by Michael Battenfield, BMA of Arkansas President
I want to express my gratitude to those churches of the BMA of Arkansas, whether you had messengers present for our 73rd annual session or not, but especially for those who sacrificed to be able to attend, I am particularly thankful. While I am my own worst critic, I believe the meeting went off with a surprising smoothness and lack of significant hiccups. I believe we all can agree that it was a sweet blessing to see one another again, fellowship and share these two days together. Our department reports were encouraging, even in the shared needs which were expressed. I pray we, as an association, can step up and meet the needs as the Lord provides. I can honestly take no credit for the positives of this meeting and would like to take this opportunity to give some much-needed thanks:
• To Central Baptist College and Director of Church Relations Duffy Guyton —He can do a much better job of naming the names of the army of CBC personnel, staff and students who contributed an unmeasurable amount of labor and effort to ensure our meetings went off without problems. The hospitality that walked hand-in-hand with the organizational, technological and simple labor enabled us to do what none of us could do ourselves. To get the honor of hearing the CBC band and choir as they led in Thursday evening’s worship was the icing on the cake!
• To my brothers who the association rightly elected last year to keep me in line, I mean to help in leadership, have been invaluable — First Vice President Tony Crocker, Second Vice President Daniel Williams, Recording Clerks Wes Hulvey and Don Embry. Your service is much appreciated, and I look forward to continuing another year in putting together the 74th Annual Session.
• To Baptist Trumpet Executive Editor Jeff Herring, who served as a running resource and sounding board, as well as a veritable encyclopedia for questions about previous practice, standards and encouragement. Your servant’s heart and willingness to help on a variety of fronts, including graphic art help, was much appreciated.
• A special thanks to Wade Allen, who shared with me from his own experience (and documentation) as president of the BMA of Arkansas. I would have been in a much weaker position, especially in trying to work out Thursday’s schedule, but also some hints from the business agenda made my planning far more streamlined.
• And to the four men who stepped up and shared knowledge, wisdom and their hearts in our breakout sessions — Harold Smith, Larry Barker, Clinton Morris and Dan Carson. Whether you were able to hear some practical and logical ways churches can help in the battle for church health, beginning in their own church and extending to other churches, meaningful suggestions and resources to encourage the vitality of prayer in the local church, ideas to reach those we might otherwise think unreachable or practical matters for effective youth and student ministries, I pray you were able to take away something useful.
But more than anyone else, I thank my God and Savior Jesus Christ for the privilege to serve Him at the local church and in the capacity of president of this association. He is the One who gave it all that we might live and serve, and He deserves our very best effort to seek the health of the local church, so that we might have a healthy association of churches to the glory of Christ!
Make sure you have already added Nov. 2-3, 2023 to your calendar for the 74th annual session of the BMA of Arkansas that will again meet at Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark. Make plans now to be a there!
Blessings and grace to you all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord!