By Michael Battenfield, President • BMA of Arkansas
Our BMA of Arkansas Statement of Principles of Cooperation, Article IV states:
• Section 1. This association, in its very nature, is a joint cooperation and fellowship of the churches composing it. The cooperation may be expressed by means of messengers, letter or contributions.
• Section 2. Each church in this association shall have a voice in every enterprise sponsored by the association, according to the principles of work agreed upon.
Each year, we have not only a commitment, but the privilege to assemble together as an association of generally like-minded churches in a relationship of both joint cooperation (in fulfilling the Great Commission) and fellowship. Over the years I have been involved with the work of the BMA, I have found that the fellowship is, indeed, one of the most blessed parts of our meetings. You see, each of our churches serve in our various ministry areas and, in the course of time, it can start to feel as if we are in the battle alone. Make no mistake about it, the Great Commission is a battle that Christ Jesus has given us to fight with our very best effort, all built on the perfect and beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a battle that is strengthened when Christ’s churches cooperate and fellowship together.
For some, the formal business is little more than going through motions. Yet according to those same Principles of Cooperation, each church has available an equal voice. Sadly, in a world that grows more distant, we have a tendency to just let others make decisions — eventually leading to frustration and division. How many of us have voiced concern over a change or a troubling trend, yet don’t show up to give voice to those concerns? The reality is, when we show up and participate in our annual meeting in the spirit of cooperation with the mission Christ has given us at the top of our priorities, we have a much greater likelihood of fending off errors and preventing derailments like we have seen in other denominations. But consider another ministry that comes from meeting together — our various department directors, our college president and various workers are encouraged by our ministry of presence. By our active participation, especially through our physical presence, we demonstrate our genuine care for those ministries.
I cannot help but think of Paul’s frequent and sincere desire, expressed in his letters, to be physically present with his fellow workers, to both encourage and be encouraged and strengthened in the work. I can honestly say, I understand that desire to be with brethren from around the state. I am encouraged by your presence, by the fellowship and by the active participation by others. As an added benefit, we have three great presentations for our Thursday Pastor’s and Layman’s Conference that ought to be not only an encouragement, but also give anyone who is concerned with having a maximum kingdom impact with the gospel some understanding and tools for our tool belts. And of course, we are blessed to have multiple musical ensembles from our beloved CBC to lead us in worship, and a message that I have no doubt will both challenge and bless us from Dr. Clif Johnson, president of the BMA of America.
But when it all comes down to it, come to, as Paul put it in I Thess. 5:11 (NIV): “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up …”
I look forward to seeing you Nov. 2-3 in Conway, Arkansas!
Executive Editor’s Note: For the latest information about the upcoming BMA of Arkansas meeting, including a tentative schedule, vendor information, lodging and more, visit BaptistTrumpet.com/bmaark2023. The final schedule will be included in next week’s issue that will go out on Tuesday afternoon for E-Trumpet recipients and be available at the Baptist Trumpet table on Thursday for everyone else.