By Michael Battenfield, President • BMA of Arkansas
As we enter the season of local association meetings and the run up to our BMA of Arkansas Annual Meeting, I would like to simply take this opportunity to encourage you to make your plans now. Get it on your personal and church calendar and set your heart and mind to do everything you can to be an active participant in the 74th Annual Session of the BMA of Arkansas, Nov. 2-3 on the campus of our beautiful Central Baptist College! The theme for the 74th Annual Session of the BMA of Arkansas is “Remembering Our First Love: The Christ of the Gospel” (Rev. 2:1-7).
I would also like to share a few planned highlights, but more importantly to request your prayers as we finish buttoning up plans for this meeting. One of the challenges I was utterly unprepared for when I began this role, was trying to craft our meeting time together with no budget and attendance that reflected a historic decline in the number of messengers present as well as the number of churches no longer even participating by letter of representation. I looked at what had been done for the last decade or so and drew a significant amount of encouragement from several preceding presidents, all while trying to honor the legacy that is the BMA of Arkansas.
One of the biggest challenges is trying to make certain that we conduct all business in an orderly fashion, while also trying to provide a tangible “return on investment” for attendees who, on an increasing level, have to make sacrifices to be able to participate. This is the heart behind past eﬀorts to host “Breakout Sessions,” and the way we try to provide exhibit tables and opportunities for engagement with each other (including time for good old-fashioned fellowship). In an eﬀort to simplify these “extras,” while helping to draw our hearts and minds back to this year’s theme, we will host a “Pastors and Laymen’s Conference on Thursday afternoon from 1-4 p.m. This is tentatively scheduled to take place in the lecture hall of CBC’s Watkins Academic Building (the same location as the Missionary Committeemen Meeting). Nobody will have to decide which speakers to hear and benefit from, and each will provide opportunity to engage with the vital subject matter presented. These speakers will each be addressing, and are appropriate for, everyone, not just pastors or “church leaders.”
Our business sessions will proceed much as they did for 2022, with our first formal session on Thursday evening following the annual message and concluding with our business and reports Friday morning. We hope to conclude by noon.
I would also like to extend a challenge to the men of your church, not just pastors, to make a special eﬀort to attend the State Brotherhood meeting (or WMA for our ladies). This can be such a sweet time of fellowship, encouragement and edification.
You may use the physical Letter of Representation (download it at BaptistTrumpet.com/BMAArk2023) or fill it out online at tiny.cc/bmaarkchurchletter. For report submissions, go to tiny.cc/bmaarkreport.
Following the methodology we used last year for reserving tables/exhibit space, priority will be given to agencies of the BMA of Arkansas, BMA of America and local BMA associations and associated ministries, followed by businesses and entities that do not present a direct conflict to existing agencies and departments of our various works. There is an online form to request space available at tiny.cc/bmaarkvendor.
I’m looking forward to seeing you at the meeting. To find the latest news and information for the meeting, visit BaptistTrumpet.com/BMAArk2023.