Executive Editor’s Note: The “Moving the Conversation Forward” article by Associate Editor Allan Eakin in the Dec. 20 issue introduced a series of articles — How Do We Associate? Series — we would be featuring at the beginning of the new year. The first of these articles appeared in the Jan. 10 issue — “How Do We Associate?” In this issue, we will begin to share the stories of the ministries that are made possible because of the churches of the Baptist Missionary Association, starting with the departments of the state of Arkansas. In this issue, we will share from the two oldest departments of the BMA of Arkansas — State Missions and the Baptist Trumpet.
Baptist Missionary Association (BMA) of Arkansas Missions is an extension of the ministry of the churches of the BMA of Arkansas. We partner with individuals, churches and associations, primarily of the BMA of Arkansas, to send out spirit-filled men to plant local churches wherever needed and fulfill the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
It was during the association’s organizational meeting on Nov. 14, 1950 at Temple Baptist in Little Rock that the State Missions Program was launched and Abner R. (A.R.) Reddin from Ashdown was elected as our first Arkansas secretary of missions. During this meeting the messengers also elected six missionaries — J.C Crain, Cris Barham, C.N. King, G.L. Richardson, C.W. Ferguson and Branson Munford.
Moving forward, your State Missions’ office is now located at 10712 I-30, just off Baseline Road in the southern part of Little Rock, where it has been since 1970. In the early 70s, this building was constructed by the churches of our state to house both the Baptist Trumpet and Arkansas State Missions. The property was originally part of Temple Baptist Church, who sold it to the BMA of Arkansas Revolving Loan Fund, Inc. for the use of these two departments of our state work. We have been blessed with many outstanding leaders who have faithfully served our association.
In the fall of 2009, then Executive Director I.V. Hight’s health began to fail, and he deemed it necessary that he retire. In the spring of 2010, there was a called Missionary Committee meeting at Park Place Baptist Church (located in their old building) to consider Bro. Hight’s replacement. It was at that meeting, having been nominated by Kenneth Bobo, that I was elected executive director and began serving in July 2010. Prior to being elected, I served as a pastor and then as a church planter through this department.
I still serve as executive director, Michael Hight serves as Hispanic coordinator and Donna Webb has recently completed her 11th year as my administrative assistant. We have seven men currently serving as church planters across Arkansas: Juan Carlos Posadas (North Little Rock), Ruben Isturiz (West Little Rock), Johnny Shew (Flippin), Bryan Clay (Benton), Roberto Marcelletti (Northwest Arkansas), Jake McCandless (Pea Ridge) and Michael Hight (Cabot/Jacksonville). Some of these works are nearing maturity while others are just beginning.
Through the Arkansas State Missions Department, thousands of souls have come to Christ through the work of faithful men and women. Many of our churches today stand as visual testimonies of both those who have supported and those who have served. We work together with our churches and other mission efforts to make sure the gospel is being shared. We do not want to appear as though missions on any level are in competition. Being diverse is a positive in that it allows an individual church to participate in all the areas of the Great Commission and allows us greater opportunities. Like the Sunday School class, when it is divided, both will generally experience growth.
Some would say, “We have more than enough churches already. Why do we need to plant more?” At this time, BMA churches are closing faster than we can plant them. Also, not every place that calls itself a church is doctrinally sound. In fact, more are not. It is for this reason those churches who possess the truth need to share it with all.
Getting involved in State Missions is not only easy but also rewarding. There are several ways you can get involved. You can go yourself and answer God’s call, provide financial support so others can go, suggest to your church leadership that they place BMA of Arkansas Missions in the church budget or give personally by setting aside a birthday or Christmas gift each year or simply donate anything of value, including stocks. When gifting stocks, you pay no taxes; when we sell the stock, we pay no taxes. It is a win-win method. Ask your accountant for more information.
Another way to become more involved, and most importantly, you can pray for those who are on the field. Nearly all missionaries start out needing everything, so don’t hesitate to contact them. Just imagine that long after you are gone, people will still hear the precious gospel because of your love for lost souls. Fellow believers, it just does not get any better.
Stay informed by receiving our state paper, the Baptist Trumpet, where our missionaries share what God is doing in their corner of the world every week. Also in the Baptist Trumpet, go to the header of the State Missions reports, find the missionaries’ contact information, and invite them to come to your church so you can get to know them in a more personal way. Think of them as adopted families into your church body. After all, they are a part of us.
Visit our website at BMAARmissions.com and follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/ArkansasMissions. Sign up to receive our Missions Email Newsletter, which is sent every other month, and read the State Missions reports in the “Arkansas: Transformed” special insert that is printed every other month in the Baptist Trumpet.
If I were asked, what State Missions’ greatest need is, I would say it is for God-called men to answer the call to be a church planter — men who will take it on as their heart-felt passion to establish a church. In fact, we tell our missionaries that you have not completed your task unless there is a church at the end of your ministry at your location.
For the future, we would like to see one or two new church planters added each year. We long to see our current works mature and be able to organize soon.
We ask you to pray for a multitude of souls to come to Christ through the efforts of your State Missions.
We encourage our churches to participate in our Special Emphasis, which the state association dedicated as the months of May-June-July, with the last Sunday in July set aside for Special Emphasis offering for State Missions.
Pray with me that God will raise up a person, family or Christian business to become a catalyst in mission fundraising by challenging others to give with a promise of matching their efforts, doubling its effectiveness. For more information, contact me at (501) 859-3329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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