it is from a conversation with a new friend, ministry leader or through one of the pre-association breakout sessions, there is an opportunity for growth. I am a big fan of continuing education. Most professions not only ask for it but require it. We should embrace that mind-set as ministers of the gospel. The gospel doesn’t change, but our world and culture continue to do so. We need to look for insight and knowledge as we seek to serve in the areas of ministry in which we have been placed.

I know many of our churches and leaders have given up attending our state and national meetings but I encourage you to reconsider that. It is hard and sometimes inconvenient to participate, but if we want to see our churches continue to have an impact as a group, we need to gather. Whether you work with students, seniors, children or the congregation as a whole, know that it can be impactful to see what the BMA is doing on a state level.